Friday, 1 November 2013

Understanding the Other Side:

I recently met an academician and our conversation veered from Geology (her subject) to Climate Change.  She, like many geologists across the world vehemently disagrees about anthropogenic climate change or change in climate due to man-made reasons. This piqued my interest because for the first time I realised that in my eagerness to talk about environment, I had forgotten to look at the other side of the coin!

She insisted that the ‘issue’ of climate change as it stands in the global economic and political forums is a hoax / hogwash because all these so-called changes in climate discussed ad nauseam in media are just a part of Earth’s natural processes. She rattled off names of scientists, researchers, and agencies etc who have worked on this and though I had not heard of any of these names, I vigorously nodded my head just so that I didn't sound so ignorant.    

I asked her for some reading materials which she happily acquiesced to. What I read is just a tip of my ignorance iceberg but they are definitely very interesting; enough for me to want to know more and oh yes, debate!

In short, NIPCC (Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change) was formed to counter IPCC’s (International Panel on Climate Change) claims about Climate Change. According to HIPCC, IPCC is funded by governments through tax payers’ money and hence has vested interests. The scientists with IPCC usually move around in swanky hotels in exotic locations and use computer generated models to predict catastrophes which don’t have any scientific backing. HIPCC and other independent geologists have also alleged that IPCC has changed or ‘corrected’ data to prove future disaster scenarios and dramatic rise in sea levels. To every claim that IPCC has come out with, HIPCC has come out with a counter claim proving exactly the opposite. So as per HIPCC and many other geologists / scientists, there is no rise in sea levels or will be (infact it has dipped in some places), there are no glacial melts, no extreme weather patterns, no crop failures or ecosystem changes which cannot be explained as basic natural cause and effect.  This group believes that increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is infact good because it will help in regeneration of forests and produce better crop yields (to name a few). So, life is good as it is and we should continue in the same way.

Fair Enough!



Source: adaptationresourcekit.squarespace.com


Though I have hardly read or understood enough and I am Definitely not an expert on this subject, I am left wondering why so much of this debate is only centered around greenhouse gas emissions. Should it just be about CO2 emissions or about overall environmental degradation? Yes, Earth has a cyclic pattern of heating up and cooling down. When average temperature rose a 1000years back, it wouldn't have made much difference because they had more forest cover, lesser ‘emissions’ to counter the rise.  Now with most forest cover gone, polluted rivers, plastics galore, and dams blocking rivers etc, will not the natural change in Earth’s temperature affect many things?  And what vested interests would governments have in changing a perfectly established highly capital intensive economy to something which might not be so in future?

As for me, in the four decades of my nearly ignorant life, I have seen enough damage to nature to not get worried. It worries me that Mumbai’s balmy 30 degrees climate has changed to a hot and humid 36 degrees; that Delhi’s winter has shortened to a few weeks instead of months and that there are hardly any afternoon rainfall in Bangalore these days.

On that day however, despite being on either sides of the spectrum, we both agreed to one thing – that this (the debate on Climate Change) is just another Game!


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To read more on the other side of the debate check out http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/


9 comments:

  1. Nice one, Bipasha :-) I'm no expert either but I must say that human beings are aggressively encroaching on more than their fair share of earth's resources and the consequences are plain for everyone to see. The lifestyles we choose certainly have consequences - both at the granular level and the macro level. Like you, I'm willing to allow that climate change may just be a natural cyclic phenomenon but I think we can all agree that mankind is helping to accelerate the process :-) You're SO right about no afternoon rains in Bangalore but that's the least of it - my city is destroyed beyond recognition today. I so miss the gentle polite charming city I grew up in.

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    1. Hey Aparna. Here's the thing.....I do like to listen to the other side but I am not even convinced one bit about the argument of the other side. I 100% belief that we are destroying nature at a very alarming rate. But if you have to win an argument, you should always know what the other side has to say, isn't it? :-). as for Bangalore....yes i do have a avgue memory of a very green city when I had first visited it way back in the 80s. yes, nothing of that city is left any more! :-(

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  2. thnx for the information..
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  3. Mind = scrambled. Shame on you, Bips.

    But seriously, how can this almighty infestation of humans not be screwing the planet? We've gotta be good at something, right!

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    1. abhi....u r right. we definitely are good at screwing up the planet :-D

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  4. The 'non believers' fail to take into account figures that were non-existent 10'000 years ago. The global population today is roughly 7.4billion, over 40% of this population live close-proximity to a coastline. Would you say that our coastlines are under greater stress due to the coastal migration than what they were 1'000 years ago? With this greater stress placed on our coastlines comes an increased frequency & intensity of coastal storms due to the warming of ocean temperatures, mainly because of the melting of major glaciers. The melting of major glaciers has meant a very slow sea level rise but it doesn't take much to cause damage. Think about it.... A sea level rise of only 5-10cm combined with an usually large storm or hurricane will cause widespread destruction to low-lying over-populated areas that have traditionally been threatened from previous smaller storms. Increased storm surge will cause severe coastal erosion & damage, destroying local communities & placing burdens on national economies.

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  5. Alas, climate change is all too real. The NIPCC is funded by the fossil fuel lobby. There is a long paper trail of evidence of fossil fuel companies funding climate denial in the US in a manner similar to the obfuscation of the truth about tobacco's harmful effects by the tobacco industry (physicist Fred Singer was involved in that also). Read the book Merchants of Doubt by historian of science Naomi Oreskes or this article in the Washington post https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/12/27/a-dark-money-challenge-on-climate-change/. If the IPCC is accused of being funded by government money and therefore vested interests, how much more is that the case with teh fossil fuel companies! Currently 97% of climate scientists believe climate change is real and caused by humans, based on what we know about the properties of CO2 since the 1850s, plus other factors. Under the 'natural causes' scenario, we should be in a cooling period. Natural causes are not the cause of current warming. Please be wary of misinformation on the subject of climate change. Because it threatens the powers that be, there is plenty of obfuscation going on.

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    1. Vandana, thanks for your thoughts. I have no doubts about climate change, so be assured that I am not being mislead. I feel to tackle a problem, one needs to understand who your opponents are....this post was just about that. However I do feel (still) that Climate Change has now become an economic and political issue for most countries and turned away from the real issue of environmental degradation and mankind's future. So in that sense, for both parties, its a game.....an economic tug of war. The losers are people like us anyway.

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  6. Here's a very interesting and shocking article:
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-point-of-no-return-climate-change-nightmares-are-already-here-20150805


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