by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

According to MPs, business leaders and environmental figures at CIWEM’s Dinner Debate held in February 2010, public belief in climate change is waning in the wake of the Copenhagen Summit that failed to deliver. In addition the green movement is deeply divided on issues such as nuclear power; and an emerging anti-green faction is capitalising on the ‘climate-gate’ controversy over allegedly flawed climate data.

As the UK is unlikely to suffer really major climate catastrophes, the Government is focusing on adaptation rather than mitigation by planning for a four, and not two, degree increase in temperature. Unfortunately the data flaws in the IPPCC’s report, and recent controversy over the UEA’s leaked emails, have made it harder for politicians to argue the case for more environmentally friendly policies. The unsettled science has also increased public doubts about the effects of climate change, with many of us only worried about a loss in quality of life as the supply chain breaks down in developing countries.

However, the fact that 192 countries came together to discuss climate change shows a groundswell of international understanding of the issues. Therefore we could get to a point of a critical mass of activity working to protect our enviornment, but only if the environmental movement demands that every party political manifesto be looked at in the context of climate change. Professional institutions are the bedrock for forcing political change and CIWEM has an important role to play in using its influence during the election.

The waning of the public's believe in Climate Change and its reality is not so much that they do not believe that the climate is changing but it is that they do not believe that man and man's activities is the cause for it.

It is hardly surprising, having seen the contents of those emails that were liberated from the University of East Anglia and the attitude of the scientists when questioned by Members of Parliament in a scrutiny commission, that the man and woman in the street is coming to the conclusion that the scientists are making things up.

While it is true that the climate is indeed changing the fact that the scientific community is getting its knickers in a twist makes it problematic for many to believe that man is the causal agent.

The problem also is that global warming and climate change have hijacked things appertaining to the environment rather and many of the other, equally important if not even more important – for what good is a cool planet to us if the rest of the environment has gone south and can no longer support life – issues.

In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s the concern was pollution from the burning of fossil fuels and the truth is that that self-same pollution still is the culprit today, however much the carbon idea is being pushed.

The Himalayan glaciers are melting not because of warming or climate change; they are melting because of soot having settled on them.

Now we are being confronted with bio-fuels, such as bio-diesel that are worse in emissions, as to soot particles and even CO2 as oil-based diesel and still the powers that be promote it full tilt.

How much does it just have to do with “we are running out of oil but no one is willing to admit it?”

I shall leave the reader to make up his or her own mind ...

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