One for the Sceptics

By Laurison Muirhead, WATCH (Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health)

Don’t let anyone tell you that man made climate change is definitely not happening.  I cannot tell you that it definitely is but I can suggest the most sensible response.

There is a game of chance, generally played by men unhinged by drugs or war or both, called Russian Roulette.  It involves putting one live bullet in one of six empty chambers of a revolver, spinning the chambers, pointing it at your head and pulling the trigger.  In theory there is a one in six chance of death.  On each occasion no one can predict with certainty what will happen but no one in their right mind would play Russian Roulette even though the chance of living is over 80%.  The simple truth is that based on the unarguable laws of physics and careful observation of what has happened in the past under similar circumstances, the consequences of being wrong are too high to take the risk.  You only have to get it wrong once to lose your life.

We make decisions all the time based on probability.  For example we use cars often, even though we know there is a very small risk of dying in an accident.  However we put massive resources into reducing the risk through sensible laws, driver training and constantly improving  the safety of roads, cars, seat belts etc.

The rational approach to the challenge of man made climate change is to look carefully at the past and at the laws of physics and how they apply to the atmosphere.  Combine these with the increasing mass of data built up over the last two centuries and the conclusion is inescapable – there is an extremely high probability that carbon added to the atmosphere from our burning of fossil fuels is warming the earth to a dangerous level.  We only have to get it wrong once and many more  people will die through increased wild fire, extreme weather events, crop failures, war over diminishing resources etc.

The rational reaction to this information is to put massive resources into developing renewable, non polluting alternatives to burning coal, oil and gas.   Even if fossil fuels were not polluting, they are finite resources and so become more and more expensive as they are used up.  Since renewables such as solar, wind, geo thermal power etc. never end their prices will not increase. Russian Roulette anyone?!