Copenhagen climate change debate: Is the change real or a myth?

As world leaders gather in Copenhagen this week to discuss climate change – a retired vicar from Hemingford Grey will also be travelling to Denmark, helping to organise an alternative event that will claim climate change is a hoax. Report by ANGELA SINGER

As world leaders gather in Copenhagen this week to discuss climate change - a retired vicar from Hemingford Grey will also be travelling to Denmark, helping to organise an alternative event that will claim climate change is a hoax. Report by ANGELA SINGER.

PHILIP Foster was in Copenhagen this week, meeting with like-minded people who believe climate change is a myth.

The Copenhagen Climate Challenge opened yesterday (Tuesday) at the headquarters of the Danish Writers Association.

The invitation to the event says: "The controversy surrounding climate change is just beginning. There is clearly no known consensus among climate scientists.


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"We therefore invite the media, the politicians and policy makers to give a fair hearing to our renowned climate change expert's views."

The conference was arranged by three American organisations - Climate-Sense in association with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow CFACT and the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change - and includes scientists from around the globe.

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Mr Foster, 60, formerly the vicar of St Matthews in Cambridge is himself the author of While the Earth Endures, a book about climate change.

He told The Hunts Post: "Climate by definition is a variable item. It was warmer than it is now in the Roman and medieval period, a time when English wine was so popular our exports threatened the French.

"That's why so many cathedrals were built in the Middle Ages, warmth brings prosperity. It was colder between 1400 and around 1850, when ice fairs were held on the Thames.

"It is absolute rubbish to tell small children that polar bears will die if they leave lights on. Polar bears have survived in far warmer temperatures than we have now.

"This is a colossal waste of money and the poorest are suffering most because third world countries are being told they can't develop."

Mr Foster believes "the propaganda" about climate change began after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

"Politicians were looking for a cause. They could no longer frighten us with the Russians. Governments always want people to be frightened of something and it is all the better if they can blame us for doing it."

Mr Foster also believes climate change proponents have been "coy with their data" the allegations involving the University of East Anglia (UEA) are given as evidence.

E-mails and documents taken from the UEA were posted online, indicating that researchers had massaged figures.

The e-mails contained exchanges between leading climatologists apparently discussing how to present data to the media. Climate change sceptics believe this is evidence of an international conspiracy to blame global warming on human activity.

The claims have described by the UEA as "complete rubbish", which added that its research unit had never manipulated or deleted data or e-mails to support the evidence of global warming.

Cambridge University's Dr Chris Hope based at the Judge Business School, has worked on climate change for 18 years.

He said there was no doubt about the truth of global warming but it was a question of degree - whether it would be by two degrees or six degrees over the coming century.

He said six degrees did not sound like much, but it was more than the difference between the last Ice Age and the temperatures now.

Dr Hope said research from different countries carried out since the 1980s (and some since the 1970s) confirmed that the proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, measured in parts per million had increased.

The change was from 180 parts per million during the ice ages, to 280 parts per million before the industrial revolution, to the current 400 parts per million, he said. It is predicted to rise to over 700 parts per million by 2100 if western countries continue to burn coal, gas and oil at the current rate.

The way to prevent this, some scientists say, is for western and developing countries to use alternative sources of power including solar, wind and hydro-electricity and to stop cutting down forests (which take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere).

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