Probably I am not the only one who has been wondering about the apparent contradictions that arise from the various climate positions. Meteorologists claim that global warming has made a slow-down and describe the current epoch as cooler. Hence, temperatures do not seem to be in line with the predictions of the greenhouse theory. At the same time, others, like the World Bank in its November report, stress that the situation is worse than ever: emissions have increased and a temperature rise of four degrees is predicted for this century.
How should we interpret these contradictions? Measured temperatures have been commonly understood as hard facts in the past. The fact that temperatures have not significantly increased during the first decade of this century can easily be checked by anyone. The conclusions that we should draw from this are a mystery, however. Changes in global temperatures could also be considered features of natural climate variability. The climate has always been changing at regular intervals.
Therefore, when one implies that the situation is worse than ever, one does not refer to empirically observed temperatures, but to the greenhouse theory. As a matter of fact, one interprets under the premises of the theory. Because the theory assumes that CO2 emissions cause a rise in temperatures, and as CO2 emissions have increased exponentially and much more rapidly than what was initially assumed, the conclusion is that temperatures will indeed rise. Even if they won’t now, some day they will for sure. The situation is bad, or at least it will become bad.
Is it bad? I do not know, but as a politician I am forced to consider all possibilities. I am obliged to draft policy that we are least likely to regret in the future. Whatever the conclusions of science eventually are, policies had better be as sensible as possible.
But do we make sensible policies?
I am afraid not. Whether the primary role of human-induced carbon dioxide in climate change is assumed or not, in neither of the cases, can the current policies be considered appropriate. In their one-sidedness, they are, on the contrary, extremely bad, while at the same time, the European industries – the cleanest industries of the world – suffer.
Staring at CO2 only has taken attention away from other severe problems. In the name of the fight against climate change both the quality of air and the problem of pollution have worsened. In other words, the climate problem has cannibalised other environmental problems.
European climate policy has a massive price tag attached to it. It has even been catastrophic from an environmental point of view. For years I have spoken out about the fact that we should be more careful in investing our resources. We should not allow absurdities in the name of the greenhouse theory. At present, we have the most expensive, one-sided climate policy in the world, which reduces jobs in the EU and also penalises the world’s cleanest production operations. As a matter of fact, the newest research shows that the present policy does not even reduce emissions. If we take into account consumption, too, the EU’s total emissions have actually gone up. While production-based emissions have indeed gone down appropriately, strikingly, consumption-based emissions have dramatically increased. This development speaks a language of failure: because of our climate policy, production has been relocated to other parts of the world with less clean production – and unemployment in the EU has gone up.
My proposal is that we start making policy that we do not have to regret later, irrespective of the outcomes of scientific research. Such policy would include energy saving, the development of clean technology, sustainable forestation, the prevention of air pollution, as well as the fight against poverty and erosion in developing countries. We should also guarantee clean production and jobs in Europe. We ought to take all these actions even if we had no information whatsoever about climate change. And if we did have the information, these would be the best recipes to tackle the problem.
In principle, it does not matter, what conclusion science comes to: if the legislation we make is good enough, one does not have to take sides; except the side of consideration and quality. Climate policy should be so robust, sturdy and of such good quality that it does not struggle with the uncertainty factors and differences of opinion within science.
Until now, too much impulse politics has been made in the EU. First, biofuels were demanded under the direction of the Greens, and then, the same group started opposing them frantically. As a matter of fact, the same thing is happening to wood-burning: first, its increase was demanded, until the problems it causes to sustainable forestry, were noticed. I warned of both; in time.
I am just wondering, what an unbearable situation this creates for the actors in the field, industries and companies. How can they continue their product development work and plan their future, if politics is a constant struggle: first bluster, then destruction? They would need long-term predictability, not reacting in accordance with alarmist rushing.