Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/631/9908

From The Socialist newspaper, 30 June 2010

Challenging the global warming sceptics

"The majority of the British public is still not convinced that climate change is caused by humans", the Guardian reported on 22 June. In a certain sense, the majority are right - global warming is not caused by humans as a whole, but by big business, like BP.

Pete Mason

If polling companies asked, "Do you think that big business pollutes the planet?" or "Are big business companies like BP putting short term profit before the long term interests of the planet?", most people are likely to answer "yes", particularly since the BP oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

If BP can be forced to set up a $20 billion fund to pay compensation claims for the Gulf of Mexico disaster, why can't all the big oil and energy companies set up a fund to convert the world to carbon free energy sources, such as wind, solar, and wave power? They could, but they won't.

People become sceptical of government claims - and scientific claims - when the real perpetrators of the carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution which is threatening our planet try to pass the blame on to the hard working, under-paid and over-taxed population.

"Some people [were] saying politicians were not doing enough to tackle the problem, even though they were cynical about government attempts to impose regulations or raise taxes" the Guardian's environment editor, Juliette Jowit, has written. She finds this contradictory, but why should the working class pay for capitalist pollution? And when have government regulations imposed on big business been effective?

Lying behind the recent upsurge in cynicism in the science of global warming are the ferocious attempts by global warming sceptics, often funded by big business, to undermine the reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). And it is true that their microscopic analysis of every claim has turned up a few errors:

The glaciers are not disappearing as rapidly as was reported by the IPCC. This is good news for the billions of people who rely on the melt waters of the Himalayas for their water.

The Pacific islands are not being overrun with rising tides (yet) because their islands are growing (Shape-shifting islands defy sea-level rise, New Scientist, 2 June 2010). However the growth of the islands, caused by an effect of global warming, is not necessarily taking place where the populations are. Towns are still being inundated and people are forced to move.

Sunspots have a greater warming effect on the earth's climate than previously thought, as some climate sceptics had argued, and over the last two or three years the sun has gone unusually quiet (What's Up Sunshine, New Scientist, 12 June 2010).

This may continue, having a cooling effect on the earth's climate, but no one yet knows whether it will overcome global warming, or for how long. Recently, sunspots have begun to reappear, and may return with renewed vigour, threatening to disrupt satellite communication systems.

Evidence

But the evidence of environmentally damaging global warming continues to outweigh that of the sceptics:

2009 was "only a fraction of a degree cooler than 2005, the warmest year on record, and tied with a cluster of other years - 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007 - as the second warmest year since recordkeeping began" according to NASA.

In the Southern Hemisphere, 2009 was the warmest year since modern records began in 1880.

The last decade (2000 to 2009) was far and away the hottest on record, with six record-breaking years.

Arctic Sea Ice Volume chart from PIOMAS (Pan-Arctic Ice-Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System), photo PIOMAS (Pan-Arctic Ice-Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System)

Arctic Sea Ice Volume chart from PIOMAS (Pan-Arctic Ice-Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System), photo PIOMAS (Pan-Arctic Ice-Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System)   (Click to enlarge)

In the summer of 2009, the volume of ice in the arctic sea shrunk to the lowest on record, dropping precipitously (see chart). The winter arctic ice extended further than the record year of 2007, so climate sceptics claimed it was "returning to normal", but it was much thinner than usual.

The thin winter arctic sea ice is now melting at record rates. May 2010 saw the fastest decline in the satellite record. Whether the arctic sea ice cap will shrink below the 2007 record for the whole summer is unknown but throughout June 2010 to date, the ice extent has been significantly lower than previous record lows.

The 'tipping point' in the arctic has been reached and has tipped. It has entered what the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center called a "death spiral". The north pole could be ice free in the summer months by 2020.

With the disappearing ice cap no longer reflecting the sun's light, the planet warms quicker and the melting of the Greenland ice sheet accelerates. Sea levels rise faster than predicted by the IPCC, bringing further flooding disasters to Bangladesh and other low lying countries, raising the stakes for the Pacific islanders once again, and melting the glaciers in the Himalayas at a faster rate.

It is more important than ever that socialists expose the link between capitalism and global warming, and build a movement to force governments to act, or to replace them if they will not, with socialist governments that put oil and other energy companies under democratic public ownership and control, and use their resources to develop renewable energy.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 30 June 2010:

Only one choice... Fight back!


War and occupation

Western strategy on Afghanistan in tatters


Socialist Party editorial

From stimulus to austerity at dizzying speed


No Job Cuts

Academies: Fight the Tories' offensive on state education

Opposing the slash and burn budget

Spending cuts increase deaths

'Get on your bike'

Fast news


Socialist Party workplace news

Unison general secretary election: Prentis vote falls despite Con-Dem attacks

Tube workers ballot for action

Thousands of jobcentre workers threatened with dole

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party youth and students

United for Education day of action 21 June

Students say no to rip-off graduation ceremony

No to cuts in EMA!


National Shop Stewards Network

National Shop Stewards Network conference: An urgent call for united working class action


International socialist news and analysis

France, Italy: Workers struggle against savage austerity cuts

Australia: Gillard replaces Rudd but Labour's right wing policies remain


Socialist Party review

Trotsky admirer copies his idol


Global Warming

Challenging the global warming sceptics


 

Home   |   The Socialist 30 June 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Global warming:

triangleSouth-East London Socialist Party: Global Warming - A global threat

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleCarbon dioxide hits 800,000-year high: end profit-driven pollution

triangleSE London Socialist Students & Socialist Party: Global warming - A global threat

triangleExtreme weather events and global warming

Big business:

triangleHull City supporters fight to reclaim their club and the game

triangleJapan - toxic legacy of the Fukushima disaster

triangleMay's EU speech kicks the can down the road

triangleNHS: public health - not private profit

Energy:

triangleDerbyshire says: No fracking way!

triangleMovement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangleCourt maintains injunction against fracking protesters

BP:

triangleNews in brief

triangle2016 hottest year on record, air poisonous

IPCC:

triangle'Freedom riders' lobby against violent policing

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

25/4/18

NUJ

Journalists' union leaders defeat call for political fund, but potential for left grows

25/4/18

Usdaw

Retail union backs zero-hour ban, leaders oppose rank-and-file coordination

25/4/18

McDonalds

McDonald's strikers: "We demand a living wage and decent conditions"

25/4/18

Yorkshire

Sheffield and South Yorkshire: no to closures - defend our NHS

25/4/18

Southampton

Southampton: the cuts or no cuts election

24/4/18

Newham

School strike forces head to say privatisation will stop

23/4/18

Hull

College protest against job losses

22/4/18

Bromley

Bromley library workers win strike campaign

18/4/18

UCU

UCU members vote to end pensions dispute

18/4/18

Usdaw

Usdaw conference 2018: time for new era of fighting trade unionism

18/4/18

Leeds

Victorious Fearnville Fields campaigners thank the Socialist

18/4/18

Hull

Hull says no to war, no to austerity

18/4/18

The Socialist

The Socialist - a fighting, campaigning, workers' paper

18/4/18

Socialist Party

Building fund: 150,000 milestone smashed!

18/4/18

Fighting Fund

Give us your change (and more) to fight for system change!

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999