A report by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire seems to put the sun in the clear regarding global warming. Solar trends since the 1980s, they say, should have left to a cooling, not a warming.
Hence, regardless of any effects the sun may have on the world climate in the long run, it simply is not a factor in the climate change we are experiencing at the moment. Man, it seems, IS the primary cause.
THE FIGHT GOES ON
Of course, such reports seem to do nothing other than intensify the fundamental stances being taken in the global warming debate. At the moment we are told the argument is over. It is proved that man is to blame.
This is, I’m afraid, wishful thinking. First of all, science cannot prove anything – merely offer degrees of probability. Hence, when an argument appears to be won in science, this usually means the opposite view is rallying for an attack.
Hence, in the coming year we can expect a whole host of scientists telling us that we are not to blame – that there are specific natural cycles that mean we can do nothing about it but prepare for the inevitable.
A CORRECT APPROACH
How do we answer such claims? First of all we must accept that science correctly does what science does – offer us all possible alternatives to a debate. But we must attempt to rise above the detail and look directly at the issue.
To me, the rational answer to climate change is simple – in a complicated ‘system’ all manner of impulses and forces work on an environment. So of course natural variations will come into play. But the vital word here is ‘natural.’
An environment will always provide answers, within itself, for natural incursions into its balance. But you will find that a garden cannot, for long, fight a determined gardener. He will get his way. This is so because he is above the ‘natural’ forces at work on the garden.
Is this analogous to the planet? If so, man’s input to the ‘natural’ forces at work on planet Earth will have a marked effect on the balance, tipping it towards unnatural behaviour, such as increased global warming.
So yes, many various reasons will be offered to explain climate change, irrespective of man’s involvement or responsibility. But just keep in mind that these influences are a natural part of the system. We are not. So our effect is greater.
© Anthony North, July 2007
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