Climate Change critics have found a number of reasons to object the phenomenon of climate change and dismiss this inconvinient truth either due to their misinformation or their short-sighted and self-centred motives. If you are a skeptic of climate change, the below might give you some insights into how the objections raised by critics are not only erroneous, but completely flawed and non-sensical.
1. Natural Climate Variability: Some people believe that what is happening today as effect of climate change is just natural climate variability and nothing to do with global warming. However scientists have clearly shown that, considering historical trends of carbon-dioxide (CO2), there is a clear increase after the 18th Century introduction of fossil fuels to power our industry. Also lab experiments have established the relationship between CO2 concentration increase and warming levels, based on absoption of infra-red wavelength. A Century ago, Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius predicted that burning fossil fuels would lead to climate change and many scientists agreed later on based on theorotical grounds and science of thermodynamics- if the planet's temperature is to remain constant, amount of energy absorbed as sunlight has to be equal to amount of energy emitted back to space in the longer wavelengths of infra-red spctrum. The impact of CO2 is thus not just coincidental.
2. Climate Change is not harmful: Many people tend to live in a delerium that climate change is not harmful, because warmer temperatures are better than cold. But the effect of CO2 capture is not only simple warmer climates but it disrupts normal energy flow from the planet's surface to the atmosphere and from equator to poles causing increased frequeny and intensity of hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts and floods. UK Government's Stern report showed that despite many fossil-fuel benefits, each person in the devloped world was causing $935 in annual climate change related damages to others.
3. Even the Scientists disagree about climate change: This notion misplaces the precise nature of scientifica disagreement. As a matter of fact, scientists have never refuted anthropogenic climate change, but have argued over its modality, intensity and timing. This is true for every scientific theory that there are minor disagreements amonst scientists on thier precise details. However the basics do not change and these disagreements cannot be extrapolated to the non-existence of climate change.
4. Earth will self-regulate itself: The belief that earth will self-regulate itself against the bad effect of climate change is erroneous based on the fact that there is an encreased activity of catastrophic effects that coincide with the increase in climate's temperature and CO2 levels. There is also no scientific phenomenon that protects earth on its own, atleast not to same degree of the irreversible effects of climate change caused by human activity.
5. Its an over-statement: Some industry bodies have lobbied against climate change considering the facts that there have been inconsistencies in the data provided by scientists on the timing and mechanism. However the possible errors of some scientists are insufficient to jeopardize the results of a majority of research confirming the existenc of climate change. This is like believing that there is no good rock music because some musicians are drug addicts. When you are sick, you do not reject all medical opinion based on a wrong diagnosis but go out and seek the best medical advice.
6. Weather is in-fact cooler: The winter of 2010 was very cold and this might give a delusion that there is no global warming. We cannot confuse average with individual temperature observations. If there is ice-melting resulting from warming, it is bound to cause colder weather in places where it moves out to in the water streams, especially the Northern hemisphere. Thus the result from one place cannot be extrapolated for state of the climate as such.
7. No need for action now: After considering some merit to the theory of climate change, skeptics immediately go into denial mode and say that there is no need for action now. However, ethically speaking, uncertainty does not warrant inaction. If the science of climate change is uncertain in its details, it should be the moral duty of every fossil-fuel user to take actions to mitigat the risks. We buy insuranc, precisely because life is uncertain.
8. It's too expensive: It is really unethical to dismiss action on climate change because its too expensive, given the fact that there are catastrophic damages and a monumental health toll taken by fossil fuel emisisons. If a food and beverage company finds out that its produce was tainted, is it ethical to delay action based on the argument that the recall will be too expensive? This is just a short-term clear example to open the minds of short-sighted people, who believe that climate change is too expensive. Also addressing climat change is not extraordinarily expensive as such. Even skeptics like Bjorn Lomborg admit that the total cost of addresing cliamte change are merely equal to deferring global economic growth by jus one year. Energy efficiency is already having a very short-term economic payback and adoption of renewables will make the payback more attractive as shown by the example of Solar PV price decline and reaching of grid-parity in many countries alredy.
In the above article, most text has been adapted from the latest book by Kristin Shrader-Frechette titled "What Will Work- Fighting Climate Change with Renewable Energy, Not Nuclear Power". Its a real good book that provides eye-opening perspectives on climate change and how people are held ransom by self-centred lobbies of short-sighted people.
Recreated from original blog post authored by Nilesh Y. Jadhav at Solarika.org