The boom in flatscreen television could be fuelling global warming more than official estimates, scientists have warned.
Experts in California estimate that production of a powerful greenhouse gas used in their production has hit 4,000 tonnes a year - enough to match the annual carbon dioxide emissions of Austria.
Research published in New Scientist estimates that the industrial component - known as "NF3" - is 17,000 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. But it is not covered by the Kyoto protocol because it was only made in tiny amounts when the agreement was signed in 1997.
Two recent polls attempting to judge the public mood about climate change have revealed contradictory results. Last week's Ipsos Mori poll told us that most people doubt the human causes of climate change. Yesterday's Guardian/ICM poll told a slightly different story, one of a growing concern with climate change, with many people considering it a higher priority than the faltering economy.
The roots of scepticism can be traced to many sources. In this newspaper on Monday, Peter Wilby criticised the media for not doing its part to lend credibility to the argument. Some have pointed the finger at that fateful Channel 4 documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle; others at the sometimes contradictory messages from environmentalists. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that many people still remain unsure of the causes of climate change, and the seriousness with which we need to tackle it.
The scientists and campaigners have done their best. The IPCC's latest report states that there is a 90% chance that humans are the main cause of climate change. Al Gore has gone around the world with graphs and arresting photographs of the melting Arctic ice, proving that climate change really is happening. And, of course, there is the anecdotal evidence: everyone knows someone who has witnessed an extreme storm, or had their house flooded, or watched from a balcony as the Asian tsunami leapt from the sea.
What is the most pressing environmental issue we face today? "Global warming"? The "greenhouse effect"? At the Oscar ceremonies, Al Gore referred to a "climate crisis," but in his State of the Union address President Bush chose the comparatively anodyne phrase "climate change." They all refer to the same thing, but the first rule of modern political discourse is that before addressing any empirical problem each side must "frame the debate" in the most favorable way. If you doubt it, just try to get a Republican to utter the phrase "estate tax" rather than "death tax." Behind the overt campaign to head off whatever it is—environmental heating? thermal catastrophe?—is a covert struggle over what we should even call it.
In recent years this has played out largely as a contest between "global warming" and "climate change." Bush's use of the latter was consistent with Republican practice, which calls for de-emphasizing the urgency of the situation, as recommended in a 2002 memo by strategist Frank Luntz. Unlike the "catastrophic" connotations of global warming, Luntz wrote, "climate change sounds a more controllable and less emotional challenge." So should activists favor "global warming"? Well, not necessarily. Richard C.J. Somerville, a leading researcher on—um, worldwide calorification?—at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, thinks "global warming" is problematic because it puts the focus on worldwide average temperature, rather than the more serious regional dangers of storms, floods and drought.
Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the mass hysteria phenomenon known as global warming. Much of the science has since been discredited. Now it's time for political scientists, theologians and psychiatrists to weigh in.
What, discredited? Thousands of scientists insist otherwise, none more noisily than NASA's Jim Hansen, who first banged the gong with his June 23, 1988, congressional testimony (delivered with all the modesty of "99% confidence").
But mother nature has opinions of her own. NASA now begrudgingly confirms that the hottest year on record in the continental 48 was not 1998, as previously believed, but 1934, and that six of the 10 hottest years since 1880 antedate 1954. Data from 3,000 scientific robots in the world's oceans show there has been slight cooling in the past five years, never mind that "80% to 90% of global warming involves heating up ocean waters," according to a report by NPR's Richard Harris.
If the price of gasoline is around $4 a gallon, Americans have no one to blame but themselves. For decades, we have demonized the people and businesses who supply our energy. Energy fuels our economy and prosperity, but bad public policies have made it increasingly more difficult to develop our own vast resources. Americans are in danger of falling irreversibly into a dysfunctional culture and fading into the dust of history.
We sit on our own undeveloped energy supplies and complain about the high price of gasoline and imported oil. Public policy in the United States is not designed to facilitate the development of new energy supplies, but to stop it. The U.S. government has placed the Continental Shelves of the U.S. off-limits for drilling. Offshore drilling would have virtually no significant effect on environmental quality.
But our energy policies are not determined by science, reason or facts. Energy policy in the United States is held hostage by a fanatical environmentalism based on emotion, fraud and deceit. The common-sense conservation ethics of Henry Thoreau, John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt have been supplanted by a radical ideology that is anti-science, anti-reason, and anti-human. In the 18th century, Rousseau argued that humanity had been ruined by agriculture and metallurgy. In the 21st century, it's fossil fuels and technology. The exaltation of the primitive is rooted in a hatred of the human mind. This suicidal and nihilistic creed can only lead us back to the Stone Age.
According to an Ipsos Mori poll, carried out for the Observer this month, most Britons believe climate change is at least partially down to natural causes, and not solely to human activity. A majority also believe scientists are divided on the causes and more than a fifth say the whole thing has been exaggerated.
Now where would they have got those ideas from? One Channel 4 programme, claiming global warming is "a swindle", has no doubt played a role, as have internet blogs arguing all the world's scientists are party to a Marxist conspiracy bent on destroying western civilisation. But the press, though declining, still counts. It contributes to the framework within which public debate proceeds. It lends respectability to the opinions it highlights.
Plans to cover swathes of the countryside with wind farms will cost every family at least £260 a year in higher fuel bills, it emerged yesterday.
The Government said the sacrifice was needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet EU targets for green energy.
Under £100billion plans unveiled by Gordon Brown, at least 4,000 wind turbines will go up in some of the UK's most beautiful scenery, while another 3,000 will be built at sea.
In the late 19th century, William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer developed what would come to be known as yellow journalism. By disregarding what had been standard journalistic methods, particularly in regards to the verifying of sources, these two publishers were able both to push their country toward war with Spain and dramatically increase the circulation of their respective newspapers.
Man has always had a healthy desire for knowledge, and it is the feeding of this hunger that ennobles journalism. Hearst and Pulitzer were acutely aware that man has a less healthy but no less voracious desire to believe that he has knowledge, particularly knowledge of something sensational. It is the feeding of this hunger that irreparably disgraced journalism, and a century later now threatens to do the same to science
OSLO: The world should cut the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to below that of 20 years ago, more deeply than most government plans, to avoid the worst of climate change, a group of 150 advocates said on Monday.
"We've gone too far -- in a dangerous direction," scientists, politicians, business leaders and others said in full-page advertisements in the Financial Times, the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune and two Swedish dailies .
They said that concentrations of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas emitted by burning fossil fuels, should be cut to below 350 parts per million (ppm) of the atmosphere, well below current levels of 385 ppm.
The Carbon Sense Coalition today called for the preparation of independent Economic and Environmental Impact Statements before Australia or New Zealand introduced an Emissions Trading Scheme.The Carbon Sense Coalition today called for the preparation of independent Economic and Environmental Impact Statements before Australia or New Zealand introduced an Emissions Trading Scheme.
The chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said it was staggering that politicians could consider such a huge speculative venture with no Prospectus, no independent economic assessment, no environmental impact statement, no due diligence and no sunset clauses.