Climate Change: The Problem

A St George’s House Consultation
Tuesday 27 to Wednesday 28 March 2012

For 20 years the world community has struggled to address the issue of climate change. Since 1990, the baseline year for the 1992 earth Summit in Rio and also the baseline year for the Kyoto Protocol, annual emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have risen by almost half (49%). In addition the intergovernmental process, organized under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has broken down with an almost total failure to reach agreement in South Africa in December 2011. The political system has therefore failed and an altogether different approach is needed, one that is based not on politics but upon concerned individuals using science to protect the planet on which we all depend: Designated C6: A Coalition of Clued-up Citizens Concerned about Climate Change.

The problem of climate change can be neatly summarized by reversing Einstein’s 1905 equation E = MC2. (Ref 2)
Climate change is a function of world population (designated by M for Multitude); carbon output per head of population per year (designated by C2 for Carbon per Capita); and E which stands for Extinction (of animal and plant species), or for those who don’t worry about that, it also stand for End of human civilisation as we know it.  So the 2011 version of Einstein’s equation becomes: MC2 = E.
For those who still cannot grasp the implications of this equation, consider that when the Greenland ice-sheet melts world sea levels will rise by 7 metres and when the West Antarctica ice-sheet (WAIS) melts world sea levels will rise by a further 6 metres. The WAIS is of particular concern as it is grounded below sea level and its disintegration could occur quite rapidly.  (See Global Warming:The Complete Briefing (below) Chapter 7)
This is the first of three consultations dealing with the issue of climate change. Over a twenty-four hour period we will focus on the Causes, Effects and Consequences of climate change. We will also look at how the issues have been dealt with by the media.
Media opinions on climate change vary greatly, from the sceptics to the converted and all shades of opinion in between. The issues are complex and participants may find it helpful to read Global Warming: The Complete Briefing by Sir John Houghton CBE FRS (Cambridge University Press).
Sir John is a former chairman of the Scientific Assessment Working Group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Chairman of the UK’s Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP), Vice-President of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), President of the World Meteorological Society, President of the Royal Meteorological Society and Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Oxford University. Sir John’s book encapsulates the current scientific consensus on climate change. It is derived from the first 3 reports of the IPCC to which over 2,000 climate change scientists contributed world-wide. Any sceptic or climate change contrarian who seeks to dismiss this corpus of scientific data is obliged to provide a coherent and verifiable explanation for the temperature rises that are currently taking place.  So far, no one has managed to do this and there are no peer-reviewed publications in reputable scientific journals that seriously challenge the reality of global warming, nor of man’s contribution to it.
Over the past 3 millenia,  science has taught us much about the world . The Greek mathematician Eratosthenes, living in Egypt in the third century BC was the first to calculate the circumference of the earth at 250,000 stads, remarkably close to current estimates. Galileo Galilei was the first to use telescopic observations to demonstrate that moons encircled Jupiter, thus undermining the Aristotlean view that everything circled around the Earth (though the Catholic Church did not formally concede that Galileo was correct until 1992). Clair Patterson dated the age of the Earth in 1955. His
estimate of 4.5 billion years remains unchallenged to this day. (Ref 3)
Best scientists lack the comfort of peers.
Their science is always at first incredible
Even though later it teaches more…
Why do they struggle so?

Because in each discovery of new knowledge
Lies an awareness of the beauty and worth of human life
Which enslaves them as guardians of human destiny.
Clair C Patterson writing about lead pollution, August 23, 1981. Those who are interested should consult:
Rapid growth in CO2 emissions after the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, GP Peters, G Marland, C Le Quéré, T Boden, JG Canadell and MR Raupach. Published online by Nature Climate Change on December 4 2011.

2. Einstein, A. (1905), “Ist die Trägheit eines Körpers von seinem
Energieinhalt abhängig?”, Annalen der Physik 18: 639–643

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