Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Help! We've lagged our planet and can't turn the heating down

As the Copenhagen climate conference struggles gallantly towards the unavoidable shabby compromise, its worth pausing for a note of thanks to all those open-minded, definitely-not-biased, definitely-not-paid, professional global warming sceptics, who have managed to scupper every other previous initiative in this area over the last twenty years.

If you happen to be one of those sceptics, thank-you, from the bottom of my heart, for pissing the future of human civilisation, including that of my children, up the wall, in the interests of...well we know who, don't we. However, you are not totally alone. Even some professional meteorologists of my acquaintaince, have always doubted the science of climate change, despite the plain facts and simple physics being long known, and almost impossible to argue with.

Here then, in belated and pointless summary are what I see as the basic, undisputable facts:
  • There are gases in our atmosphere that effectively insulate the warm Earth from cold space, by inhibiting the radiation of heat. It is an easily measurable property of these gases.
  • "Modern" human civilisation generates large amounts of these gases.
  • The proportion of these gases in our atmosphere has been increasing since records began.
  • The gases take a long time to go away again.
So, we've been lagging the attic, but we can't turn down the heating down - the sun shines on.  These basic facts lead to predictions up to a century ago, that our climate would get warmer.   There is now very strong physical evidence that our emissions are causing our planet to warm.
    You can argue about the details, quality of the climate models, or whatever, but the basic correlation between what the basic physics predicts, and what actually appears to be happening, is surely strong enough to prompt us into major action.

    At the end of the day, we may be 20 years too late to do anything, but that doesn't mean its not worth trying. Fiddling at the margins isn't going to cut it though, and neither is waiting to 2050!

    I say, lets call in the extra-terrestrials.

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