November 23, 2010

CALL FOR SOBER REFLECTION ON THE CLIMATE CHANGE DEBATE

Richard Omondi, in one of the AYICC Kenya meetings
The debate on global climate change has changed from better to worse and those championing green economy have received ceremonial embrace for their outstanding scientific contributions.
The debate however remains to be as fictional as it was in the early 1990s. Increasingly, it seems like climate change belongs to what philophers call, the limit of science.
Inspite of the failure of United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to agree on global climate change on Mitigation and Adaptation frame work at the Copenhagen late last year, many carrier scientists are still hopeful that they will produce a conclusive evidence of global warming which they believe posses worst threat to humanity and other forms of life across the globe.

In many African countries, high levels inter-ministerial committees have been formed to develop strategies for combating climate change. Big offices have also been created and None Governmental Organizations have received funds in the name of climate change sensitization. These have however raised many questions such as: Do these funds go to what they are intended for? Or how effective are these so formed committees? Or better still, shouldn’t these funds be directed to direct development investment?

Besides, it is hard to tell if the facts showing sustained increasing and decreasing in temperature anywhere in the world are reliable. The truth is that, there is no universally accepted scientific explanation for the alleged increase or decrease in global temperatures. And even the most sophisticated weather prediction models can only give a realistic forecast for a maximum of one week with 70% accuracy and the unpredictability that coins an element like wind helps in adding more questions to these predictions. As we approach COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, we are calling for a sober reflection, on the entire debate on climate change.

The scientific explanation of global warming is based on what happens in a simple horticulture greenhouse. It is alleged that some gasses (principally carbon dioxide) emitted from industries and animals in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, thereby forming a blanket in the lower part of the sky more like a greenhouse cover thus preventing the escape of sun’s energy from the earth surface and causing increase in temperature over the earth. The other argument is that, reduction in vegetation cover implies that less of carbon dioxide emitted from industries is absorbed by these carbon sinks.

No scientist knows the boundaries of the universe and in which we live and therefore the accumulation of carbon dioxide in an infinite volume to lethal levels simply does not hold water. And the correlation between carbon dioxide levels and global warming can only be a spurious one, because there are far too many variables that could affect the energy and moisture fluxes that determine the temperature of such an infinite volume.

Human beings desire to live in a comfortable climatic zone. They also need agricultural land with good rainfall patterns for crops and animals. Thus if the Sahara desert or any other desert could become green again due to reforestation and natural sedimentation process, many people would go there and farm. Predictions that are more focused on disasters, famine and calamity should not be given much emphasis since these phenomenons have been with us through out the history of humanity.

Thinking positively, only a quantum leap in faith in the world will assure humanity of a good climate and food security. Why do we have floods in the deserts and wildfires in the forests? Has any scientist in the world ever predicted the occurrence of tsunami or earthquake one year in the future?
Long range global climate predictions models could be a phony triumph of scientific egoism over enduring human beliefs and rationality. To this end, scientists should consider putting their findings in a more elaborate way understandable by many if not by all.

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2 comments :

  1. With few days left to COP 16 in Cancun Mexico, we are calling all the delegates to have a sober debate on climate change.

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  2. As the climate change debate has been used as a battle ground of the titans, we as the developing nations should not be deterred. Mounting enormous pressure with a common voice to the developed nations will be key as we table our stand in Cancun

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