Add grey shades to green debate 2

May 11, 2007

Bob Ward seems to be supporting a witch-hunt in academic departments for climate-change deniers. I personally do not know any free-market ideologists and oil industry lobbyists who are engaged in activities that endanger the world, although they are likely to exist. I do know independent scientists who believe the popular, media-led approach to climate change is exaggerated and who are, perhaps, mindful of the dangers of the "millennium bug".

Few will deny that global temperatures are rising and that carbon dioxide from anthropogenic sources is connected with climate change.

Far less certain are the secondary effects that will follow global warming: no one is in a position to say exactly how our complex planet will react.

Nevertheless, the green and the media consensus in the UK is that the worst-scenario events should be pursued, with national shutdown-type reactions at great economic and social costs. Surely the emphasis should be on capturing the energies of the sun, wind and waves, which would solve the problems of global warming, other pollution and the eventual demise of fossil fuel supplies? If some of the billions of dollars that some wish to spend on countering hypothetical problems were ploughed into developing sustainable energy sources, the country could in a relatively short time become a world leader in new technologies offering global solutions to the problems that humans have helped to create.

Jack Pridham
Royal Holloway
University of London

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