Global Warming - Disaster or Boon?

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Why all the fuss? And how is it a local issue? External links:
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How much do we really know about global warming? Before I start off on my rant, here's a link to a short internet quiz about it. See how well you score.

We have been bombarded for too long with the idea that, if we leave our tellies on standby overnight, we shall cook our grandchildren.

Simplistic? Too right!

What a lot of you have been saying to me is that it sounds very much like a case of politicians climbing on a bandwaggon to bully us, through a combination of fear and moral blackmail, into stumping up a whole shed-load of new "green" taxes without arguing too much about it. Well, that is perhaps a bit simplistic, too, though the cynic in me says that there is likely to be more truth in it than in the notion that carbon dioxide is a potential mass-murderer.

The idea of this page and those linked from it is to balance things up a bit by presenting the case for the defence of carbon dioxide (CO2) which, when I went to school, was a colourless, odourless, non-toxic gas, used by plants as a food, in fire extinguishers to smother fires and in soft drinks to make them fizzy. It is also more soluble in water than the major gases in the atmosphere and, like all gases, more soluble in cold water than in hot.

On the reference pages, you will find a heap of links to scientific sites, some easy to follow, some quite difficult for non-scientists, most of which challenge the notion that "the debate is over: global warming is definitely caused by man-made CO2" and suggest instead that:

OK, so why does it matter and why am I making a fuss about it?

It matters because, if the whole Climate Change industry is based on an untruth, it is likely to do a lot of damage. First, there is the obvious damage to industry, employment and the economy from crippling taxes and over-regulation, chasing shadows. Second, and less obvious, there is the damage to the reputation and credibility of the "green" movement itself. When the bubble bursts (and let us just assume for the sake of argument that it is a bubble and that it will burst), a lot of worthwhile "green" initiatives are in danger of being caught up in the backlash of opinion that is certain to follow.

But why does it matter in a local election?

It matters because your council has a lot of discretion to go even further than the Government requires to "combat global warming". Of course, we have to do what we are required by Law to do, because we are established under Law and governments make the Law, but we do not have to do more that the law requires of us.
Some councils are already using global warming as an excuse to increase charges for car parking - Richmond is even doing it selectively on a prejudicial basis and Torbay were reported (Western Morning News, 10 April) to be considering doing likewise. I do not want West Devon to climb on to this bandwaggon.

It matters because, although our councils' influence on central government is small, it is not zero. One has to start somewhere. Moreover, as I have just said, where we have discretion, we have no need to impose more burdens in the name of "carbon reduction" than we are required by law to impose.

So it is a local issue; it does matter; and it can affect you locally.

You may also think that you want at least one councillor who has a natural science background and training. Not many politicians do; want to know why?

I have no doubt that some of my opponents will accuse me of trying to create a counter-bandwaggon of my own just to get re-elected. Well, you can believe that if you want to. The only evidence I can offer you against it is my record of sticking my neck out and the fact that I have left all my previous election material on the web since 1995 when I started a web site. You must take a view for yourselves whether that is what a cynical political spin-merchant would do.

Furthermore, I am not asking you to believe me. I am inviting you to look at what real climate scientists say when their research is not "interpreted" by politicians or political influence (remember Galileo, who was thoroughly perscuted by the political authorities of his day for being right).
The links to scientific papers are here and, if that whets your appetite for more technical stuff, I have assembled a whole heap more here. I have even included some links to the "orthodox" climate sites, like IPCC , a United Nations body which promotes the belief that CO2 is a pollutant. Would I do that if I were trying to con you?

Updated 22 April 07
Quiz link fixed 19 Mar 10