Friday, December 19, 2008

Lord Lawson and The Alarmists - global warming review

I thought there was consensus. At the UChannel Podcast we have had many speakers who build on the assumption there is consensus about global warming and rush to tell us what dramatic policy changes we need to take up. We have had Lord Stern and more recently Thomas Friedman and many others. I can recall only one who took a contrary view in account and this was on waste management. There the word religion was applied. And Lord Lawson, in a recent UChannel Podcast speaks of the likes of Stern and Friedman as alarmists and warns of the alleged consensus also in a way of a intolerant religion.

Lord Lawson propagates a cool look at global warming and in short argues that the warming may not be half as bad as the alarmists claim it to be. He also claims that the time span in which the warming will take place gives ample window for man's adaptation so in his view, global warming, if at all happening, is not a problem. Consequently, the economics of the 'alarmists' are completely wrong in his view. Not only won't they be applicable, or if applied won't work, but also the divert the attention from much worse and pressing problems.

And just as the German Thomas Deichmann complained about the absurd investments in waste management and how the views about this take on a religious character so that discussion has become impossible, so Lord Lawson warns that the alleged scientific consensus about Climate Change is much less than it seems, but has become a rigid ideology on the level of bureaucrats and policy makers. He claims to know young scientists and politicians who refrain from voicing their doubts in fear of their careers.

I find it very important and refreshing to hear these views even though they leave me utterly confused. I really do not know what to believe any more. I feel I must be critical and knowledgeable beyond my capacity. However there were three thoughts that stuck with me all the way: pollution reduction seems like a good idea by all means, so one can still make thoughts how to sensibly and effectively go about that. The other thought is: being dependent on fossil fuels for our energy is problematic even if the carbon-dioxide emissions are not a problem as Lawson argues, hence attempting to develop alternatives is sensible anyway. And thirdly: one must indeed be very careful not to lose sight of direct and practical problems such as poverty and human rights violations, while getting caught up in measures for Global Warming. Climate Change by all means is a global problem, but not as certain and as short term that it allows to ignore everything else.

More UChannel:
Terror and Consent,
Nudge: improving decisions and behavior,
Hot, Flat and Crowded,
In 2050,
The Arab-Israeli Conflict.

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