As happened throughout lockdown in relation to Covid, anyone who challenges the prevailing narrative on climate change is deplatformed by Facebook and YouTube. In the broadcast media anyone who challenges the orthodoxy is reminded that “the science is settled” and that they are a minority of one.
To suggest that the science is settled is anti-scientific.
Science by its nature is constantly questioning and evolving in the light of new found evidence and discoveries.
Jørgen Peder Steffensen is the Professor and Ice Core Curator, at the Center for Ice and Climate, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.
He is the curator of ice core samples taken during the North Greenland Icecore Project (NorthGRIP) initiated in 1995 as a joint international programme involving Denmark, Germany, Japan, Belgium, Sweden, Iceland, the U.S.A., France and Switzerland.
The NorthGRIP project is directed and organized by the Department of Geophysics at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.
The Greenland ice sheet is a vast body of ice covering 1.71 million km2, roughly 80% of the surface of Greenland. The 110,000 year old ice sheet is the second largest ice body in the world after the Antarctic ice sheet.
By drilling ice cores through the ice sheet, researchers can clearly see each annual layer and can measure what the temperature was in the precipitation that originally fell as snow.
In this way, they can determine what the climate was like over more than a hundred thousand years, how warm it was and how much precipitation fell.
Research conducted by Steffensen and his team suggests that Greenland is emerging from temperatures that hit a historic low in the nineteenth century just as the first meteorological data began to be recorded.
Steffensen agrees that there has been an increase in global temperatures in the 20th century “but an increase from what?” he asks.
He says it’s “probably an increase from the lowest point we’ve had for the last 10,000 years and this means that it will be very hard indeed to prove whether the increase of temperature in the 20th century was man-made or it’s a natural variation.”
He believes that it “would be very hard” to figure out if the rise in temperature is anthropogenic (man-made) or just part of the natural cycle.
“We made ourselves an extremely poor experiment. We started to observe meteorology at the coldest spot in the last 10,000 years,” he says.
Until we have a body of scientific evidence to completely disprove the current orthodoxy around climate change, it’s best to apply the precautionary principle, whereby we consider that climate change is man-made and respond accordingly, in case science proves beyond all doubt that this hypothesis is the correct one.
However, we must fight back against the global response to climate change, which is resulting in those who have done the least to create the problem being made to pay the most.
A classic example of this is the elderly pensioner under threat of hypothermia because they cannot afford a bag of coal or bale of briquettes due to increased carbon taxes while the rich and powerful can jet around the world.
The Irish government’s response to climate change is impoverishing people who were already close to the breadline.
Challenging the science on climate change is beyond the reach of the vast majority of us.
It is not beyond our reach to challenge the government’s response to the science.
In fact we have a responsibility to speak out against measures that are driving people deeper into poverty.
We also have a duty to speak out against the insanity of state policy that recently resulted in a 40-thousand tonne shipment of woodchip arriving after a 7,000km journey from Brazil to Foynes Port in Limerick. From Foynes it had to be transported 200 km by road to replace peat in the power plant at Edenderry, Co Offaly.
Bord na Móna defended importing the fuel to generate its electricity as it helps the semi-state company meet its ‘renewable energy requirements’.
Repeating the comparison made above between shivering pensioners and high flyers, a report published this week by the Washington DC based non-profit Institute for Policy Studies says private jet owners make up 0.0008 percent of the global population but they account for 50% of global aviation emissions.
𝐻𝐼𝐺𝐻 𝐹𝐿𝑌𝐸𝑅𝑆 2023 𝐻𝑜𝑤 𝑈𝑙𝑡𝑟𝑎–𝑅𝑖𝑐ℎ 𝑃𝑟𝑖𝑣𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝐽𝑒𝑡 𝑇𝑟𝑎𝑣𝑒𝑙 𝐶𝑜𝑠𝑡𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑅𝑒𝑠𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑈𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝐵𝑢𝑟𝑛𝑠 𝑈𝑝 𝑂𝑢𝑟𝑃𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑒𝑡 says these billionaire high flyers don’t pay their fair share of carbon taxes.
Elon Musk is the most active high flyer in the United States. He purchased a new jet, took 171 flights, contributed to the consumption of 837,934 liters of jet fuel, and was responsible for 2, 112 tons of carbon emissions in 2022.
He would have to pay an additional $3.94 million in taxes if he was made to a proportionate amount of carbon tax based on his carbon emissions.
The science around climate change may or may not be settled. The Irish government’s response to the science is not settled. We cannot allow multitudes to continue to fall below the poverty line while the super rich elite get through unscathed.
Anna Kavanagh MA is co-founder of M-Compass Media and author of ‘Green Schools Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change’