Monday, 18 April 2011
Source: NW Evening Mail
HOW must American oil billionaires Charles and David Koch be feeling at the moment? Through the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation they have provided financial backing to a project set up to challenge the idea of global warming.
The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project was set up to address what are described as “the legitimate concerns” of sceptics who believe that global warming is exaggerated. Those backing the Berkeley project are hoping that the research will strengthen their hand in their battle against the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to reduce planet-heating emissions from industrial plants and motor vehicles.
The EPA has come under attack in the US Congress where doubts about the integrity of climate science have been raised. Despite the evidence provided by three independent groups, using different statistical methods over the last two decades to arrive at nearly identical conclusions, the sceptics still challenge their results.
The project is being led by Professor Richard Muller, who has been a long term critic of government-led climate studies. He has expressed concern that the research methods used to provide evidence of climate change have been flawed. The group’s atmospheric scientist has suggested that temperature data, which shows the earth’s surface has warmed about 0.75 degrees centigrade since the beginning of the 20th century, has been “airbrushed” by other scientists to suit the global warming agenda.
It must, therefore, have come as a huge shock to all of those hoping to debunk the idea of climate change when Professor Muller told a congressional hearing that the work of the three groups was excellent. He acknowledged that “we see a global warming trend that is very similar to that previously reported by the other groups”.
Although it is still very early days in the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project the initial results ought to encourage the US and other governments to act to reduce emissions from vehicles and industrial plant.
Even if the study’s conclusions were to be completely the opposite of the initial findings we won’t have hurt the planet by reducing our carbon emissions. On the other hand if we just sit back and do nothing while waiting for conclusive proof of global warming then irreparable damage may be done to the earth.
Of course there are other things that we could do to fight the threat of climate change. Trees and other plants remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, so deforestation impacts on climate change by speeding up global warming.
A leading cause of deforestation is the livestock industry with 70 per cent of former Amazon Rainforest lands now devoted to animal agriculture. According the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization animal agriculture contributes nearly one-fifth of all global warming-causing emissions. That is more than the total emissions for all of the world’s transport.
If we want to be able to continue driving our cars and flying away on our holidays perhaps all those of us who eat meat will have to go vegetarian.