Sunday, November 11, 2007

Kyoto critic comes to town


The Sun is the Main reason for "climate change".

You are not going to hear much from the sniveling lefty media about this man except to critique and denigrate him for not jumping on the Global Warming bandwagon. Watch for snivellers with closed minds like Rod Oram from the New Zealand Business Herald whose sole obsession these days seems to be how to stop his carbon footprint from getting stuck in his mouth and using it to kick the more sensible among us that know that this whole GW nonsense is just that. I agree largely with Lawson except he is a bit lightweight on GW's proponents where as I wouldn't give them an inch.

They are NUTS!

Go here to View The Great Global Warming Swindle

C Darren Rickard 2007

Kyoto Critic Comes to Town

By JENNI McMANUS - Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 11 November 2007

Contentious climate change issues have been bumped to the top of the business agenda with the release of a consultant's negative report into the economic impact of the government's proposed emissions trading scheme.

Hard on the heels of the Castalia report and its view that the government is seriously underestimating the costs of Kyoto compliance, another strong Kyoto critic flies in to town this week.

Nigel Lawson, former chancellor of the exchequer in the Thatcher government between 1983 and 1989 and father of celebrity chef Nigella, is visiting New Zealand as a guest of the Business Roundtable. On Thursday in Auckland he will give the annual Sir Ron Trotter lecture, this year on the topic of economics and climate change.

Expect strong debate from an ex-politician not known for taking prisoners. Since leaving politics, Lawson has researched and lectured widely on climate change, his most recent contribution being work on a documentary called The Great Global Warming Swindle.

His message: the conventional response to global warming the bid to get global agreement among industrialised nations on reducing carbon dioxide emissions to a fixed, but arbitrary, level by 2012 is "absurd".

Even its strongest advocates concede the existing Kyoto agreement will do virtually nothing to reduce future rates of global warming, Lawson says. The US, the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions, has refused to ratify the treaty, largely because developing countries such as China, India and Brazil are effectively outside the process and determined to remain so.

What's being done with Kyoto simply isn't working, Lawson says. "There's a lot of talk and some things are in place in Europe, but while subsidies have been given to emitters (to help them adapt), they've done nothing to cut emissions. Politicians say greenhouse gases are the greatest threat facing the planet, but every year emissions get higher. I cannot see any other case where the difference between the rhetoric and the reality is greater."

Lawson argues adaptation to climate change is better than attempting to mitigate or reverse it.

Adaptation is cheaper, will more efficiently fix already existing problems (such as coastal flooding in low-lying areas) and will generally happen naturally, without government intervention, he says. Farmers, for instance, will show commonsense and change their crops, improve irrigation and cultivate areas once too cold to be economic if the climate gets warmer. Rich countries of the temperate world have an obligation to help the poor countries of the tropical world do whatever adaptation is needed, he says.

There is also the "just-in-time" solution of geo-engineering where pioneer work is being done at Stanford University to devise actions that could be taken quickly to cool the planet if necessary.

Lawson wants to see the debate shrunk to what he sees as its central focus: what has been the rise in global mean temperature in the past 100 years, why we believe this has happened and what the consequences are likely to be.

"The only honest answer is that we do not know," he says. "But it is very difficult to refine the issues because people feel so emotional. It is hard to get rational discussion going, but it is very important that we do.

"It's clear politicians think they're seen in a good light if they tell people they're saving the planet. It's wonderful grandstanding. But we simply don't know why climate change occurs and politicians can get very impatient with scientists who don't say anything definite, even when the science isn't certain." The difficulty is climatology is a relatively new and complex science "and neither scientists nor politicians serve either the truth or the people by pretending to know more than they do".

For example, many people probably aren't aware that at times during recent history the world has been warmer than at present. And while atmospheric concentrations of CO2 increased by 30% during the 20th century, global warming has occurred only in fits and starts. In fact, says Lawson, it ceased in 1998 and is not expected to resume until 2009.

Despite his views, he says he could live "up to a point" with cuts in CO2 emission levels. Even a carbon tax would be acceptable, providing the revenue was used to cut other forms of tax. But that's a different matter from putting the entire economy at risk with complex emissions trading schemes a point taken up by economist Alex Sundakov in the Castilia report. No scheme will be politically sustainable if the relative costs and benefits are not well understood and accepted by the electorate at large, Sundakov says.

Any major cuts in NZ emissions are expected to be very costly, despite government claims to the contrary, because of our high economic reliance on emissions-rich activities. Official estimates in the US and Canada put the cost between $5000 and $10,000 per household.

Nor does Lawson agree that we must do whatever it takes to avert the possibility of large-scale climate catastrophe. A number of other catastrophes are also possible, including another ice age, the prospect of nuclear war and the growth of terrorism "in an age where scientific and technological developments have brought the means of devastation within the reach of even modestly funded terrorist groups".

"Above all," he says, "in a world of inevitably finite resources, not only can we not possibly spend large sums of money on guarding against each and every possible eventuality in the future, but the more we do spend on this, the less there is available to deal with poverty and disease in the present."

C Sunday Star Times 2007

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