The whole climate-change debate is becoming more surreal each passing day. “Climate-gate” hit the press last week with the release of thousands of hacked emails indicating that the climate-change intelligentsia had manipulated data and systematically conspired to exaggerate the effects of global warming for an extended period of time. What amazes me is that anyone was shocked by the revelation; the emails only confirmed what everyone knew.
Even more amazing was that the crowd who believes climate change is occurring but has doubts whether it’s driven by manmade greenhouse emissions seemed surprised that the revelation of this conspiracy didn't create more of a stir.
The models that are the basis of these dire predictions simply are unable to explain the current cooling phase, etc. Nor has it been possible to create models that fit the predictions based on manmade influences.
The lead-up to Denmark also illustrates that this movement is much broader than global climate change and environmentalism; it’s mostly about relationships between developing and developed countries. It’s also about a world view that wants to do a better job of redistributing wealth between the haves and have nots.
My belief has always been that the climate is changing (and it will always change). And, also that solar activity and other factors explain the changes wonderfully well, while greenhouse gases and the like do not.
The questions are: what is a sensible approach and what is the real science saying? I find it amusing that the evil U.S., which didn't sign on to the Kyoto Treaty, actually decreased emissions, while the Europeans signatories to the treaty actually saw emissions increase since that time.
Though concerning, the effects of proposed cap-and-trade legislation may end up being minor compared to the other taxes and actions of this Congress. With 10% unemployment and the health-care battle, cap and trade has been relegated to the backburner for now. Yet, the announcement this week that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers carbon dioxide – an essential component of life – a public health risk that must be regulated was a shot across the bow. It signals that the Obama Administration will move and move aggressively in this area regardless of public opinion.
This week, there were a lot of stories detailing cattle's real impact on greenhouse gases, debunking some of the often-quoted and simply incorrect facts. I hate to say it but Paul McCartney making the case that less meat equates to saving our planet from imminent disaster is still a much better received argument by the public.
Climate change and the impending debate and actions aren’t about the science; they are about a world view, and it will be the clash of these world views that will determine the outcome.
Once an independent tool guided solely by truth, science has today become a political tool. As an industry, we must prepare for this fight; we must martial our resources for the battle because it’s one that will have a dramatic and lasting effect on our industry’s future. It’s a battle that will be won or lost with public opinion, and the implications are game-altering for this industry.