Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Climate of Coincidence

As the world leaders were preparing to gather for the 2 week long climate change summit in Copenhagen on December 7th 2009 in an attempt to reach an agreement on climate change there was a sudden kerfuffle around hacked emails from a climate research institute. The now famous or rather infamous email hacking known as “climate gate” attempted to move focus away from the immediate need to solve the climate crisis. Whoever hacked into the email system timed the release well.
Timed the leak so perfectly so as to coincide with the opening of the Climate Summit.
The details that emerged from the hacked emails attempted to wipe out 21 years of climate science and research carried out under the IPCC .*
The IPCCs 4th Assessment Report of 2007 states:
• Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.
• Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid 20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (human) greenhouse gas concentrations
• The probability that this is caused by natural climatic processes alone is less than 5%
The body of evidence that human activity is a key agent in global warming is overwhelming. There is no question now that since the industrial revolution temperatures are rising faster than ever before in the history of mankind. It is true that temperatures and climate has changed in the past but never this fast. Changes in temperatures have occurred over thousands of years and not over a few decades. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere today stands at about 380 parts per million – never before in recorded human history have we had such high level of atmospheric CO2.
The first ones to react to this “breaking news” was Saudi Arabia.
Riyadh’s chief Climate Negotiator Mohammad Al-Sabban told the BBC. “Climate is changing for thousands of years, but for natural and not human-induced reasons”. He went on to say he expects it to derail the single biggest objective of the summit - to agree limitations on greenhouse gas emissions."It appears from the details of the scandal that there is no relationship whatsoever between human activities and climate change,"
No relationship between industrialisation and increased temperature? I mean ,even school kids know that but Al Sabban does not – maybe he chooses otherwise.
As the world’s biggest oil producer, too much is at stake for the country if the world agrees to a global deal to reduce its dependence on fossil fuel.
On December 7th – the opening of the summit, it was worth noting that of the 192 countries represented at Copenhagen, only Saudi Arabia raised the hacking incident. Saudi Arabia made a strong intervention in the opening plenary .They cast doubt on the science based on the hacked emails .Earlier this year in the pre COP 15 meeting in Bon, Saudi asked for hand outs, if it had to invest in adaptation to fight climate change! Saudi – too broke to invest in fighting climate change. And most recently asked for compensation if they were a loss of revenue due to a decline in demand for oil as the world struggled to move to clean energy.
To blame Saudi only for the resisting to acknowledge and fight climate change may be unfair - there are other oil producing countries and companies that align with Saudi .
But the sooner the Saudis and their ilk discover that when the last tree is cut, the last river poisoned and the last fish is dead, we can’t eat money, the better it will be for all of civilization.

* The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body tasked with evaluating the risk of climate change and was established in 1988 by UNEP and World Meteorological Organization under the UN . The IPCC is headed by Dr. Pachauri.

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