Global warm­ing will en­hance our life­styles

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

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.

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