Saturday, December 11, 2004

What about the day before yesterday?

Andrei Illarionov says in the Australian that the Kyoto Protocol is “just lots of hot air”. Illarionov says that it is based on “fraudulent science” and that “Assertions that global temperatures are higher today than any time in the past are completely false. Fluctuations in climate patterns have existed for millions of years -- for all earth history.” He continues:

Global temperatures were higher in the Roman times when grapes were grown on British islands and Hannibal's elephants walked through the Alps into Italy. They were higher in the medieval period when the Vikings found and colonised the island that they have called Greenland and when Norwegians grew grain on the fields that are 300m in altitude higher than it is possible to do today.

Temperature variations in the course of the earth's history have been much greater than the increase of 0.6 degrees Celsius estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the last century. In the past, the earth's climate was warmer, the global temperature rose faster, sea level was higher, floods were more severe, droughts lasted longer and hurricanes were more devastating than they were in the 20th century. Moreover, the best available temperature data from satellites show negligible temperature changes over the past several decades.

The sad part is that Kyoto has almost become an article of faith for many environmental activists, who are in denial about the treaty’s faults and treat any criticism of the treaty as an attack on the environment, which is certainly isn’t. There are many worthy environmental causes to fight for, and defending a treaty based on bad science does disservice to that cause, and to concern for the environment.

Why is it that so many of us like to believe in the worst. As Michael Hanlon wrote a few months back in the Spectator, “The Right points to our inexorable moral decay, promiscuity, the ravages of Aids and drug addiction, the decline in manners and standards. The Green Left berates us for our profligacy with resources, our rape of the environment, our failure to right the inequalities of wealth that are leading us to meltdown.”

Both sides “are utterly wrong”, he tells us, and makes a wonderful case for the headline of his story: ”There’s no time like the present”. Read the full thing.

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