I think most people would agree that climate change is happening. What people disagree about is what is causing it.
How much are human beings responsible and how effective can we be in reversing it?
Climate change has many different causes. There are natural fluctuations in the Earth's orbit around the sun as well as various solar and celestial events which affect the Earth's climate.
These effects usually occur in cycles, such as the Earth's obliquity, the eccentricity of Earth's orbit, and the precession of the equinoxes and solstices.
Some of these factors aren't even well understood. For instance ice ages are thought to follow a 100,000 year cycle but may also be brought on by comet impacts.
So there are many, many naturally occurring factors that affect our climate. So let's look at the story over the last few million years.
Cyanobacteria, also sometimes known as blue-green algae, evolved photosynthetic pigments over two-and-a-half billion years ago, producing energy from sunlight for the first time.
As I'm sure you all know, the process of photosynthesis uses carbon dioxide as a fuel and releases oxygen as a byproduct.
So before about two-and-a-half billion years ago, there was far more carbon dioxide and far less oxygen in the atmosphere than there is today. There wasn't enough oxygen on this planet to support a flea. Okay maybe a few fleas.
Had it not been for the blue-green algae and the plants that followed, we would not be here now.
They worked away quietly, slowly over billions of years to create the atmosphere we enjoy today
Animals slowly started to evolve, firstly in the oceans and then some of them crawled onto land thus starting to slowly reverse the work of the blue-green algae and the plants.
Over time the plants and animals formed a balanced relationship, a homeostasis, where the plants produced enough oxygen for the animals and the animals produced enough carbon dioxide for the plants
All was fine until the mid 18th century when one animal species, Homo sapien sapien, us lot, got too big for its boots and the Industrial Revolution began.
Through our industrial processes, we began to produce far more carbon dioxide than we had previously by our biological activity alone.
Would this have caused the problems that we know see, had it not been for the fact that not only did we release these gases into the atmosphere, but we released them into the atmosphere of a planet that we had already denuded of trees and our ancient forests? Probably not.
Global carbon emissions reached an all-time high in 2018 according to a report by a consortium of researchers known as the Global Carbon Project
The report claimed that global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels may have increased by about 2.7 percent in 2018, after a 1.6 percent increase in 2017.
The scientists project that fossil-fuel-related carbon dioxide emissions will hit a record high of 37.1 billion metric tonnes by the end of 2018.
Compare that to the estimated 270 million tonnes released naturally by volcanoes each year.
And they estimate that total carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere will also hit their highest level ever, at 407 parts per million. That's about 45 percent higher than their preindustrial levels.
Yes CO2 is a natural component of the atmosphere and yes it is essential for life but due to our industrial activity and the global loss of tree cover, Human beings have destabilised the oxygen / carbon dioxide balance. So yes, we are probably partly responsible for climate change but the effects we are starting to see now have their roots in actions we took a very long time ago.
Fine but the important question is, what can we do about it now? The long term solution must be to put back all those trees but trees take a long time to grow so is there a quicker fix?
Yes, as long as we start a massive re-wilding programme straight away, we can also reduce our carbon emissions. This is what climate activists are urging us to do and we need to listen.
The fact is though that efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, both individually and collectively, will not make much difference unless we also replant those trees, billions of them. We have to plant billions of trees, quickly, that's the main thing. Damian Carrington has written an interesting article abot this in The Guardian newspaper if you want more details -
People are up in arms at the moment about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, and rightly so but if Europeans and North Americans complain about Brazilians destroying their rainforest while not rewilding Europe and North America, they are hypocrites.
Here in Britain we have a project going through at the moment called High Speed 2 (HS2). This is a planned high-speed railway.
Phase 1 is intended to run between London and Birmingham with the first services scheduled for 2028. Proponents of the scheme then want Phase 2 to connect Birmingham with Leeds and Manchester, scheduled for full completion by 2035.
The building of HS2, if it goes ahead, will devastate huge tracts of woodland including several ancient woods and areas of special scientific interest. Anybody reading this who supports HS2 and also complains about climate change is a hypocrite!
It's just a vanity project. In the digital age we don't need to drag people all over the country to do business. More and more meetings and conferences are now done online anyway. We should be investing in our digital infrastructure not high speed trains.
So let's start taking climate change seriously. Let's plant trees instead of bulldozing them. And let's stop burning fossil fuels and invest more in renewables and better batteries. These are the two main things we can and should be doing right now.
We can also start thinking seriously, very seriously indeed, about reducing the human population. It's simple arithmetic. 7 billion people are not going to half their per-capita carbon footprint but 3.5 billion could cut theirs by a quarter, and one billion people could reasonably cut their per capita footprint by 1/14th. Reducing the human population to one billion people worldwide won't be easy or popular but how serious are we about reversing climate change and saving our home planet?
The hardest part will come when a dwindling number of working age people are having to support a growing number or retired people. It will be hell for a few years but if we don't step up to the plate and do this it will be hell for ever.
So we know what we have to do. Why aren't we all doing it? Why do some people still not believe this thing is real?
When I speak to people, to climate change deniers, I hear two main objections. Nationalists think it's a globalist hoax and meat eaters are saying it's a vegan hoax. Why do they think these things? Well basically that's what some climate change activists have been telling them. Some of us have been sending out the wrong message and it has to stop.
At some of the recent Extinction Rebellion rallies foolish people were chanting for the abolition of nations and national borders so it's hardly surprising that people are getting the wrong idea. Of course we need to get the free, independent nations of the world to work together on this but we won't achieve that by threatening their very existence. We don't need a totalitarian would government. We don't need the globalist elite controlling our lives. We don't need any more megalomaniacs who want to rule the whole world. We have had enough of those already. What we need is wise, loving leaders who will cooperate as equals with the leaders of other countries to bring peace and to heal our world.
Then we hear all this nonsense about cow farts. All animals fart, wild animals fart, people fart, and vegetarians fart more than most. What are these fools going to do? Kill all the farm animals and then slaughter all he wild animals that move into the abandoned fields? It's a totally nonsensical argument and a disingenuous one too. The vegan extremists who are banging on about this don't care about climate change, they care about animals being killed for meat. They have seen an opportunity here by scaring people about cow farts.
So if we are to win over the climate change deniers we must focus on fossil fuels, tree planting and reducing the human population. If we allow ourselves to get sidetracked we will only alienate millions of potential supporters. We can not afford to allow our movement to be hijacked by globalists and vegans.
So are we going to bite the bullet and take the actions that need taking? For fture generations, let's do this!