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Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Sceptic or believer?

Lubna Abdel-Aziz, Monday 7 Oct 2019

Our subject is climate change. It is not one we are particularly fond of but the mainstream media is obsessed with it, inundating us with headlines and articles, so here we go again to examine the issue one more time.

The United Nations held a climate change conference in New York, which was attended by, among others, a 16-year-old Swedish teenager, Greta Thurnberg, who hypnotised the world by her articulate, highly emotional diatribe on the state of our planet. “How dare you,” she reprimanded her elders for allowing such disregard for the Earth’s health. Something must be done to save it, warning her listeners, “We will be watching you.”

Was she able to convert you by her eloquence and conviction? Her thesis is that members of this and previous generations have been sinfully negligent in their use of greenhouse gases, endangering her future and her generation.

While her listeners were aghast, the media was buzzing with glee. How influential was the voice of a girl so young. We watched her over and over as she called for her generation to strike against such a crime.

Millions of students around the world, from Austria to Tanzania, swarmed the streets of their cities, calling for action against greenhouse gases. The very inactive, suddenly became active. Who can move four million kids, usually stuck to their smart phones to heed such a call or even care about it? Only a leader can do that. Obviously, she is one.

Her dramatic delivery came naturally as she is the daughter of an opera singer mother, an actor father and grandfather. She has been an activist since age eight. She would stand in front of the Swedish parliament with signs calling for climate control. More often than not she would be joined by her schoolmates.

Would you call this a normal behaviour by a teenager?

Critics descended upon her calling her “a nuisance with a simplistic approach and unscientific attacks”. Australian denier Andrew Bolt said “she was freakishly influential for a girl so young with so many mental disorders.” Even Emmanuel Macron, a climate advocate, ascribed that “such radical positions antagonise society.”

While her fear is understandable, she does not know what solutions to put forward, nor do most scientists.

Cut, decrease, limit, diminish, cry the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, finally finding an issue which may lead to success. Some 200 scientists were gathered a few, or none are climatologists supporting the consensus on anthropogenic climate change, caused by human activities.

Greenhouse gases emitted by humans alter the Earth’s energy balance and its climate.

Hundreds of atmospheric scientists worldwide, beg to differ. They have a variety of reasons, none include greenhouse gases. A consensus of 25 scientists believe the projections are likely to be inaccurate due to the inaccuracy of current global climate modelling. All the models are wrong.

More than 38 scientists believe that the observed warming is more likely to be attributable to natural causes than to human activities. Then there are those who argue that the cause of global warming is unknown, what courage to admit that they do not know.

Nobel laureate of 1998 Kary Miller is one among many who ascribe to the possibility that rising temperatures could be natural or man-made. Others believe that the effects will be few and negative.

Our limited space does not permit the listing of these august scientists, far superior to UN random picks. We cannot fail to mention 10 recently deceased scientists who all stood against mainstream scientific assessment of global warming, among them New Zealand’s renowned meteorologist and professor of atmospheric science August “Augie” Avir (1940- 2016).

The UN issued a 12-year ultimatum on climate change, a misleading statement, ringing once again their alarm bells, before the world as we know it is lost.

Environmental Scepticism is the belief that claims by environmentalist scientists are false or exaggerated. However, we must not dismiss their findings altogether but demand further discussion and more proof than the existing evidence.

The popularity of scepticism was enhanced by Bjorn Lomborg’s 2001 book The Skeptical Environmentalist. Lomborg approached environmental claims from a statistical and economic standpoint were overstated.

However, countries like China, the US, India, 10 of them are feebly trying to reduce greenhouse gases, just in case it is not science fiction as Amitar Gosh claimed in 2016.

Richard Millar of Oxford University in his article on the Carbon Brief website writes, “We have a little more breathing space than previously thought”, and the Natural Geoscience publication wrote, “Fear of global warming is exaggerated.”

Even The Times front page admitted the world is warming slower than predicted.

Media coverage was a clear spin in what they were trying to put across. Mainstream scientists had a vested interest in alarm. Remember Obama’s solar energy factories that shutdown at a loss of $50 billion. Many more such investments have not come to fruition.

Carbon Capture, a book by Howard Herzog states that “the best way to remove carbon dioxide from the air is not to release it into the air in the first place.” It is not even funny.

What Natalie Nahowald wrote, “It is monumental but not impossible,” sounds better.

We must first find the tools before we can actually put them to use.

Can we? Not only we can but according to non-sceptics, we must.

“Nature goes her own way, and all that to us seems an exception is really according to order.”
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang (1749-1842)

*A version of this article appears in print in the 3 October, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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