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March 10, 2005

The Greenhouse effect

BY: Gwen

The last months of 2004 were hectic regarding beliefs on Global Warming, the Greenhouse Effect and other controversial subjects. Do you remember?

On November 8th a report was released by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme on the Arctic Climate Change. It revealed that the average temperature was rising two times faster in the arctic than in the rest of the world. (see Thu Nov 11th: Four years of studies in 140 pages)

Then, on Sunday November 28, 2004, The Observer published: Greenhouse effect ‘may benefit man’ Claims by pro-Bush think-tank outrage eco-groups. This article was about a report that The International Policy Network (a charity based in the UK, and a non-profit (501c3) organization in the US). This report, according to The Observer, was published just to feed a controversy about global warming. This report was denying the legitimacy of scientific studies or discussions on the issue and attempting to prove that global warming was nothing but a song for the birds.

Here is, for example, a sentence from the introduction of the report that you can find here (pdf file)

Contributors to this report have become increasingly concerned that the public is being fed a series of exaggerated claims regarding likely future climate change, based on inaccurate models.

And a part of the conclusion of the first section of the report: The scenarios underlying climate change `predictions’

The short answer is that we simply do not know how much warmer climate will be in 2100. In fact, the degree of (compound) uncertainty is so large that merely by providing temperature intervals, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is extremely misleading.

The Observer also stated that the melted Arctic will be beneficial for mankind by increasing fish stocks.

Well, reading Daniel Howden’s and Ben Holst’s article in The Independent published on the 5th of January, competition over the Arctic has already begun: it is a new international `cold war’.

The Arctic finds itself on the front line of the race to claim the North Pole, a modern scramble for the Arctic that has pitted tiny Denmark against its NATO ally Canada, with Russia and the United States lurking in the wings.

But this open competition is not only about fish stocks…

What is for some an environmental catastrophe might be a great commercial opportunity. Diamond finds in Canada’s Nunavut have already fired a mining rush and propelled the country into the ranks of a top-three producer. Ottawa is counting on tapping what the government suspects are major natural gas reserves in the Beaufort Sea, the Frigid Zone bordering the Yukon and Alaska, where diplomatic swords were crossed with the US when it tried unsuccessfully to auction off the area to oil companies last year.

But what really made me sick is this sentence:

The centuries old bane of Arctic explorers could become a reality thanks to global warming, cutting thousands of miles off the shipping routes between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and delivering a windfall to any country able to tax its users.

There always seem to be people who are trying to deny the existence of a theory or of a scientific study, or at least confuse the issue, while others are trying to get rich from future impacts.  Wouldn’t it be great if we were spending as much time and money trying to stop or mitigate the problem?

Related post on the blog:
Fri Dec 10th: