3.68 trillion dollars


by Sunny
30th October, 2006 at 9:13 am    

A few weeks ago or so a colleague remarked that the Right had won most of the big arguments over the last few decades or so over the Left. Hah, I scoffed, Capitalism may have prevailed over Communism but on social issues it is the Left that continues to reign supreme.

Consider climate change. Long ignored by those on the right of the political spectrum this issue has finally, and I would would say it is bloody long overdue, become a mainstream issue.
On BBC News today:

Climate change could cut global growth by a fifth, costing up to £3.68 trillion in total, unless drastic action is taken, a review is to warn.

But taking action now would cost just 1% of global gross domestic product, economist Sir Nicholas Stern says. Without action up to 200 million people could become refugees as their homes are hit by drought or flood, he adds.

The dismal science is not really known for accurate predictions of course but the fact that major economists are weighing in this debate should be welcomed. Providing they agree with environmental campaigners (me, biased?). But identifying the problem is only half the issue; now we have to figure out a course of action. And given this government’s terrible record at managing anything, this is a serious consideration.

While it is impossible to say anything meaningful on this subject in a quick blog, I would make a quick point that this is an issue where I definitely want much more government intervention in the form of industry regulation, subsidy of pro-environmentally household applications and investment in renewable energy sources. Market intervention in the form of carbon trading and carbon off-setting has its place but I fear time is running out too fast.
Update: The excellent George Monbiot has ten tips to save the planet.


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  1. Katy — on 30th October, 2006 at 9:53 am  

    One of the problems is that there is a strong research-backed body of opinion to suggest that climate change is a natural phase of the Earth’s life and environmental measures will do little or nothing to prevent it.

    I mean, I can’t see that living sensibly, cleanly and sustainably would do anything but good whether climate change is preventable or not. But it’s difficult to persuade people to change their lifestyles drastically and/or spend 1% of GDP (which is still a huge amount of money that most people would probably rather spend on the NHS or education) when scientists can’t agree as to whether or not there is a problem or, if there is, whether human intervention can do anything to solve it.

  2. genghis — on 30th October, 2006 at 9:57 am  

    This my chance to bash the US again!

    Its a serious subject. The US have baulked their environmental responsibility at the cost of the world population. And the reason for not signing upto Kyoto…developing nations such as India and china hadnt signed up either.

    Disgusting.

    What to do. I agree, penalties against industry and against Chelsea Tractors, plus all them drug dealers in inner cities with their 4 wheel drives nad blacked out windows…penalise the fuckers!

  3. soru — on 30th October, 2006 at 10:44 am  

    scientists can’t agree as to whether or not there is a problem

    Scientists pretty much can. It was different 5 or 10 years ago, but the people denying climate change now are pretty much all scientoids. They may look like scientists at a first glance, but they have a totally different lifecycle and ecological role.

  4. Leon — on 30th October, 2006 at 10:47 am  

    Market intervention in the form of carbon trading and carbon off-setting has its place but I fear time is running out too fast.

    Indeed, by the look of the time scale and if we want to adapt and survive without billions of us dying the market isn’t going to cut it.

  5. Sahil — on 30th October, 2006 at 12:18 pm  

    Check out this blog from Greg Mankiw, he’s the founder (well big fan) of the pigovian taxes:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigovian_tax

    and it’s actually getting some momentum in the States!!

    http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2006/09/rogoff-joins-pigou-club.html

  6. Leon — on 30th October, 2006 at 12:34 pm  

    Some key points from the Stern report: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/green/story/0,,1935209,00.html

  7. Bert Preast — on 30th October, 2006 at 1:19 pm  

    I’m constantly gobsmacked by the number of people I meet who think climate change isn’t their problem and either don’t seem to care for the future or assume that science will somehow sort the problem out.

    The only way to make people care is to make it affect their lives, directly and now. So, everything that pollutes needs taxing, and not just at 10% more than the cleaner options but 1000% more than the cleaner options. If you want to pollute you should be made to pay through the nose for it.

    The other thing governments have to do now is to recycle. You cannot expect people to do it themselves, so the government must take all their crap away and recycle it. In the old days prisons were used to make mailbags, today they should double as recycling plants.

  8. Electro — on 30th October, 2006 at 1:26 pm  

    I’ve no connection with the oil industry and have no shares in petroleum companies…..said as a precaution.

    Climate change is a kind of pseudo religion, and it’s adepts are acting out an immanentised version of the “end-of-days”. Repent or burn in hell for all that conspicuous consumption! Climate Rapture!

    In Roman Britian…..and their is ample and irrefutable evidence to support this….. the climate was much warmer, the country was covered in vineyards. At the end of the Roman period things turned much colder…no one knows why… mass migrations occured and the empire collapsed.

    Then, some 500 years later the climate inexplicably warmed up, vineyards once more sprung up in Britian, and indeed French winegrowers during the middle ages imposed duties on imported british wines becuase many thought the quality of British wines was better.

    Grapes need hot weather to produce the sugars necessary for good wines.

    And the Norman economy didn’t run on diesal.

    Towards the end of the Midde Ages the cold returned ( once again no one knows why) and this period dominated right up till the middle of the 19th century.

    In other words, there have been wide, wide variations in climate long before anyone even burned fossile fuels.

    What’s more, our weather data, at least that data that is reliable, precise and scientific, goes back barely 200 years, so I’m skeptical as to our ability to predict our climate future based on such a scanty record.

    I live in Montréal. In winter it’s as cold as Baffin Island, and in the summer as hot as Louisiana. Everytime we break a record for heat ( most summers), the media scream “global warming”. Likewise, most winters we ALSO break records for coldest temps, yet no one screams global colding.

    If the truth be told, we really aren’t breaking any temperature records at all (for either extreme); it only appears that way because the only accurate and reliable data we’ve got is hardly more than 200 years old.

    Predicting climate change, thus, is a bit like basing you investments on what’s happened with DJI over just the past 24 hours.

    So let’s all calm down; the “end” is NOT near!

  9. Bert Preast — on 30th October, 2006 at 1:31 pm  

    I like the way Electro tells us not to worry because this has been going on since Roman times, then tells us we only have reliable data for the last 200 years.

  10. Socratez — on 30th October, 2006 at 1:35 pm  

    It’s King Canute staring at the sea.

    How exactly are you going to persuade the fattened and comfortable billion odd living on the goose fat and pleasure of the West with all their suburban riches to curtail their lifestyles, give up the car which is their ‘right’, give up the air-con and cheap flights? And how are you going to stop the billions in India and China from aspiring to that?

    It’s not going to happen. America is too belligerent for a start. Any steps in that direction will unleash a backlash emanating from a sense of entitlement that has been hundreds of years in the making.

    The only way to address this would be an international commission on a grand scale, something that has never been seen before, greater in scope than the post World War 2 reconstruction efforts, with America and Europe leading the way. What are the chances of that? Slim I reckon.

    How much money has America spent on the farrago in Iraq? A quarter of a trillion? Anybody know?

    At least they had their priorities right.

  11. El Cid — on 30th October, 2006 at 1:37 pm  

    Yeah, I’m glad the issue is being taken seriously.
    However, people seem a little too fond of the stick sometimes. Let’s focus on the carrot, eh, and win as a broad a consensus as possible.

  12. El Cid — on 30th October, 2006 at 1:38 pm  

    Nice lead para by the way Sunny

  13. Socratez — on 30th October, 2006 at 1:42 pm  

    Alternative fuel research – is it beyond our ingenuity as a species to find a less polluting, cleaner energy to run the billions of combustion engines that fart out dirt and contribute to the degradation of the planet? Finding such a thing would have the benefit of reducing Western dependancy on the Arab oil fiefdoms, which has been a major driver for global insecurity, as well as lining the pockets of the pock-marked and slimy wahabbis (check out your local Saudi funded Islamic centre folks! Coming to a town near you soon)

    But…..would the Texan oil families and car companies allow such a fuel to be developed and implemented? Do we have another 100 years until the oil runs out? Don’t expect to see any change until then, although by that time our technology will have advanced as far as human ingenuity can take it. The solutions are in mankinds scientific grasp – the pressures and wealth of oil and the car industries are waiting witha samurai sword to cut that hand off, though, whne it comes close to doing something that threatens its profit$$$$$…..

  14. Bert Preast — on 30th October, 2006 at 1:50 pm  

    I’m not sure the car companies are to blame, Toyota seem to do alright out of the Prius and I don’t believe alternative fuels will make people stop buying cars.

  15. Socratez — on 30th October, 2006 at 2:01 pm  

    Check out this documentary, there are links to the trailer at the bottom of the page….

    Who Killed The Electric Car?

  16. Uncleji being evil is so much easier then being good — on 30th October, 2006 at 3:07 pm  

    Dispensing with the notion that the left has got it right on social issues
    Global Warming shouldn’t be used as means to rachet up the fiscal renuves or to impose red tape as the state is an extremely inefficent method promoting good behaviour.

    A more imagative and pratical way of the government correcting markets failures would of green elecrity tariffs. According to Friends of Earth most are about as green as Cheney but there is no way of the consumer assessing which really are fund more renewable sources of electricty. This is for rather complex reason which you can read here. http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefing_notes/green_electricity_tariffs.pdf

    The government or the regulator needs to create a standard to help people decide and tackle the source of most C02 which is power generation.
    Join the campagin here
    http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate/press_for_change/choose_green_energy/

  17. Electro — on 30th October, 2006 at 3:11 pm  

    Pert Preast, we know about the climate of the Roman and Medieval periods because of tree rings as well as various peripheral documentation relating to viticulture etc.

    I said that SCIENTIFIC data, that which is quantifiable and easily measured and collected via modern, calibrated instruments, goes back a mere 200 years

    The tree rings, a fairly reliable source of info, tell us that the Roman and Medieval periods were both warmer and dryer. And there is no dispute, whatsoever, in the scientific community regarding the FACT that Europe entered a mini ice-age beginning in the 14th century.

    The tree rings, of course, can’t tell us what the temperature was at 2:00PM on the 3rd of July, 1205, but they DO provide an accurate portrait of long term trends, and what they show are alternating periods of warmth and cold occuring long before the industrial age.

    My point, then, is that there have been drastic climate swings in the past long before fossile fuels even existed.

    As pertains to winemaking, the industry in England is now undergoing a revival. So if in a 100 years from now the quality of British wines equals or surpasses those of France, as they once did during the Middle Ages, what will have changed? Are we warming up, or are we just entering yet another temporary cycle (like so many times in the past) of balmier weather?

    When you talk about climate, people think in terms of decades when they should at least be thinking in terms of centuries.

    One other thing, many of the methods proposed for battling climate change will cost some economies more than others; they are just one tool among many being used in a protracted game of economic warfare.

    Opposing economic entities, all chasing the same dollar, will invoke climate change in an effort to hamstring the competition.

  18. Bert Preast — on 30th October, 2006 at 4:36 pm  

    I’m not disputing that climate change does happen naturally. I just doubt when given current levels of pollution and deforestation that the current changes are natural. If it turns out I’m wrong we can all laugh at the dumb hippy. If I’m right then our one and only planet is irrevocably doomed.

    It’s all about risk assessment really, isn’t it?

  19. Electro — on 30th October, 2006 at 5:35 pm  

    Pert Preast, I,m skeptical about global warming, co2 and all that.

    Nonetheless, I’m gung-ho for alternate sources of energy, particulalry those sources that will liberate us from the power-grids, the oil conglomerates and the various other energy monopolies that dicate our “needs” and the prices at which those needs are met.

  20. Sunny — on 30th October, 2006 at 9:26 pm  

    Pert Preast, I,m skeptical about global warming, co2 and all that.

    On what basis exactly? Just because a few scientists, usually funded by E$$O, keep maintaining that all this climate change is normal? Despite the huge consensus of most scientists? I mean it’s rather like creationism isn’t. You may call it Intelligent Design if you wish to try and change the argument but it’s still rubbished by the vast majority of scientists.

    Does the fact that we knowingly spew out tons and tons of CO2 in the atmosphere, and still generate chemicals that deplete the ozone layer not have an impact?

    Isn’t it a bit of a concidence that in the last 100 years or so as industrialisation has picked up speed massively that CO2 levels have also rapidly risen? Electro I’m surprised you haven’t yet called it a Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy? C’mon, just do it now because I’m sure it’ll come sooner or later.

  21. Riz — on 31st October, 2006 at 11:46 am  

    Damn. Just when we are close to having Mother Nature tamed, for once and for all, it looks the government is seriously thinking of ways of undoing, or at least halting, many centuries of mankind’s hard work. Oh well. Con sarn it! Alas, we tried, but it was in vain.

    I joke, of course.

    Sunny, you make a good point about how the issue has moved from the left in to the mainstream. The voice of the scientific community eventually succeeded in drowning out the oil lobby ‘scientists’, who managed to obfuscate the issue for many years. Mind you, the UK political stage is a little weird right now, what with the Tories campaigning against NHS cutbacks and Cameron coming out against tax cuts…it’s almost as if a super efficient strain of a Labour virus has been released in to the heart of the Tory party. The Labour Party, in all its genius, seems to have realised that a) Labour may lose the next election and b)Cameron is a very popular leader. And so it makes perfect sense for the Blair camp to shed old Labour for once and for good, much in the way that a snake sheds its skin. In this way Brown and all the old true lefties will be left as nothing more than an impotent remnant of a bygone power (can you hear the tumbleweed rolling across the hollowed out old Labour landscape?). So far, the plan is working to a tee – Cameron is alienating the old Tories and acting more and more like a young Blair. Come the election, the transformation will be complete.

    I digress…back to the enviroment: I firmly believe pollution is a problem because the market for polluting is ‘incomplete’. A second best solution is to use taxes,tarriffs, permits etc to make pollution producers face the costs of pollution – right now the public is bearing a large chunk of the cost, effectively subsidising polluters. Economic logic dictates a distorted outcome, and now there is compelling evidence from the scientists that this is what is happening i.e., humans are having a significant impact. This needs to be reversed.

    However, like the world trade talks, I believe any global talks on the environment will go through a series of collapses before any meaningful solutions are reached. The new Economist blog (http://www.economist.com/debate/freeexchange) makes the point that some countries will be net beneficiaries of pollution and some will be worse off, so already you have mixed incentives from the get go. And when have politicians ever acted for the ‘common good’ on the world stage? Geopolitics operates on the basis of self-interest, not altruism.

    For progress I think the developed world has to take the lead. China and India are going to pollute for many years as their economies grow, and who can blame them, but if the developed world kick-starts the process, cleaner technologies will get ever cheaper and the developing countries will be quick to adopt them.

    I continue to have faith that everything will turn out fine, but expect there will be many bumps and hurdles along the way. Just as their was a Green Revolution, I look forward to a potential ‘Clean Revolution’…there, that’s a nice catchy phrase for the newly invigorated movement.

  22. sonia — on 31st October, 2006 at 11:49 am  

    yeah, and it will soon be adopted by fascists no doubt.

  23. Electro — on 31st October, 2006 at 5:32 pm  

    Sunny, there is a whole eschatological aspect to the global warming deabte. On some level it’s all just a rehash of the doom-and-gloom, end-of-days evangelical rhetoric.

    As I stated above, there have been multiple climate swings in the pre-industrial past that scientisits are unable to explain. All the “explanations” that do exist contradict each other, yet all have been put forward by climate “experts”.

    Why was Roman Europe warmer? Why did things suddenly turn colder around 400 AD? Why did the climate once again warm up just prior to 1000 AD? Why did it then again cool down in the 14th century? Why was the Europe of 800 years ago warmer than the Eruope of today?

    The very same individuals upon whose opinions you base your own are the same “experts” who are UNABLE to explain these proven climate swings, yet you are ready and willing to take them on their word as pertains to global warming.

    These experts aren’t “doing” science so much as practising and acting upon latent religious sentiments. When they talk to you, Sunny, are they giving a lecture or a sermon?

    Back in the 60s, New York was crime ridden. People screamed, “get tough on crime!”

    So the city authorities hired 50% more cops, put ‘em on the beat…..only to find that the crime-rate had gone up! They just couldn’t understand it.

    With more policemen in evidence, you see, people felt more confident and were more likely, thus, to report the crimes. Thus, more policemen meant higher crime rates!

    Substitute “more plentiful, accurate and better calibrated weather instuments” for “more policemen” and you may just have the answer to *global warming*.

    That said, I realy wish we could break the stranglehold of oil cartels and petroleum monopolies and develope technologies AND mentalities that would gives individuals both the means and the propensity for energy self-sufficiency.

    The energy equivalent of “debt-free”, ya know?

  24. Bert Preast — on 31st October, 2006 at 5:46 pm  

    Electro wrote: “Why was Roman Europe warmer? Why did things suddenly turn colder around 400 AD? Why did the climate once again warm up just prior to 1000 AD? Why did it then again cool down in the 14th century? Why was the Europe of 800 years ago warmer than the Eruope of today?”

    Here’s a bigger question, why was it just Europe? Could it be that population density and massive deforestation played a part?

  25. Sunny — on 1st November, 2006 at 1:55 am  

    Why was Roman Europe warmer? Why did things suddenly turn colder around 400 AD? Why did the climate once again warm up just prior to 1000 AD?

    I don’t know Electro but I don’t think they had the right scientific instruments to measure… you know?

    Anyway, the analogy is rubbish. On the one hand you’re talking about complex social environments, and then you’re comparing to measurable scientific phenomena. By your reasoning then there’s no point measuring anything (incl distance from stars) simply because the instruments are getting better? huh?

    You still haven’t answered the basic question – don’t you think the tons of CO2 and other crap we pump into the air has an impact?

    To be honest George Monbiot has spent more than a fair share of time debunking scientists who claim all this is natural, by exposing their funders. So I’m not buying your arguments sorry.

  26. Riz — on 1st November, 2006 at 10:44 am  

    I agree. The science says man is having a significant impact – the facts are so telling, that even the US is waking up to it! Hah, even The Economist has adjusted its view in light of the facts (in 1997 is ballyhooed man-made global warming).

    To support, see the:Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2001 Study.

    Also, from The Economist’s recent survey on Global Warming: ‘Since that IPCC report five years ago, the science has tended to confirm the idea that something serious is happening. In the 1990s, satellite data seemed to contradict the terrestrial data that showed temperatures rising. The disparity puzzled scientists and fuelled scepticism. The satellite data, it turned out, were wrong: having been put right, they now agree with terrestrial data that things are hotting up. Observations about what is happening to the climate have tended to confirm, or run ahead of, what the models predicted would happen. Arctic sea ice, for instance, is melting unexpectedly fast, at 9% a decade. Glaciers are melting surprisingly swiftly. And a range of phenomena, such as hurricane activity, that were previously thought to be unconnected to climate change are now increasingly linked to it.’ …and this Survey is sponsored by BP!

  27. Electro — on 1st November, 2006 at 3:35 pm  

    Sunny, I’m a fabulously wealthy oil executive!

    There’s something to be said in favour of ageing, you know.

    Remember those “Whole Earth” catalogues that were recieved as fact. They were very popular in the 70s. When I was about 20 ( 1978) I can remember one issue in particular in which the editors claimed that by 1985 the world would run out of resources.

    What! No flying cars?!

    Last summer we broke two records for heat. “Weather channel” had a panel discusssion on global warming……all were wide-eyed and clearly “ascared”.

    Two weeks ago the city of Buffalo had a blizzard, the first on that date in RECORDED history. In fact, the first in October in recorded history.

    So I shall go now, sit atop Mont
    Royal and scour the horizon for approaching glaciers, while savouring the dividends of my petrole stocks…….

    Last winter Montreal hosted a global warming conference.

    Not a very bright idea for mid-January

    While climatologists, many of ‘em from the tropics, prattled on about melting ice sheets and such, the city experienced a record cold-wave.

    The participants discussed a variety of topics, but mostly they just complained about “chilly” hotel rooms.

  28. sonia — on 1st November, 2006 at 4:41 pm  

    yeah its silly to not refer to it as global ‘climate change’

  29. Sunny — on 1st November, 2006 at 6:38 pm  

    Two weeks ago the city of Buffalo had a blizzard, the first on that date in RECORDED history. In fact, the first in October in recorded history.

    Hi Electro, sorry but a few anecdotes here and there do not a trend make. Look at the larger picture, as Riz has pointed out: rapidly disintergrating glaciers; rapidly increasing level of C02 in the atmosphere PPM; rising overall temperatures; changing migrating patterns etc.

    You are arguing against all the data on the basis of a few chilly rooms and better wine?

  30. Electro — on 1st November, 2006 at 9:08 pm  

    Europe was warmer a 1000 years ago than it is today.

    That is not an anecdote, that’s a fact.

    Yes glaciers are retreating, but who’s to say what “normal” is for a glacier.

    Are they retreating back to altitudes never before attained, or are they simply shrinking to levels similar to those of the Middle Ages?

    It is interesting to note that during the 16th and 17th centuries, the height of the “little Ice Age”, teams of monks in Alpine countries would often assemble at the foot of advancing glaciers praying that their progress be halted so as not destroy nearby villages.

    They often did, though.

    And if retreating glaciers expose the residues and remains of engulfed villages, what then will the “wamers” say?

    That the remains were “planted” by Haliburton?

    To claim that global warming is real, that it is OUTSIDE the range of normal climate variations, and to then put a PRECISE pricetag on those claims; that whole position is an article of pure faith.

    Sorry.

  31. soru — on 1st November, 2006 at 10:13 pm  

    Natural climate variation is an extra reason for minimising artificially-induced climate changes, not an excuse for doing nothing.

    If you are in a plane flying low in fog and losing altitude, with no working radar, you don’t say:

    We don’t know whether or not there is a mountain ahead, so we can’t say when we will crash. Best estimate is if the ground is flat, we will slam into it in 30 minutes. However, we can’t rule out the posibility that there will be a big canyon that goes below sea level, so maybe that could be longer.

    A trend towards increased temperature caused by increased C02 is a simple physical fact, like the height above sea level of a plane dropping. The thing that’s more difficult to calculate is the combination of that and the natural cycles, like the height of the plane above the unknown hills and valleys on the ground.

    But have it keep on dropping, eventually something bad will happen.

  32. Sunny — on 1st November, 2006 at 10:42 pm  

    To claim that global warming is real, that it is OUTSIDE the range of normal climate variations, and to then put a PRECISE pricetag on those claims; that whole position is an article of pure faith.

    Riiiiiiight… so that’s why all those predictions that the melting glaciers will raise sea levels or that the increased CO2 will make climate warmer are rubbish?

    What is “normal” may not be established exactly, but we do KNOW that rising temperatures and rising sea levels will HAVE AN IMPACT on our cities and ecology and way of life. That is the problem. If a few million people die because of increased water levels are you going to carry on claiming that we still don’t know what the “natural” temperature levels are? Utterly ill-thought out logic.

  33. Sahil — on 1st November, 2006 at 11:15 pm  

    “To claim that global warming is real, that it is OUTSIDE the range of normal climate variations, and to then put a PRECISE pricetag on those claims; that whole position is an article of pure faith.”

    It’s not faith, just look at the thousands of articles from geophysics, biology, marine biology, etc… Plus your tree rings are just one methadology for looking at tempreture variation, 100s of other methods have been applied that support ARTIFICAL rises in tempreture. Maybe you also believe that any form of product can be recycled without cost and thus, we have just as much wood as 200 years ago, but now it’s simply carbon in the atmosphere. Maybe you just want to be a Bjorn Lomborg:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2004/12/12/do1202.xml&sSheet=/opinion/2004/12/12/ixop.html

    Or maybe you want to actually look at what the Pentagon actually written:

    http://www.greenpeace.org/international/news/world-bank-pentagon-warn-cli

  34. Electro — on 2nd November, 2006 at 3:10 pm  

    That is the problem. If a few million people die because of increased water levels are you going to carry on claiming that we still don’t know what the “natural” temperature levels are?

    Sahil, Sunny and all; it may come as a surprise, but sea levels have been rising steadily for some time; in fact, centuries.

    I’m sure everyone here is familiar with the shrine/abbey of Mont St-Michel sitting just off the northern coast of France.

    The abbey was founded around 600 AD. It may be off the coast of France now, but back then it was located in the middle of a lush oak forest.

    Once again, this is not an anecdote; this is a FACT.

    In an era long before we began burning fossil fuels, the Channel waters inexplicably began to rise and in the space of several centuries inundated the forest, turning it into seabed.

    Is the flooding of the land around Mont St-Michel “normal” or was it result man-made CO2 emmisions?

    I think it’s all part of a natural process.

    One more thing, Roman chroniclers have mentioned the treacherous waters of the English channel. The channel is extremely shallow, but back then even more so. Roman sailors has mental maps of the countless shoals visible just under the waves; most refused to make the crossing at night simply beacuse they’d be unable to see them. Equally, old Roman maps depict channel islands that are no longer there…….at least at high tide.

    On the rare occasions when tides are extremely low, a few of these former islands remerge from time to time as fetid mud-flats

  35. Sahil — on 2nd November, 2006 at 4:19 pm  

    HAHA, I don’t know what to say to you Electro, I’m linking you to documents that demonstrate through multiple methadologies that global warming IS ARTIFICAL and you respond by telling me that people through secondary sources are saying that tides around the English channel have been steadily increasing, and therefore global warming is a natural phenomena. WOW, and you say that my arguments are based on faith.

  36. Bert Preast — on 2nd November, 2006 at 6:47 pm  

    Just down the road from me is the Roman city of Bolonia. It’s quite impressive, and not more than two metres above sea level. It’s been like that for over 2000 years now. So if Europe was warmer 1000 years ago than it is today, the polar icecaps certainly were not.

    This is not an anecdote; this is a FACT

  37. Don — on 2nd November, 2006 at 7:22 pm  

    When 95% of reputable scientists reach a general concensus on an issue of huge importance one is free to accept (pro tem) their conclusions as being the best available working hypothesis, or reject them.

    You can reject them based on either superior personal expertise, or because you don’t like the implications.

    If the latter, you are mired in the consequentionalist fallacy. If the former, by all means step up to the mark.

    By the way, I’ve been considering the idea of an individual carbon trading system. Give each adult an allowance of air-miles, road miles, whatever and let those who choose not to fly or drive trade their ration to the larger consumers.

  38. Electro — on 2nd November, 2006 at 8:07 pm  

    Bert P. All climatologists agree that Europe was wamer during the Middle Ages. Does that mean the whole globe was warmer? I don’t know.

    And if no one here is aware that Mont St-Michel once stood in the middle of an oak forest instead of on an island connected to the mainland by a causeway, then I’m just friggin’speechless!

    What was once dry land just 14 centuries ago is now covered by seawater. That tells me much more than a 1000 scientific studies.

  39. soru — on 2nd November, 2006 at 8:55 pm  
  40. soru — on 2nd November, 2006 at 8:56 pm  

    *fixed formatting*

    The abbey was founded around 600 AD. It may be off the coast of France now, but back then it was located in the middle of a lush oak forest.

    I think you mean
    St Michael’s Mount” off Cornwall, not Mont Saint-Michel off France.

    Both have been islands or tidal island since earliest recorded history (400 BC), with any changes being due to tidal shifts, silt buildup, etc.

    There are legends that the rock of St Michael’s Mount was once set in a wood, but if they are true, they date back to far prehistoric times.

  41. Don — on 2nd November, 2006 at 10:23 pm  

    Nice fact check, Soru. But I doubt it will change the mind of someone who sees an errant factoid as worth ‘much more than a 1000 scientific studies.’

  42. Bert Preast — on 2nd November, 2006 at 10:46 pm  

    http://www.malenkito.com/images/bolonia.jpg

    A photo of the Roman town at Bolonia. The one which’s never been underwater.

    Europe was warmer, the rest of the world wasn’t. Probably down to deforestation, and probably knocked back a few centuries by the black death. Now changing up to fifth gear again.

  43. Sunny — on 2nd November, 2006 at 11:42 pm  

    Electro, I’m sorry but it’s not worth debating with you. Using one or two anecdotes to dismiss so much scientific research… well it takes a brave or a foolish person to do that. Either way your arguments are so bad it’s not worth engaging.

  44. Electro — on 3rd November, 2006 at 4:21 pm  

    Oh for god’s sakes! Mont St-Michel, just off the coast of France, was surrounded by lush oak forests at its founding. I’m too busy to provide links, but check out…say… National Geographic’s website and do a friggin’ search you people!

    This is a basic fact, like the sky being blue and the sun setting in the west.

    Based on such a spotty knowledge of history, all you enlightened people are making sure-fire predictions about the future.

    Sunny, tree rings, ice-cores and such, some dating back thousands of years, are NOT anecdotal. they are really the only reliable and SOLID evidence we have of our climate’s past, yet you dismiss them.

    If we don’t know where the climate is comming from, then how can we possibly ascertain where it’s going?

    This thread is unraveled! I’m off to purchase some warm wollen undies and socks…..not to mention new mittens!

    You guys can freeze!

  45. Bert Preast — on 3rd November, 2006 at 4:58 pm  

    Electro, the abbey at Mont St. Michel was founded in the 8th century, not the 6th. And it was founded on an islet. Made of granite. So we can assume it’s unlikely the granite was covered in lush oak forests, as you put it.

    The local tidal range is up to 15 metres springs, say 9 metres neaps. So what you are trying to make us believe is that 1200 years back the sea level was at least 10 metres lower than it is today. And that presumably everyone at the time failed to notice stuff like half the Mediterranean draining into the Atlantic.

    Am I following you so far?

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