Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stop mixing the science of climate change with the politics of climate change!!!

Are there too many immigrants in Britain? No but there are too many people in the world. Is multiculturalism a threat to British culture? No British culture is always changing & I love living in a society with a diverse range of people. Is gay marriage a threat to 'traditional marriage'? No it will just mean that people aren't discriminated against based on their sexuality. Should Britain renew Trident? No the £30 billion or so it will cost would be much better spent on reducing poverty in the UK. Should we intervene in Syria? I'm not in favour of us doing an 'Iraq' on them but I definitely think we should do something, such as a no-fly zone or put pressure on different divisional commanders in the Syrian army to flip sides. Should the top rate of income tax in the UK be higher? No but I think the government should do more to clamp down on both tax avoidance & tax evasion by corporations & wealthy individuals. Should the UK bring back the death penalty? No it's inhumane & doesn't act as a deterrent. Would a communist society work? No but I believe capitalism will evolve into a more ethical & sustainable economic system within the next century. 

Now all of the above questions are asking me of my political opinion on such matters. I answered them with my political opinion, I may well be wrong on them & my answers will stem from a mixture of my logical & emotional reasoning. I can offer evidence for my opinions if asked but I don't think any one of my above opinions stated could be considered a 'fact'. 

My belief in climate change however is taken from a scientific perspective. After learning about climate change in a unit called 'Environmental Management' during my Business degree, I have looked into the science on many scientific websites, listened to what the national scientific bodies say & I am sure that human activity is the prime reason for the recent rise in warming in the last 200 years. My belief in climate change is as certain as my belief in evolution- the vast majority of scientists in their field support both theories.

I have researched the science of climate change by using reputable scientific websites such as the Royal Society's. The Royal Society acts as the UK's academy of sciences & is many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation in 1660, is "to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity."

The following quote is taken from the official website of the Royal Society: "It is certain that increased greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and from land use change lead to a warming of climate, and it is very likely that these greenhouse gases are the dominant cause of the global warming that has been taking place over the last 50 years." 

And "The Society has worked on the issue of climate change for many years to further the understanding of this issue. These activities have been informed by decades of publicly available, peer-reviewed studies by thousands of scientists across a wide range of disciplines. Climate science, like any other scientific discipline, develops through vigorous debates between experts, but there is an overwhelming consensus regarding its fundamentals. Climate science has a firm basis in physics and is supported by a wealth of evidence from real world observations."

Here's what the world's most prestigious scientific bodies put it in a joint statement signed by the heads of the national science academies in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US:

"The existence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is vital to life on Earth – in their absence average temperatures would be about 30 centigrade degrees lower than they are today. But human activities are now causing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases – including carbon dioxide, methane, tropospheric ozone, and nitrous oxide – to rise well above pre-industrial levels. 

Carbon dioxide levels have increased from 280 ppm in 1750 to over 375 ppm today – higher than any previous levels that can be reliably measured (i.e. in the last 420,000 years). Increasing greenhouse gases are causing temperatures to rise; the Earth’s surface warmed by approximately 0.6 centigrade degrees over the twentieth century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected that the average global surface temperatures will continue to increase to between 1.4 centigrade degree." (

Now onto my political beliefs regarding climate change- I believe through a mixture of environmental legislation, consumer pressure to make organisations more environmentally friendly & ethical, greater education & awareness about climate change as it increasingly has a negative impact on people around the world, we will help to prevent climate change from  making our planet uninhabitable. I believe the solutions to climate change will come from a variety of political persuasions so the sooner all sides accept the science the sooner we can focus more on the politics & the possible solutions. 

Below are several other reputable & scientific sources on climate change:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What is happening in Syria means we need a bullet proof global arms trade treaty more than ever

For over a year the ruthless Assad dictatorship in Syria has terrorised and murdered thousands of its own people. The bodies of adults and children have been burnt and destroyed by the Assad army. A recent UN report has revealed that children have been used by Syrian troops as ‘human shields’ and as child soldiers during the conflict.

The US government has alleged that Russia is sending attack helicopters to the regime and warned that Syria’s conflict could become even deadlier. Russia has continued to insist that any arms it supplies to the country are not being used to suppress anti-government dissent. Personally I think that’s bullshit- Russia's veto of the UN security council resolution on Syria was followed by reports of continuing arms sales by Russia's state arms trader.

It is estimated that almost 10,000 civilians have been killed in Syria – the time has come for Russia to stop transferring arms to Syria. But Russia isn’t the only one responsible for the deadly but booming arms trade- $45-60 billion arms sales are agreed each year. Each year enough bullets are made to kill every person on this planet twice; At least 1500 people are killed in armed conflict & violence every single day- these deaths are not unavoidable. They are the tragic consequence of an arms trade that is out of control.

It is one of most corrupt trades in world, a lot of the arms that western governments have sold have gone into the hands of military dictatorships or corrupt governments. Tea gas grenades used by Egypt security forces to gas their own citizens in November 2011 were supplied by the US, some were even made in the UK. A recent Amnesty report  highlighted how the UK, USA, France and other countries sent weapons to Libya, Bahrain and Yemen despite clear signs that these weapons would be used by repressive governments against its own civilians.

This senseless violence could have stopped a long time ago, but for Russia and China vetoing UN Security Council resolutions, putting profit from arms sales before people.
We have treaties to regulate the global trade of many products, even Bananas, dinosaur bones, postage stamps, but not guns & bullets- there is virtually no accountability on how weapons are traded between countries, or how they are used. 

There will be a meeting at the United Nations in New York next month, where countries from around the world will gather to negotiate the first-ever international arms trade treaty.
The aim of such a treaty is to have a globally agreed set of standards to regulate the trade of all conventional arms, stopping the sale of weapons to places that pose a serious risk to human rights. 

A draft treaty has already been published, which – if adopted – would ban all weapons sales to countries that could use them to abuse human rights, or encourage corruption or armed violence. Most countries support the idea of such a treaty, but under pressure from their own arms industry, some want it watered down. China, India, Pakistan want to leave out small arms like machine guns & assault weapons. US wants to leave out bullets. Anna Macdonald, head of arms control campaigning at Oxfam, states: "Guns are useless without bullets. Bullets are what turn guns into lethal weapons. It is absolutely essential that the sale of ammunition is included in the treaty. It would be totally irrational to leave it out. The price paid in human lives for the trade in ammunition is incalculable."

The UN security council's permanent members, China, France, Russia, UK and the USA, are also (alongside Germany) the world's largest profiteers from arms sales. If this treaty is going to work, it needs to include a wide range of weapons, equipment & deals, & it must safeguard human rights.

There is a need to push for a treaty that regulates and asks states to track their sales of ammunitions. The problem is that conflict zones are already flooded with weapons. It is the continued sale of ammunition that makes those weapons far more deadly than the clubs they would be otherwise.

The UK government must take a leading role in the international talks to secure a binding and comprehensive arms trade treaty to stem the flow of weapons and ammunition to rights abusing governments. To help save those lives all you need to do is persuade Cameron to get it right. He can only do that by publically committing that the UK will not compromise on human rights during the negotiations. 

The world needs a bullet proof arms trade treaty. Please email your MP now asking them to support one

For further information on this, here’s a few links:

*A shorter version of this article was published through the UK's most popular left wing blog, Liberal Conspiracy @