A short newsletter giving practical advice on minimising your energy for heating and cooling focusing on low cost easily implemented ideas.
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Get ready for summer.
Is global warming real?
Index of previous articles relevant to summer.
Most of Australia is starting to warm up (apart from a few odd bouts of very wintry weather). So now is the time to change your thinking from winter mode to summer mode. As the weather warms up you will need to work harder to keep the heat out and the cool in. This months PRACTICAL ENERGY SAVING includes an index to previous issues relevant to summer which you can access on the web.Back to Contents
There is a small but vocal group of people arguing that either the world isn't warming or that any variations are natural and not man made. The most prominent of these sceptics in Australia is the Lavoisier Group.
To address the first question, although for decades sceptics argued that the earth wasn't warming, all scientists that I know of now concede that we are going through a period of warming. (This includes the Lavoisier Group).
Sceptics have now shifted their argument to claim that although there is warming, it isn't caused by man. They claim (correctly) that longer term changes are natural (for example the ice ages). However at least for the last 50 years (I recall reading a book on global warming written in the 1950's) a gradually growing band of scientists have been predicting global warming due to carbon dioxide production. When those first predictions were made, it was very difficult to find evidence because the changes were small and swamped by natural variations. Now it is not possible to ignore the changes and nearly all serious scientists attribute it to man's actions.
Economic growth has been an exponential process. This means that initially economic growth was small, but now it is large (eg. the industrial revolution started in the UK and has now spread around the world). We would expect that any consequences of economic growth would also be exponential. It just so happens that carbon dioxide growth and global warming have so far followed a largely exponential growth, more or less synchronised with economic growth. Although this does not prove that economic growth caused global warming, it certainly suggests that it is the most likely cause.
The big concern with any exponential growth, is what will happen next. As China's economic growth snowballs, the production of greenhouse gases will continue to grow exponentially unless we take action.
When there is uncertainty, it makes sense to consider what the risks of various courses of action are. If
In conclusion, although there are sceptics, I believe that global warming is most likely caused by man, and that if we don't reduce greenhouse gas production we will face unmanageable climate change.
PS The final version of the federal governments Productivity Commission 'Inquiry into Energy Efficiency' (which I have previously mentioned in this newsletter) has just been released. As it is a massive document I can only give my first impressions which are that the report has been tidied up (It incorporates some recommendations from my submissions) but that the flaws which are determined by the terms of reference are still there. I will report more in the next issue.
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