On Climate Changes

The summer months, especially August, are mainly the time for vacations, and that goes for the politicians as well (both here and in Europe), so it is not bad to take a break from daily political events and deal with other topics. Not that there aren’t any developments, such as the current issues with the “Reket” case and the Prime Minister’s opinion on it, the reflections on the Ilinden celebration and whether or not there was some chanting at Meckin Kamen and if so, by who, as well as some ongoing debates, such as the fate of the SPO, judicial reform or early elections. But all this can wait until we all return from the summer holidays, and so nothing will move in the coming days. And until then, in anticipation of the hottest ten days (in terms of temperature), when temperatures forecast between 35 and 40 degrees Celsius in Macedonia, we can devote ourselves to exactly that topic – climate change. If anything, that topic on a global scale is more polarizing than our party divisions.

From the start, let me declare that I am no expert on this subject, nor do I follow it on a regular basis. What fascinates me most is precisely this polarization on many of the most important issues on this topic and the divisions to proponents and opponents of global warming and climate change among scholars (especially the scientific community). In that sense I am more in circles outside the expert public, in so-called “believers” or skeptics, that is, people who think (or are actively convincing) in favor of one or the other side, even though they are not experts. For example, current US President Donald Trump on the side of skeptics, and former Vice President Al Gore on the side of the “believers” (he has, however, become well-informed, and perhaps even expert on the subject, after producing the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” for which he won an Oscar, and for all his work on climate change he won the Nobel Prize).

And I should also mention that I am still more a skeptic than a believer in the whole phenomenon (or problem) of climate change, though I certainly accept the scientific findings and arguments in support of the theses for human-caused global warming, especially for those who have attained a high degree of consensus in the scientific community and in particular in the reports of the United Nations and their Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In this sense, I find it indisputable that there has been an increase in the Earth’s average temperature over the last hundred years, by about 1 degree Celsius, and that it is largely due to a human factor (industrial development and emissions of fossil fuels).

But skepticism comes to me from a number of factors. First, the use of terminology itself, ie the dramatization of certain terms at different times, so there is less talk of “global warming” (among other things because there has been warming in the last decade, but at a lower rate than in previous decades, though there is a further eight percent increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other “greenhouse gases”), and much more about “climate change”, while lately the trend has been “climate urgency”. the English term c limate emergency). In that sense, I remember the drama and panic back in the day when I was a student in the early 1990s, with the term “ozone hole”. There were then apocalyptic scenarios that the hole in the Earth’s ozone layer that appeared above the Antarctic was expanding and could expand all over the planet, completely obliterating that layer that didn’t protect us from 98 percent of the damaging solar radiation. Have you heard anything on that subject in recent years? I believe not, among other things because 25 years after the “hole” reached its maximum size, it is now almost completely closed, ie, the ozone layer is restored over Antarctica. Climate believers would say it was the result of the 1989 Montreal Convention when Governments pledged to limit the use of gases (such as refrigerators and air conditioners) that were identified as major contributors to the ozone problem. But are we really that effective and coordinated globally?

My biggest skepticism is about giving greater importance to ourselves as individuals and as human civilization in general. Especially in terms of the magnitude and complexity of the natural processes taking place in the universe … or not to go that far – in our Solar System. Namely, I believe that even a relatively small anomaly (or even a regular increase in activity) in the functioning of the Sun can cause far greater damage, disruption or even total destruction of life on Earth than we can do ourselves. Well, I accept that human participation in current climate problems is much higher than I thought (2-3%), maybe even a majority, but – hopefully no space phenomenon will convince us.

I am also skeptical about ways to deal with climate change, for which there is much less global consensus (which is further complicated by the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement for Coordinated World Action). Namely, I do not believe that limiting the use of resources on which the global economy is still based (such as fossil fuels) will lead to the desired result. That is, I do not believe that people and states will give up the benefits and comfort of using exactly those resources (gasoline vehicles, for example). And especially not our small individual efforts to reduce our “carbon footprint” – simply, the spending on large industries (in China and the US for example) is so huge that all of our individual efforts make all this nonsense. And this is compounded by the behavior of the biggest propagandists of the dangers of climate change, such as Al Gore or Leonardo DiCaprio for example … these days I read about a big gathering on this topic in Italy, in which around 300 VIPs from the world jet set who are worried about the problem – came to that gathering with 147 private jets?!? In the spirit of the ” Do as I say, not as I do” guideline.

All in all, these are all good awareness-raising campaigns and responsible individual action, but sustained results require massive action by the largest states. Some are already doing quite a bit, like Germany for example, by substituting nuclear and fossil fuels and subsidizing climate-neutral energy sources (solar, wind, etc.). Or the contribution of China and India to global reforestation (the main way to reduce carbon dioxide), which is now 10 percent higher than two decades ago, mainly because of them (The Chinese have found a way to reforest the desert and convert it into farmland). For some attempts, it is not clear whether they are actually productive. For example, electric vehicles including the more popular scooters… studies show that their use is really more climate-friendly than others, but their production (especially for lithium batteries) actually leaves a bigger carbon footprint!

In any case, although there is already a great deal of consensus on warming and the human factor, the debate on this topic is far from over and the arguments for and against many of the important issues on this topic are thorough and balanced (I recommend the website www.climatechange.procon .org). And the debate itself is more interesting than the party squabbles in this country and those ridiculous (and often an insult to one’s intelligence) daily press conferences of our leading parties SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE, full of questions (not conclusions) about criminals and empty charges without any arguments and even less evidence.

Aleksandar Krzalovski