Whanganui District Council has declared a "Climate Crisis". What exactly does this mean? Most people I asked had difficulty specifying this. The dictionary defines crisis as 'emergency; disaster; calamity'.
There is acknowledgement that councillors are attempting to highlight the effects climate change 'might' have on the population. Attention is drawn to the word 'might'. The majority of the increasingly alarmist predictions give prominence to the words 'might', 'could' and 'should'. This scaremongering and meaningless rhetoric is often espoused by people and organisations with a financial stake in fuelling this belief eg: the electric vehicle industry, solar power companies, Political Partys. Promotion of the cause has attracted opportunists who have realised that the fear and outrage generated creates the attention of the media, galvanises votes for politicians and generates financial grants for academic research, as well as the potential for trillions of dollars to be reaped world-wide through carbon taxation.
People in prominent positions are guaranteed to grab headlines through fuelling the belief and making dire predictions. A stark example is a declaration by Democratic Congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez, who stated "the world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change" Statements like that have given rise to a new medical condition called 'Climate Anxiety'.
A new climate change group in the UK called Extinction Rebellion, are predicting mass extinction of all forms of life by 2025. Their spiritual leader is 16 year old Greta Thunberg, who advocates that we should achieve zero emissions by 2025. That means, according to the New Internationalist publication, that energy will be strictly rationed, dedicated solely to survival and essential activities. There would be virtually no aviation, haulage or shipping. Gail Bradbrook, the founder of Extinct Rebellion, says her insight into the imminent end of life on earth was the result of taking huge doses of psychedelic drugs which rewired her brain!
Before the inevitable rush to accuse me of being a climate change denier - I sincerely agree climate change exists. There have been climate change trends since earth began; ice ages, warming, cooling, pole shifts. There were once forests in Greenland and the Antarctic, the middle eastern deserts were lush jungles, and you could walk from England to Europe. There has previously been much higher levels of C02 in the atmosphere and lower levels than there are currently. The present scientific consensus is that recent warming indicates a long-term trend.
Yes we have climate change. Recent heat waves in Europe followed one of the coldest winters ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere and there has been some melting of the ice caps, although not anywhere like the predictions made by scientists 10 to 20 years ago. According to Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth" the arctic ice cap should have disappeared years ago and coastal cities should now be inundated by rising sea levels. While the information in this film was generally accepted as truth, it was later found to be riddled with exaggerations and outright misinformation. Subsequently, it became public knowledge that the film and promotion of this cause proved to be exorbitantly lucrative for Al Gore.
Some scientists now believe climate is being driven by the sun's solar rays, cosmic rays, the moon and magnetic rays. The sun has just entered a period of what scientists call a solar minimum, part of an 11 year cycle of maximums and minimums. Some in the scientific community believe we are entering a prolonged solar minimum. During a solar maximum the sun gives off more heat - less heat occurs in a solar minimum. During the last solar minimum period the Earth experienced seven decades of freezing weather beginning in 1645 through until 1715. This resulted in a weather period termed the "Mini Ice Age" where temperatures dropped by an average of 1.3 degrees and caused shorter seasons, food shortages and famine. Do we have more to fear from 'Global Cooling' rather than 'Warming'.
David Shelley, an eminent member of staff of Geological Sciences at the University of Canterbury and Dean of Postgraduate Studies writes, "Climate change is a defining issue of our time... people are persuaded that we are doomed unless urgent action is taken on carbon emissions. Activists, with some success, are demanding climate emergencies be declared around the world, making those demands on the basis that temperatures are at record highs, glaciers and sea ice are melting at unprecedented rates, and sea levels rising dangerously. A cursory examination of the geological literature shows that the first two assertions are simply not true, and that rising sea levels are par for the course".
Are we truly in an era of threatening and aggressive climate change? Or is this simply another cyclical global weather pattern blip? Putting the hype and alarmist predictions aside, it's clear there is a need for further evidence-based science and reputable, substantiated data. Declaring a crisis or climate emergency is not going to save us from extinction in five or six years. I suspect by 2025 we will all be carrying on with life as usual and have hopefully moved onto solving the real issues which are here and now: global pollution and over-population - a real and far greater threat to each and every one of us.