Jul 112007

Professor Ian Lowe, emeritus professor of science at Griffith University has stated…
I defend the right of Martin Durkin to believe human activity is not changing the global climate.

As do I. Without freedom of expression, there can be no debate.

What I vehemently disagree with is blatant misdirection, misinformation, lies and deceit in support of any particular argument within a debate. I’m afraid I see climate change nay-sayers in this light, and am yet to read, see or hear anything from that camp which conclusively gives me cause to re-think my own stance on the issue.
For example, how can human industrial development not be having, and have already had an impact on our planet’s ecosphere? I find any arguments claiming that we’re not impacting negatively on climate through industrialisation, greenhouse gas production, habitat destruction and species extinction to be utterly unbelievable. Primarily because such arguments come with little or no support.
Consider, dear reader, the beginnings of this world we live on. The only home our species has ever had, and likely will ever have. Religious nut-baggery aside, our planet formed to a relatively stable point some 3.9 billion years ago, as the Earth cooled sufficiently to have formed a crust and some oceans. Life, as we understand it, emerged less than 1 billion years later. The human species – Homo Sapiens sapiens – arose some 400,000 years ago. In the intervening time period, the planet underwent many changes. Tectonic plate movements rearranged ocean currents. The planetary orbit fluctuated before settling into the near circular ellipse it is today. The planetary climate heated and cooled many times and was subjected to numerous external and internal forces resulting in mass extinctions of various levels of life on the surface.
These actions within the planetary sphere have all resulted in various levels of carbon absorption and release in terms of the evolution of life, species arising and falling extinct, plant matter increasing and decreasing over time. It must be remembered that ALL life on this world, be it plant, animal, bacterial or viral is carbon based. Everything which is alive today or has ever lived in any form, contains or has contained carbon. The cycle of the element is enclosed. We neither create more nor make it disappear. Carbon is either free in the environment, or locked up in living organisms, plants, oceans, or minerals like fossil fuels. It is this cycle of absorption and release over millennia which has determined just where the levels of various gases in our atmosphere, principally carbon dioxide, stand at any given point in the planet’s history. Historically, as determined by radiometric dating methods and ice core analysis that those levels have been maintained generally between 180 and 280 parts-per-million. Never higher than 280ppm. Since industrialisation of the human species, which began only some 300 years ago, the percentage of carbon dioxide saturation in our atmosphere has risen to 350ppm where it sits currently.
These are all know facts, supported by irrefutible scientific data. Whether the whole and total blame for the recent recorded rises in global temperatures and carbon dioxide levels and associated wild weather variations can be sheeted home to humanity is still undefined, and probably always will be. However, it appears foolishness in the extreme to blithely dismiss the scientific evidence as not in the least supporting a high probability that we – industrialised and developed humanity – are strongly implicated. Especially when one considers that before industrialisation, humanity didn’t impact on the absorption/release cycle of carbon within the planetary cycle. Since the advent of industrialisation, every erg of energy produced by utilisation of planetary resources, be it though coal, oil, natural gases, etc is unlocking sequestered carbon from within that cycle. That much cannot be denied.
Have we engineered a possible runaway process of warming, through which additional sequestered carbon from the world’s oceans will be released? Will such a release further accelerate melting of icecaps with a resultant rise in ocean levels? Only time will tell, but if we are to blame, even in part, surely it behooves our species as guardians of the planet for future generations to at least take steps to minimise our climate impact. This entire issue is not one of ideology, nor is it one of conspiracies pro or con the scientific or economic standpoints. The issue is one of survival of a species. Ours. When one considers the timetables of planetary evolution leading up to the present day, it’s clear that any impacts we’re having on our climate may not become evident for a long time. What is also clear to me is that by the time such evidence does become irrefutably clear, the damage done to our species’ survival prospects will not be recoverable.
We’re not smart enough yet to up sticks and go find another world to colonise, rape, pillage and move house again, ad infinitum. Given the rate at which we’re laying waste to this world, we’re not likely to have the time to become smart enough to up sticks and shoot through. When viewed in terms of ‘this is the only home we have’, arguments for & against profit margins, who’s right & who’s wrong, left -v- right ideologies and all the other nonsense which tags along behind all seem so pathetically stupid and futile. I’m left to wonder whether Martin Durkin has ever assessed his documentary in that light? I guess we’ll find out when he speaks with Tony Jones following the screening of his ‘swindle’ story.
Until then, yes, he’s fully entitled to his opinion, but those of us who believe otherwise aren’t obliged to accept it unchallenged.

  9 Responses to “Wake Up and Smell the Carbon Dioxide”

  1. Hmm… case in point :-)

  2. What happened to my actual comment?

  3. This was my original comment!:
    Although I have asked of climate-change deniers, I have never received an answer to the question of why it is a good idea that humans go on emitting 7,000,000,000 tonnes of CO2 annually and think there could not possibly be any adverse outcomes.
    It is becoming increasingly clear that at a personal level it is not that difficult to reduce our greenhouse footprint by 50% with little if any inconvenience. It also saves money. But to me it seems that at the heart of denialism is selfishness of the ‘why should I have to change anything I do?’.
    It’s cold comfort to think that in a decade or so the denialists will be regarded as quaint remnants of a bygone era – like flat earthers.

  4. Come on, you know greenism is a gay, communist,black/muslim Martian plot! Rusty, Porkerman & the Rodent have told us so. they wouldn’t lie! Or be dumb as posts.

  5. Dunno what happened to your ‘original’ comment(s) Slim. There is no guardian software on this blog at present.

  6. A comment I left a day or so ago also appears to have been swallowed.

  7. as I say, Trinifar, it’s not due to any gatekeeper software on this site.

  8. I must agree with Trinifar & Slim – comments posted, correctly, do disappear into the ether. I myself had a zinger on the Inciters go astray – so spiffingly scintillating and all encompassing of human knowledge that I can’t remember it.

  9. I’ll apply the mirror theory and look into it.

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