Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Adding Noughts on Climate Change

When I started writing this blog I thought that I would talk quite a bit about climate change and climate change policy. Partly I was struck at Christmas time when my cousin, who works for a bank in a fairly senior capacity, announced that climate change was just a fraud perpetrated by politicians. Perhaps he was even serious but I was too stunned, and indeed ill-informed, to pursue the topic! In any case, I had the impression that the disparagement of the scientific consensus that human activities are heating the earth, particularly by those on the right of politics, was proving more stubborn in New Zealand than in the US for example. The emissions trading legislation was shaping up as one of the big issues of the year.

I haven't really said much for several reasons. Firstly I don't know enough about economics to get down in the dirty details of emissions trading schemes and carbon taxes. Secondly I am not a climate scientist so I don't have a lot to say about the detailed science. If you want to hear about climate change from climate change scientists read Real Climate and the refereed scientific literature. Thirdly embarking on this issue seems to be a great way to attract cranks and trolls. There is often a tone of barely controlled hysteria on both sides.

So all in all it often seems that there are too many challenges in attempting to communicate effectively on the subject. Instead I've hatched a plan to run a course on the physics of climate and energy. This is probably a better use of my time, and provides an excuse to learn more about the details of the science.

However the Kiwi blogosphere has been replete with discussions of this issue and at some point I just want to get stuck in. I've been trying and failing to write the one perfect blog post about the physics of climate change but I am going to leave that for now and just get stuck in on some recent issues in true reactive blog style.

So henceforth I will be joining the "climate change jihad".

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