Friday, February 02, 2007

Climate Change

On the day that it was announced that we are causing climate change, The Guardian has revealed that one lobby group offered $100,000 to various scientists and economists to discredit the latest evidence. According to The Guardian,

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.

Despite the fact that this was one of the most comprehensive reports into climate change, there are still those who seek to undermine the science. And it comes as no surprise that ExxonMobil are the main force behind this strategy (see exxon secrets).

The study itself saw a marked shift from previous reports. In the past, as they now admit, the IPCC was relatively cautious in apportioning blame to human activity. In 2001, they reported that they were 66-90% certain that human activity was to blame. In their latest report, they claim to be at least 90% certain that human activity is to blame. Furthermore, they projected that temperatures would probably rise by between 1.8C and 4C, though increases as small as 1.1C (2F) or as large as 6.4C (11.5F) were possible. However, in 2001, they predicted the numbers were 1.4 (2.5F) and 5.8C (10.4F) (using slightly different methodology).

There is no doubt whatsoever that human activity is having a massive impact on the environment. Despite the suggestions in the media, there is no scientific disagreement on this point. The only disagreement comes from a few wacky, far-right loonies and their corporate buddies (and don't hold your breath that Wal-Mart will make good their rather feeble promises). The longer the arguments go on, the less time that humankind will have to save the planet. The right really are playing with fire. After all, what do we have to lose? If the environmentalists are wrong, we will only have be inconvenienced slightly yet live on a cleaner planet for everyone. If the climate change deniers are wrong, the human race faces extinction. So what's it going to be?