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Climate Change and its Practical Irrelevance

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Living by the sea on a small island, these kind of statistics worry me.

The great is-it-or-isn’t-it climate change debate has been raging on, and gathering momentum, for the better part of a decade with increasing media exposure. And while I would name this a purely scientific debate (as it is in reference to climatology, meteorology, statistics, and the like) it seems that when it comes to people’s “belief” in climate change or otherwise, the debate gets split along ideological lines. In the end reduces us down to a kind of “hippies vs. squares” dialogue which, as anyone who’s ever tried to argue with an evangelical of the opposite persuasion to themselves will tell you, gets us nowhere helpful.

As any environmentalist will tell you, time is of the essence when it comes to “saving the world” or “righting climate change”. So the current circular argument based on ideologies in a scientific context is not only frustrating to all parties involved; it delays dealing with the issue and (if climate change is indeed a problem) leaves us in a very sticky situation.

So, my suggestion? Scrap the whole debate. It’s argued on very tricky semantics (e.g. climate change has righted itself in the past; a few points of a degree warmer could be attributed to the relative positions of the earth and sun; etc.) Instead, let’s focus our energies on looking at the depleting availability of natural resources.

It is a far more widely accepted fact that fossil fuel sources are decreasing, and the remainders are much harder to mine. This is more easily accepted because it cannot really be argued effectively on semantics (unlike the climate change debate) as it is far easier to point to an oil well and say “look its empty” than to argue that the last few summers have had appalling weather (embittered Brit here, does it show?) and that that is indicative of a much wider problem.

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So, what shall we do to match consumption with production of finite resources, and cover our arses for when they run out? Recycle and switch to (or invest in the development of) renewable energies! Ta-dah! In this way we can save ourselves from the apocalyptic nightmare of running out of oil and having nothing to replace it with, whilst tacking environmental problems (if they do exist – let’s not polarise the audience here). With the added bonus of being able to easily point the finger at objectors and remind them of the short-term profit motive they so diligently serve.

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2 thoughts on “Climate Change and its Practical Irrelevance

  1. I agree with your point that the debate on how to redesign the way we use materials and energy is far more interesting and relevant than a purely theoretical debate on wether or not (and if so, how fast and who’s to blame?) the climate is changing.

    A critical step is of course renewable energy, but that’s still the easy part of the problem. The real problem lies in material usage. Every material has its limits (both renewable and non-renewable materials). The problem is not wether or not we’ll find a substitute for oil, that’s a short term solution. The real problem is embedded structurally in the way we consume.
    I’m not talking Communism versus Capitalism here, I’m talking about recognizing the flaws in our current economic system and fixing the root cause.

    Very good post,
    Cheers,

    Jan

    • Hi, thanks for your feedback. I agree with you that consumerism is a big problem for our environmental future – but maybe energy consumerism can fit into this category. But it is true (and I suppose I didn’t consider it much) that finding a viable alternative to oil in terms of energy production; is not going to fix the problems posed by plastic products and the like.

      Thanks! 🙂

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