Monday, October 24, 2011

Climate change denialists and their fossil-fuel industry backers are finally nailed

Still from Greedy Lying Bastards
The gloves are off. With the Durban climate change conference only six weeks away, a new film, trailed this week, shows how the fossil fuel industry has manipulated the climate change argument to slow governments' action on climate change to the point where we are now in a very tight corner.

But now that the truth is out, there is no excuse for firm, radical agreements not to be reached at the United Nations' 17th Conference of the Parties.

The documentary film pulls no punches. It is called Greedy Lying Bastards.

The trailer's release coincides not only with the the spread of the 'Occupy financial districts' actions around the world, from Spain and Wall Street to the City of London and elsewhere, which are making explicit links with climate change, but also to a new independent assessment of climate records that confirms the reality of global warming.

The Berkeley Earth Analysis of the records, which have been submitted for peer review, prove conclusively and without any room for remaining doubt that the earth has warmed just under 1.5 degrees Celsius since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and that the rate of temperature increase is accelerating rapidly.

There has been a rise of an average 0.9°C over land in the past half century.

The Economist magazine is among those convinced - the article linked to here critically examines the Berkeley researchers' methodology.

It concludes, scarily: "the world is warming fast".

This research not only vindicates the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, and indeed finds that warming over the last century may, if anything, be higher than they had claimed, but demolishes once and for all the lies of climate change denialists, who have been exposed as being financed by Big Oil.

Chief amongst these is one Anthony Watts who is funded by the oil-producing Koch Industries.

The Koch Brothers had actually funded the Berkeley research in an attempt to disprove CRU's climate scientists.

In a wonderful irony, the work ended up doing the opposite of what they intended.

The Kochs are backers of the American Tea Party and outspend ExxonMobil by three-to-one (a total of $24.9 million in 2005-2008) in financing climate change denialists.

“This film is an investigation into an industry that is simply out of control,” says Greedy Lying Bastards director Craig Rosebraugh.

“The fossil fuel industry has shown that it will stop at nothing to maximize profits for shareholders, whether it’s cutting corners on safety, employing highly paid lobbyists to impact the political process, giving huge amounts to climate change deniers to ensure that no legislation is passed that would impact the bottom line, or complicity in the murder of individuals who speak up against environmental degradation,” he says.

The staff at East Anglia's CRU continue to do good work.

Just this week, its researcher Dr Clare Goodess contributed a background paper on climate change and variability to a report published by the Government's Foresight team on the threat posed by massive population migrations that may be triggered by climate change.

This report, Migration and Global Environmental Change, examines how profound changes in environmental conditions such as flooding, drought and rising sea levels will influence and interact with patterns of global human migration over the next 50 years.

It is co-authored by Prof Neil Adger of the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) School of Environmental Sciences and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

The report finds that "millions will be ‘trapped’ in vulnerable areas and unable to move, particularly in low-income countries.

"Migration is costly, and with environmental conditions such as drought and flooding eroding people’s livelihoods, migration – particularly over long distances – may be less possible in many situations. This creates high risk conditions."

More than 70 papers have been published and made available by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which back up the research and validate the reality of climate change and its complex implications.

A special issue of the report’s background papers is also published in a peer-reviewed journal, Global Environmental Change, edited by Prof Adger and UEA colleagues Prof Kate Brown and Prof Declan Conway.

The UK's Coalition Government is, like everyone else, suffering from the world recession.

It is finding itself being forced to cut support for renewable and low carbon technology as a result.

But the science is unequivocal. We have to act.

And we have to do it together. This is why I repeat my message to David Cameron: that you must go to Durban this December.

We need political leadership.

Most business sectors, some of the fossil fuel and heavy energy using sectors aside, are calling for it. They see climate change as a business opportunity.

The 2 degrees C Challenge Communiqué, organised by The Prince of Wales’s EU Corporate Leaders’ Group on Climate Change, which consists of over 175 companies including Shell, Tesco, Kingfisher, Unilever and EDF Energy, this week called on governments to agree a “robust, equitable and effective agreement” in Durban.

It is to them that you must listen.

The world needs to reach decisive agreement on tackling climate change, before it is too late.

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