Climate Change (a warning from 1990)

Whither the weather?

by Gwydion M. Williams

With exceptional storms becoming much less exceptional than they used to be, a lot of people are asking if the world’s weather patterns have shifted. Also if it’s due to the Greenhouse Effect or something else.

l would say – possibly, and very probably. That’s to say, the storms in 1987 and this year might be just a run of bad luck, but are probably not. There is now solid evidence that there is much more Carbon Dioxide in the air than is normal.

Even as recently as ten years ago, there were grounds for legitimate scientific doubt. The possibility of a Greenhouse Effect has been known about for a long time, but no one was sure what the atmosphere had been like a hundred years ago. Now various tests have shown that it’s happening. The exact effects can’t be predicted. They are likely to be bad; they may turn out to be absolutely disastrous.

Meanwhile, Mrs Thatcher following the example of Dickens’s Mr Micawber.[1]  Maybe we can do nothing and get away with it. Something’s bound to turn up.

Except that it almost certainly won’t. We could have saved ourselves a lot of grief by acting 50 years ago, when the possibility of danger was known. Now that the danger is almost a certainty, urgent action is needed.

[Nearly thirty years on, everything is much clearer.  But much too little was done.  The threat of Global Warming and Climate Change was treated as one of many demands that politicians had to balance.  Given far too little weight, at a time when money was anyway being directed towards a selfish Overclass.

Global Warming 1Global Warming 2[If we had exactly the same weather but 2 degrees centigrade warmer, we could live with that until the seas started rising thanks to melting ice.  But it’s much worse than that.  We have different weather and wilder weather.  Forrest fires and Siberian Permafrost melting after a freeze of thousands of years.  Vast releases of methane, a worse Greenhouse Gas than Carbon Dioxide.  Almost everything has been worse than Climate Scientists were warning about back then.]

This was an item in Notes on the News for March 1990.  It appeared in Issue 16 of Labour and Trade Union Review, now Labour Affairs.