Weather Watch

Weather analyst Philip Duncan checks the forecast and the story behind the temperatures

Climate change comments draw angry fire

51 comments

Yet again just the talk of global warming has stirred the pot of emotion and caused many of you to write in and complain about my blog yesterday.

Firstly - the blog was NOT about whether global warming is happening or not. It was simply mentioning what bad timing the cold snaps in the northern hemisphere were following on from the Copenhagen summit.

Yes, for those of you who understand weather and climate you'll be well aware that a one off weather event does not directly relate to global warming or cooling. However - and this is an important part - most of the every day public don't know the difference.

This means a huge conference on global warming followed by record breaking cold across most of the world's largest countries was not only ironic but the timing couldn't have been worse for sceptical people who need convincing.

And judging by the following comments posted after that blog I think it's fair to say the majority of people don't believe global warming is something to get too stressed about. Whether that is right or wrong isn't my point- my point is, the majority of world leaders say we need to do something about it... yet there is a huge amount of the public who don't feel the same way.

I've set up a Poll - a very basic yes or no one. "Is global warming something you're seriously worried about?. Cast your vote here.

I have an analogy about Copenhagen. It's no different to an airline promoting 'flying is safer than driving' only to have a huge plane crash the next day. It doesn't mean flying is now more dangerous but as far as an advertising campaign goes, it would be a failure. Copenhagen was the plane, the northern hemisphere cold snap is the plane crash.

Lets face it - the global warming campaign, the political one to inform the public, is turning into a disaster. I'm not debating many of the facts - I actually DO believe in global warming - I DO believe humans are making the world hotter, I DO believe ice is melting.

I just don't believe it's going to be as dramatic for the planet as some lead us to believe. I feel I have a more "keep it simple, common sense," approach. And like anything in life when it becomes a big issue it becomes a political one and to WIN a political argument you firstly need to successfully promote your campaign.

Am I sceptical of global warming? A little. Not because I think it's a "conspiracy" but purely because the debate has gone from discussing everyday solutions to only the extreme sides of the argument.

It's like Y2K...which went from saying "some computers will crash" to "planes will fall from the sky at midnight". Work had to be done to resolve Y2K issues and I believe work needs to be done to resolve some of the issues that we, or poorer nations, may face later this century.

However we're now debating countries being wiped out, figures being fudged, nations arguing over what is too little and what is too much. The sensible middle ground seems to be forgotten - it's either "the world is doomed" or "global warming is a conspiracy". Both of those extreme arguments I simply can not subscribe to.

I have to say the venom in some of the earlier comments posted in my blog on Monday sums up something that is often said to me - that global warming is becoming a religion and to speak ill of it will bring the wrath of those who firmly believe in it.

I wasn't even debating the validity of global warming, merely pointing out an irony followed by a news story on the extreme cold around the northern hemisphere. But within minutes comments calling me a "so called" weather expert instantly appeared.

I've also clearly stated before that I'm not a scientist... but I'm someone who studies and understands the weather and all I'm seeing is this turning in to one big mess. If I'm seeing this then god help the rest of the population that don't understand the weather or climate at all. These are the people that come up to me at every social event and instantly tell me what a crock it all is.

So, to help those who don't perhaps understand the mechanics of mother nature let me make it very clear to you. A single weather event - such as Hurricane Katrina, or a record breaking cold snap - or a record breaking hot summer, or even a record breaking 12 months - does NOT have anything to do with global warming "on its own". It's only when we look back over decades that we can see what is "normal" and perhaps what is a new trend.

Someone said to me yesterday, "Why is it I heard the extreme heat caused in Australia this year was due to global warming but the record breaking cold in America this year is not". Again a lot of confusion is out there. Some say the argument fits the foot for one event but not the other.

And stop blaming the media - most people in the media have no views on climate change - but if certain aspects are getting heavy media attention then look at who is leaking these stories and why they are successfully being picked up by the media.

The climate change debate is currently looking a bit like a presidential race for the White House with scandals and rumours and name calling....gone are the days of policy announcements winning the race. It's now all about who is most popular and most trustworthy.

It's all an advertising campaign and right now I think our world leaders are failing miserably at convincing "us" that we need to take urgent action. I've watched Al Gore's movie - I did enjoy - although found it a little over the top, but he did present a lot of eye opening facts and I believe he really has helped bring the topic into the world's media.

But, again from an advertising point of view, it looks pretty bad that Al Gore has a private jet and loads of 4 wheel drives. We should all be driving hybrids to help make the world a better place for our children...now, where did I put my keys for my private jet? - Ahhh yes, in the back of my urban four wheel drive.

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n3 at 02 Aug 2014 19:54:50 Processing Time: 740ms