Guardian comment needs a completent rebuttal.

2/6/2008 Guardian Comment by David Cox - Remember that global warming thingy? The idea was that we’re wrecking the climate by pumping out greenhouse gases, and that we’ve jolly well got to change our wicked ways. Virtually the entire political, academic and media establishment threw its might behind this notion. Huge quantities of hot air were pumped out in its name, and many tonnes of pollutants expelled by planes carrying concerned dignitaries to global conferences.
There was, however, a problem: people didn’t seem too keen to abandon driving, flying, meat eating, patio heating or even buying tungsten lightbulbs. Governments were understandably wary of trying to force them. Then, hey presto!
Magically, the market seemed to have solved the problem, simply by pushing up
the price of fuel. Yet what’s been the response of our rulers? A panicky drive to keep the carbon bonfire fuelled by digging out yet more oil and abandoning proposed taxes on emissions.
We should hardly be surprised. We live in a democracy (sort of), and those seeking to retain or attain power must take some note of the will of the people. It turns out that, although we of course care about future generations and the people of low-lying Pacific islands, most of us don’t care all that much. We’re prepared to make sanctimonious gestures and attend the occasional concert of clapped-out superstars’ appalling music. But we’re not apparently prepared to sacrifice our welfare or our lifestyles, and we’ve been letting our rulers know.
Our commitment to other great altruistic causes has proved similar in character.
Poverty has not been made history, and the aged remain pretty much unhelped. Of
course, there have always been those among us, from Roundheads and Spanish
inquisitors to the Khmer Rouge and Mary Whitehouse, whose commitment to social
transformation in the name of virtue has been rather more serious.
Often, as now, their programmes have depended on the co-option of an unwilling
majority. Unfortunately, gulags, purges and the rack remain out of reach of our
current climate puritans, though some of them seem to regret this. George Monbiot, to be sure, happily beseeches a brutal despot for assistance in this dark hour for him and his ilk.
Perhaps, it’s time to get real. Climate change activists should come to appreciate what religious reformers, communist revolutionaries and other utopian visionaries have learned before them. You can’t change human behaviour in the interests of the supposed greater good.
Nonetheless, warming hasn’t gone away, even if its character is less clear-cut than has been suggested by those urging us to make obeisance to it. What should we do about it?
The answer is surely to switch our efforts away from trying to change human behaviour towards other approaches to the problem. The most obvious is technological research into methods of alleviating warming. Up until now, mentioning this route has been considered a sinful attempt to divert attention from the hairshirt remedies on which the prophets of doom have insisted. Perhaps partly as a result, such research is proving surprisingly skimpy.
The sun can provide us with far more energy than fossil fuels, yet efforts to crack the technological problems involved in turning the Sahara into the world’s power station are less intense than you might imagine. Or, to take the opposite approach, we know that seeding the atmosphere with particles could reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth, since our own particulate pollution used to achieve just this effect. Yet little attempt is being made to find out if efforts in this direction could ever be economic.
Perhaps such ideas will prove fanciful. Since they may, we should be taking proper steps to adapt to future climate change, as well as trying to prevent it. Warming may devastate some parts of the world, but it will enhance the prospects of others. Russia and Canada would benefit by populating their currently frozen expanses with eager would-be farmers displaced from the tropics. Preparing for such transfers would be a long and delicate process. We could be starting it now. Yet, we’re hardly even trying to develop new kinds of flood defence or drought-resistant crops. Why should we, while policy-makers assume that we’re going to head-off warming by reducing our consumption of energy?
It’s surely time for a change of tack. Or should we just wring our hands?