cj#1060> IGFR: Climate change mitigation versus adaptation


Richard Moore

Dear cj,

First they told us global warming wouldn't happen - it was
just a fantasy of worried nellies.  Then when it started
happening, they denied it.  Now, below, we see that serious
researchers are claiming it's real but its caused by
extraterrestial forces!  Any lie is acceptable, as long as
corporate growth is not curtailed.

Thus 'science', just like the media, becomes a propaganda
channel, a support for the corporate regime. I had a friend
in college back in the sixties who was doing some
programming for a researcher. The reserarcher was studying
the health benefits of milk on children.  One of the studies
showed that for some kids, milk was harmful.  The reseracher
told my friend - "Oh, you can throw that one away, they
won't publish that one."   The research was being funded by
some dairy organization.

We look back and laugh at the days when the Church
prohibited Galileo from saying the Earth wasn't the center
of the universe.  But have we really progressed toward truth
since then??


[this excerpt is quoted under 'fair use']

Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 16:54:55 +0800
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: "Institute for Global Futures Research (IGFR)" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Global Futures Bulletin #100
Mime-Version: 1.0

---15 Jan, 02000---                                                    ISSN
Institute for Global Futures Research (IGFR).
P.O. Box 263E, Earlville, QLD 4870, Australia.
E-mail: <•••@••.•••>.
This bulletin is for the use of IGFR members and GFB subscribers
only and is not to be re-posted.
.       Climate change mitigation versus adaptation
Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen [1]

Referring to your recent articles on climate change, rising CO2
concentration and sea-levels, (GFB #96 and #97) [2]:

The issue here for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) is the percentage of these changes due to human activities.
This still remains very much debated (at least outside the IPCC which
is tied to what its models can handle).  The Kyoto Protocol can only
'help' if warming is anthropogenic and dangerous; both are disputed.
The second big unanswered question therefore is - if only half (some
say 1/30) of the observed change is anthropogenic and the rest due to
solar/cosmic ray effects, we can't do anything about it.  In this case,
what emission reduction would the world need to have any effect on
climate at all ?  The more of the changes approaching us are due to
extra-terrestrial, non-human causes (even chaotic/systems related),
the more we need to go for adaptation rather than spending a lot of
resources - political, bureaucratic, and financial, on mitigation.

Some solar people are sure that global warming is due to changes in
solar flux which will change in a few decades, and we will move into
a cooling phase.

Adaptation would involve genetic engineering, landuse changes,
coastal defences, and institutional changes, and would need to be
implemented on a cooperative rather than a competitive basis.

There are alternative models to the IPCC model, and although these
alternatives are poorly developed, they are presented by scientists who
do not think the IPCC model is conclusive enough to serve as a
platform for policy change.  Many factors are omitted - among these
the chaotic behaviour of 'natural' climate, the influence of extra-
terrestrial forces, especially changes in solar activities, magnetism
and their interactions with cosmic rays and particles.  Nor are the
emission scenarios used to create the doubling of CO2 concentration
in the atmosphere, which is assumed by most if not all models,
anything but guess work and many people believe they are

The models are not yet policy tools, but political devices used either
to attract funding, or legitimate so-called 'win-win' strategies, most
of which involve government intervention which will transfer public
money to private or bureaucratic interests.  The climate models are
also very expensive to run, and exclusive to a small number of
government laboratories in a handful of rich countries.

Many researchers believe the IPCC's energy consumption projections
are overestimated.  Also, the amount and duration that anthropogenic CO2
will remain in the atmosphere is uncertain as the Carbon-cycle is not yet
quantitatively understood, though there is much recent progress under
international programs such as the International Geosphere-Biosphere
Program (IGBP).

We must remember that globalising industries and service providers
including nuclear electricity and gas companies, banks and private
investment flows, are the main beneficiaries of CO2 mitigation
programs.  Companies like Shell and BP stand most to gain from
subsidies on solar/wind technologies.  Service providers include
armies of Carbon accountants, financial experts on Carbon Emission
Trading etc, and bureaucracies monitoring and checking all this.
Technologies and information systems linked to Carbon sequestration
will be sold for fees beyond the reach of many poor countries, who
will become even more dependent on experts, and new loans.

Journals that cover the broader scientific debate on climate change
include 'Energy & Environment' and (for the 'deep' science debate)
'Nature and Climatology'.
[1] Dr Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen is Reader at the Dept Geography,
University of Hull, UK and Editor of 'Energy & Environment',
Multiscience, E-mail <•••@••.•••>
[2] 'Climate change conference - UNFCCC-COP5' Global Futures
Bulletin #95  15 Nov 99, 'Global temperature, sea levels, and CO2'
Global Futures Bulletin #96
{03. climate change; 01. development issues, theory and paradigms}
The suggestion above recognises changes are taking place (global
warming, CO2 concentration in the atmosphere) but questions
whether they are principally due to anthropogenic causes, or natural

If they are due to natural causes, it is suggested capital would be
better spent on adaptation rather than mitigation.

However, if a sudden natural climate change were to occur now, it
would more likely be a drop in temperatures (glaciation).  It would
also be a coincidence that a natural global warming trend would
occur just when CO2 (a proven greenhouse gas) concentrations have
reached their highest in at least 420,000 years [1] unless it is also
argued that the build up of CO2 is due to natural rather than
anthropogenic causes.

Would it be fair to say that the cost of coastal defences (and
resettlement) and landuse changes would be less expensive than the
cost of CO2 mitigation ?  Here it is necessary to mention that CO2
mitigation basically involves improving efficiencies, and should be
seen as an investment rather than a cost.  Coastal defences,
resettlement and landuse changes, on the other hand, are more reasonably
viewed as costs.

Genetic engineering can be seen as an investment, though many
would regard it as a technological path with immense hidden costs in
terms of adulteration of our natural heritage, risks of ecological
disasters, and in increasing our dependency on high technology and
large corporations.  Perhaps we should encourage some degree of
research into genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the
laboratories and restricted trial plots, but regulate against general
application of GMO technology except in extreme emergency
circumstances (eg world food crisis) and only if lower risk options are
not available.

While the IPCC model may not be conclusive, the alternative models
are also highly inconclusive.  Following a policy of adaptation would
therefore be no more justifiable than a policy of mitigation at this
stage of scientific understanding.

While some industries stand to gain from greenhouse gas (GHG)
mitigation, others, such as major corporations who are members of
the Global Climate Coalition, presumably perceive themselves as not
benefiting from GHG mitigation.  That Shell and BP may be
benefiting can be seen as a reward for their long range planning, and
possibly also their broader understanding of stakeholders.  There may
be a general issue of domination of the market by transnationals, but
this is not a climate change issue per se.

The bureaucracies and technocracies generated by global GHG
mitigation programs such as the Kyoto Protocol are regrettable, and
economic instruments such as emission credits trading, Clean
Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) are
attempts to use the market to minimise such bureaucracy.  Adaptation
would also likely incur similar bureaucracies and technocracies,
possibly more so if competition and economic instruments were

There is a risk that GHG mitigation will further the dependency and
indebtedness of developing countries.  It is important that developing
countries are united in the climate change negotiations in order to
achieve a fair outcome and avoid further dependency.  It is also
possible that developing countries could stand to gain from emission
credits trading and the CDM through labour intensive tree planting
(carbon sequestration).  Tree planting would also help prevent soil
erosion and moderate microclimates.  Once standards on tree
planting have been set, expertise required would be minimal.  The
danger is that fast growing trees such as eucalypts would be planted
instead of indigenous species.
[1] Vostock Study (Russia, France, US) 1989-1998, Vostok,
Antarctica.   <http://listproc.mbnet.mb.ca:8080/guest/archives
Referred to in Global Futures Bulletin #87  01 Jul 1999 'Global
warming and Ice Ages'
{03. climate change; 01. development issues, theory and paradigms}


Richard K Moore
Wexford, Irleand
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance
email: •••@••.•••
CDR website: http://cyberjournal.org
cyberjournal archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/

                A community will evolve only when
                the people control their means of communication.
                        -- Frantz Fanon

Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT
include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits,
and notices - including this one.