Monday, March 12, 2007

It's The Sun That Did It!

The climate was controlled by the clouds
The clouds were controlled by cosmic rays
The cosmic rays were controlled by the sun
It all comes down to the sun!
Explains Channel 4 on why we are having this Climate Change.

The documentary; The Great Climate Change Swindle sets out to disprove the current 'popular' theory that Climate Change is due to the rise of CO2 levels created by us humans.

It makes a convincing (or rather entertaining) case that, climate change is a natural phenomena. The world's temperature has always risen and fallen and the current climate change is just carrying on this trend.

The arguments goes, CO2 heats up the earth's atmosphere and hence the melting of the Arctic which will potentially give rise to sea levels, diminishing lands and countries. (This is just one of the causes of the rising CO2 levels others include extreme weather and endangering animals).

From what I understand of CO2 is that, it traps heat and when in the atmosphere it naturally raises the temperature. This was actually explained to me by Dr. Saleem Huq, the head of the Climate Change Group of the IIED.

The documentary argues that CO2 only makes up a tiny fraction of the atmosphere, in fact it's less than 1%. It also argues that man made CO2 is significantly lower than that of natural CO2 given off by decaying leaves and animals.

The most interesting of the findings was the decrease of the earth's temperature during the economic-boom (post-war industrialisation period) given the premise (CO2 increases the earth's temperature). Between 1940 and 1970 the earth's temperature actually decreased disproving man-made CO2 caused the rising temperature.

However, going back to Dr. Saleem Huq, this probably does not hold great weight as I am told the impact of CO2 in the atmosphere is not immediate. The effects of CO2 takes a while so makes sense in relation to Climate Change that the earth should start to heat up after 1970, when the CO2 has had time to react with the atmosphere and not simultaneously as industrialisation was taking place.

The documentary makes a great watch but it is not a great scientific documentary which is a shame. Had they done proper scientific research they would not have taken one side of the Climate Change argument.

However, there are virtues in programmes like this. What the documentary does is brings in the political aspects of the Climate Change hype how given this 'threat' can be used to the advantages of political opportunists.

The Climate Change hype has had a great impact on the developing world and environmentalists. As the idea of CO2 is demonised and discouraged the developing world is made to think and develop with resources such as solar panels and renewable energy. This would take an awfully long time to bring industrial revolution to those places that need it!

The developing countries have a right to develop with fewer limits and should not be discouraged to do so. Environmentalists should be careful on how they campaign, the last thing we want is the stagnate development of nations that need to burn off CO2 for its growth. Also, the west have had their chance of industrialisation, so any CO2 in the atmosphere now, which has caused the rise of temperatures, is of their doing.

Carrying on with releasing CO2 into the atmosphere will not stop the effects explains Dr. Saleem Huq, the damage has already been done and what we can do now is prepare for its effects to take place.


amy said...

Interesting stuff, i missed the documentary but wished i'd seen it. Its a shame what can pass as science on TV, standards get lowered for it, its dishonest in a way. But then if we were all better educated and knew some science then there wouldn't be a prob i s'pose.

Anonymous said...


purple said...

Amy, download it, the link is posted!