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Austin Williams writes..

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CHAT ROOM: FEEDBACK

John Gillott, author of Science and the Retreat from Reason (a book I urge everyone to read if they want a more credible grasp on the irrational nature of societal risk-consciousness), is worth quoting at length:

'Although the IPCC is formally independent of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), being charged with simply providing scientific assessments, in practice. . . it works within the precautionary framework. As a result, the IPCC has introduced an assumption of harm into its policy.'

He continues: 'The most basic assumption of the UN convention on climate change - that 'parties should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimise the causes of climate change' - should not be taken at face value. For there is sound scientific basis, in both theoretical modelling and the study of past climates, for the view that a warmer world might be a better place for humans.'

Quoting Patrick Michaels, author of the 'provocative' book The Satanic Gases, he says:

'Contrasts between the polar latitudes and the tropics should lessen, 'producing a weaker jet stream, a more contracted vortex, with fewer and/or less powerful cyclones. In short, the future atmospheric circulation should be less 'winterlike', with fewer intense storms'.'

In essence, if global warming occurs, as few dispute, it will not occur in sudden bursts but will take many decades, even centuries. To compare hot days and the build up of carbon dioxide using data from the past 20 years is plainly bad science. To conclude that it will be inevitably detrimental is a gross assumption.

More importantly, we should remember that the world is driven by human intervention and social development- not weather patterns. To suggest that personal profligacy is the problem is disingenuous, and condemns many people to low levels of technology on the basis of the precautionary principle. Development (without 'sustainable' prefixes), whether in low emissions technology or not, is the key to overcoming natural constraints.

austin. williams@construct. emap. com

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