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The Forum > Article Comments > The moral debate of our time > Comments

The moral debate of our time : Comments

By James Fairbairn, published 23/8/2010

The cost to fight climate change is vast, meanwhile, man is ignoring the very real environmental destruction inflicted on our ecosystem.

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On the four points made - wrong, wrong, misleading, irrelevant.

Yes, CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but it changes in response to temperature and amplifies changes. It is not responsible for triggering the warming.

Just wrong. The steady rise of CO2 content from around 270 ppm to around 390 is directly measured and well documented. This is the most egregious error discredits the source. Who knows why Science Daily said that, but it's quite wrong.

True the science is not completely settled, but we can't wait until it is - see next point. So in the meantime we have to rely on judgement, and the collective judgement of climate scientists is that we are causing the problem and need to reduce our emissions. The recent Australian Academy of Science report recounts DIRECT evidence that our emissions are causing the warming. Get informed.

Yes there have been big shifts in climate in the past. If we were living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle we might adapt, although it's not so easy to walk into someone else's territory. In other words there would have been "wars" and not everyone would have survived those changes. These days we have a fragile industrial civilisation with much of our population and infrastructure within a few meters of sea level, and with critical food production at the mercy of even small shifts in climate. You think there won't be pain and death as the change comes on? You think the pain and death have not already started?
Posted by Geoff Davies, Monday, 23 August 2010 10:28:20 AM
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Thanks, good article

I'm fascinated by people who want to "change the climate", I never hear what they want to change it to - or what would happen if we screw it up.

It may be that if we try to control, stop or reverse a huge natural system like climate, we could screw it up. We certainly do not understand climate, not do we understand weather - we understand a lot about observing it - but not predicting what will, not might, happen

Sure, we've affected the climate, unintentionally with our progress, but that doesn't mean we can reverse, stop or control it.

Personally I believe that the people who most fervently want to "do something" are more driven by the finger wagging syndrome and by insisting someone else actually do the doing, than anything else. They actually want "something done" than to do something themselves, beyond harassing and waving hysterically that to do something is better than doing nothing.

Doing something stupid is not better than doing nothing. Trying to change something we do not understand is stupid.

If you can predict the future, how come you don't know EXACTLY what it will be like in 50, 100 years? (If you can predict the future, who will form government in Australia?) Anyone who claims they can predict the future is a fool. Fools have tried to predict the future for our entire existence.

Taxing people and redistributing wealth is a totally different matter to paying lots of money to change the climate - however, both are magnificent follies, which in the end, will achieve nothing.
Posted by Amicus, Monday, 23 August 2010 11:12:53 AM
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The assumption made in this article, and by most people, is that it will cost a lot of money to address climate change. This assumption is incorrect.

If you take the cost to build any renewable energy "factory" the value of the energy produced from the factory is greater than the cost to build and the cost to operate. The reason that renewable energy is said to be more expensive is that we are told we must finance renewable energy from expensive savings or taxes. There is another option.

If the factory is built with interest free credit then renewable energy systems will make us richer not poorer because the major cost component of renewable energy projects are interest costs.

We do NOT have to finance renewable energy projects with savings or taxes. We can finance them with interest free credit paid off over the lifetime of the asset. This makes all renewable energy projects profitable.
Posted by Fickle Pickle, Monday, 23 August 2010 11:32:11 AM
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Geoff - true the author's point about CO2 not increasing in historical terms is from the more obscure parts of skeptical opposition to climate change, but I wouldn't dismiss it.
The carbon cycle part of global warming theory (a part of which is the length of time CO2 remains in the atmosphere) is in fact the weakest part of the whole chain of reasoning.
Emissions may be increasing, but CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are in fact below the mid point of IPCC projections. Yes, that is a fact. Find the Special Report on Emissions Scenario projections for ppms of CO2 in atmos and compare them with what's happening. Methane concentrations stopped increasing entirely around the turn of the century, incidentally.
Then there is the atomic signature of CO2 in the atmos which scientists can read to work out what proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere is from industrial sources. The IPCC won't give you the overall answer because its not one that the panel likes. It only says that the proportion is increasing which is true, but they don't give a figure for the actual level. Other sources give it as 4-5 per cent.
There is a problem.
Posted by Curmudgeon, Monday, 23 August 2010 11:40:30 AM
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Fickle Pickle

The proposition that reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions will slow down AGW is an assertion. There is no irrefutable scientific evidence to prove that reducing such emissions would have any significant effect on AGW.

It should be noted that the costs of renewable energy relative to coal-derived are about three times for wind power and ten times for solar power, making it irrational to subsidise their development and production . Consequently, spending billions on CO2 emission reduction and renewable energy would be pointless. Both of the major political parties have erred grossly in pursuing such policies.
Posted by Raycom, Monday, 23 August 2010 12:50:45 PM
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Fickle Pickle - as Raycom points out, the cost of alternative energy is more than three times that of conventional for wind. Alternative energy involves an enormous, additional, job destroying cost.
You try to wave away these costs by asserting that your hypotehetical alternative energy factory should be provided with interest free capital. Who will provide the capital? The proposal does not get rid of interest costs, just shifts those costs elsewhere - the capital has to come from somewhere and it has to be paid for.
Posted by Curmudgeon, Monday, 23 August 2010 1:33:38 PM
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