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

The extreme global warming debate


Was it just me or did the lady who was crying about her island going under water because of global warming seem fake? Seeing her on the news last night made me feel that yet again the global warming debate falls into an element of extremism. Her tears didn't look real and her interview later on TV seemed rehearsed and not from the heart. I may be wrong, and if I am, then I truly apologise. But I'm so skeptical of everyone now...both sides... because all I seem to hear is alarmist views from both sides of the arguement.

On twitter last night I asked "Why is it both sides of the global warming debate are SO extreme. Where are the moderates? The intelligent ponderers rubbing their beards?". (and no, I don't assume all scientists are men). Recently at WeatherWatch we've been running a few stories on the climate change forum at Copenhagen and also the news stories on the "altered" scientific data. It set off a fierce and often offensive debate on both sides. Check out the angry comments posted (and feel free to add your own):

* Comments from Story 1

* Comments from Story 2

* Comments from Story 3

Both sides of the argument are so extreme. And we see this the world over. We see protestors who say governments aren't doing enough. We see protestors who say this is the "biggest scam of our time".

Those who even suggest that global warming isn't manmade or perhaps isn't as extreme as it's painted by our governments are instantly labelled as "nut jobs" or worse. Then again, those in the majority - the scientists and governments of the world - don't seem to want to sit down and discuss openly that perhaps some data is flawed - or at least help the public understand the data better.

Once a topic becomes political it's hard to see the forest for the trees. Both sides throwing grenades at each other and hoping that when the dust settles the public now agrees with their point of view.

I've stated before I do believe global warming is happening and it is an issue. I'm pleased to see the US getting involved now at cleaning things up. What baffles me is why we can't take simple measures first. Why didn't the government provide solar power heating to every home in New Zealand 10 years ago? Why aren't hybrid cars cheaper? Why aren't we paid to recycle? It feels like once it became a politic subject the world went from denying climate change was happening to "it's the apocalypse".

What I don't buy in to is the alarmist warnings - and this is from both sides.

By the way - global warming means just that. The globe is getting warmer on average. Being two small islands in the South Pacific means that we will still see big snow storms and cold snaps and have the coldest months on record etc. I often see "Global warming? Yeah right" in our comments section at when we run news stories on major cold snaps. Remember this is a worldwide issue that affects the most vulnerable first - and we aren't the most vulnerable.

In saying that, without the environment New Zealand has no economy. We rely 100 per cent on being clean and green and temperate and unpolluted. We should support any law changes that reduce pollution, that reduce using unsustainable resources and that help make our air and water ways cleaner.

If you look at the planet as a human body I think the old adage "everything in moderation" probably works well.

I truly hope Copenhagen is a success... because while I'm not expecting the world to self destruct in the next 100 years I am keen to see it clean up its act. A trip to America or China will show you quite quickly how polluted and disgusting some parts of the world currently are.

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