Bill Totten's Weblog

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Faking Action Against Global Warming

by Bill Totten

More than two thousand scientists from 130 nations unanimously and unequivocally stated last month that (1) global climate is warming due to our excessive burning of fossil fuels, and (2) if we don't immediately reduce our burning of fossil fuels substantially, we soon will reach a "tipping point" whereby our atmosphere will continue warming (and our oceans will continue rising) for a thousand years regardless of any and all efforts made by mankind after the tipping point is reached.

Facing such unanimous and unequivocal scientific evidence, neither the governments nor the mass media of industrial nations, which burn the most fossil fuels and contribute most to global warming, can evade the issue any longer. But neither the industrial nations' governments nor their mass media can do or say anything meaningful to curtail burning of fossil fuels because both are owned by the giant corporations that profit most from the burning fossil fuels and causing global warming. So the governments and mass media of the advanced industrial nations equivocate on this issue of global warming. Governments equivocate by debating meaningless laws; the mass media equivocate by trying to convince us that the meaningless debates are something more than pure nonsense.

The following article illustrates this fakery vividly. While scientists tell us that we must cut our burning of fossil fuels by seventy percent within ten years to avoid the tipping point, this article reports on parliamentary debates about laws to reduce burning of fossil fuels four decades from now - when none of the politicians, reporters, editors, or publishers involved will be around to be held accountable for anything they say or do now. The article clearly gives the false impression that we can wait four decades to reduce substantially our burning of fossil fuels instead of reducing them substantially (by seventy percent) now (within ten years). - Bill


Global warming: The climate has changed

Prime Minister hails 'historic day' in the battle against climate change

by Andrew Grice, Political Editor

from The Independent & The Independent on Sunday (March 14 2007)

The Government has become the first in the world to commit itself to legally binding reductions in carbon dioxide emissions but will come under strong pressure to agree to bigger cuts when its landmark Climate Change Bill goes though Parliament.

In a draft Bill published yesterday, ministers promised to enshrine into law their commitment to cut emissions by sixty per cent by 2050. Opposition parties and Labour MPs joined forces in calling for an eighty per cent reduction.

But even the Government's critics gave the Bill a broad welcome. Hailing a "historic day", Tony Blair said: "This is a revolutionary step in confronting the threat of climate change. It sets an example to the rest of the world but, as important as anything else, it listens and responds to the strong desire on the part of the British people to take the lead and keep it."

The Bill also sets an interim target of reducing emissions by between 26 per cent and 32 per cent by 2020. Legally binding five-year "carbon budgets" will be fixed fifteen years ahead to keep it on course.

A new Committee on Climate Change, appointed by the Government, will provide independent expert advice. Although ministers have rejected calls for annual targets, they promised to make an annual progress report to parliament.

David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, said the Bill provided a "robust and durable" framework and expected it to become law by Easter next year. He admitted that ministers would not end up "at the Old Bailey" if the targets were missed but said the Government could face a judicial review. His officials said pressure groups would be able to apply for such a review, allowing judges to "name and shame" the Government or force it to buy more "carbon credits" to permit higher emissions.

The Tories and Liberal Democrats criticised the absence of annual targets but environmental campaigners on the Labour benches said they were unlikely to rebel over that. However, they said they might make common cause with opposition MPs in trying to amend the Bill so that it committed the Government to an eighty per cent cut.

Colin Challen, a Labour MP who is to become a climate change campaigner after the next general election, said the latest evidence pointed to the need to go further than sixty per cent. "The Bill is excellent but we need to have a higher emissions cut by 2050. We have got to aim high", he said, adding that ninety per cent might be required.

Peter Ainsworth, the shadow Environment Secretary, welcomed the measure but said that the Tories' policy review might conclude that an eighty per cent cut was needed. "There are areas where the Bill will need toughening up", he said.

Chris Huhne, the environment spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said: "The science is suggesting that we have to go higher than sixty per cent, probably around eighty per cent". He criticised the delay in introducing a full Bill rather than a draft, warning that Gordon Brown, if he becomes Prime Minister, might try to water down a measure to which Mr Blair was more committed. The Tories and Liberal Democrats expressed concern about the five-year targets period, saying that one government could try to pin the blame for missing them on its successor.

Sian Berry, principal speaker for the Green Party, said: "A target of sixty per cent by 2050 is not nearly enough - we need to achieve ninety per cent cuts by this date. Scientists say that anything less makes it probable that global temperatures will rise by more than two degrees Celsius, which will have disastrous consequences."

The draft Bill marks a victory for pressure groups who have fought a long campaign for legally binding targets. Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, said: "We are delighted the Government has recognised the need for a new law to tackle climate change. But the draft Bill must be strengthened if the UK is to set a global example. It must include bigger cuts in carbon dioxide emissions and make all future governments accountable for their role in delivering these cuts."

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, hailed Mr Blair as an "action hero" for inspiring him to introduce a law committing California to an eighty per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. In a joint interview with Mr Blair for ITV News, Mr Schwarzenegger said: "It is very clear the Prime Minister has been a great inspiration to many, many countries all over the world ... I think he is a pioneer, because he has had the guts to sign the Kyoto treaty and to show to the world that you can protect the environment and protect the economy at the same time."

The Climate Change Bill's main points

* Britain is to become the first country in the world to set legally binding targets for cutting its carbon dioxide emissions. The targets will be aimed at cutting emissions of the gas which causes global warming by between 26 per cent and 32 per cent by 2020, and sixty per cent by 2050.

* New system of five-year "carbon budgets" to cap total emissions. Limits set fifteen years in advance to help business planning. Ministers say that the caps will set a "trajectory" for hitting longer term Government carbon dioxide emissions targets.

* Courts are to be given powers to "name and shame" ministers if targets are missed.

* An Independent Committee on Climate Change will be established to advise on progress towards hitting emissions targets.

* The committee will be tasked with making annual reports to Parliament on progress towards emissions targets.

* Ministers required to produce five-year reports on the potential impact of climate change and their responses.

* Government will be granted new powers to introduce regulations to help ministers impose future controls on emissions, such as a possible future domestic emissions trading scheme.

Key Dates ...

1827 French scientist Jean-Baptiste Fourier compares the warming effect of the atmosphere to a greenhouse.

1863 John Tyndall, an Irish scientist, shows how water vapour in the atmosphere can act as a greenhouse gas by trapping heat.

1890s Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius suggests that burning fossil fuels may lead to a build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which could exacerbate the greenhouse effect.

1957 David Keeling, a US scientist, begins to monitor carbon dioxide on a long-term basis and soon finds a year-on-year rise.

1979 First World Climate Conference highlights the possibility of global warming.

1985 The first world conference on the greenhouse effect his held at Villach in Austria.

1987 Warmest year on record.

1988 US congressional hearings blame major drought in the United States on the influence of global warming. The World Meteorological Organisation set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

1990 First report of the IPCC finds that the planet has warmed by 0.5 degree Celsius on average since the start of the 20th century.

1992 Climate Change Convention signed in Rio by 154 nations sets initial targets to reduce the scale of carbon dioxide emissions, based on emissions in 1990.

1995 The hottest year to date.

1997 Kyoto protocol agrees binding cuts in emissions but US says it will not ratify unless Third World countries are included.

1998 Hottest year on record, in the hottest decade.

2001 George Bush abandons Kyoto, saying the science is uncertain. IPCC publishes its third assessment report. Link strengthened between man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and global warming.

2002 The EU and Japan ratify Kyoto but Russia delays. The world experiences second hottest year on record.

2003 Heatwave kills thousands across Europe. Scientists link it directly with global warming.

2004 Russia signs up to Kyoto, so it can now come into force in 2005.

2005 Second warmest year on record globally. Kyoto protocol comes into force. Economist Nicholas Stern publishes his report saying that we cannot afford to do nothing about climate change. In August, New Orleans is devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

2006 The IPCC confirms that global warming is real and that man-made emissions of carbon dioxide are at least partly responsible. Former US vice-president Al Gore wins an Oscar for the film An Inconvenient Truth, warning about global warming.

Steve Connor

Also in this section

* A Bill which makes reducing carbon emissions a legal duty
* The real global warming swindle
* UK 'to lead world' in climate change fight
* Light pollution rubs out stars
* How Liz put her (carbon) foot in it

(c) 2007 Independent News and Media Limited

Bill Totten


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