Friday, 18 March 2011
My initial reaction to BBC2’s Horizon: Science Under Attack was that, although the case for climate change was well made – the program had been edited in such a way so as not to allow the detractors a reasonable chance to state their case. It was a biased account of the subject – even if the evidence is strongly in favour of global warming being the result of man burning too much fossil fuel.
What the presenter, Sir Paul Nurse - President of the Royal Society, probably did not take fully into account is that, whereas most scientific research does not affect the majority’s lives significantly, the result of climate change research heavily impacts on virtually everyone’s life. Since the changes required to our lifestyles are very unwelcome, it is unsurprising that any suggestion that the science is wrong is eagerly seized by the many who do not want these changes.
I am inclined to believe that the detractors are aiming their sights at the wrong target - it is not the science that is to blame, but the way in which governments throughout the world use the data. The global consensus seems to be that it must be the people who should make these unwanted lifestyle changes, whereas they and the rest of the ruling elite will barely be effected.
The most glaring example of this is the, much favoured, global free market. Clearly, in order to save transportation, which almost exclusively uses fossil fuels, goods need to be produced as close to their point of use as possible. This of course, would disallow the giant corporations from finding the cheapest labour globally and oblige them to set up production units for everything from milk to iPads along with distribution outlets as close to the point of use of these goods as reasonably possible.
There is no doubt that these global giants would fight any legislation that obliged them to stop using cheap overseas labour tooth and nail – there are rich profit to be made. However, there is little doubt that such a move would significantly reduce unemployment in the UK and give hope to the many youngsters who have little or no hope of finding a job now or in the foreseeable future. Not only this – the opportunities for small and medium sized businesses, those required to get our economy moving, would be greatly increased through not having to compete with cheap imports.