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A response to criticism on climate change

Dear Editor.

It is with some trepidation that I attempt to respond to the critique of my letter. I am reeling from the devastating counter punch – “Progressive.” I have also been likened to Suzuki. What is next” Will I be finished with the Right Wing epithet, (shhh) “liberal” thrown at me? But I will take my chances.

Stifle dissent? Every National Academy of Science in the world wants action to stop emissions and warns of the dangers.. Hundreds of Institutions agree. Most major corporations, including the largest oil companies, want a price put on carbon. By actual count 99 per cent of climate scientists are strongly in favour of urgent action. Who are the dissenters? There is, of course, the psychopathic Donald Trump! In Paris, 196 countries met and agreed to the vital actions and the needed urgency. Only one did not sign. Nicaragua did not because it wanted stronger measures.

In one representative year from November 2012 to December 2013, there were 2,258 peer-reviewed papers supporting man-made global warming by 9,136 author scientists. Against? One, by one author, and he an obscure Russian. Where is the scientific or Institutional dissent?

Stifle dissent. Who are the dissenters? And what dissent? Denial of the Laws of Physics is not dissent. Denial of the extremes we see now is not dissent. Excuse me while I stifle a laugh. I agree that North Korea, Saudi Arabia and others stifle dissent. Are they “Progressive?” It would seem to me that “stifling” is the culture of conservative extremism.

The Paris Agreement is not a binding agreement: that is true. What it was is an agreement where pledges were made to certain targets and all countries are committed to finding the ways to implement those pledges. All are doing that and many are doing far more, China most spectacularly. Just a few days ago, a letter signed by 60 people: prominent scientists, the ex-Presidents of Mexico and Ireland, the Chairman of Unilever and other prominent political and business figures stated categorically that we have just three years left to reduce emissions to a level that will avoid that tipping point of temperature warming that will lead to a dangerous and uncertain future. Three years to implement the Paris accords: 2020 when the next meeting to confirm those agreements is scheduled to be held.

A recent study by a group of respected scientists has concluded that without action now, in as little as forty years much of the Persian Gulf area and North Africa may be too hot and too water deprived to sustain human life. That means that within the lifetime of many of the readers of this paper there will be hundreds of millions of refugees on the move. And we think that the Syrian crisis is a problem!

Climate has always changed? Indeed it has and many times. But, it has always changed over intervals of thousands of years. Not the forty years since the temperature rise accelerated. It has always changed because of orbital shifts, natural or cataclysmic events. It has never in its 4.5 billion years changed because of the agency of one life form. It has never changed from unnatural causes before now.

I will ignore the rest of the Gish Gallop.  It is an incoherent mix of Alt Right themes and propaganda, climate denial, and misbeliefs. Without the Paris Agreement and its implementation, the ineluctable drive to catastrophe will continue. There is still a little time but the clock is ticking inexorably.

John Peate