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/ Climate Change - is this a sign of hope?

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keith-ratcliffe on 04 Dec 2018

I found this story today and thought it was quite significant in the Climate Change debate.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46424830


Putting aside my ongoing statistical reservations about Climate Change I do concede that the evidence is building that we need to do something to reverse trends in emissions that are harming our Climate. 
The current ambassadors of this need to act include large numbers of people who are taking simple actions to contribute to this by lifestyle changes around transport, food consumption and packaging. There are also the big figures who attempt to influence the debate at national & international level, notably David Attenborough's recent apocalyptic vision of the end of the natural world. He was speaking to the United Nations and I do think that many senior politicians on the International Stage do now understand the need to act.


However the key player in the piece are currently totally disconnected with the discussion. They are the immense body of commercial interests who will suffer if they adopt changed behaviours that contribute to a reduced carbon emission. They are the energy companies, the road hauliers, the transporters, the farmers, the manufacturers and many others all of whom contribute in some way to the wealth of the nation. I cannot see them changing tack easily to a lower energy/emissions operation that reduces profits. 


But then there is today's Shell story, is this a small step towards a recognition of the responsibility by commercial interests that they must change - or am I deluded?

Luke90 on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

Large companies, even oil companies, have recognised the value in appearing to take climate change seriously for some time now.

I guess this might be a step forward in actually applying monetary incentives to decision-makers but it only seems to be a proposal rather than anything concrete, and quite a vague proposal as well. The story says they've not yet agreed what percentage of the pay will be dependent on the environmental targets. If there's a 1% bonus attached to carbon reductions and an 80% one for growth targets in oil extraction, it's going to be a pretty empty gesture. I'm also not clear on whether the investors pushing this have enough clout to get whatever they finally agree through the shareholder vote in 2020.

I suppose the real story is the concept of investors with serious money using that influence as leverage to push environmental causes. Though it still depends whether they'll let companies off the hook with small gestures.

pasbury on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

Can you get your statistical reservations published in a peer reviewed journal so we can all read them please?

GarethSL on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

Can't help but feel the bigger news here is that the C of E financially invests in the kind of science that essentially disproves everything they supposedly stand for.

*mind blown*

keith-ratcliffe on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to pasbury:

My reservations are based on the work of an academic friend who was studying a wide range of evidence over several thousand years for the state of the climate in the UK. It discovered 'glitches' of several yrs that appeared regularly but unpredictably in the climate record that could not easily be explained by known influences. Possible causes that were offered referred to solar radiation and temporary atmospheric change. A conclusion was that only by taking at least 50 and preferably 100 years data could you discount these intermittent effects. 
I do accept that the current evidence since the late 1980's is that there is currently one of those 'glitches' but as yet it is not long enough to be described as a permanent change by the criteria of my source.
I fully accept that this is not a published paper with peer review but it still influences my opinion on the topic.

Pursued by a bear - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

Without knowing more about the work it's impossible to comment meaningfully but the regular explanation for unexplained glitches downwards in climate data is volcanic eruptions. We just don't have enough data about every one that could have caused such things.

T.

NottsRich on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

Do you have reservations about climate change itself ocurring, or about it being (largely) caused by us?

keith-ratcliffe on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to NottsRich:

I have no doubt that the climate is currently going through a warming period and the evidence that it is caused by human activity is mounting rapidly. But until it passes my friends 50 year test I am prepared to question its cause.

Incidentally I also prescribe to the Gaia Hypothesis that the Earth has self regulatory mechanisms that may cause human extinction.

Myr - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

It would be better if we knew whether pay would be positively or negatively tied to carbon reduction...

summo on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

There is no hope. It's human nature not to accept blame. Many will continue to look for anything else to blame, natural cycles, solar flares, volcanoes. . as they continue to drive a big car and fly several times a year etc..

They will console themselves by recycling the bit of plastic or buying a paper bag for their shopping, but in the grand scheme of things their actions are irrelevant. 

There will be more big storms, droughts, record temps etc.. and we will have the same conversation in 10, 20... years time. 

Harry Jarvis - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to Luke90:

> Large companies, even oil companies, have recognised the value in appearing to take climate change seriously for some time now.

Fossil fuel companies will, eventually, realise that the future is low-carbon energy. As major players in the existing energy markets, they are best placed to dominate the future low-carbon energy. That they haven't done so already is a rather depressing sign of their inertial stupidity. 

Harry Jarvis - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to summo:

> There is no hope. It's human nature not to accept blame. Many will continue to look for anything else to blame, natural cycles, solar flares, volcanoes. . as they continue to drive a big car and fly several times a year etc..

I'm sure it wasn't long since you said:

"The difference is that perhaps I'm overly optimistic, there are always problems and challenges in anything, but there are also nearly always solutions too. Some people only ever choose to see the problems."

Luke90 on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

Surely there's an important distinction to be made between looking at events in the distant past and current/recent events. It sounds like your friend's work showed that some events in the past cannot be fully explained by factors we know about and you have extrapolated that there must be similar uncertainty about events today (and in the recent past) where our records are vastly more detailed. Why would an inability to explain a small subset of past events indicate that our conclusions about current events are wrong? That would only seem logical to me if we had the same detailed data about the past as we do about the present.

Your logic seems similar to refusing to accept the police's detailed evidence in a recent serial killing because when you showed them the letters from Jack the Ripper they couldn't figure out who he was.

summo on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to Harry Jarvis:

> I'm sure it wasn't long since you said:

> "The difference is that perhaps I'm overly optimistic, there are always problems and challenges in anything, but there are also nearly always solutions too. Some people only ever choose to see the problems."

Unfortunately people don't see the climate changing directly as their problem. So they have nothing to fix. 


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