LETTER: Folly lies in thinking we can control climate

Reader Robert Leggett takes issue with Michelle Mungall's column on climate change.

Re: Reducing greenhouse gases leads to a brighter future,” Column, Dec. 4

I would like to start this letter with stating I am not a climate change denier. It happens and it is real, and I do believe there is much that needs to be done for the environment; but I am an anthropogenic global warming agnostic, and as such I take issue with some things that Michelle Mungall wrote in her column.

First, to state something as fact doesn’t make it one. We did not experience extremes in water restrictions or forest fires.According to bcwildfire.ca in 2015 we were actually below the annual average of fires and have been since 2009 and as for water restrictions, the national precipitation per cent departures graph shows that annual precipitation amounts have tended to be above the baseline average for Canada since 1971 (ec.gc.ca/adsc-cmda).

The restrictions were caused by people overusing water rather than a lack of water. The City of Nelson said it best:“Residents have used 35 per cent more water this year than last year at this time. So far, the summer of 2015 is recording the highest level of water use in recent years.” Also, I would like to point out that statements about extreme weather are normally false. Storms have not been more frequent or violent (ncdc.noaa.gov andwunderground.com/hurricane/top10.asp)

Secondly, evidence points to temperature increasing hundreds to thousands of years before there is an increase in atmospheric CO2. This shows that CO2 may not drive temperature change (antarcticglaciers.org). In the past, when CO2was up to 1,000 times higher than at present, there were no tipping points and no runaway global warming. In fact, only one molecule of every 85,000 in the atmosphere is CO2 of human origin, and yet we are asked to believe that this one molecule compels very complex climate change systems.

Thirdly, I, in theory, welcome alternate energy sources; however until they become more efficient it is neither practical nor cost effective for the consumer. Renewable generators only produce power intermittently when the sun shines or whenthe wind blows. Wind turbines, for example, spin only about a third of the time. That means countries which have a lot of renewable generation must still pay to maintain traditional kinds of power stations ready to fire up when demand peaks.

Consider Germany: between 2007 and 2014, residential electricity prices rose by more than 40 per cent. Those prices —available on Eurostat jumped at the same time Germany’s solar capacity increased 17-fold and wind capacity more than doubled. Eurostat data from Spain tells a similar story. Between 2007 and 2014, residential electric rates jumped 70 percent, while wind capacity increased by about 50 per cent and solar capacity grew about seven-fold.

Lastly, Canada should be wary of agreeing to any deal that comes out of the IPCC, a wholly political organization that unashamedly boasts a political agenda. As the panel’s former chairman, Rajendra K. Pachauri, admitted “We are an intergovernmental body and we do what the governments of the world want us to do. If the governments decide we should do things differently and come up with a vastly different set of products we would be at their beck and call.” We would be better off taking care of the environment as a nation without all the extraneous political manoeuvrings that come out of theIPCC.

In what can only be regarded as hubris, climate alarmists now assert that every weather event is due to the action of prosperous Westerners. Yes, climate changes, sometimes drastically. It has for 4.5 billion years before man and will continue to do so after man. There is no folly in admitting this; the folly lies in thinking we can and will control it.

Robert Leggett

Nelson