The truth about global warming

Today’s ‘news’ features the appearance of Paul McCartney at ‘Meat Free Monday’, an event promoting the idea of “going ‘meat free’ one day per week in order slow global warming”. (From now on I’ll use ‘GW’ as an acronym for global warming.) Such nonsense epitomises everything that is wrong with the GW movement.

First of all, can anyone explain in rational, scientific terms exactly what benefits can be gained by not eating meat for one day each week? Do we actually have credible statistics that prove such a reduction in meat consumption will actually reduce emissions to any significant degree? Do we actually believe that Paul McCartney – legend that he is – actually has environmental interests at the top of his priority list when he makes these public appearences? Does he actually have real knowledge of the issues at hand?

As you may have noticed, events like this are one of my pet peeves. I get sick of seeing rock concerts screaming “Stop Global Warming!” at the top of every poster just to sell a few extra tickets. I get fed up of shops promoting fake ‘green’ products, and I wince when I hear people harp on about some ‘stop GW’ fundraiser they attended.

Let’s look at this as if The World was a person and global warming were the cigarettes that person smoked. Attending a concert called “Stop Global Warming Now!” would be like the smoker saying: “Yes I really should give up sometime soon” before opening another pack. Not eating meat once a week would be equivalent to saying “OK, today I’ll smoke forty nine cigarettes instead of fifty”.

Heartlessly cynical? Maybe, but I detect a strong theme of self interest running throughout. Most green products sold in shops are simply ‘bandwagon’ advertising. Rock concerts and fundings events are often a form of publicity for celebrities and a cheap way for consumers to say “I’ve done my bit” and continue to live in ignorance. And notably, governments in the west seem only too happy to let us carry on like this. Why?

Perhaps it’s because the truth requires slightly more effort. Let’s start with the so called consensus. Now, I recently saw a documentary featuring an interview with a highly respected professor of oceanography from a top American university. He stated that he could not be sure that GW was anthropogenic but he felt it probably was. Now, let’s remember that this is one of the finest scientific minds in the world speaking here, and he openly states he is not totally sure. If such an expert cannot be sure, how can the rest of us be so fanatically convinced? The answer, of course, is that we have to trust the experts we listen to. But the experts are by no means united in their verdict.

Secondly, recycling carrier bags and eschewing meat once a week, whilst noble in its aims, is basically a spit in the ocean. The only way to make a real difference to GW is to push China and India to live differently and utilise cleaner forms of fuel. Of course,that could mean that China could not continue to produce ultra-cheap consumer goods for us in the west and would perhaps be unable to purchase so many US government bonds. Likewise, India would have to cease providing extra-cheap manpower to European businesses.

Could that reality explain why our governments seem so content to let us switch off our lights for an hour once a year, then carry on as usual?

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