Global warming will enhance our lifestyles
Acommon reaction to the apparently exceptional weather of recent years is that ‘‘something’s going on’’ – big new slips in the Kawarau Gorge; floods where never before; ice where there’s never been ice; stronger, bigger, more destructive storms. The British winter threatened never to end, it rained forever, now there’s a heatwave. A number of independent measurement systems tell us that the atmosphere, and the oceans, are warmer than they have been for some time, and it makes sense that warmer – more energetic – means more rumbustious. Most scientists (and a few nonscientists with political agendas) blame it on us – we’ve been messing with the atmosphere, and the balance is tipping. But it’s also true that there hasn’t been much warming – maybe none at all – over the past 12 to 14 years. Which means that the stuff we put into the atmosphere doesn’t affect it the way scientists first thought. The models are wrong. It’s also true that a lot of things blamed on climate change are made worse by other factors; sea levels have been rising for thousands of years, and we’re building closer to the coast, nearer to the river, higher up the mountain. It’s silly to deny the obvious but also silly to see nothing but the downside. Too cold is much worse than a bit hotter. A degree or two more on average will make Central Otago a more prosperous place, and a nicer place to live. ■ Malcolm Macpherson teaches applied business excellence at Otago Polytechnic, is a USqualified business assessor, and writes on business topics for the magazine of the NZ Organisation for Quality. He was Mayor of Central Otago District from 2001 to 2010.
Dead end: A rock slip in the Kawarau Gorge this month.