Renewable energy link to be forged with universities

GUERNSEY is teaming up with three UK universities to investigate ways in which the island’s waters could be used to develop renewable energy.

Robert Sillars

GUERNSEY is teaming up with three UK universities to investigate ways in which the island’s waters could be used to develop renewable energy.

The Commerce and Employment renewable energy team wanted to ensure that Guernsey was able to reap benefits from new technology.

‘In the long term, Guernsey will be able to use renewable energy from its own resources,’ said RET chairman Deputy Robert Sillars (pictured).

‘In addition to low-carbon energy from a more secure supply, we see that Guernsey has the potential to be a centre of excellence for the research and educational aspects associated with renewable energy. We can build up significant intellectual property in Guernsey around renewable energy and sowing seeds with universities now should reap rewards in the future.’

Comments for: "Renewable energy link to be forged with universities"

Firestorm

It only ever seems that anything gets done on this island if someone reaps the benefits. Considering how much money is supposed to fly around this Island you think somethings would be done because they need to be done or sometimes its just the right thing to do.

Ray

As long as they have no truck with that dodgy global warming fiddling University of East Anglia

rocquaine

As I recall, the scientists were exonerated Ray. There are plenty of climate deniers who would seize on any opportunity to discredit climate change, but 97% of the scientific community support the theory and the dissenters are often in the pay of Big Oil.

A Doubter

I believe there was a time whenn 99% believed the world to be flat, it is not. Also 99% of people believed the sun revolved around the Earth, it does not.

Beleif in something does not make it a fact.

And on your last point. your 97% are just in the pay of the believers, so this is cancelled out.

When undeniable proof is offered one way or the other, I, and many others will then believe.

Toby

Climate Change is a fact - its the cause that is in doubt.

and if the problem isn't man made it is actualy more of a problem ......

ChrisJ

Toby,

A Doubter is surely a troll. Ray isn't, but I suspect he gets his facts from the Daily Fail, and no amount of exposure of their dodgy fiddling will shake his belief that they are right!

DK

This type of step has been needed for a long time!

The island is a perfect place to develop the use of renewable energy technology given its gegraphical surroundings and funds available. Combining this with University research is also a great way of developing the technology for less local expense and giving the island a vital push towards sustainability.

Some good news at last!

Ray

ChrisJ

I'm with Toby .. Global Warming ( sorry they changed the title to Climate Change when they realised the earth is actually cooling)is a fact

I just do not fall for the BBC's view that it is settled science to the extent that the BBC actively bar any dissent on the matter

That liar Al Gore and his hockey stick chart has been shown to be a fraud by scientists just as eminent in the 'against' camp as they are in the 'for' camp

I am yet to be convinced

ChrisJ

The last decade was the warmest on record. The question is why. Every time 'skeptics' grasp at new research which attempts to explain this warming as the result of anything but massively increased atmospheric concentrations of CO2, the research quickly turns out to be tissue-thin and riddled with basic errors. The only robust explanation which can explain even a fraction of the recent warming is human emissions of greenhouse gases.

Ray

ChrisJ

Looking forward to Wednesday nights? David Attenbrough prog in which he is given free reign by the BBC to expound his Global Warming beliefs

The man is a God so he has to be listened to but I would like to see immediately after that show a half hour prog by the scientists who give OTHER reasons for the climate change

Absolutely no chance of that however

ChrisJ

That's because the reasons given by those other scientists are all bunk!

Martino

I take it you won't be signing this Ray?

http://www.avaaz.org/en/the_planet_is_dying_b/?tta

Chris, I take it you will be signing?

Ray

Martino

Nope,I won't be signing

Loved the obligatory photo of the two Polar bears clinging to a ten foot iceberg ... probably about thirty feet from the ten thousand square miles of solid ice the cameraman is standing on

If the planet is about to go to hell in a hand cart the main reason will be OVER POPULATION

I'd sign a petition to make Mr Durex President of the world

Martino

I agree with you about over population Ray but I think over population is directly linked to man made climate change so there we part company!

rosie

It is not 'over population' per se that is the problem. It is how too many of us live.

The main reason why the 'planet is about to go to hell in a hand cart' (in your words) is because there are still too many people (many with a vested interest) who refuse to believe that we need to change the way we live in order to reduce the impact we humans are having. The longer people like you refuse to believe what the vast majority of scientists are telling us, the quicker the hand cart moves towards the point of no return.

It seems that deniers would like to wait until there is absolutely no chance of solving the problem before they will reluctantly agree that maybe... whoops.... something should have been done earlier. What's the point in that? Not very good risk management!

If you don't want to believe the scientists research into mans contribution to climate change, what are your thoughts on Ocean Acidification? Another impact our addiction to fossil fuels is having and another reason why we cannot go on burying our head in the sand about it.

Terry Langlois

Rosie is right. It is not over-population that is the problem, but over-consumption - with we in the developed world being the worst culprits.

As certain areas of the developing world become more developed, and behave more like us, the situation is getting worse. But does that mean that we can sit here consuming away in blissful denial, while blaming the world's problems on those people who aspire to have what we have?

ChrisJ

Population is one factor. The other is GHG emissions per capita. It's what you get when you multiply the two together which is the issue, and that level is already much too high.

Fortunately, population is forecast to plateau at some point, and at a level not vastly higher than where it is now.

GHG emissions per capita, on the other hand, could increase by an order of magnitude if left unchecked, as the likes of India (GHG emissions 1.4 tonnes CO2 per capita per year) seek to raise their living standards to those of the US (18 tonnes).

So the options available to us are either to invest in the technological means to freeze and then reduce GHG emissions per capita by changing the technologies used to achieve high living standards, or we cull perhaps two-thirds of the stable human population. If your preferred option is a cull, we need to start with the US, Canada and Australia, as they cause most of the problem, with Europe following shortly thereafter.

Gilthead

Rosie

Of course over population is THE major problem.

Surely you're not an over population doubter?

Frankly it doesn't matter if we all stop using fossil fuels tomorrow - to solve the problems of climate change/famine/extinction we need to reduce the population of this planet significantly - if we don't nature will simply starve us to death long before we've cooked a couple of polar bears and stopped using 60 watt light bulbs.

Dave R

Ray

Personally, I'm convinced man has had an impact, whether it is sometimes overstated or not is a moot point. I accept however there are differing points of view on it, but I know where I stand based on what I think is the balance of scientific opinion. Where I do start to wonder where the 'unconvinced' are concerned is what downside they see in taking a sensible precautionary approach. We're simply talking about developing altetnatives to soemthing that we are overly-reliant on i.e. fossil fuels. Even if CO2 emissions prove to be completely harmless, as you seem to suggest, and fossil fuels prove to be in plentiful supply (which is another point of debate), then what have we lost?

Ray

Rosie

So while you and I walk or cycle more and put on an extra jumper rather than the electric fire so that we can go to church happy in the knowledge that we can be seen to be doing our bit,who is going to force China,USA,India,Russia and Japan to stop burning 77% of the 6.1 billion tons of coal which polluted the atmosphere in 2010?

rosie

Ray:

Signing the petition Martino posted would be a start. Here’s another one... http://act.350.org/sign/durban-delay/?akid=1456.495202.FLkp-J&rd=1&t=3 And we can speak out to collectively put pressure on our governments to take action.

One things for certain ...... denying that we humans are having an adverse impact on the climate is certainly not going to get those countries to clean up their acts.

It’s also worth remembering that as far as China is concerned, their economic boom is largely as a result of our exporting a lot of our dirty industries there. They are using their coal to make our Christmas crackers which we don’t HAVE to have. You also mention population. Which country has made the biggest sacrifice in the world in order to reduce the rate of population growth? China. Can you imagine us here in the west making such a sacrifice? By so doing they have prevented millions of people from being born. I also don’t think that we can criticise the likes of China & India for wanting to aspire to the living standards that they can see us enjoying in the west.

rosie

Guilthead:

I don't deny population is a problem but this particular thread is about Climate Change and it is not the size of the population that is causing that problem, but how the population lives. If we all chose to live like Ghandi- including his diet, the size of the population wouldn't be a problem. But I agree it is a pedantic point because there is no hope that we will ever all start living like Ghandi, so given that point, our numbers are a problem.

Gilthead

Hi Rosie - agreed this thread is about climate change.

I'd be interested to know if you'd be prepared to live like Ghandi though!

I'm not a climate change denier - but as ever with these things "we" try to treat the symptom and not the casue.

As Spike Milligan once put it: population + copulation = polution

Martino

Here's a not so pretty picture of those Arctic animals who appear to be the hapless victims of our man made global warming.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16081214

Food for thought eh?

rosie

Gilthead.

No- that's my point. None of us do, or at least precious few, and that's why we have a problem. I certainly agree that treating the cause is always a good idea. Love the Spike quote!

Spartacus

Ray & ChrisJ

doesn't the globe warm up and cool down periodically naturally? If so then you are both right as it may be getting warmer since accurate records began (circa 19th century) but I gather it is now thought to be cooler than when the dinosaurs were around. Perhaps our CO2 omissions are a good thing as they could be postponing the next ice age!

ChrisJ

http://climatesight.org/2011/01/11/its-just-a-natural-cycle/

Ray

ChrisJ

As written by 'Kate,a teenage B.Sc. student from the Canadian prairies'

ChrisJ

A pure ad hominem rebuttal - textbook denialism.

Ray

Steady on Chris

I'm not sure if that's very rude or not !

Gazza

ChrisJ

This link is interesting but is hardly scientific objective fact so I am not sure what it adds? And yes, you are right, it would appear that the last decade was the warmest on record, however would you care to enlighten us how far accurate temperature records go back?

I guess by daring to question the 'facts' about global 'warming' makes me a denialist but so be it.

Spartacus

ChrisJ & Ray

Surely the biggest concern is the 2nd law of thermodynamics and climate change by any cause is just a symptom of this unavoidable scientific law.

ChrisJ

Actually the biggest concern is the 2nd law of Internet forums: as a discussion of any scientific topic continues, the probability of someone making a completely nonsensical post about the 2nd law of thermodynamics approaches 1.

Spartacus

http://www.allaboutscience.org/second-law-of-thermodynamics.htm

Ray

Just read it and now my brain really hurts

Watched Attenbrough last night .. difficult to argue with those pictures although I must say that minus forty degrees at the North Pole seems pretty cold to me

So what are we left with .. those who say that the problem is totally man made and others ( who are barred from airing their views with equal or even a small percentage of TV time)who believe that other causes are contributing to Global Warming

ChrisJ

http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Argument_from_the_second_law_of_thermodynamics#The_Earth_is_not_a_closed_system

It's interesting to note you are relying on arguments borrowed from Creationism!

rosie

Ray.

I think that you will find that everyone is in agreement that 'other causes are contributing to Global Warming'. But it is our contribution that is going to upset the delicate balance in the same way that it only takes one grain of sand to finally tip the scales.

As a matter of interest. What is the Daily Mail's take on all this?

Ray

Rosie

The Daily Mail hasn't got a take on this at the moment

They're too busy investigating the fact that despite years of dumbing down to make GCSE's easier some exam board staff are passing (selling?) on the likely questions to the teachers

Ray

Actually Rosie I've just noticed that the Daily Mail has a full page pop at the BBC on page 14 today entitled 'The BBC and an inconvenient truth about Climate Change'by Christopher Brooker

A few quotes from the piece ...

The BBC has chosen to make its coverage of one of the most crucial issues of our time quite deliberately,even defiantly one-sided.

In his memoirs news reader Peter Sissons explained how the BBC had become a propaganda machine for climate-change zealots.

In January 2006,30 of the BBC's most senior staff were told at a secret high level seminar that the scientific debate on climate change was over and that the BBC must stop reporting the sceptics views.The BBC's journalists and producers were let off the leash - to line up with the more extreme environmental pressure groups such as Greenpeace,the World Wildlife Fund and Friends of the Earth in pushing their Global Warming agenda for all it was worth.

The irony of it is that just when the BBC was going into overdrive with its propaganda,the real global warming story was beginning to take a very different turn: none of the predictions made by the doom mongers were coming true.

The corporation has been guilty of three separate betrayals .. By making its coverage so flagrantly one-sided it has betrayed its statutory duty to report on world events impartially .. it has betrayed the basic principles of science by giving such unquestioning support to a theory which the evidence has increasingly called into doubt.. above all however the BBC has betrayed the trust of its audience by failing to give a fair and balanced picture

Apparently there is a full report from the Global Warming Policy Foundation at www.thegwpf.org

Spartacus

Ray

Interesting post and good link.

rosie

Ray: I suspect that will be the very right wing Christopher Booker without the r- a well known denier and son of my ex headmistress from junior school. As I suspected, the Daily Mail is living up to its reputation and it explains much of your posts.

If 97% of the worlds scientists are telling us that climate change is being fuelled by human behaviour, then I am afraid that I am not arrogant enough to say that I know more than them. I am happy to apply the logic of risk management and say that it would seem more sensible to see if there is something that could be done collectively to address the balance. I see no point in refusing to have the conversation to see how we can mitigate the damage.

It seems to me that the 'climate change zealots' and 'extreme environmental groups' are simply asking for a fairer world where we in the rich west, take account of those in the poorer developing countries who are generally the ones likely to be on the front line of climate change. How dare they (those damn zealots!) question our right to do as we please!

Arnald

Ray

The gwpf? Are you sure?

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Global_Warming_Policy_Foundation

Christopher Brooker? Are you sure?

dear oh dear, how does the man do it?

only heavy satire can save us now - Daily Mash

"The Daily Mail - Like spending 20 minutes in a mental hospital."

"You give us 20 minutes and we'll give you the world. Unless it has been turned into one massive gypsy camp, in which case you only have yourselves - and the homosexuals who run the BBC - to blame."

Ray

Arnald

Nice to see you back after a fairly long absence Arnald but are you feeling well , mentally I mean and of course in a caring way

ChrisJ

So Ray, you get your facts from the Daily Fail AND the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Your case is worse than I feared... At least you haven't cited Christopher Monckton yet!

Spartacus

ChrisJ

Teenage Kate from the prairies?

ChrisJ

Spartacus,

Teenage Kate from the Praries makes a simple argument which can be trivially fact-checked. It doesn't matter who she is. Science advances by being constructed in a way which does not require you to accept the authority of the writer.

I'm not dismissing what the Daily Mail, Christopher Booker and the GWPF say because of who they are. I'm dismissing their arguments because they are constructed as arguments from their own authority, and in reality their authority is non-existent because they have all been exposed countless times in the past for peddling total bunkum.

Spartacus

ChrisJ

The creationist article was the quickest I could find which also seemed to explain the 2nd law of thermodynamics fairy well in layman's terms. Brian Cox explained it better in his TV show!

Re your article, the earth might not be a closed system but the universe is.

Ray

Man does effect the environment in a detrimental way but ultimately this is unavoidable. Other factors affect it also as this is nature and ultimately all roads lead to entropy. The polar bears looked a bit miserable but they have far less to worry about than us because ignorance is bliss.

ChrisJ

Hmm. I'll try again. Your argument seems to be that the 2nd law of thermodynamics says something (you don't actually say what...) about what will happen to Earth's climate. Any such argument would have to assume that the Earth is a closed system. It isn't. That's the end of it!

Spartacus

ChrisJ

My point was that the Earth's climate will not survive the heat death of the universe if that scientific theory (which stems from the 2nd law of thermodynamics) proves to be correct as Brian Cox believes.

The 2nd law of thermodynamics causes entropy which basically explains why everything decays and this will eventually include the earth and the universe itself.

I recommend Brian Cox's wonders of the universe series. I gather it is now used as a tool for teaching in schools.

ChrisJ

So what you're saying is that we shouldn't do anything about anything - climate change, crime, poverty, famine, injustice, road closures, whatever - because ultimately the universe ends in heat death?

I can't see that's a very constructive approach!

Spartacus

Rosie

Humans are the self appointed custodians of nature and due to our intelligence we desire to mitigate any adverse consequences of our existence. Nevertheless we are only a part of nature and as such we have limitations.

We have no more power or influence over nature than an ant who makes a lawn messy by creating an earth mound. I fear your argument will have no more effect than telling the ant to tidy up his anthill and replant the grass.

rosie

Spartacus.

That seems to be arguing that it doesn't matter how much mess we make, it's not our fault, we can't do anything about it. I don't agree that we 'desire to mitigate any adverse consequences of our existence'. I think that that requires a lot of selflessness and long term thinking that too often we're not interested in.

Your argument is looking for excuses to avoid taking responsibility and as such looks like complete rubbish.

I do agree however, that nature is far more powerful than us and nature will win out in the end.

Spartacus

Rosie

You agree with my argument as stated in your last sentence!

I am not responsible for coal burning in China nor the 2nd law of thermodynamics and if you choose to live like Gandi (and I assume you don't) it is not going to convince me that you are less selfish than me.

I want future generations to enjoy a life of comfort to an equal extent as us however I'm not selfless enough to live in a cave to try to attain this for them. Humans will need to continue to adapt to constantly changing circumstances and rely on intelligent solutions as they unfold.

In the meantime I'm happy to trot along to the recycling, cut down on energy usage, continue to be vegetarian and not have a walton size family - all of which to me is just doing my bit through personal choice as a citizen rather than taking responsibility for the ills of the world. However, unlike you, I'm under no illusion that my actions have any effect at all on the fate of planet earth.

Toby

I don't see what all the hype is ... every car I've ever owned has run on renewable energy - you may have heard of it, it's called oil ....

Spartacus

ChrisJ

Road closures we should get sorted all the other problems will likely not be resolved before the heat death!

rosie

Spartacus,

I don't think that we can totally wash our hands of the coal burning in China- since much of it is being done to supply the goods that we in the west demand. Of course I don't live like Ghandi, but I would think that someone who did would certainly be less selfish than me.

I also want future generations to enjoy the comforts we do and historically, that is generally what has happened and more so. But science is telling us that that might not be the case for future generations unless changes are made now. But it's going to take more than wishful thinking.

Denying that the problem exists is not going to help anybody, apart from possibly ourselves in the short term as it gives us a great excuse to sit back and keep on with business as usual.

Spartacus

Rosie

Historically various factors have contributed to improvements in quality of life for some but certainly not all of the world's inhabitants. This will continue to be the case whether we succeed in slowing down global warming or not.

I'm not denying the problem exists but it is not wholly man made and its a minor problem in relation to the far greater problems for many in the present and in the future. For that reason I don't believe humans will en mass take the required steps and your efforts I expect are futile.

Historically life has adapted and evolved to climatic conditions on earth and will hopefully continue to do so for some time. Whether I buy christmas crackers made in China is irrelevant but hopefully this would at least contribute to improved quality of life for some Chinese people and hopefully no polar bear cubs will starve this year as a direct result.

rosie

I am glad that you are not denying that the problem exists and I have already agreed that it is not wholly man made in an earlier post. Historically life has adapted because change has been relatively slow but this time round the convergence of several competing problems might not make it so simple. Food, energy, and water shortages will be exacerbated by climate change. The perfect storm as John Beddington called it.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/5015051/Food-and-energy-shortages-will-create-perfect-storm-says-Prof-John-Beddington.html

Spartacus

Rosie

How many people can live on planet earth? - David Attenborough attempted to answer this question in his 2009 documentary and his findings suggested that the world population will double within 40 years and then plateau which will be sustainable due to advances in technology. John Beddington also highlights the inevitable problems of the changing circumstances we are living in. This is all useful to know.

Yes it is prudent to try to find solutions to shortage of resources. Mankind has always been amazingly successful at doing this. Maybe climate change will be detrimental maybe it will be beneficial - nothing has yet convinced me either way. This is the problem - no consensus.

I think China has as much right to exploit the planet's natural resources as we have done but if you think we should start a war to try to stop it you would be entitled to your opinion. Ultimately there is no right or wrong, only opinions.

rosie

Spartacus:

These on-line debates can be interesting and even enjoyable, PROVIDING we each make the effort to understand what the other is saying. If you bother to read my posts you will see that I have said that I don't think we are in a position to criticise China- they are creating goods for us that we want - the only reason our emissions look as good as they do is because we have exported all our dirty industries to China and we are all very happy to benefit from that. And since population has been a hot topic on this thread, we should remember that China has made the biggest sacrifice of any country to limit their population growth. How, after all that you manage to come to the conclusion that I don't think they have as much right as us to exploit the worlds resources as we have done, I don't know, but it poisons the conversation, in my opinion.

Ultimately, our 2 opinions seem to be (correct me if I am wrong) that you think we should not worry about all the problems highlighted by scientists- something will come up trumps and in time to save our bacon. ( I'm not sure wether your opinion includes all the people / animals living in areas all ready being blighted by the effects of climate change).

And my opinion is that communities (such as ours) would be wise to be more proactive in building in greater resilience and robustness to weather the coming difficulties, ANd also we should be looking to see what mitigating actions we could take to lessen the impact that we are having. And the first place to start with that is to at least admit that there is a problem, which is where this whole debate started.... with Ray & A Doubter not willing to believe what the scientists are saying. If you can't get past that fundamental point, then the conversation doesn't even happen.

I think that we are both in agreement that there is much more than just Climate Change to think about but whereas you don't seem concerned about that, I think it is precisely because of that combination that we should be worried.

Blokeinlondon

US National Research Council puts the conservative end of sea level rises at a foot and a half by Dec 2100. The top end is by six feet. Given the number of people currently at risk that points to 16,000 people in Guernsey being displaced at high tide within the next 100 years and the island being cut in half during some stormy high water at some point before then.

Ray

Blokeinlondon

And this prediction for what will be happening in 89 years time has been made by ...... Nostradamus?

Oh no .. a computer model

I get inundated at the start of every football season by charlatans trying to flog me the latest new and improved computer model which will without fail tell me which teams to back each week for a 5 - 5 draw or a 0-10 away win

I resist the temptation in the knowledge that if you put guesswork in you will almost certainly get rubbish out

Spartacus

Rosie

You have said -

"Your argument is looking for excuses to avoid taking responsibility and as such looks like complete rubbish"

and..

"These on-line debates can be interesting and even enjoyable, PROVIDING we each make the effort to understand what the other is saying"

I agree with your second statement but not the first :-)

Regarding China, sorry for my confusion and for concluding that you feel China's activities should cease. I remain confused. Are you happy for them to continue emitting vast quantities of greenhouse gases or would you like them to stop?

Regarding population I do not believe this was an ecological decision by China do you? Also I'm not convinced that Guernsey's decision to forge a renewable energy link has anything to do with climate change either.

What I am saying is that on an individual and global scale people need incentives to take action and financial ones usually work best. Most of the world is engrossed in a more pressing agenda - the fight for survival. Few have the luxury as we do to ponder the greater good.

If it will be beneficial I am willing to make home made crackers from recycled toilet rolls. I'll even plant a shrub using the money I saved if you like. What else do you suggest I do? I struggle with signing any petitions. If I organised a petition to divert resources from our health service into education so that our kids will be better doctors to deal with future diseases would you sign it?

Please expand on why you are worried - what imminent consequences of climate change concern you most?

ChrisJ

If you think that there is a moral imperative to make home-made crackers from recycled toilet rolls, then it is hypocritical to say there is no moral imperative to reduce GHG emissions.

Spartacus

ChrisJ

Ooh you're on your high horse ;-)

Just to clarify my current position in this debate is that I do not believe there is a moral imperative on individuals to avoid or correct climate instability. Most of what humans have done is irreversible, most of what humans are doing is unstoppable. The forces of nature are still beyond human control. Life will either adapt to climate change or die. Unquantifiable suffering will continue to occur in the world as long as life exists. If you believe there is a moral imperative to reduce GHG emissions you must be living in a cave otherwise by your own mindset you are hypocritical.

ChrisJ

I didn't say there was a moral imperative to reduce GHG emissions. But there certainly is a moral imperative to correct the misguided perception that there is any credible altenative explanation for global warming other than anthropogenic GHG emissions.

Spartacus

ChrisJ

So what should be done when that misguided perception has been corrected?

"the climate of the earth is an immensely complicated system and nobody is close to understanding it"

Freeman Dyson

ChrisJ

"One of the main causes of warming is the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere resulting from our burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal and natural gas."

Freeman Dyson

When you say 'what should be done' - do you mean globally? That's easy - we should reduce GHG emissions!

Spartacus

ChrisJ

You are assuming global warming is detrimental but this is an area of uncertainty. Rising sea levels will be detrimental to some people (and polar bears) but warming could be beneficial to many others for example improved crop outputs which will be necessary to meet the demands of an increasing population.

Your statement - "That's easy - we should reduce GHG emissions" is a contradiction - reducing GHG emissions is unpalatable on an individual basis and far less so on a global scale. Even the Royal Society admits this.

Spartacus

ChrisJ

Young Kate from the prairies said "the Milankovitch cycles that drive glaciation show that we should be, in fact, very slowly going into a new ice age (but anthropogenic warming is virtually certain to offset that influence).

100% of scientists have two objectives 1) scientific research 2) funding for scientific research. And who can blame 97% of them for grasping opportunities.

Gazza

Some posts on here infer that the theory of climate change is now a done deal?

I would like to provide some balance. It remains that there are large number of scientists who have questioned some of the climate change theories simply because they lack scientific objectivity and scientific rigour and therefore not scientific.

These scientists do not have a ‘denialist’ agenda, but are denounced as loony’s by environmental groups if they question climate change theories. There is a similar odor from some of the posters on here ....

ChrisJ

Please name one such scientist.

Spartacus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

ChrisJ

I'm not sure if any of the scientists on the list you've cited 'question climate change theories because they lack scientific objectivity' or say that climate change theories are 'not scientific'. That's why I said 'name one' - I wouldn't be surprised if it's actually very hard to find any scientist who fits Gazza's characterisation.

Spartacus

ChrisJ

My thinking is that there is not one scientist in either camp who does not continue to question climate change theories. This is an area of utmost uncertainty and that is the unfortunate fact.

Sea levels are predicted to rise and there is a moral obligation to let the world know about this for obvious reasons. Apart from this the future remains a mystery and all we can be certain of is that, like death and taxes, change will continue to happen.

Gazza

lol - thanks Ray :)

blokeinlondon

Ray it only takes three metres to cut Guernsey cut in two: http://flood.firetree.net/?ll=49.4823,-2.5220&z=4&m=3

Spartacus

Rosie, ChrisJ, Ray et al

Thank you for promting me to think a little deeper about this subject it is certainly a serious concern and one worthy of deeper consideration and ongoing debate. All your comments have been very welcome and interesting.

In order to understand what some posters are trying to say I have reverted to the British authority on scientific consensus of opinion - The Royal Society. Their latest report summarises exactly what the current scientific evidence actually is and highlights the areas where the science is well established, where there is still some debate, and where substantial uncertainties remain within mainstream opinion.

http://royalsociety.org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/policy/publications/2010/4294972962.pdf

As this proves, you do not need to be a denialist, dissenter or skeptic to accept there is still a great deal of uncertainty and the mainstream scientific opinion is exactly that uncertain opinion not fact.

Rosie is right that all communities should be proactive in building resilience and robustness to weather potential future difficulties. Gazza is spot on. Ray has contributed as usual by stating the obvious (which is frequently overlooked) ;-)

Dave R misses the point slightly because plenty of scientists such as Freeman Dyson are willing to explain the downside :"I am saying that all predictions concerning climate are highly uncertain. On the other hand, the remedies proposed by the experts are enormously costly and damaging, especially to China and other developing countries. On a smaller scale, we have seen great harm done to poor people around the world by the conversion of maize from a food crop to an energy crop. This harm resulted directly from the political alliance between American farmers and global-warming politicians. Unfortunately the global warming hysteria, as I see it, is driven by politics more than by science. If it happens that I am wrong and the climate experts are right, it is still true that the remedies are far worse than the disease that they claim to cure".

Skeptics are not looking for excuses to avoid responsibility, they are looking for proven facts and are concerned that hasty well meaning policies may inadvertently cause more harm than good. There is unanimous agreement that the end of the world should be prevented.

For those who don't wish to read the Royal Society report I will leave you with this extract which puts the situation in a nutshell:

"Like many important decisions policy choices about climate change have to be made in the absence of perfect knowledge. Even if the remaining uncertainties were substantially resolved, the wide variety of interests, culture and beliefs in society would make consensus about such choices difficult to achieve"

rosie

Moderator: I am not quite sure if this has already been posted. If it has can you change it for this slightly up-dated version. Thank you.

Spartacus;

I am glad that this discussion has prompted you to think more about this thorny issue....... I hope that more people are doing so too. That would be a great outcome! And thank you too for keeping the debate alive.

I have had a look at the paper from the Royal Society and my take on it is that they are as certain as scientists are allowed to be, that humans are having an adverse effect on the worlds climate. Being scientists tho' they can never be 100%- that's science for you.

Quote from the 'Conclusion'(57). "There is strong evidence that changes in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human activity are the dominant cause of the global warming that has taken place over the last half century".

They are however, unsure exactly what and how severe the outcomes will be; what the sea levels will be; how hot it will get; whether the circulation of the North Atlantic Ocean will change, etc etc. (infact, I think there are even questions about the whole of the Thermohaline circulation changing- which would be pretty dramatic!) That is what makes it difficult to judge exactly what our response should be (other than we DO need to reduce our rate of greenhouse gas emissions). The quote you have used is referring to this point and is NOT saying that there is uncertainty about man's role in climate change . The sentence immediately after your quote, referring to the uncertainty in the severity of the outcomes is: "However, the potential impacts of climate change are sufficiently serious that important decisions will need to be made".

I have not been trying to argue about what does and doesn't need to be done. I have been trying to argue that denying that we are having an effect when the scientists, (who I suspect know a hell of a lot more than all of us) are telling us that we are, is bad risk management.

Scientists have been trying to alert us to this since the 1940’s, and for decades the world has ignored the warnings for lack of data illustrating the problem. However that is not the case now- there is a wealth of empirical evidence coming out of research that has convinced the vast majority of scientists that the warnings were right and having let all these decades slip by we are now in danger of reacting too late. And yet the likes of Ray & A Doubter would like us to procrastinate even longer. I don't understand just what 'proof' they want before they will agree that yes, we should start looking at what needs to be done. Have they read ALL the scientific data or are they just relying on the Daily Mail and a handful of articles like Christopher Booker’s?

I am afraid that while I agree that there are some people who advocate caution in our response to climate change in order to avoid 'hasty well meaning policies (which) may inadvertently cause more harm than good' the majority of skeptics or climate change deniers are so because they don't WANT to believe in it. It does not suit their politics and they don't want to admit responsibility. I know plenty of them!

(I do totally agree with your comment that we all individually and globally need incentives to take action.)

As far as Freeman Dyson's quote. He doesn't seem to be saying that anthropogenic climate change is a hoax- but rather that the 'predictions' are uncertain. I would agree and that seems to be what the Royal Society are saying. However, his next comment that the remedies are all costly and damaging to developing countries ignores the cost and damage that will occur to these countries if nothing is done. China and India for instance, both have huge populations bordering their coastlines and they will be displaced by rising sea levels. These same communities that largly depend on a seafood diet will also see that disappear thanks to ocean acidification. The Maldives are having to look at the cost of moving its entire nation elsewhere. It is well understood that it is the poorer developing countries that will suffer the greatest effects of climate change. That is why we richer countries that have already benefitted ourselves through cheap fossil fuel energy, will have to help them out.

Also, why are we ignoring the huge industrial opportunities and economic benefits that could emerge with the development of renewable energy and green businesses. China is already forging ahead with its PV cell industries etc. As far as Guernsey is concerned, I think we could also turn ‘going green’ into an economic benefit. I think that we are missing a real opportunity here.

We have already established in earlier posts, that climate change is only one of a series of problems that are raising their heads. Food shortages; energy shortages; ocean acidification; water shortages. Tackling climate change by reducing our use and dependency on fossil fuels, would have the added benefit of assisting with these problems too. What's not to like about that?

I can't promise to give this debate so much time over the next few weeks. Family all home for the christmas holidays and that's where I want to give my attention. Thanks for the thoughtful debate- it’s fun although it takes up FAR too much of my time! ;-)

Here is a link to a recent article that factors out 3 of the main natural climate change influencers and still comes to the same conclusion. http://www.sustainableguernsey.info/blog/2011/12/global-warming-shows-no-signs-of-slowing-down/

Spartacus

Rosie

Thank you for broadening my perspective on this issue.

It always fascinates me that scientists can tell us when the universe first sprang into action, with exact certainty (give or take half an hour) by using a mathematical equation, albeit a long one. Nevertheles weather forcasters are unable to correctly inform us whether we should be in wellies or sandals for the day and we perhsaps have more chance of making the right choice if we simply look up.

This huge anomoly between scientific fact and scientific opinion explains my scepticism. Scientists only state something is fact when they can prove it. This is generally only possible for past events and they do not allow themselves to say they are certain when they are uncertain.

My first question to you Rosie is how you concluded from the Royal Society paper that they are "certain" humans are having an "adverse" effect? Sorry to be pedantic but this was not implied or stated in the report.

I'm happy to accept that human activity can be added to the list of factors affecting the climate however there is no indication of what if any action should be taken at the current time. The report doesn't state that we should reduce GHG emissions as you imply. There is a general assumption that everyone should try to do this but no one seems at all certain that it is an appropriate or worthwhile response.

As far as I can see the main important decisions which will need to be made relate to adaptation for example deciding where the maldives residents will go. Very sad and very serious but seemingly inevitable. We have time to work these things out.

I agree with blokeinlondon who said that the agenda item re climate change is the enlightenment and people with your enthusiasm for this matter serve this purpose well.

If you consider the immense challenge for the two largest producers of GHG emissions - China and America. What impact would there be if they immediately resolved to drastically reduce all GHG emissions. I'm guessing they would be concerned that many of their citizens would starve due to poverty and this concern rightly takes priority over the impact for example on the residents of the Maldives in 100 years time. This is the fact of the political situation as I see it.

Oil companies are concerned about their future - again this is not unreasonable however it understandably creates concern over conflicts of interests regarding scientists whose research might be funded by oil companies. I would say a balance is needed - it is a good thing that scientific research gets funding from any source. Eventually oil companies will diversify to survive. However if the oil beneath the polar ice becomes accessible this may be a spanner in the works because oil might again be plentiful.

I suspect the reason we are ignoring some industrial opportunities is due to the associated costs. The recession is another spanner in the works and the question of priorities, the needs of the present weighed up against the potential threats of the future equate to no easy task. We need to wait for scientific innovations which can compete cost effectively.

This news item is about Guernsey's plan to create links with universities undertaking renewable energy research. It seems to be a speculative venture but hopefully it has been well thought out and will pay off in the long term.

As I said to ChrisJ - who is to say that global warming will not be beneficial in terms of increasing crop output as required for a growing population- this is still being researched. Also it may force us to address the issue of global distribution of wealth and resources and generally speed up efficiency drives.

I expect this thread will die out soon and I don't have much more to say for the time being but I'm sure other opportunities to continue this debate will arise!

Have a great Xmas.

rosie

Spartacus.

‘Scientists only state something is fact when they can prove it’. Of course and we wouldn’t have it any other way would we? Scientific theories should always be rigourously questioned and tested to either strengthen the argument or weaken it, in which case new ideas and theories emerge, which in their turn are questioned and tested until a consensus emerges as to what is closest to the truth. The theories of climate change and man’s role in that event have been being rigourously tested for decades and they now also have the benefit of empirical evidence to back up those theories.

I concluded that the Royal Society was ‘certain’ that humans were having an adverse effect because .... well because that was the impression I got from having read it all through. But if you want me to isolate it down to one sentence then the one I included in my last post from the ‘conclusion’ (57) will do: "There is strong evidence that changes in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human activity are the dominant cause of the global warming that has taken place over the last half century". In science speak, when they are always dealing in uncertainties, I think that this is about as close as they would get to saying anything definitive. But before I posted my comment, I did phone up a Fellow of the Royal Society of Scientists to question whether I was reading the report right. He said that without doubt I was. He said that of the hundreds of scientists that are in the society, all but a handful are certain that it is man’s contribution to greenhouse gases that is upsetting the delicate balance of atmospheric gases and exacerbating the warming.

He also said that it was desperately frustrating that scientists have got themselves into this ‘mentality’ that they feel they have to be overly cautious with the words that they use for fear of being accused of not being impartial. Because of this, he personally felt, as apparently several others did, that this document was far too weak. He felt that time was running out and not being more blunt with the situation as they saw it, was appeasing those who would like to stall some more and that was dangerous.

In response to something you said to Blkinldn.... I think everyone is in agreement that there are all sorts of things that contribute to keeping the planet warm, (including the sun being in the centre of the solar system) - but in general they are balanced out by things that act in opposition so keeping a balance. Our adding to atmospheric GHG is upsetting that balance. If human behaviour is upsetting the balance, I don’t think that it is ‘arrogant’ of humans to say that we should stop doing so. Rather, I would say it is ‘arrogant’ of us to say that we don’t need to.

Adaption, as you point out, is of course urgently needed. I don’t agree that we can nonchalantly sit back tho’ and say that there is plenty of time to work it out. This is why I have been arguing that the debate over whether Climate Change is happening or whether we are responsible should be over. It is time to believe what the scientists are saying so that we can move on and devote our time to sorting the problem out.

Part of sorting the problem out, is obviously to reduce the action that is causing it in the first place in order to limit the size of the problem...... surely, that is common sense. One of the problems identified with climate change are the ‘feed-back loops’ where certain changes (caused by the warming) then become positive contributors to the problem themselves. i.e. the polar ice which deflects the suns rays(& the heat therein), melting to become water which then absorbs the suns rays (& the heat therein). Or the melting of the perma frosts which are a HUGE carbon store, which, on melting then release all the CO2 to the atmosphere. The more we can avoid hitting these ‘feed-back loops’, the better. The more we delay, the worse it gets.

The challenges for the 2 largest producers of GHG emissions are, as you say, huge. I don’t deny that. I see no benefit in delaying facing those challenges tho’. The fact is that everything that we do on terra firma with oil, could be done without it if we had a mind to. The technology is there. It just needs refining and huge investment. Also, the amount of energy we waste because fossil fuel energy has historically been so cheap and plentiful is vast. America has developed its economy on trying to figure out ways that it could exploit its oil reserves and that has become a world-wide lifestyle choice - economies developed on the idea of disposability; suburbia to encourage car dependency; food systems that depend on energy intensive fertilisers and pesticides; cheap food that has encouraged us to disregard the true value of it- industrially raised cheap meat 3 times a day- a third of what we buy thrown away..etc etc. All these things have fuelled our economies and we have all become richer in the process, enjoying a standard of living our grandparents could only dream of. So we need to re-examine all these things and find new ways to make our economy grow on the back of solving the problems. Putting a proper price on carbon for a start, would give greater parity with less damaging forms of energy and therefore greater investment into those technologies. Industrial opportunities would then become more evident.

Increased crop production in some areas due to warmer temperatures would be a plus but needs to be weighed up against the decreased crop production caused by increased desertification, drought, floods, and unpredictablity of weather patterns.

So returning to the point I initially made. Denying that anything is happening or that we have a role to play, is preventing, or slowing down the process by which we could have any hope of finding solutions. No-one is going to take action without incentives or on their own so we need collective agreement to move the agenda forward. It might be a tough a challenge, but stalling isn’t going to make it any easier- infact only worse as populations grow and there are more people to consider.

You have a good Christmas too.

blokeinlondon

Spartacus, people generally don't change their beliefs or mind sets from what was laid down in their formative years.

Global warming is a bit like Galileo's views that the sun was at the centre of the solar system. Basic human arrogance is the common denominator, a whole entire generation needs to pass away until a new consensus emerges.

Spartacus

Blokeinlondon

Yes - you have a point but the fact of the sun being at the centre of the solar system was then and is now an agenda item that did not require any action. The same perhaps applies to global warming.

Human arrogance is the reason why there is a perception that action can and should be taken.

Although human limitation is continually being stretched, as yet no scientist has worked out what we can do about the sun being at the centre of the solar system - although this has been scientifically identified as another cause of global warming.

blokeinlondon

Spartacus, the agenda item was the enlightenment.

Spartacus

Rosie

At least here is some good news for you this xmas!

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/5f3a2868-2654-11e1-85fb-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1gZyilVTY

The discussion we have had was concurrently taking place at a high level. The Kyoto treaty still stands and there is an adaptation fund in place already. I'm sure you feel this is not adequate but it is the best we can do at the current time.

I'm not convinced with all your comments but completely agree that optional lifestyle choices are often made mindlessly.

rosie

Spartacus- thanks for that. As you infer, this is certainly better than nothing.

There was a comment on tele on Wed eve (That's Britain) that apparently, 280kilos of food per person in the UK is thrown away BEFORE it even gets to the shops! A staggering figure I thought and illustrates the point I made about the amount of energy we waste in our food systems (on top of that figure you need to add another 7.2 million tonnes of food householders in the uk throw away, a third of what is bought, plus the amount of food the supermarket chucks out!).

Our food systems are one of the biggest producers of GHG's-and that's before we start merrily chucking it away into landfills where it then makes methane, an even more potent GHG than CO2. Crazy!

Before I could get too excited about your link, I was sent another link to an article in the Independent about another feedback just discovered in the arctic where the arctic shelf is receding. Methane escaping from the sea bed in huge quantities- not good news! Bother! I was just going to suggest that we went with your version since it is so much more cheerful than mine!