23 January 2011

The Global Warming Skeptics and The Great Global Warming Swindle

The documentary “The Global Warming Swindle” was made by Martin Durkin, an environmentalism skeptic. Durkin raises several points about the increasing awareness and militancy regarding environmental issues: 

1.) That the warming we are experiencing now is part of the Earth’s natural cycle
2.) Carbon Dioxide does not cause global warming; Carbon Dioxide is the product of global warming
3.) Global warming is not caused by human activity
4.) The Green Movement is a socio-economic and political plot. [1]

Questionable Data and Use of Sources

The documentary is very controversial in its content. It reduces environmentalism into nothing but an economic strategy to create another market for consumption and create employment. However, what seems to be more controversial are the data used are the resource persons involved. At least two of the scientists in the documentary criticized its content. Carl Wunsch complained that his views were gravely mispresented through editing. Wunsch actually believes that climate change is real and has a human induced component. [2] Scientific ethics does not allow him to absolutely predict the effects of climate change. There is recognition that there are still data to increase confidence in the thesis. However, he does not discount the possibility that humans contribute to climate change and this possibility is enough for public policy to address this. He states:

"Thus at bottom, it is very difficult to separate human induced change from natural change, certainly not with the confidence we all seek. In these circumstances, it is essential to remember that the inability to prove human-induced change is not the same thing as a demonstration of its absence. It is probably true that most scientists would assign a very high probability that human-induced change is already strongly present in the climate system, while at the same time agreeing that clear-cut proof is not now available and may not be available for a long-time to come, if ever. Public policy has to be made on the basis of probabilities, not firm proof." [3]

Eigil Friis-Christensen was the scientist who put forward the correlation of sun spots to climate change. Friis-Christensen himself stated that the data used in the documentary was fabricated. He states:

"We have concerns regarding the use of a graph featured in the documentary titled ‘Temp & Solar Activity 400 Years’ (source of graphs of ‘The Global Warming Swindle’). Firstly, we have reason to believe that parts of the graph were made up of fabricated data that were presented as genuine. The inclusion of the artificial data is both misleading and pointless. Secondly, although the narrator commentary during the presentation of the graph is consistent with the conclusions of the paper from which the figure originates, it incorrectly rules out a contribution by anthropogenic greenhouse gases to 20th century global warming.” [4]

It is such a pity that these scientists, who rely on scientific methods be taken out of context due to irresponsible reporting by the media. I agree with Wunsch that there are limitations to available scientific data regarding the impact of human activity in climate change. However, lack of data does not discount the possibility of it. And with the increasing capability of IPCC, more data are being collected to actually establish this possibility as a fact. 

Marketing Plot

Durkin also points out in his documentary was that Environmentalism is only a political (directed towards Margaret Thatcher in his local Britain) and socio-economic political plot of developed countries to stop the development of other countries. 

I agree with him but only to a certain point. Industrialized countries may have focused on climate change to maintain their lead in the world economy. However, this does not cancel the fact that their stance is backed by scientific observations regarding the climate. Shrewd intent does not erase that there is climate change. I agree that increasing environmentalism creates a particular market, and it is the natural tendency of capitalists to delve into this market. Still, this does not cancel out the possibility of human induced climate change. Durkin accuses environmentalists to be conservatives who do not want development for other countries. I say that Durkin is the conservative and the environmentalists, the progressives. Environmentalists’ call for mitigation public policies is to call for change on how the industrialized countries do business, to put concern over natural resources over profit. To some, this may be even called revolutionary. (Durkin claims himself on being a champion of free-market economy. I, personally think that climate change is caused by Free Market economy and its tendency to give importance to profit over natural resources but I digress…)

Personally, regardless if there is scientific data or not, it is our obligation to care for our environment. Natural resources are limited, as most things are in the world. It is our responsibility, as stewards of our ecosystem, to maintain its balance. Human action is not a dependent variable. We can do something about our actions to maintain the balance. We should not need scientific data (albeit useful), much less this documentary, to tell us how we should treat the environment. We are concerned for it because we are part of this ecosystem and as the animals capable of doing something, we carry this responsibility. 

[1] http://www.abc.net.au/science/features/globalwarmingswindle/
[2] http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/responseto_channel4.htm
[3] http://royalsociety.org/
[4] "Regarding: “The Great Global Warming Swindle”, broadcast in the UK on Channel 4 on 8 March 2007". 


The Peregrinator said...

i agree with you that it is our responsibility to take care of our environment. with or without scientific data or whatever.

May said...

dropping by from GT. nice blog!

Chew On This said...

I truly hope global warming is a big scam and there's nothing to worry about. But there's too much already alarming weather changes on not to be alarmed.

Diane said...

@Peregrinator, yup. We are the stewards of this world. No other species is capable of consciously taking care of the environment

@May, thank you. :) Mabuhay ang GT! :D

@Chew on This, I know right? Like now, super weird weather!


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