Why is global warming An Inconvenient Truth?

Rosie Bawn from Whimple who attends King’s School in Ottery St Mary wrote to me recently about her GCSE project based on global warming. She says “In July I had a work experience placement in the business department at the Met Office, but had a particular interest in Climatology and Forecasting. I am especially concerned about global warming and the effects, and this concern has led me to begin a GCSE project based on global warming.

As a full-course GCSE RE student I have been given the opportunity to produce a ‘Higher Project’ on a moral issue of my choice. I have decided to study the question ‘Why is global warming An Inconvenient Truth?’; a question that is based on the famous Al Gore film on global warming.”

Here are Rosie’s questions – and my answers in bold:

Do you believe that global warming is happening? Yes, it is happening, which is why I felt motivated to join the Green Party just after the Copenhagen Climate Summit in autumn 2009 and do something about climate change through political channels.

Do you personally think it is a natural phenomenon (an inevitable part of the earth’s continuous cycle) or a man-made effect? Personally, after looking into it over the past two years, I’m quite convinced that climate change is man-made and it is our responsibility to try and slow it down as soon as possible.

What impact do you think the media has on people’s opinions on global warming? Inevitably the media has an impact on every issue, even the ones it doesn’t spend time on – as then people do not hear about them. With a Green MP and more Green candidates standing for elections every single year, this means the media can no longer ignore the issues we care about.

Should our attempts to overcome global warming go beyond party politics? Yes, they should and the grassroots movement is extremely important, for example the transition movement (which is apolitical). Politics, however is the route I have chosen (as opposed to Friends of the Earth etc) as I am hopeful I will be sitting on a local council come this May – which will then mean local decisions (planning etc) will have a Green voice in my town.

Do you personally believe that global warming is a high enough priority for people today? Unfortunately, global warming is not enough of an immediate problem for most people to grasp in their everyday lives. I don’t think most people can relate to something which could affect the world after they have gone. Fortunately there are enough of us to make a start, and if through local politics and the grassroots movement, we can change the way society functions then perhaps we have a chance of stopping the temperature rising to the tipping point after which we will not be able to reduce it! Some people believe we shouldn’t take the route of ‘shocking’ people into seeing how much of a global catastophe lies ahead. Personally I think most people are oblivious to the devastating results of climate change (already happening) because we do not tell them the inconvenient truth.

Sharon Pavey

Coordinator East Devon Green Party

Fundraiser South West Green Party

www.sharonpavey.org

3 Replies to “Why is global warming An Inconvenient Truth?”

  1. Hi Sharon – yes it’s certainly shocked me when I heard an old hand at Green Party conference saying he wasn’t going to campaign on climate change any more because it’s too late to do anything about it. Can you let us know more about the devastating results of global warming please?

  2. Hi Cherry, have you watched The Age of Stupid with the wonderful late Pete P? http://www.spannerfilms.net/films/ageofstupid

    The Met Office says “The term ‘climate change’ usually refers to man-made changes that have occurred since the early 1900s.
    While there are noticeable highs and lows in year to year data, over longer periods of time there is a discernable warming trend across the globe. Natural causes can explain only a small part of this warming. The overwhelming majority of scientists agree that this is due to rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere caused by human activities.”
    Here’s some evidence from NASA http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

    Have a look at this projected temp rise globe from the Met Office http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KQ-cAqwtXs

    Good info on NASA site http://climate.nasa.gov/effects/

  3. Q Do you believe that global warming is happening?

    A Yes it is. Only if we include the effects of man made greenhouse gases in the calculations of temperature can we account for the global temperatures that we observe.

    Q Do you personally think it is a natural phenomenon (an A inevitable part of the earth’s continuous cycle) or a man-made effect?

    A It’s not an either-or, it is a both-and situation. Climate change is natural, the result of variations in the position of the earth relative to the sun, the sun’s output, albedo, volcanoes, ocean currents – and the greenhouse effect. It is this last that we have changed. See above.

    Q What impact do you think the media has on people’s opinions on global warming?

    A Serious and adverse. 96% of climate scientists accept man-made global warming, but only about 55% of ordinary people accept it. This represents a major failure of the mainstream media. Journalists have shown themselves to be gullible, soaking up the arguments of the tiny handful of climate “sceptics”, who are influenced by oil corporations.

    Q Should our attempts to overcome global warming go beyond party politics?

    A Of course. Unfortunately many Conservatives have bought into the sceptic arguments, and UKIP and the BNP have swallowed them hook line and sinker. Labour and the LibDems say they believe GW is happening, but they lack the courage to make the necessary radical changes. Which leaves us with the Green Party, which should be supported by all environmentalists, as well as those who support social progress.

    Q Do you personally believe that global warming is a high enough priority for people today?

    A No it is not. It will take something like the Great Flood of London to get people to wake up, I’m sorry to say.

    For more detail, please see my blog http://greenerblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/climate-change-debate-faqs.html

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