The Truth About Climate Change

Hi Pam,

I don't know if the Copenhagen Summit will end in some kind of a climate deal. But even if it does mark the first decisive step to do something about saving the planet, there are some who think it will amount to nothing, even if nations reach an agreement.

The reason being that reducing carbon emissions by 80% from the 1990 levels - the target for 2050 for rich countries - depends on technological breakthroughs, not political pledges at Copenhagen. Without technological breakthroughs, reducing carbon emissions by 80% will erode living standards in the countries concerned, says leading Indian economics journalist Swaminathan Aiyar.

In his latest column, Aiyar argues that through history, treaties have been junked if they become politically inconvenient. Not only that, he debunks climate science too by calling the projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections as "just intelligent guesstimates". His parting shot: IPCC scientists may be the best in the world, yet they cannot predict the weather more than five days ahead.

I am sure a column like this would raise the hackles of climate scientists and environmentalists. Some of the comments below the column point out that economists are as bad as climatologists when it comes to predicting stock markets and economic trends.

Almost as a counter, journalist Amit Bhattacharya argues in his blog that the study of climate change is a multidisciplinary system science. Like any science of this nature, there are things that are well established and areas which aren't as clear, that is, where competing explanations exist and some parts that are yet speculative.

Climate science is all about probabilities, not certainties, Bhattacharya says. And when scientists talk about it, they are careful about throwing in all the caveats while making their points. This is one good reason why everyone is not convinced about it, he adds.

Whether or not climate scientists can prove their forecasts right in the short run or the long term, no one can deny that glaciers are melting, that our seas are getting warm and polluted and the rainfall patterns are changing. It does not need a scientist to show us that climate change is happening. It is so up, close and personal for all to see and feel.

Open Letters: 


I agree with you that:

"Whether or not climate scientists can prove their forecasts right in the short run or the long term, no one can deny that glaciers are melting, that our seas are getting warm and polluted and the rainfall patterns are changing."

i also agree with the many people who point out that we live on a finite planet, and we cannot carry on taking more and more out of it and somehow assuming there will always be more and more to take.

We must find sustainable alternatives to "business as usual" and the philosophy that "growth is good".

There are lots of interesting resources on this. Maybe we should consider making a collection of ones that interest us.  I was sent a link to a one hour long BBC programme on this recently to watch on my laptop. Would that be of any interest to you? Or is it too long?  Do you prefer  video (short? long?) or text - or just whatever comes as long as it is relevant?

Like many people in the UK I have been taking part recently in demonstrations to encourage our politicians to take action on low carbon futures. Whatever the truth about man-made climate change I believe we have to find new greener ways of living. That was the idea behind my blog about street lights.

It is a huge isse. On a simple level i think one of our few hopes lies in the fact that if people think there is money to be made out of "going green" because it seems there will be a market for it - then self interest will move things forward. So if governments decide to set up policies that financially support "going green" that will help too. 

Should we share more resources realted to this issue? By the way there is a live webstream from the Copenhagen talks which I came across today.

There is a lot of stuff on Twitter about it too. Regarding Twitter,  a few of us are sharing our Twitter IDs with a view to building our Twitter skills together (following each other etc on Twitter) and then sharing tips back here on Dadamac. We hope you'll join us.

Here is an interesting article about a study which that highlights the problems rising temperatures pose to plants and animals. It says that global warming is creeping across the world at a speed of a quarter of a mile each year.

Species that can tolerate only a narrow range of temperatures will need to move as quickly if they are to survive, and wildlife in lowland tropics, mangroves and desert areas are at greater risk than species in mountainous areas, the study suggests.

Read more about the study in this article



This is a good article. It really brings the problems to life in a way that makes it all close to home, no matter where home is.

It makes me think, not only about climate change, but also about a couple of issues relating to organising information, and the learning that you want to do ref development.

Ref organising information - we are both "learning by doing" regarding  placing information here on the site. The strategy I am going to suggest reflects my current thinking. It may not be right but I would like you to try it for a while. It reflects how I am seeing present (and probable) information flows trhoughout the site, and how I expect to structure them. I would like to be able to explain my thinking about it to you - but it really needs a speech chat, and lots of scribbles on paper and gesticulating - so I think I'll have to skip all that and simply tell you where and how I want you to place info - without trying to explain why.

When you introduce a new idea, or an new article (as you did with Climate change puts species in race to survive ) I want you to always start a new blog entry. If I have a response to make (more than a short comment) then I will also start a new blog entry - another Vinay-Pam open letter. This means we will seldom use comments, but they will be available. The main discussion will be through the blogs.

The way that we will find the thread going through any converstion "across blogs" will be by using tags - so obviously the ones we have had in this discussion thread would all share the tag "climate-change".

Another way to tie several blogs together is this. If we write a blog that is closely linked to a previous one, then we can actually quote the title of that blog within the body of the new blog. I think this will mean that if we do a search on the title we will easily find related blogs.

I also want to explore aspects of learning on line with you - things like the value of discussions and how to find them, and also finding areas of closer overlap between what you are looking at and the day to day concerns of people at Fantsuam. However - if I am to take my own advice I will have to do all that is a separate blog... which I won't be able to do today.

I look forward to an interesting learning year ahead with you. Thank you for being a trail-blazing Dadamac.learner.