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Climate concerns

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 Contents - Jul 2008AD2000 July 2008 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Significance of World Youth Day 2008 - Michael Gilchrist
Liturgy: Archbishop Coleridge calls for an end to liturgical experimentation - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Abortion: A false concept of moral equivalence - Babette Francis
Selective tolerance: Queensland University Student Union censures Catholic student group - Allison Atkins
WORLD YOUTH DAY 2008: Juventutem Australia: young people devoted to the traditional liturgy - Alice Woolven
WORLD YOUTH DAY 2008: Authentic Catholicism: a fertile ground for vocations to flourish - Fr Anthony Denton
FOUNDATIONS OF FAITH: Jesus: how do we know he was God? - Br Barry Coldrey CFC
Religious faith and the power of music and song - Andrw Kania
Liturgy: Why Paul VI saw liturgical abuses as the 'smoke of Satan' - Cardinal Virgilio Noe
WORLD YOUTH DAY: Turin Shroud display in Melbourne to coincide with World Youth Day - Max Crockett
Letters: Anne Lastman's Remarkable book 'Redeeming Grief' - Fr Raymond Wells
Letters: Culture of life - Fr Bernard McGrath
Letters: Vatican II - John Schmid
Letters: Buddha in church in South Brisbane - Richard Stokes
Letters: Climate concerns - Dr Brian E. Lloyd
Books: Cardinal Pell's new Mass Book - This Is The Mass
Books: TURMOIL AND TRUTH, by Philip Trower - Tim Cannon (reviewer)
Books: SERMONS PREACHED ON VARIOUS OCCASIONS, by John Henry Newman - Michael E. Daniel (reviewer)
Books: Books available from AD2000 Books
Reflection: The Real Presence: 'an essential element of the deposit of faith' - Bishop Arthur Serratelli

Please allow me to redress the balance in your magazine concerning Climate Change. As a Catholic, I see social justice in concern for the people of the future. As a Professional Engineer, during 2006/7 I undertook a detailed study of the science, and I conclude that the world is in trouble. Nothing since persuades me that the scientific consensus is wrong, or the outcome of dishonesty among scientists. As a grandfather of 10, for the sake of my descendants, I seek urgent action.

It is not possible to predict the occurrence or magnitude of climatic impacts. Studies of multiple scenarios enhance understanding and add confidence in climate models, and risk management principles further reduce uncertainties. The consensus is that by 2100 we are likely to see an increase in average global temperatures above 15°C by 2 to 4 degrees. Because that is the fruit of collaboration, it is conservative. The rise could be a catastrophic 5.8°C.

There remain marginal factors of uncertainty about precisely how the oceans, the forests, the grasslands, the Polar Regions, and the weather respond to greenhouse gasses. We observe droughts, seasonal changes, sea ice-melts, methane escape from melting permafrost, and glacial retreats, all proclaiming a world in trouble. Marginal uncertainties do not negate what we know: that global warming is at a rate unprecedented in human history, primarily the result of increasing emission of greenhouse gasses from human activities.

Can we take the risk that this is all wrong, and do nothing? Melting of Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets within a decade seems possible, and it will very likely cause a global tipping point, beyond which the irreversible effects would overshadow the cost of mitigation measures, or local inconvenience. Wasting years arguing is negligent and dangerous - and stupid beyond measure. If we do nothing, as our descendants struggle to survive in a degraded future world, will they look back on our era and marvel at the complacency and parochialism of our negligence?

Getting greenhouse emissions down is the first priority and it is urgent; and Australia must take a leadership role. We do not have decades to dither around, playing politics with the future of the world.

Hampton East, Vic

(Dr Lloyd is an electrical engineer, a writer on history, and a past National President of Engineers Australia. His recent book is titled Global Warming and Climate Change.)

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 21 No 6 (July 2008), p. 16

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