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Climate Change - an Afterthought

 I read last week that the main reason why London has experienced 40+ degree temperatures recently, as opposed to the 30 or so of the past, is that big cities create large amounts of energy in the form of personal usage, for transport, electrical appliances etc, and this energy use is increasing. And it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps what we should be worrying about with regard to climate change is actually increased production of energy, something which shows no signs of abating, in spite of much noise made about carbon. The timescale is also suggestive: the current warming has coincided with the much greater use of energy of every kind (beginning with steam) associated with the Industrial Revolution. Nothing like it has ever occurred before – though high concentrations of greenhouse gases certainly have in Earth’s distant past. Whatever the truth about the greenhouse effect causing climate change – a theory which has never really convinced me, I have to say, as readers of my various blog posts will probably have guessed; to me it remains a theory on which too much scientific modelling and consequent policy has been based without proper foundation – it is a natural mechanism, which has the effect, ironically, of keeping the Earth warmer than it would otherwise be. Without greenhouse gases and water vapour to retain some of the sun’s warmth we and the rest of the natural world would all have frozen to death long ago.

So, even if we do our utmost to lower carbon emissions, or capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, continuing to increase the energy we use, and therefore the energy it is necessary to generate - by whatever means – surely must cause the world to warm. This is a very common-sense view, which I’m sure will find no sympathetic ear in the climate-change lobby - but I do urge that it should be considered. Human beings have become so dependent on fuel-created energy, to power electrical appliances of every kind, that I think they will inevitably fasten on a theory that recommends having lower greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere rather than reduce their use of energy. We are all at fault here, and need to find ways to reduce our energy production, whatever we do about carbon. I challenge you (and myself) to reduce my energy consumption drastically, as well as, of course, cutting the amount of plastic we use!

The other view we might take, which is more comfortable but perhaps more of a gamble, is that keeping the world warm via energy use and greenhouse gas concentrations might actually stave off the next ice age, which by all predictions should be round the corner ….



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