Having watched this debate and its proponents and opponents with interest over the last 15 years or so, I came to the conclusion recently that if there are 2 people in a room with no external influences whatsoever, where potentially they could actually get on famously, throw in the words ‘global warming’ and watch the feathers fly.
The further conclusion that I draw from this is that people seem to have to have something to argue about – irrespective of whether they are versed on the topic or not. From Donald Trump through to David Cameron, everybody has an opinion it seems.
Before we get ahead of ourselves though, perhaps it’s a good idea to clarify the difference between weather and climate.
This from Jeff Schweitzer at The Huffington Post:
‘Climate describes atmospheric behaviour averaged over long time periods of decades and centuries across large geographic areas. Weather describes actual local atmospheric conditions over short periods of time, from hours to days. Weather is all about the actual state of the atmosphere with respect to wind, temperature, moisture, pressure, cloud cover and other instantaneous measurements. Climate is a composite of weather conditions averaged over many years. Think of weather as a single datum point and climate as a large collection of those data. Better yet, think of weather as a one-night stand. Then climate would be raising the kid resulting from that night for the next two decades. One immediately leads to the other, but the two are completely different phenomenon. And that is why we have two distinct fields of study: meteorology and climatology.’
Right, so now that I’ve flung the proverbial cat in amongst the pigeons with that clarification, you lot can thrash it out amongst yourselves. Me, I’m going to make up some placards, go and lurk near the water cooler and pick a fight with the first person that mocks my manifesto.