James Hoggan's blog
A Deutche Welle feature from Nov. 29, 2005, began, as the UN climate summit began, with the European Environment Agency warning: “Europe is facing the worst climate change in five millennia as a result of global warming.” EAA Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade said, “Even if we constrain global warming to the EU target of a two-degree (Celsius) increase, we will be living in atmospheric conditions that human beings have never experienced. Deeper cuts in emissions are needed.”
Nature magazine has a chilling article in this issue tracking the enui that seems to be overtaking the Gulf Current.
It seems that as the ocean warms, it also becomes less active. Thus, the Gulf Stream might ultimately stop flowing north, while the once-icy Arctic waters will stop flowing south. This might be “Good for Canada” (see next post), as Newfoundland suffers less the effect of the Arctic backflow, but it could equally be devastating for much of Northern Europe, which depends on the warm Gulf waters to moderate its climate.
A wonderfully reassuring headline appeared in Toronto’s National Post newspaper on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2005: Global Warming: Good for Canada.
This flat statement of fact was offered over a story by “Science writer Stephen Strauss,” who set about debunking an earlier story that had warned of the possibility of severe droughts changing the landscape on the Canadian prairie. Strauss had done a little extra work on the file and found that the full Nature magazine article had said, in Strauss’s words “These models predict that because of global warming, most of Western Canada is going to get wetter. A lot wetter.”
This is a huge credit to those interest groups that have attacked the science behind climate change. Fashioning themselves “scientific skeptics,” these well-funded advocates have struck a righteous pose as debunkers - as guardians against the environmental Chicken Littles who have noticed that the sky, if not falling, is moving around in an unsettling way.
It appears, alas, that the Bush Administration’s single effort to address the Climate Change crisis is not just inadequate, but counterproductive. The vague gesture in question is the Bush proposal to extend daylight savings time three weeks later into the winter season, purportedly to shift the days’ available light toward evening, thereby preserving energy by reducing the need for electric light after school and work.
But in his new book, Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Savings Time, Tufts University Professor Michael Downing reports that Daylight Savings Time has never actually saved energy. On the contrary, people use more energy in the morning – getting up and preparing for work/school in the dark – and more in the evening, because they are much more likely to drive around to evening functions. Accordingly, the people most in favour of Daylight Savings Time tend to be sports organizations (especially golf courses), department stores (sales go up measurably during DST) and Big Energy.
Imagine: Which of those groups might have influence in the White House?