Guest post by Professor Will Alexander
The key word used during the COP 17 discussions was ‘roadmap’ used by the European Union delegation.
The following is a map of my travels through southern Africa. My two principal destinations at the time were surf fishing along the remote Skeleton Coast of Namibia in the northwest, and studying river behaviour in the Caprivi Strip in the north where the roads meet.
Roads that we have travelled
There are vast climatological differences in the regions of southern Africa from the high rainfall along the Drakensberg escarpment in the southeast through to the arid Namib desert in the northwest. This is the world’s oldest desert.
Nowhere in the developed world will you find such a wide and interesting range of climatic conditions within two days travel in any direction. No wonder the international scientists as well as their South African counterparts operating from air-conditioned offices at the foot of Table Mountain, are so ignorant of natural climatic variations in both time and space.
The roads least travelled
These days the fashion is to mount a Garmin instrument on the dashboard of your vehicle, then enter the addresses of the start and the end points. When on the move, obey the voice instructions as you approach the forks in the road along the route. My version also emits a loud sound when it detects an electronic speed trap ahead.
I have also installed a tracking device so that the exact position of the vehicle can be determined if it is stolen. What is more, the route followed by the vehicle can be recovered at any time on my computer. As my photographs include the date and time, I can also determine the time and place where each photograph of the local flora and fauna was taken.
I offered to supply my set of photographs with this information to the South African National Biodiversity Institute. They remained silent as this was not the information that they wished to see.
I was able to prove that their claims of the disappearance of our unique plant and animal species, published in peer-reviewed literature, had no foundation in fact.
Global climate computer models (GCMs)
Whenever I produce evidence that floods and droughts have not increased in magnitude or frequency during the past 150 years they refer me to the evidence produced by their highly complex GCMs to the contrary. These models are so large and complex that there are only half a dozen or so of them in the world.
How can we challenge these models when they can even determine whether the rainfall in the region falls mostly in winter or summer? They go even further. They can predict that if global temperatures increase by more than 2°C this will have catastrophic consequences on the world’s human, animal and vegetal populations let alone our agriculture and industries.
We have to believe them because we experience this increase in temperature between breakfast and morning tea every day of our lives. We also experience these 2°C temperature changes when we travel from Johannesburg to Pretoria and back again while all that traffic along the route emits those huge volumes of poisonous carbon dioxide that we breathe in along the way.
If you know anyone who is familiar with these huge computer models, I suggest that you ask them this very simple question:
How long will it take rainfall at a constant rate to completely wet a piece of ground?
This is the problem that the famous Albert Einstein gave to his 10-year-old son.
Let me offer a clue. When half the area is wet, where will the next raindrop fall? This is an extremely important issue as it goes to the very heart of climate prediction modelling. If the models cannot predict how long rainfall will take to wet a piece of ground how can we trust their complex predictions?
This is my final puzzle.
The agreement reached at COP17 was titled “Durban platform for enhanced action“.
I had great problems in understanding the meaning of this title, particularly as Durban is my birthplace and English is my home language.
My wife and I are here on holiday in Plettenberg Bay. We have a small Chamber’s Mini Dictionary that we use when playing Scrabble with our family. These are the definitions in the dictionary.
Platform: a raised level surface such as that for passengers at a railway station.
Enhance: to make appear greater or better, (my emphasis).
Action: a deed, an act, a law case, or what happens in a film or play.
South Africa has eleven official languages. I wonder how this title will be translated into our own official languages, let alone those of the rest of the world.
Returning to the real world, I firmly believe that there are few if any scientists in southern Africa who have a wider, longer, and more scientific experience in the interfaces between the climatological, hydrological, environmental and sociological sciences than I have.
Equally, I believe that this whole global warming/climate change issue is no more than a monumental scam perpetrated by the affluent nations to protect their economic supremacy, regardless of the effects on the many millions of poor and disadvantaged populations of Africa and elsewhere.
I do not for one moment believe that the nations of the world will abide by the nebulous decisions reached by COP17 in Durban, with legal ratification by 2015, and implementation by 2020. It is not going to happen.
I leave you with my sincerest seasonal best wishes. I apologise for offering these very serious issues for your solution at this time of joy and celebration.
Finally, and more seriously, you may be interested in this opinion from this morning’s newspaper.
“The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed” – Steven Biko
The most important asset that you have is your mind. Keep it clean and healthy. Ignore all that nonsense from those who are not even aware of their own ignorance.