Climate change

Climate change

Ron Blackstock

I have been following with interest the various letters on man-made climate change, and one thing emerging loud and clear is the number of people with a lack of personal knowledge of the subject who base their convictions on someone else's unproven theories.

What has been highlighted is the standard of intelligence shown by members of the Columban Missionary Society. On 29 May 2009, I had occasion to write to Rev Sean McDonagh via the St Columban's Mission Society, advising him that I was cancelling my subscription to the journal The Far East, as I can read and see enough government propaganda in the news media, without having it stuffed down my throat by a religious journal.

In March 2007 I wrote to the Australian Federal Government regarding the amount of forest burnt in bush fires, and how many tonnes of carbon dioxide were discharged into the atmosphere as a result. Malcolm Turnbull, the then Leader of the Opposition, advised that over three years 2003 to 2005 the average area of forest burnt annually was 1.9 million hectares and the average annual greenhouse gas emissions from that source amounted to 3.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

However these are excluded from Australia's greenhouse gas accounts, in accordance with an internationally agreed greenhouse accounting approach.

If that is the case then how are the emissions from the burning rain forests in Borneo and Sumatra treated? These fires burn for 365 days a year, cannot be extinguished, and produce up to 30 percent of the total global emissions in some years according to National Geographic (August 2007 and November 2008). How are they taken into account and who pays for these emissions?

What about the effects volcanic eruptions can have on the earth's climate? For example, when Krakatoa erupted in 1883 the volcanic dust veil that was created rose high into the stratosphere, acting as a solar radiation filter. It lowered the average global temperature by as much as 1.2 degrees celsius in the year after the eruption. And temperatures did not return to normal until five years later. This is not theory but proven historical fact.

How are these emissions calculated out of the overall emissions equations? The above two questions were put to the present New Zealand Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and he refused to answer them.

I am all in favour of reducing carbon emissions in the cities where there would be major benefits to people's health. But as for making any difference to the world's climate, King Canute had a better chance of controlling the waves.

The simple truth is that earth's climate is more influenced by the sun, a volatile body with emissions that are not constant, as any reputable astronomer will tell you. If we could control the sun we could control the earth's climate. But since this is impossible one must continue to adapt to natural climate change as civilisation has done in the past.

When will common sense finally prevail over academic 'meadow mayonnaise' and mass hysteria?

Omarama, North Otago, NZ

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