Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Bad news, none of us are right

George Monbiot has started another argument over on his Guardian blog today. It's all his fault for fulfilling his journalistic duties by writing his piece on climate change. I can't really remember what the original piece said, it was bad news though. I read Monbiot then scrolled down and the gloom and doom of Monbiot's outlook was superseeded by a deeper darkness. The people don't agree, we don't have a clue who's right and probably none of us are.

The comments flow, they snipe and counter snipe, blogger names thrown about like opening punches in a tired final bout - the heavyweight championship of the potential end of the world (or not). One participant, Moveanymountain, goes in strong, on the counter. Monbiot, he says, has it all wrong. There is no warming, hasn't been since 2001.

Then the home crowd dive into the ring, spewing their ire onto the page, grabbing their chance to retell the science: Lovelock, Porritt and a company called MPI. Someone Monbiot's quoted is called into question - 'Sharron Astyk' who Monbiot described as an 'American thinker'. The trouble is, she is just a thinker - and worse, a farmer - how can she understand Geophysics? How can anybody?

The science is depressing enough, but the invisible melt of arctic ice you really can't tally with life in a small city in Wales is worse. The truth, the lies, the video and pictures and greenwash and the next IPCC report cannot replace a real truth, not written but lived. What the crowd needs is a disaster, a big one, ugly and unjust and certainly caused by anthropogenic climate change - An environmental twin towers. Can such a crime have been organised, the sceptics will cry! Was New Orleans, is Bangladesh?

A majority of Scientists may have moved to predict our fate but in doing so it they have challenged us to trust their words. There is an understandable lack of hard evidence and where this exists it tends to chart change, not total disaster. For that, we are lucky. The science tells us that the change we are seeing, in heat, of ice, in seas, is symptomatic of a dangerous time ahead. But we are here, now and we must decide how much we gamble now for an uncertain future. Alistair Darling must know how that feels.

2 comments:

Alticulete said...

If we did have a disaster the human race would just be arguing over who'd caused it!

See http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2003/0303econ.html

CrouVix said...

This comment was the best
"This forum is full of armchair know-it-alls. How many of them have ever done any science??? Smug idiots. They'll be knifing each other for tuna tins after 7 days when the whole system breaks down. Unable to recognise plants or trees, they live on-line, and consume processed food. The planet won't miss them."

So where's this disaster going to be then?