Open up the Climate Change Debate to Include Alternative Views

By The Reader's Turn
The Reader's Turn
The Reader's Turn
May 25, 2022 Updated: May 25, 2022

Ever since Prof. Wallace Broecker put the term “global warming” into the public domain, the climate change debate has gotten hotter and hotter.

I am a migrant Australian in my late 50s, currently settled in Brisbane after living and working in a few different countries. I have always believed and followed climate change science that came from official sources until I felt the chaos from the actions of governments all over the world in the management of the COVID-19.

I realized that I am not alone, and the public trust in governments has fallen drastically, but it is also resulting in mistrust towards all narratives coming from governments, including the climate change science.

What I am trying to do in this short letter is to put together why I am looking for a much more open debate in relation to climate change.

For a start on equal footing, we all must admit that the climate has been constantly changing since the beginning of time. It is a fact that the change that happened had its ups and downs, including the ice ages. To get a proper perspective of climate change in the last 10,000 years, we must acknowledge that the sea levels have risen about 100 meters (109 yards) during that time.

We are also aware that these cycles resulted from nature exerting checks and balances on itself to prevent destruction. For example, when the earth was full of plants without enough animals to balance, oxygen levels may have risen. The check came when animals flourished and produced gases like carbon dioxide and methane.

The movement of plates on the earth’s surface has been changing the weight balance of the globe from day one, and the earth was continuously adjusting on its axis to balance itself to maintain the rotation speed. The plate movements also are the cause of volcanoes, which emit CO2 into the atmosphere.

The earth is a globe with its exposure to sunlight varying from the equator to the poles. We know for certain that the sun’s north-south movement is restricted between the tropic of cancer and the tropic of Capricorn, and the areas to the north and south don’t have much choice but to live with cooler temperatures. Unfortunately, such limitation on the movement of the sun has also resulted in ice caps on the poles.

Having said that and accepting that ice-capped poles and warm tropics are both parts of the same water body, we must agree that water will flow between tropics and poles to balance the temperature. Assuming that the north-south flow is trying to increase the temperature in the poles, we must admit that the consequence will be a warming of the tropics. If presented mathematically, it will be a temperature chart with its highest point in the tropics and lowest in the poles, which will continue to rise if we believe in physics.

This will mean the severity of rain and drought increases gradually. This is, however, not a reason for blaming floods on climate change. The population of Brisbane has doubled in the last 20 years, meaning doubling the amount of built-up space and consequent rainwater runoff into the stormwater drains and river systems.

The official version that human activity is the major contributor to climate change certainly merits attention. What is missing is a total reluctance to acknowledge and find solutions to other contributing factors.

The meat industry accounts for 60 percent of greenhouse gas production attributed to human activity. This doesn’t include methane produced by humans because of excessive meat consumption. If the meat industry is encouraged to transition from pasture lands to farming fruits and vegetables, it will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the meat industry but also increase greenery for carbon capture.

The transport industry contributes 20 percent of the emissions, which doesn’t include cars and truck manufacturing industries. Obviously, the solution lies in reducing the use of cars than changing to electric vehicles, which will have their own contribution to global warming.

Australian state governments had a great opportunity to reset the public transport system after the COVID pandemic. However, what we saw in the last year was calls from all state governments to come back to the cities instead of encouraging a transition to remote working.

Remote working can be supported by opening business rooms in supermarkets for individuals to come in and join business meetings instead of travelling to cities.

The elephant in the room is public transport when it comes to the use of cars for transport. The solution is in making public transport free, which will also remove other ancillary expenses like ticketing and gate controls. It is unfortunate that Australian state governments refuse to make the tough call on fares where the benefits greatly outweigh the costs.

The carbon capture and storage technology are strongly opposed by a lot of independent scientists because the technology is unlikely to produce a net reduction.

The rise in sea levels is likely to submerge several islands as it has happened in the past. The narrow-minded politicians, however, claim we need to stop climate change rather than find habitable places for a small number of climate refugees.

Additionally, Australia’s east coast will receive more rainfall and experience more flooding in the future. This can be managed if we build dams along the Great Dividing Range and divert the excess water to the west for agriculture.

What I also hear is a lot of big stuff discussion and very little debate on small things. Here are a few examples.

Australians prefer to drop their children at the school in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. This is not only a car driving to and from the school twice a day for each child but also a restriction on the ability of a family member to work full time. If schools can provide schools buses managed by parents on a rideshare basis or otherwise, great savings can be achieved.

I am not a climate change sceptic. But a sceptic of the measures being forced on mankind in the name of climate change. So I would ask the same old question, “çui bono,” that has been around for more than 2,000 years.

Are these actions designed to benefit ordinary people or the elites controlling big businesses?

 

Jose Puttanani

Australia