Cancun Climate talks: Global Turd Polishing

After the debacle that was the Copenhagen Climate conference, there followed the Cancun conference attended by 20,000+ people which used as much energy as a small UK town uses in a whole year. The science on the subject is so “settled” that it takes all of these people coountless thousands of man hours to do the “right thing” and agree on not letting the global temperatures increase by more than 2 degrees Centigrade.

If the science is so “settled” surely a simple teleconference or webex would have sufficed – or is it that it is politically charged and not everyone is so sold on the idea?

Countries have agreed to set up a £100billion per annum “Green Climate Fund” by 2020 to help struggling nations adapt to climate change. UK will be supporting this ( and other initiatives no doubt) with at least £14billion per annum. Not a insignificant sum comapred to £3billion pa required to maintain the University tuition fees and spending – to put it in perspective. How much of this £100bn is likely to end up in the pockets of the 20,000+ people attending the conference or the thousands of worthy climate campaigners, and scientists who see this as a reliable and copper-bottomed pension scheme.

In order for the UK to support the emissions reduction we will have to be building tens of thousands of wind turbines across the country ( currently the number we have provides 0.2% of the total capacity) which will render large proportions of the countryside as no go areas, or sheer eye-sores. It is also reported that we will have to completely overhaul transport and put 13.5 million electric cars on the road which, at present, can run for an hour and take several hours to charge up. Where are the charging stations? and where is the electricty coming from…presumably even more wind turbines, or fossil fuels?

…and then what happens when its not a windy day?

So once again, with humankind’s blind arrogance we feel that we have “settled” the science – we know the exact causes and effects to control the global temperature within a few degrees (its supposedly predicted that it will increase by 0.58 deg C this year – so not much chance of success?). Even King Canute recognised his own fallabilities and proved he could not control the tide….where is the modern day equivalent.

The mote in meterology’s eye is their inability to predict weather much beyond a few days – and, whilst we all recognise that weather and climate are two distinct disciplines, they clearly are connected. After all the macro-economy and personal finances are two different things but I would be worried if I found out that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was running up huge credit card debts , gambling on horses, and constantly getting letters from the bank in his personal life.

So, can we please recognise that the climate is a fantastically complex system which we do not understand, that we cannot control, and have relatively little influence over. It makes a lot of common sense to conserve energy and be mindful of the longevity of resources, without imposing an extremely expensive regime which is fuelled by a fundamentalist, unproven dogma pedalled by a self-interested minority.

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