I have read both Parker I's and Crown Prince Jonathan's statements regarding climate change, and this will give my take on the matter. I will try to be as concise and brief as possible.
I will begin by addressing Crown Prince Jonathan's statement.
In his opening paragraph, he implicitly accuses all sceptics of wanting to do nothing about climate change ("sitting back") and not wanting to do anything about human activities that are detrimental to the environment. This is certainly not true. There are many different types of climate change sceptics, some more extreme than others. I am of the growing school of thought, at least here in Australia, that humans contribute little or nothing to climate change, but that we still need to change our ways. I am of the opinion that fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil should be phased out with all possible but realistic speed, starting with our electricity and power stations. I'll expand on this later.
In the next paragraph, he says that flooding in the Maldives and Bangladesh, implicitly as a result of anthropogenic climate change, has killed or misplaced millions of people. This is also not true. I'll start with Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has had cyclones and typhoons ever since it existed. It is, some would say, in a very unenviable position. With most of the country only a few metres above sea level due to the large river delta, it is very vulnerable to storm surges, which occur with every cyclone, typhoon or hurricane. Deaths and displacements have been occurring in Bangladesh for hundreds of years, and at no lesser severity than today. Take the cyclone that hit Bangladesh in October 1876 for instance. It killed over 200,000 people. The latest cyclone, in 2007, killed only 2,000 people. What do rising sea levels have to do with hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons? I'll now turn to the Maldives.
The Maldives have been the 'poster boy' for much climate change media alarmism. I can't explain it as well as a meteorologist can, so please refer to this article for details on why the Maldives are totally fine and not subject to sea level rises: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/19/despite-popular-opinion-and-calls-to-action-the-maldives-is-not-being-overrun-by-sea-level-rise/.
Finally, he goes on to drop the name 'Katrina' in there - which is enough to make any New Orleans resident twitchy. There are a number of things wrong with attributing Hurricane Katrina to the effects of climate change:
- 1. It was a Category 2 hurricane when it made landfall - it was, in essence, only a fairly low-strength hurricane.
- 2. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had been making constant appeals to the Louisiana Government, and the Federal Government of the United States, that they knew that the levees in New Orleans could not withstand a major hurricane, many years before Katrina and, in fact, again only six months before Katrina hit.
- 3. The fact that New Orleans lies below sea level makes it the perfect prey for a hurricane.
Connect the dots together: weak levees --> below sea level --> government of inaction + hurricane = New Orleans underwater.
In the third paragraph, he goes on to dismiss sceptics as a "fringe group", that there is a consensus amongst "mainstream scientists" and that there are no long-term benefits from "[the effects of] climate change". All of these are wrong.
Firstly, climate change sceptics are not a "fringe group". Public opinion is, in fact, slowly swaying the sceptics' way, as people slowly begin to realise that they have been duped for the past 15 or so years by alarmist claims fed by a hysterical media (but more of that later). We may be in the minority, but take a look at the following links from various countries:
- Fewer Americans See Solid Evidence of Global Warming
- Belief in climate change dives (Australia)
- Sharp decline in public's belief in climate threat, British poll reveals
We are a minority, but not a "fringe group".
Secondly, there is no consensus amongst "mainstream scientists". This was a common claim about six years ago, before environmentalists began to realise that there wasn't, and have stopped using this as an argument. In any case, science and fact is not decided by consensus or any democratic procedure. I direct you to this website: http://www.petitionproject.org/.
Thirdly, there are long-term benefits of the effects of climate change. Assuming that temperatures rise, say, three degrees Celsius (assuming without prejudice), amongst the benefits will be:
- Vast tracts of land in Siberia open for agriculture (currently covered by permafrost).
- Shipping routes through the Arctic opened up.
- Plant growth across the world will be greatly accelerated, and more vegetation will naturally grow.
In the fourth paragraph, he goes on to say that climate change will cause "major hardships and untold human suffering", followed by the exhausted cliché "especially for our children and grandchildren" and goes on to list examples.
What kind of "human suffering"? The two examples there involving islands are not as a result of sea level rise. Just because a waterline appears to be rising on an island, there is no reason why we should automatically attribute it to climate change when sea levels are rising at a rate of only 1mm per year - there are many other factors that must be taken into account. For instance, many islands, such as those examples, are naturally built over many hundreds of years as coral atolls. Now there is a very small ring just between the sand on top of the coral and the coral itself where a small layer of fresh water resides. As an island's population increases, this fresh water is depleted further and further until it reaches a point where the sand begins sinking or gets eroded from the top, causing the island to 'sink'. This is what happens in many cases, and there are induvidual explanations for each one. However, I cannot relate all of them here, nor can I go into details (I'm not a scientist :P).
I also pose the following question: Is it better to spend billions of dollars on a perceived problem that don't know if we can fix or to spend that money on something that we know we can fix? In other words, why waste the billions of dollars that has been spent on 'climate change research' and other related schemes on, say, preventable diseases or poverty. With all the money spent on climate change in the past five years, the world could have halved child mortality rates globally. Instead, we spend it on 'researching climate change', which helps no one and goes nowhere. If we're so concerned about "human suffering", we should be spending this money where we can actually prevent this.
I hope this had cleared things up, and I have not been as concise as I hoped. Therefore, another statement explaining my stance exactly will be released when I have the time. Thanks for reading (if you got this far :P).