“How can anyone living through today’s bizarre and mutable weather not be concerned about global warming?” wrote David Kirkpatrick in a recent issue of CNN Money.
Kirkpatrick then goes on to tell us that he heard the best speech from former US Vice President Al Gore about unprecedented change in the earth’s climate seriously aggravated by human activity.
I was interested to know how much of the “unprecedented change” Al Gore attributed to “human aggravation”, but instead he just listed the “evidence” that “climate is changing”.
The following points are Kirkpatrick summary of Al Gore’s evidence:
“1. Global CO2 levels are way outside what have been historical norms over several hundred thousand years.
2. All ten of the hottest years on record, globally, have occurred in the last 15 years.
3. Last summer, all-time heat records were set in both the U.S. West and East.
4. Global ocean temperatures are far outside of historical norms.
5. Even after last year’s devastating Hurricane Katrina, the subsequent Hurricane Wilma was briefly the most severe hurricane ever recorded.
6. Last year Japan hit an all-time record for typhoons –10. The previous record was 7.
7. The largest downpour ever seen occurred last summer in India.
8. Thirty-five years ago there were an average of 225 days when Alaska’s tundra was frozen enough for trucks to drive. Today there are only 75.”
The first point doesn’t actually tell us climate is changing. Points 2,3,5,6,7 and 8 read like a mumble jumble of ‘cherry picked’ anecdote – but I can see there are some interesting statistics here. Number 4 doesn’t match. And I didn’t know that global ocean temperatures were far outside of historical norms?
Not that I deny climate change – there has always been climate change and there will always be climate change. But how much is due to us?
A movie by Paramount Classics based on this sort of ‘evidence’ and Al Gore’s personal journey of discovery titled ‘The Inconvenient Truth’ is due out in May. And there will be a book out by the same name, also by Al Gore. And, according to David Kirkpatrick, Gore is working with major environment groups in the US on a new consortium with the aim of running a “campaign of public persuasion” about global warming and its consequences.
I think the message is already out there – that it is getting warmer.
But no one really believes the world is about to end. Rather several of my friends, and lots of other people, have decided (as far as I can tell based at least in part on all the news reports about global warming) that they need to install an air conditioner, because it is going to get hotter.
The new air conditioners will be coal-powered, in so much as most of the electricity for Brisbane in south eastern Queensland, Australia, comes from coal-fired power stations.