June 22, 2009

Climate Change

Yesterday, I tried to view Dr. John Holdren releasing the latest report on climate change but could not download it after several attempts because of some intermittent power troubles ... even could not watch it from the White House page on YouTube as it was not playing in a continuous manner ... don't know if there was some issue with my net connection or with the speed of YouTube as I am usually able to watch streaming videos without much trouble ...

With respect to my broad opinions/inclinations about climate change, I can say that I've watched with fascination both of Al Gore's famous Senate depositions — the older one before the Senate EPW Committee and the newer one before the Senate FRC. Of course, I've watched An Inconvenient Truth.

Recently, I learned that Freeman Dyson is a 'skeptic' about the effects of human actions on climate change. I very much believe that the issues related to climate change need to be examined with proper scientific skepticism but when Dyson says that 'warm regions of the world are not getting warmer', I think I can dispute him on that score and people living in many warm countries of the world would also disagree with Dyson.

I think the debate about whether human actions have had detrimental effects on the environment is closed. The conclusion being that human action certainly has had negative consequences. To imagine otherwise would be extraordinarily childish and perhaps a case of extraordinary optimism or wishful thinking of the highest order.

We have substantially consumed fossil fuels such as hydrocarbons in the last one century — nature took millions of years to produce those hydrocarbons.

We have not run out of coal but the amounts of greenhouse gases that thermal power plants are emitting is leading to a fundamental change in the basic composition of the atmosphere . . . the amount of CO2 in the atomosphere is rising to unheard of levels which will definitely have consequences ...

Nobody disputes that the climate of the planet is dynamic ... the geological history of the planet is there for all to see. Nobody should have any issue with acknowledging the fact that there are long term cycles of climate change due to the precession of the equinox and other causes.

It is also a fact that the most recent ice on the planet peaked about 20,000 years ago. We are currently living in a moment in our planet's history when it's going through a relatively warmer period of its life.

All this having been said, it is transparently clear that human action is causing harm to the earth's environment and it would be in our own interest to try and understand as much as possible what harm we are causing. As we understand this cause and effect relationship, we may be better able to protect the people around the world from major natural disasters or climate disasters.

1 comment:

  1. "All this having been said, it is transparently clear that human action is causing harm to the earth's environment ..."

    This is a hypothesis and not an axiom. I would like to point out that I am a scientist, and not a "denier" - rather a skeptic. That is the scientific method: be skeptical of every "truth" until it is clear that the hypothesis fits all the facts. Even then, something as complex as climate can only ever be modeled roughly.

    I agree absoutley that "it would be in our own interest to try and understand as much as possible what [if any] harm we are causing."

    Note that irrespective of the importance or otherwise of anthropogenic climate change, there is no question that fossil fuels are limited in supply (almost everything is) and that finding alternatives must be a major priority for the industrialised world in particular.

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