JOHN Seaman’s column on August 9 (“No winners in debates over climate”) as usual contains useful advice for local graziers and welcome sympathy for those feeling the effects of “mongrel seasons that just keep coming”.
But his opening comment that political persuasion seems to determine every discussion of the reality of climate change is alarming.
Ours is not the only part of the world getting mongrel seasons. There are serious weather issues all around the world.
Mightn’t it be better to use the best resources available in understanding our weather, rather than political persuasion?
As I see it, the main basic scientific facts are fairly simple: man has been dumping carbon dioxide into our atmosphere at increasing rates most of the time since the industrial revolution, and we currently dump over 30 billion tonnes each year.
Its concentration there is increasing, and along with other greenhouse gases it has become increasingly effective in reducing the loss of heat from the earth’s surface into space, like glass on a greenhouse.
So our surface temperature has been rising, and average global temperatures in recent years have been the highest ever recorded.
Climate science predicts that one result will be more extreme weather, including droughts and fires in dry areas, floods in wet areas and rising sea level.
Do we want a future like that, even if some of us can insulate ourselves from some of the effects?
How comfortable are we to let it get worse for our grandchildren and following generations, for people in flood-prone areas, and for other people around the world unable to insulate themselves, not to mention other earthly life?
Can we trust the science? It is one human activity that invites challenges to improve its value.
Climate change ideas have been challenged more than any other scientific idea in history, but recent relevant peer-reviewed literature contains no convincing evidence against them, and only a very minute number of scientists disagree with them.
We can still do something about climate change if we have the will, put aside short-term politics and ideology, and rely with open minds on the best available advice.
It will be costly in the short term (but nothing like the long-term cost of doing nothing).
Together we can find safe and fair ways to do it.
The energy we have used from burning fossil fuels has enabled wonderful improvements in human life, although not shared equally.
We urgently need to develop carbon-free energy so that all people in the future can benefit, without bad side-effects.
Geoff Windsor, Wattle Flat
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