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Carbon Dioxide Fantasies

It is scarcely possible to turn on the radio without hearing a mention of climate change or carbon dioxide emissions. It would be more realistic, perhaps, if our political leaders turned their thoughts to ways of preventing power cuts next winter. On this they have been silent.

The leaders of eight of the world's richest countries, the "G8", agreed recently to 'halt global warming' by halving their emissions of carbon dioxide by 2050. Unfortunately their actions show that although they are prepared to spend enormous sums of our money, they have no idea how to do it.

They are also in the process of doing serious damage to their economies.

The measures they have tried are not working. The drive for renewable energy, which includes building thousands of wind turbines, is turning out to be self-deception. The output of the 2,000 turbines built so far in Britain is less than that of a single medium-sized gas fired power station.

Biofuels are not the answer. There are recent indications that they don't lead to lower carbon emissions. They also prevent land being used for food.

The EU emissions trading scheme has cost 40 billion so far and has not resulted in any reductions of carbon dioxide emissions.

If the G8's leaders really wanted to cut greenhouse emissions by 50% over the next 40 years they would need much more drastic steps than anything they have suggested - including a return to a much less electrical age. (A more medieval lifestyle, perhaps - with massive reductions in travel, communication, warmth, light, cleanliness and food - Ed).

President Bush pointed out that China, absent from the G8 summit, is already putting out more carbon dioxide than any other country and has no intention of altering its economic or energy policies to suit Western politicians.

The intention to reduce carbon dioxide emissions seems reckless, since there is mounting evidence that it won't affect global temperatures.

The orthodox global warming thesis, accepted by most Western politicians, is that when carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, temperatures go up. They say, therefore, that we must reduce carbon dioxide productiion or we will have catastrophe.

However, even though atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased recently, temperature rises have not followed. After 2000, the global temperature curve flattened out.

Some scientists have pointed out that there is a better link between temperature and sunspot activity than between temperature and carbon dioxide. Current sunspot levels have fallen to levels associated with times when the earth was cooler.

Unfortunately politicians seem to have swallowed the carbon dioxide - warming theory without digesting it. They use it to justify spending enormous amounts of our money without realising the damage it will do to our way of life.

The attention they are giving to carbon dioxide is diverting attention from a more imminent danger. We are facing the near certainty of a massive shortfall in our electricity supplies in Britain within the next few years, as our nuclear power stations and nine of our main coal and oil fired power stations are switched off. We are due to lose 40% of our current generating capacity.

The Prime Minister does not know how to fill the gap. He has been talking recently about environmentally-friendly electric cars, and how they are good for the environment (emitting no carbon dioxide). He appeared to forget that the energy to charge an electric car comes from the grid, and that three quarters of grid electricity comes from fossil fuel. (The only large-scale zero-carbon way to charge an electric car is nuclear. No mention of that - Ed.)

Ironically, we may meet the target of 50% carbon dioxide reduction for a reason that the politicians have not foreseen. Our lights will go out, our economy will grind to a halt, and we will face a cold, dark future.


This is a precis (in my words) of ideas expressed by Christopher Booker in an article which appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 10 July 2008. If you wish to quote Christopher Booker, please use the original article, not this one.

N.D./habitat21 website

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