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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Munk Debates on climate change

I'm really looking forward to the Dec. 1 live webcast Munk Debate on climate change.

C02 levels in the atmosphere are climbing steadily higher. Some believe this is having a devastating effect on humans and nature, while others argue that the threat has been overstated. Is this the moment for a bold international treaty to curb carbon emissions? Or, are the social and economic costs of reducing C02 emissions too high in world where a billion people live on a dollar or less a day?

 There are 4 people to take part in this debate, two on each side.  They all have two things in common.  All of them are published authors, and none of them are climate "experts."

Those listed on the "con" side are Lord Nigel Lawson and Bjorn Lomborg.  A strong showing there, I think.

Lord Lawson is by far the most distinquished of the bunch, IMO.  He had a long and distinquished career in journalism before turning to politics.  He served as Energy Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer, and advisor to former British PM, Margaret Thatcher.  The positive economic results of his tenure are known as "The Lawson Boom."  He's well informed, logical, and has a backbone - something that seems to be missing in most politicians.

Also on the "con" side is Bjorn Lomborg.  It should be noted that Lomborg actually believes in AGW.  His arguement is that trying to stop or control climate change is a waste of resources, and that it would be much more prudent to use those resources differently.  An economist, he organised the "Copenhagen Consensus" to get together some of the top minds in the field to look at where it would be most effective to use our resources.

On the "pro" is, we have Elizabeth May.  She is the current leader of the Green Party of Canada - and the reason I no longer vote green.  She's a lawyer and environmental activist.  As a Canadian, I've seen her in action, and quite frankly, I find her difficult to watch or listen to, her behaviour is so atrocious.  No more so than, say, Jack Layton *shudder* but that's hardly a complement.  She seems to be all about the emotion and little to do with logic.

Of all the debaters, the "pro" is saddled with the man who is perhaps the least qualified - or sane - person of the bunch, George Monbiot.  When trying to read and review his book, Heat, his claim to relevance seems to be that he's a "thinker."  He's also travelled the world as an activist, suffering injuries and near death in the process.  His bout with cerebral malaria might explain his over the top rantings, such as his statement that, every time someone drowns in a flood in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be taken out and shot. 

Looking at this line up, I'd say the "pro" side is in for a trouncing.

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