Mario Di Simine's Profile
Copenhagen Climate Conference: Who is right?
Ask anyone about climate change and you likely will get the kind of emotional response not seen since George W Bush left office. People on both sides of the debate – from politicians and scientists to your regular Joe on the street – are often adamantly in one camp or the other, with little wriggle room in between.
The majority of the camp believes that Mother Nature is indeed terribly sick, and that humankind is the virus that caused the disease. The symptoms are a climate that is warming to such a degree we are faced with certain calamity if we don’t do something about it.
Sounds alarming, doesn’t it?
On the other side, are the folks who say the climate is not warming at all or that, if it is, it is a natural phenomenon that will correct itself. In other words, Mother Nature can heal herself, if she’s even sick. To spend billions trying to do what Earth can do itself is folly, pure and simple, and will lead to economic ruin for many developing nations.
Sounds alarming, doesn’t it?
Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film An Inconvenient Truth arguably raised the temperature on the debate by bringing a simple clear message to the masses. It sent shivers down spines on both sides – those on the “yay” side applauded it for setting out the data and evidence they claim are indisputable truths about global warming. NY Times reviewer David Edelstein called it “devastating in its implications”. The naysayers derided it as a concoction that played fast and loose with the facts. (See National Geographic’s scorecard on the claims made in the film here )
Bjorn Lomborg , author of the “The Skeptical Environmentalist” and “Cool It” and one of the experts on the Reuters.com panel that will be answering our Question of the Day during the Copenhagen conference, doesn’t deny the climate is changing. He says that if saving people ultimately is the goal, then spend the money where it does the most good: eradicating poverty and bolstering economies in the developing world, which would have greater immediate impact than billions spent on big schemes that ultimately may do little.
At the other end of the spectrum are those who completely deny there is a problem at all. The Huffington Post was so worried about the influence of these folks that it created a slideshow feature on it’s “Most Dangerous Climate Change Deniers.”
The same article pointed to a recent survey that showed the number of Americans who believe there is solid evidence the world is getting warmer has dropped to 57 percent, down 20 points in three years.
I’ll be at the Copenhagen Climate Conference (Dec 7-18) with Reuters.com, where the world’s political and environmental leaders will try to hammer out a follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol. I’ll be following the debate both inside the meeting rooms and halls of the Bella Center and outside on the streets of the city.
In the meantime, I’d like to know where you stand. What is your view on climate change, how has it changed over time and will the Copenhagen conference change anything?