Aardvark DailyNew Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.
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Here's something the environmentalists won't want to hear...
Pollution may be the answer to global warming.
Yep, it seems that a recent study has shown that one of the key factors in rising temperatures across Europe is the reduction in air pollution that has occurred in recent times.
It seems that when the air is clearer, more of the sun's heat can reach the earth and that makes things warmer.
In fact, when they crunched the numbers, it appears that the rate of temperature rise throughout Europe has been faster than could be accounted for by global warming alone.
The prospect of global dimming as a way of reducing the rate of climate change is now something scientists will have to consider very carefully.
Perhaps the most important outcome of this study however, is the realisation that even the smartest people on the planet really don't know what's causing climate change.
On one hand, we have a group of extremists who tell us that we're virtually condemning ourselves to death by the constant and virtually unconstrained growth in greenhouse gas emissions.
At the other end of the spectrum we're told that it's nothing to do with mankind's activities, it's just a natural cycle caused by factors that are beyond our control.
And as one report attributes the climate change to massive deforestation in places like Indonesia and The Amazon, another report comes out claiming that forests are a key contributor to climate change due to the amount of water vapour they emit.
It seems as if nobody knows for sure what's going on but everyone claims to be an expert and have the answers.
In the meantime, regular folks like you and me are left at the mercy of a bunch of dim-bulb politicians who are keen to seize any crisis as justification for imposing new taxes and greater restrictions on the actions of those they're elected to represent.
Entire new industries, such as carbon-trading, have sprung up overnight and continue to act as a parasite on our economy -- charging large amounts of money to do nothing more productive than shuffle paper.
In the name of "saving the planet" we're turning perfectly good crops into fuels that actually have a net-energy yield far below unity while at the same time pushing food prices to stunning new record highs.
One can't also help but wonder whether the latest meteoric rise in oil prices isn't attributable at least in part to the awareness that oil-based fuels may well be superceded in the near future by alternatives. Perhaps the oil companies and speculators are simply trying to get as much money out of their product as they can, while they can. After all, if there were a major breakthrough in battery technology or some other form of transport energy, oil stocks and prices would fall significantly.
What I find most annoying is that all sides of the climate change debate seem to speak with great certainty.
However, on closer scrutiny (and as the report I started this column with proves), nobody knows for sure, or with even a modicum of actual certainty, what's going on.
I'd like to see these climate-change "experts" talking a little more honestly.
How about adding a "percentage of certainty" to these claims instead of presenting them as an absolute fact?
I'd like to hear "We can say with a 60% certainty that human activity is the key factor in climate change" - or something similar - so that *we* can work out for ourselves just how valid those claims are.
It's time that the scientists, the media and the politicians stopped treating us like idiots and realised that (with only a few exceptions) most people want a more objective assessment of the situation and the certainties involved.
Are we being hoodwinked over this climate change issue?
Is it time to fess up and say "well we really don't know but we think, with an xx% certainty, that the situation is...." ?
And if the European report is accurate, should we not have a "save the planet" day when we all burn tires in our back-yards so as to increase global dimming?
Are you happy with the way the climate change issue is being handled and with the way information is being delivered to the public?
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