Saturday, April 29, 2017
  Search 
Home
Opportunities
Partners
Publications
About Us
 
 
Please enter your email here, we would like to keep you informed.
 
 
Connect With Us - Facebook RSS
<April 2017>
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30
Sections
Liberty In The News
Liberty Events
Conference Proceedings
Culture
Agriculture
Democracy
Development is the Key
Economic Freedom
Education for Life
Enterpreneurship
Environment
Freedom of Expression
Freedom to Trade
Globalization for the Good
Health is Wealth
Intellectual Property Rights
International Relations
Liberty is Security
Limited Government
Principles of Politics
Privatisation
Population - the ultimate resource
Property Rights
Regulatory Affairs
Rule of Law
Tax Freedom
Facts & Figures
Opportunities
Competitions
 Liberty Events
 
Summary Report on International Conference on Climate Change: Shifting Science and Changing Policies
Liberty Institute, India Thursday, November 24, 2011


The International Conference on Climate Change provided an opportunity to scientists, policy makers, scholars, and students to critically look at the issue of climate change with the context of shifting science and the changing policies. The goal was to limit the rampant fear mongering, exaggerated claims and media hype, which are casting a shadow on rational assessment of climate and objectively shaping policies to address the possible impact of changes in climate.

October 14, 2011

Phirozshah Mehta Building Auditorium, Vidyanagri, University of Mumbai

Conference ProgrammeConference announcement  

Summary of Proceedings

Welcome Address: Prof (Dr.). Mugdha Karnik  (Video)
Inaugural Address: Prof. (Dr.) S.B. Chaphekar (read Inaugural lecture) (Video)
Moderator: Mr. Mohit Satyanand

Speakers: 

Name

Location

 

Dr. Rajesh Agnihotri

New Delhi, India

 

Abstract

Biography

Prof Arun Deep Ahluwalia

Chandigarh, India

Video

Abstract

Biography

Dr. Rohinton Avasia

Mumbai, India

 

Abstract

Biography

Prof. B. K. Bala

Bangladesh

 

Paper

Abstract

Biography

Dr. Kurush F. Dalal

Mumbai, India

 

Abstract

Biography

Prof. Rajinder K. Ganjoo

Jammu, India

Video

Abstract

Biography

Dr. A.S. Gaur

Goa, India

Video

Paper

Abstract

Biography

Prof. R. R. Kelkar

Pune, India

 

Paper

Abstract

Biography

Dr. Madhav Khandekar

Toronto, Canada

 

  Video

Abstract

Biography

Ms. Pooja Kotiyal

New Delhi, India

  Video

Paper

Abstract

Biography

Dr. Ramesh H. Kripalni

Pune, India

 

Abstract

Biography

Dr. Bjarne Lembke

Sweden

 

Paper

Abstract

Biography

Mr. Barun Mitra

New Delhi, India

 

Paper

Abstract

Biography

Dr. Nils-Axel Morner

Sweden

Video

Paper

Abstract

Biography

Dr. Nils Finn Munch-Petersen

Denmark

Video

Abstract

Biography

Dr. Kandasamy Selvaraj

China

 

Abstract

Biography

Dr. Willie Soon

United States of America

 

Abstract

Biography


Introduction

Over the past few years, the scientific debate has intensified on the nature and possible causes underlying changing climate. The International Conference on Climate Change organized by the Centre for Extra Mural Studies, at Mumbai University, the Liberty Institute and Indian Study Centre (INSTUCEN) provided an opportunity to scientists, policy makers, scholars, and students to critically look at the issue of climate change with the context of shifting science and the changing policies. The goal was to limit the rampant fear mongering, exaggerated claims and media hype, which are casting a shadow on rational assessment of climate and objectively shaping policies to address the possible impact of changes in climate. This conference was a part of an initiative on climate change and economic policy undertaken by Liberty Institute, in partnership with the Friedrich Naumann- Stiftung fur die Freiheit, the liberal political foundation from Germany. The conference was inspired by the annual International Conference on Climate Change, hosted by the Heartland Institute in the US, where the thrust is on scientific theories based on objective facts, not ideology.
The conference attracted well over 200 participants from diverse background, including academics, activists, engineers, scientists, researchers, students, who represented a wide range of fields including, agriculturists, meteorologists, geologists, archaeologists, physicists, environmentalists, and others. The conference was divided into five sessions focusing on different aspects of climate science and policy, where 18 scholars presented their work. At the end of each session there was a time slot when the speakers responded to comments and questions from the participants.

Inaugural remarks

Dr (Prof). Mugdha Karnik, Director of the Centre for Extra Mural Studies Department, Mumbai University, warmly welcomed the scholars to the 2011 International Conference on Climate Change.

Prof. Dr. S.B. Chaphekar, former head of the department of Environmental Sciences, University of Pune, in his inaugural speech, highlighted the various aspects and variability of climate change, shifting sciences and the changing policies associated with it, as the uniqueness of the 2011 International Climate Change Conference; making it stand apart from other conferences discussing only global warming and its threats. The other factors outlined by Dr. Chaphekar were the issues of increasing global temperature, population explosion, the global warming hype sidelining the issue of global cooling and the bias towards developing and poor countries on implementing scientific policies. He stressed India’s right to evolve with the same freedom of choice as western countries had in the past. Dr Chaphekar further cautioned about the prospect of genuine environmental concerns being ignored by some non-environmental scientists, activists and politicians for their own agendas.

Session 1: Climate Science

The first session dealt with climate science, particularly focusing on the Indian climate change, variability of Indian monsoon, and the need for reliable climate models with predictive abilities. The two eminent speakers in this session were Prof. R.R. Kelkar, a member of Governing Council of the Indian Institute of Meteorology, and former Director General of India Meteorological Department, and Dr. Madhav R. Khandekar, retired scientist from ‘Environment Canada’, an expert reviewer for the IPCC Assessment Report 4 (2007), and now the lead author on ‘Extreme Weather’ for Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) project ‘Climate Change Reconsidered’ 2013. 

a) Prof Kelkar dealt with India’s climate change concerns and the need for better climate models. He outlined six major concerns for India on climate change:

  • Change in amount and distribution pattern of monsoon rainfall.
  • Effect of temperature rise and varied rainfall patterns on agriculture production.
  • Possible increase in frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones.
  • Threat of sea level rise.
  • Retreat of Himalayan glaciers and impact on rivers originating from Himalayas.
  • Possible effect on the growth of vector-borne diseases due to temperature rise.

He noted that sea surface temperature was only one of the factors that influenced formation of cyclones. He also drew attention to the fact that sea level at any one location is influenced by many factors, and that there was no evidence of a monotonic rising trend in sea levels. Dr Kelkar pointed out that many studies have shown that it was premature to say with certainty that the retreat of the Himalayas glaciers is attributable to the current global warming. On the possibility of spread of vector borne diseases, he called for caution, since the incidence and spread of such diseases are governed not just by temperature and humidity but by several other socioeconomic factors not related to climate such as urbanization, population migration, health infrastructure and intervention practices.

There are only a few global models that can be trusted  to capture the basic climatology of the Indian monsoon on either spatial or temporal scales or both, and there is no single climate model currently available nationally or internationally that can be truly relied upon from all angles pertaining to the monsoon for purposes of policy making. Simplistic models often give rise to alarmist results. He acknowledged that there was a great need to construct comprehensive models which can envisage how all the factors contributing to the major concerns mentioned above, will evolve over time, with global warming being one of the inputs and not the only one.

b) Dr. Khandekar discussed the natural variability of Indian monsoon in the context of global warming debate. He held that Indian monsoon, including droughts and floods, have occurred irregularly in the past, and will continue to occur in the future, global warming notwithstanding. According to Dr. Khandekar, Indian/Asian monsoon is the largest seasonal abnormality in the global climate system. Based on the 200 year old dataset on Indian monsoon, he said that the Indian monsoon is a robust system, not influenced by the warming of earth’s climate as proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Inter-annual variability governing Indian monsoon was briefly outlined in the context of the ENSO (El Nino-Southern Oscillation), Eurasian winter snow cover and extent, Quasi-biennial equatorial wind oscillation, Indian Dipole etc. Blandford (1884) study identifying the first adverse impact of heavy winter snow cover on subsequent monsoons was used to focus on the impact of snow cover on monsoon by Dr. Khandekar.

Session 2: Changing Sea Level

Changes in the sea levels, the empirical data, the archaeological evidence, and the political consequences were among the issues discussion in the second session. The session included three speakers – Dr. Nils-Axel Morner, a Swedish scientist and ‘The Golden Chondrite of Merit’ award winner from Algarve University; Dr. Nils Finn Munch-Petersen, anthropologist and senior expert from the University of Copenhagen; and Dr. A.S. Gaur, an archaeologist from the Marine Archaeology Centre at the National Institute of Oceanography, in Goa.

a) Dr. Morner addressed the issues of sea level changes in the Indian Ocean. He dismissed the threats of catastrophic sea level rise. Giving evidence of changes in sea level in the Indian Ocean area, particularly, Maldives, Laccadive, Mumbai, and Vishakhapatnam, he questioned the claims of those who have been predicting a sharp rise in sea levels. Detailing the facts, and buttressed by photographic evidence on the stratigraphy, morphology vegetation and habitation of the proposed areas under threat due to sea level rise, he presented records of fall in sea level since 1970s and also a record of stable sea level for 40 years from Mumbai and Vishakhapatnam. He said, in the Laccadive, the locals are aware of the fact that sea level is not at all in a rising mode today, rather that new land has been added, leaving previous shore to become overgrown and invaded by terrestrial snails. He concluded the presentation by stressing that all the talk about alarming ongoing rise in sea level is nothing but an illusion to be abandoned the sooner the better, because it steals the limelight from real problems in the real world.

b) Dr. Petersen spoke about the bigger picture behind the false alarms of sea level rise at Maldives islands due to global warming, by shedding light upon the relationship between marketing of "Maldives' sea level rise" by local political leaders and increasing foreign aid for Maldives. According to Dr. Petersen, foreign journalists and politicians from Europe and the US were being invited to the Maldives and shown the effects of normal atoll erosion; erosion caused by coastal construction activities, and the effects of the Tsunami in December 2004, to advertise the supposed sea-rise as a fact. Also saline intrusions into islands’ fresh water lenses are cited as sea-rise effects, supposedly causing a die-off of flora; however no such sea-rise effects are seen in the Maldives, Laccadive, Aminidivi or the island of Minicoy.

c) Dr. Gaur presented an archeological angle to shoreline change and fluctuations in sea level, from a case study on Gujarat coast. The presentation reviewed the shoreline and sea-level changes in the past 4000 years, and cited archaeological evidence from Harappan sites indicating shoreline movements. He said that many scientific investigations, focusing on the sea level fluctuations in India based on numerous geological techniques, have indicated that at about 6000 BP, the sea level was stabilized at the present one with minor fluctuations. For example, in the Christian era the sea level was around 2m lower than today around the island of Bet Dwarka. Thus, certain sea level changes have always been taking place and could be caused by several factors such as tectonic disturbance, or shift in sedimentological regime, etc., and hence causing erosion or deposition.

Session 3: Monsoon and its impact

Indian monsoon, computer climate models’ prediction, and the impact of climate change on Indian agricultural production were the topics reviewed in the third session. The session comprised presentations by four speakers – Dr. Ramesh.H. Kripalani, a faculty member at the Centre for Advanced Training in Earth System Sciences and Climate from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (Pune); Dr. Willie Soon, an anthropologist and geoscientist from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (USA); Dr. Rajesh Agnihotri, a scientist from the Radio and Atmospheric Science Division at the National Physical Laboratory (New Delhi); and Prof. B.K. Bala from the Bangladesh Agricultural University in Chittagong.

a) Dr. Kripalani overviewed the Indian summer monsoon variability. He pointed out a declining trend in the Indian monsoon rainfall in the last 60 years. According to him, only 7 out of the 23 computer models used by the IPCC to predict the Indian summer monsoon precipitation and its variability are able to generate a realistic prediction of future monsoon climate over India. Using these models, he presented his findings on future projections in relation to different scenarios, which showed an increase in monsoon precipitation and a possible increase in the monsoon period.

b) Dr. Soon highlighted some unscientific aspects of projections based on computer models to predict the Monsoon rainfall for the 21st century including the discussions in IPCC AR4 (2007) report. He stated that the level of complexity and interconnectivity of weather and climate conditions is just too high to make certain predictions out of computer models. He characterised most of the computer models of climate as being a part of the “garbage in, gospel out” syndrome. Also, to only hold the rise in atmospheric CO2 levels responsible for the climate change was just too narrow, Dr. Soon said. In addition, he presented facts proving the dissimilar seasonal radiation of the sun to be a factor responsible for global warming.

c) Identifying the patterns of natural climate variability, Dr. Agnihotri put forth the role of Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) on Indian monsoons. He stated that the scientific results demonstrate that the total radiation of the sun per square meter is possibly a much greater driver of climate change than the rise of CO2 level in the atmosphere. He projected ‘TSI derivative’ as a prominent indicator of natural monsoon variability on an inter-decadal timescale.

d) Prof. Bala focused on the impacts of climate change on agriculture production and on the nation’s food security. He analyzed the ‘InfoCrop’ growth model and its ability to predict the effects of climate change on the yields of rice, wheat and maize in Bangladesh. The growth model calculations were based upon the function of radiation use efficiency, photo-synthetically active radiation, crop extinction coefficient, and total leaf index. Differences in the historical climate change scenarios and IPCC climate change scenarios were outlined during his talk. For example, historical climate change scenario has little or no negative impacts on rice and wheat yields in Mymensingh and Dinajpur but IPCC climate change scenario has higher negative impacts. There is almost no change in the yields of rice and maize for the historical climate change scenario in the Hill Tracts of Chittagong, but there is small decrease in the yields of rice and maize for IPCC climate change scenario. Finally some adaptation options to climate change impacts were also discussed.

Session 4: Geological Evidence

Effects of climate change were geologically and archaeologically reviewed in the fourth session. The session comprised of five speakers- Prof. Arun Deep Ahluwalia, an Emeritus geologist at the Punjab University (Ludhiana), he is actively engaged in science and environmental education; Prof. Rajinder K. Ganjoo, a geologist with the University of Jammu; Dr. Rohinton Avasia, a certified gemologist and ex-chairman of the Board of Studies in Geology at the Mumbai University; Dr. Kurush F. Dalal, archaeologist, and assistant professor at the Centre for Extra Mural Studies at Mumbai University; and Dr. Kandasamy Selvaraj, a geochemist and associate professor at State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, Xiamen University (China).

a) Approaching the climate change issue through a long term geological perspective, Prof. Ahluwalia discussed the geological history of planet Earth. He strongly opposed the prevailing view that man made global warming is cause for alarm. He noted how global warming had been renamed cleverly as climate change. He raised the prospect of an approaching mini ice age, which he felt was being sidelined by the hype over global warming. He stressed that the smoky alarm on climate change as nothing but a political humdrum, neglecting the historical facts. He said; to err on the side of caution, let us presume man may be contributing a minor fraction towards warming of the earth. The planet has a great resilience we must not however forget.

b) Prof. Ganjoo discussed the issue of melting glaciers, primarily focusing on the environmental changes in Nubra Valley (Ladakh). Graphical and pictorial descriptions were presented to portray the present scenario of Nubra Valley. He outlined, of the 114 glaciers of the valley, almost 52.6% of glaciers were comprised of size less than 5km and 31.5% of total glaciers were between size of 5-10km; suggesting the prominence of small glaciers. Prof. Ganjoo put forth evidences indicating no significant changes during 1989-2001 as against 1969 -1989 in the length and area of the glaciers of Nubra valley. He concluded, the changes in the glaciers of Nubra valley are varied and complex. In absence of intensive weather data from the Nubra valley, it would be premature to conclude upon the causes for such complex and varied changes.

c) Dr. Avasia presented his study on Raised Beaches of Holocene Epoch occurring along the West Coast of India. He said these remnants of the former sea level rise are dated to interpret the eustatic variation of sea level related to the repetitive episodes of Warmer Climate in Holocene Epoch. This data, in turn, is considered useful in interpretation of the age and evolution of Stone Age Sites in the coastal regions of Maharashtra. The results show that the past sea levels were much higher than today due to a warmer climate in that epoch.

d) An archaeological and cultural view was briefed during Dr. Dalal’s session on climate change and the repercussion on human evolution and culture. He stated that climate change is just one of the irregularly regular constants in the history of man. Without historical climate change, man would not have been able to evolve so successfully. Historical climate change has helped and fastened the human evolution. Climate change is thus nothing adverse, but a natural phenomenon and has to be faced as inevitable and therefore with a readiness to evolve to meet their challenges.

e) Dr. Selvaraj used environment-specific geochemical proxies to rebuild past climatic and oceanographic changes and thus, to understand the causes of global climate change. Multi-proxy records of lake sediment core deposits from Inner Mongolia, indicating two distinct events of glacial sedimentation were presented. The sedimentation attained through the discharge of melted glacial water from Tibetan Plateau and through the strong currents of Yellow River was outlined during the briefing. According to Dr. Selvaraj, the study provides an unprecedented evidence for the influence of remote mountain glaciers in arid Inner Mongolia during the de-glacial interval, implying that future global warming may enhance the flow of energy of glaciers-born rivers in Asia.

Session 5: Policy Implications

The conference concluded with its final session detailing on the necessary and changing policies associated with climate change and related facets. The session involved three speakers- Dr. Bjarne Lembke, a physician and a specialist in occupational health; Pooja Kotiyal, Technical-project associate from the Ministry of Environment and Forest; and Mr. Barun Mitra, founder and director of Liberty Institute, and recipient of the Julian L. Simon Award 2005.

a) Dr. Lembke argued that the increasing number of vector borne diseases is, rather than a consequence of increasing temperatures as stated in the IPCC, is from the enormous urbanisation which is taking place on our planet. He stated that while 50% of the human population nowadays lives in big cities, people lose their natural immunity against many diseases. He said, global warming and climate changes have been adopted by the politicians and converted to a weapon for controlling people. Also, urban young people have 3 to 4% higher psychosomatic problems than 50 years ago. Instead of frightening people with disinformation about diseases and coastal flooding, they should be given true information and knowledge. He claims that the fear of global warming steals the limelight for real problems related to the “urbanization revolution”.

b) Ms. Kotiyal outlined the evolution of energy-environmental policies in the context of India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change. The key point underlined by her during the session was the need to understand the underlying process facilitating the evolution of energy-environmental policy landscape, its various elements and instruments therein. Kingdon’s multiple streams model was used to determine the evolution of these policy domains in India during the last three decades. Within the developed framework of analysis the NAPCC, its legitimacy and adequacy were analyzed as well as various other energy-environment policies were also reviewed by detailing the objectives and functions.

c) Mr Barun Mitra argued that decarbonisation of the world economy has been going on for the past 500 years, since mankind moved from using wood and charcoal to coal. Moreover, decarbonisation of the economies is an almost natural process which evolves due to the human need to become more energy efficient. He said, this has been a secular trend, quite irrespective of whether carbon emissions are causing global warming or not. In the event that an increasing level of carbon dioxide may contribute to global warming, this could be neutralized by the market economic system. A competitive market will continuously strive for greater energy efficiency, thus reducing the carbon intensity of the economy. Presenting examples of economies that have been decarbonising, he showed how the India economy has been following the same path towards decarbonisation after the initiative of economic liberalisation in the early 1990s. This trend has been sustained without any specific environment and climate policies, or laws. Developing countries like India, in his view, must have the freedom to choose the most efficient energy solutions in order to pursue their economic development.

Vote of thanks

Samuel Nazareth of the Centre for Extra Mural Studies concluded the daylong conference by thanking the expert panel members and participants, the moderator, the organizers, sponsors and supporters.
Postscript: Each session was followed by a question and answer session, providing opportunity to the participants to seek clarification and make a comment. Edited version of Q&A session will be made available as soon as possible.

Your comments are most welcome, please write to the following address.
Liberty Institute
C-4/8 Sahyadri
Plot 5, Sector 12, Dwarka
New Delhi 110078. India
Email: info@libertyinstitute.org.in

To keep yourself updated, please join our email group, by sending your email ID to
Email: info@ChallengingClimate.org

Websites: www.ChallengingClimate.org | www.InDefenceofLiberty.org | www.EmpoweringIndia.org

This article was published in the Liberty Institute on Thursday, November 24, 2011.
Tags- Find more articles on - climate models | decarbinisation of economy | Friedrich Naumann Stiftung fur die Freiheit | holocene sea level changes | indian monsoon | International Conference on Climate Change | Liberty Institute | Nubra valley | sea level change | University of Mumbai

Post your Comments on this Article

Name  
Email    
Comment  
Comments will be moderated

More Related Articles
Liberty Events
More Articles


 
An Initiative of
LIBERTY INSTITUTE, INDIA
All rights reserved.