Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Climate change: a political hot potato

Climate change certainly is the hot topic of recent times, with enviro-friendly doomsayers, businesses and politicians making headlines across the globe.

Australian politicians this month took up a challenge set by studies in the UK and Australia, aiming to reduce greenhouse emissions by 60 percent before the year 2050. With the 2007 federal elections on the horizon, plans for meeting the greenhouse target seem to be on every party’s agenda, with solutions ranging from more effective coal-fired electricity to carbon pricing, nuclear power, better public transport, and investment in more research and development.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Bush administration has been charged with interfering with climate science to downplay the significance of global warming. Political appointees are being accused of editing scientific reports to emphasise scientific uncertainty and even trying to silence scientists in some cases.

Elsewhere, a debate rages on about whether global warming even exists. A recent paper by physicist Bjarne Andresen of the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark asserts that the concept of a ‘global temperature’ is a statistical impossibility, thereby claiming that the entire debate surrounding global warming is more a political than scientific gesture.

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