Climate change

I feel that, as a physicist, I should be making some reasonable and informed comment on the Copenhagen summit. After all, climate is immensely physicsy. We have fluid flow, conduction, convection and radiation of heat, interaction of electromagnetic radiation with electrons in molecules, scattering of light by small particles, solar activity (on second thoughts, scrub that one, WAY too controversial). Actually, all of these I’ve mentioned in my blog over the past year, in some form or other (follow the links if you don’t belive me.) And then there’s the issue of whether fish mix the oceans of not.

But, to be honest, the Copenhagen summit appears a white elephant to me. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not at all suggesting that climate change isn’t something that we should tackle. Rather, the key is to actually get on and do something about it. Talking about it is OK, but what matters is action. My recollection was that climate change was talked about seriously at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. What has happened since then? No, I don’t mean the Kyoto protocol, and legally binding or non-binding targets etc, I mean by how much have global emissions actually reduced. You can set what targets and agreements you like, but it is the action that solves any problem.

To be honest, I don’t know the answer to that question (how much have global CO2 emissions changed since 1992) – the internet is no help to me here. I’m sure someone can tell me. But I don’t think it’s downwards.

So here’s my point – Copenhagen is all well and good, but as a burning current story it is just not doing it for me. So I shall leave the comment to people who have more idea what they are talking about, like Gareth Renowden.

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