Saturday, May 10, 2008

Average Joe on Climate Change

My name is Pat Brittenden, I work as an announcer at Newstalk ZB, I have a wife, two children and a cat, I have a mortgage and the bank owns 70% of my house, I am what some define as 'Middle New Zealand', I am the average Joe.

Some would have you believe that “the debate is over” when it comes to mankind’s contribution to Climate Change. My take is that the question is not whether or not we contribute to Global Warming, but if we can do anything about it. I believe two main things. Firstly, that there is nothing we can do to affect global climate change, and secondly, that our government is selling us a lie that will financially cripple middle New Zealand.

The Lie
According to the latest CDIAC (Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center) report commissioned for the United Nations on carbon emissions we know that New Zealand emits 0.1% of the world’s carbon emissions (28,639,822 tonnes). That’s one tenth of one percent of all the carbon that is emitted globally. We know that about 50% of emissions come from the agriculture sector, and approximately 25% from business and industry. That leaves private householders responsible for the remaining 25%. That 25% equals one-fortieth of 1% of the world’s carbon emissions.

Labour’s target is to reduce our carbon emissions by 25%-40% by 2020 and National’s is 50% by 2050. Using National as our benchmark we would halve our one-fortieth of one percent to make one-eightieth of one percent. That means what you and I are responsible for, over the next 42 years, is somewhere between one-fortieth and one-eightieth of one percent of the world’s carbon emissions, per annum. Try and divide that by 4.2 million people. How much difference is your heated towel rail really going to make? If the theory of man contributing to Climate Change is even slightly true, there are only two countries that can make any difference, and that is the USA and China. Together they make up about 40% of the world’s carbon emissions.

National and Labour are selling us a lie. That lie is that we can do something about Climate Change. Even if it was proven that mankind contributes to Climate Change, the amount of Carbon that New Zealand emits is so minuscule that it negates our culpability.

The Hypocrisy
If both major parties are so keen to fight this nonsensical battle, why haven’t they put their money where their mouths are? Why are they not subsidizing the very things that could enable us to reduce our carbon emissions?

Hybrid cars are around 15-20% more expensive than their petrol counterparts. I’d drive a hybrid if they were cheaper…shouldn’t the Government be trying to get us all into hybrids?

Solar Power is very expensive to install. Why?

According to Solid Energy we export around 2,500,000 tonnes of coal. This coal then gets burnt and emits carbon. It is estimated by The Australian Greenhouse Office and other sources, that between 2.4 and 3.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide is produced for every tonne of coal burnt. This is an approximate representation of what New Zealand households are being held accountable for. Our government is expecting private householders to subsidise coal exports.

If the government is truly concerned about Climate Change, then it should be investigating nuclear energy. Even the founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, said speaking to the Boise Chamber in April that there’s no proof Global Warming is caused by humans, but that if it is, the “only viable solution is to build hundreds of nuclear power plants over the next century. This is also the conclusion that the UN came to recently. Patrick Moore is joined by many others who also dispute the connection between humans and climate change. These are highly respected scientists and environmentalists. (see the end of this article for a list of over 40 scientists and their credentials).

It is pleasing to hear that the government will not be putting the 10 cents per litre on petrol, but let me remind you this is a moratorium and come 2011 (or the pessimist in me says come after the upcoming election) the Emissions Trading Scheme on petrol will come into effect. Electricity is also sure to have surcharges, and the flow on effect of this will hit all areas of life.

A Solution
Let me say that first of all, if it is true that mankind contributes to climate change, then carbon trading credits are not the answer. All they do is kid the people who can afford them into thinking they don’t have to worry about their carbon footprint, just pay their way out of it. It’s like teaching our children that they don’t have to worry about their actions, because there’s an easy way to get around it… if they can afford it.

Now, in saying all this, I am not advocating that we have a careless attitude to our environmental responsibility. We must take care of New Zealand for future generations, and this includes being responsible about pollution. I am simply asking the question, “What can we do?”If my Government told us we were fighting a ‘War on NZ Pollution’, I would be in boots and all. I am not a fan of breathing car fumes, and wasting our natural resources makes no sense. Energy-efficiency is an extremely worthwhile cause, but not for a false argument that is unattainable and will cost us all money that we already cannot afford. The irony of it all, is that if we simply wage war on pollution in New Zealand, Climate Change could become a non-issue.

What we need to do is to focus inwardly on what we can do in New Zealand to improve the air we breathe, the atmosphere and the environment here in Aotearoa. We need to fight to protect (if not restore) the world’s belief in a Clean Green New Zealand. That way we will be addressing climate change, for the right reasons.

This following is a list scientists and former scientists who have stated disagreement with one or more of the principal conclusions of human culpability for global warming.

Timothy F. Ball, former Professor of Geography, University of Winnipeg
Robert M. Carter, geologist, researcher at the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University in Australia
Vincent R. Gray, coal chemist, climate consultant, founder of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.
David Bellamy, environmental campaigner, broadcaster and former botanist
Hendrik Tennekes, retired Director of Research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute
Antonino Zichichi, emeritus professor of physics at the University of Bologna and president of the World Federation of Scientists
Khabibullo Abdusamatov, mathematician and astronomer at Pulkovskaya Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Sallie Baliunas, astronomer, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Reid Bryson, emeritus professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison
George V. Chilingar, Professor of Civil and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Southern California
Ian Clark, hydrogeologist, professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa
David Douglass, solid-state physicist, professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester
Don Easterbrook, emeritus professor of geology, Western Washington University
William M. Gray, Professor Emeritus and head of The Tropical Meteorology Project, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University
William Kininmonth, meteorologist, former Australian delegate to World Meteorological Organization Commission for Climatology
George Kukla, retired Professor of Climatology at Columbia University and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
David Legates, associate professor of geography and director of the Center for Climatic Research, University of Delaware
Marcel Leroux, former Professor of Climatology, Université Jean Moulin
Tad Murty, oceanographer; adjunct professor, Departments of Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa
Tim Patterson, paleoclimatologist and Professor of Geology at Carleton University in Canada
Ian Plimer, Professor of Mining Geology, The University of AdelaideTom Segalstad, head of the Geological Museum at the University of Oslo
Nir Shaviv, astrophysicist at the Hebrew University of JerusalemFred Singer, Professor emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia
Willie Soon, astrophysicist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Philip Stott, professor emeritus of biogeography at the University of London
Henrik Svensmark, Danish National Space Center
Jan Veizer, environmental geochemist, Professor Emeritus from University of Ottawa
Syun-Ichi Akasofu, retired professor of geophysics and Director of the International Arctic Research Center of the University of Alaska Fairbanks
Claude Allègre, geochemist, Institute of Geophysics (Paris)
Robert C. Balling, Jr., a professor of geography at Arizona State University
John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville
Petr Chylek, Space and Remote Sensing Sciences researcher, Los Alamos National Laboratory
William R. Cotton, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Colorado State University
Chris de Freitas, Associate Professor, School of Geography, Geology and Environmental Science, University of Auckland
David Deming, geology professor at the University of Oklahoma
Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professors of Atmospheric Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and member of the National Academy of Sciences
Roy Spencer, principal research scientist, University of Alabama in Huntsville
Craig D. Idso, faculty researcher, Office of Climatology, Arizona State University; founder of The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change
Sherwood Idso, former research physicist, USDA Water Conservation Laboratory, and adjunct professor, Arizona State UniversityPatrick Michaels, former state climatologist, University of Virginia