Cool Heads Needed In Warming Debate
The Association of British Drivers has repeatedly denounced the sensationalised view of climate change portrayed in the media. As the millennium comes to a close and further scare stories emerge, the ABD points to a large body of credible research which shows that climate change is a normal and natural phenomenon; attention-grabbing headlines should be saved for when there is NO climate change as this would be unprecedented.
- Climate change is a natural feature which has occurred throughout our planet's 4.7 billion year history, with the most recent changes explained as due to variations in the output of the Sun (1) while longer term effects are caused by tectonic activity and cycles in the Earth's orbit and axial tilt (the Milankovitch cycles)
- Studies of our planet's climate over suitably long timescales show large fluctuations in temperature of between 10 and 20 times those attributed to mankind's influence, which - since they occurred before industrialisation - could not have an 'artificial' origin (2)
- Measurements from satellites in space, using an appropriate set of reference points, show that a substantial fraction of the small increase in average surface temperature this century (about half of one degree Celsius) does not exist, and is merely a systematic error in the measurements taken by climatologists at surface stations (3)
- Changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels noted in the present century are also small compared to those occurring in the recent geological past and follow changes in surface temperature rather than cause them (4)
- Cars generate a mere 0.6% of the total annual emissions of carbon dioxide, with 96.5% of carbon dioxide emanating from natural sources (5)
- Buildings emit nearly twice as much man-made carbon dioxide as transport sources, yet fuel to heat buildings is taxed at 5% while petrol is taxed at 500% (6)
- Carbon dioxide isn't the most important greenhouse gas anyway (7) and models using its effects to make predictions are hopelessly inadequate
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory comments:
"The government's closed mind on global warming - which is now a loaded term, taken to mean a man-made effect - is due purely to the tax-take potential of milking the transport and industrial sectors.
"The environment is merely a flag of convenience designed to excuse politically correct anti-car policies and shameful tax hikes. Climate change is nothing new, it's a natural phenomenon and it is NOT due to cars. The tens of millions of car drivers in this country should continue to make use of the flexible, convenient and environmentally friendly nature of their cars - compared to which public transport is an unsustainable (8) ), filthy polluter (9). Yet we all accept the need for effective public transport."
"When the ABD made its presence felt at a Kyoto Protocol conference in London this summer, we expected delegates - who were discussing plans for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions - to defend the view that global warming was a man-made phenomenon. Surpisingly, they agreed with our position almost without exception. One delegate pointed out that global warming was a political and trade issue, not an environmental one, while a representative from the DETR described the ABD's information sheet as a 'knock-out blow'.
"The mere fact that climate is seen to be changing says NOTHING about the causes and is no vindication of man-made globalwarming theory."
(1) Lockwood, M, Astronomy & Geophysics (RAS), 1999;
Butler, J, Journal of Atmospheric & Terrestrial Physics, 1996;
Friis-Christensen & Lassen, Science, 1991.
(2) Petit, R, et. al., Nature, 1999
(3) CDIAC, Trends, 1991 (comparison of land & NASA satellite data, to 1991)
(4) Environmental Monitoring & Analysis, Press Release, 1999
(5) Schimel, D, Global Change Biology, 1995
(6) AA data on fuel pricing, 1999
(7) Corbyn, P, paper presented to Climate Changes Symposium, Bonn, 1997
(8) Automotive Advisors & Associates, Hilden, Germany 1997
(9) National Environment Technology Centre data