Is Man making the Earth Hotter?
By Dave Christmas
On Saturday November 18th I purchased, as I do every weekend, the Sydney Morning Herald. Upon opening the Good Weekend Magazine my attention was drawn to an article written by Dr Karl S. Kruszelnicki. It was in the column entitled Myth Conceptions on page 17, with the sub heading 'Is man making the Earth hotter'
In this article Karl makes the point that if you were to believe the popular press you might make the assumption that scientists cannot agree on the outcomes of Global Warming. He then points out that a French scientist Joseph Fourier wrote one of the first papers on greenhouse gases in 1824. That's right, over 180 years ago!
Joseph reasoned that the sun throws its light/heat upon Earth, which warms and in turn radiates some of this heat back into space. If earth had no atmosphere the average surface temperature would be minus 15ºC (same as the moon). But the natural greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere block some of this heat and radiate it back to Earth, lifting the Earth's temperature by some 30ºC to a more pleasant 15ºC.
He then states that since modern industrialisation carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere have risen by 30% from about 280ppm to around 368ppm. Which has raised the average global temperature by 0.6ºC and the sea level by about 20cm.
In 2004 Dr Naomi Oreskes from the University of California analysed 928 scientific papers discussing 'climate change' that had been published in peer-reviewed journals between 1993 and 2003. She found that not one disagreed with the consensus position, even though they may have disagreed in some of the minor details.
DR Karl then questioned why almost half of the articles published in the non-scientific press put forward the idea that scientists are deeply divided over the fundamental concepts of the greenhouse effect?
The answer, according to the world's most prestigious and deeply conservative society, the UK's Royal Society, is that huge company's that make their profits from the burning of fossil fuels, put forward deliberate misinformation.
In September 2006 Bob Ward the Royal Society's manager for policy communication wrote to Nick Thomas, the director of corporate affairs for ExxonMobil in the UK. In this letter Ward asked why ExxonMobil paid millions of dollars to groups that 'misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial of the evidence' Dr Karl states that such a strongly worded letter is very unusual from such a conservative group, but it does reflect that consensus has been reached: things are hotting up.
Another news bite that almost brought tears to my eyes was published in 'G' magazine. www.gmagazine.com.au. This was the first edition of an environmentally aware magazine published for the Australian 'green' market. It was in a column entitled 'Enviro-explosives' In this column, it makes the claim that; British arms manufacturer BAE Systems is designing 'environmentally friendly' weapons! These include 'reduced lead' bullets, 'reduced smoke' grenades and rockets with fewer toxins. At first I thought this was a bit of a joke and to be honest a part of me still wants to believe it is. But according to Debbie Allen BAE Systems' Director of social responsibility (it still sounds like a joke) told the UK's Sunday Times 'Weapons are still going to be used and when they are, we try to make them as safe for the user as possible, to limit the collateral damage and to impact as little as possible on the environment'
Symon Hill from 'Campaign Against Arms Trade' described the policy as laughable.
He told the Sunday Times 'BAE Systems is determined to try to make itself look ethical but they make weapons to kill people and it's utterly ridiculous to suggest they are environmentally friendly'
BAE Systems policy is reportedly endorsed by Britain's Ministry of Defence, which 'Backed the concept of green munitions'
The US army already has its own sustainability web section. http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Sustainability/
Isn't it amazing how many businesses are now jumping on the 'Green Bandwagon'?
Now that it's becoming fashionable.