Kelvin Kemm

From my vantage point here in South Africa, I could hardly miss the major build-up to the COP-17 United Nations world environment and climate conference, which is being held November 28 to December 9 in Durban, where I went to school and university.

For weeks international news broadcasts spoke of “the road to Durban,” and people of all ranks made daily comments concerning issues to be addressed at COP-17. Conference organisers announced that bottled water would be limited, or even prohibited, because making, shipping and disposing of plastic bottles was not environmentally sound – and in any event Durban tap water is so good that anyone can safely drink water out of any tap, whether in a hotel room, restaurant or back yard garden hose. I agree with both points; Durban municipal water is excellent everywhere.

Other images also drifted through my mind, such as those of legendary scientist and philosopher Galileo, who dared to announce that it was not the sun that orbited the earth, but the planets, including the earth, which orbited the sun. The ruling establishment of the day jumped on Galileo, threatening him with dire consequences if he did not toe the politically correct line and recant his claims. He did so to avoid burning at the stake but was placed under house arrest anyway, to ensure that he did not spread his views, and his book was banned.

Many years later, during the French Revolution, baying mobs in Paris streets were ready to chop the heads off anyone perceived not to be part of the New World Order. Even scientist Antoine Lavoisier, the discoverer of oxygen and hydrogen, was one of many unfortunate people who lost their heads to French guillotines.

Today, I fear we are experiencing similar, though less lethal, sentiments on topics of so-called global warming, global climate change, global climate disruption and weather “weirding.” In far too many instances, any person who dares to challenge official dogma is branded a “denier” and treated as an enemy of society. This is not merely sad; it is dangerous to all mankind.

Chanting climate change advocacy groups want non-compliant businesses and industries found guilty of crimes against the planet, so that condemned industrialists can be hunted down and punished. This is destructive of reasoned scientific debate, affordable energy and modern civilization.

The asserted evidence that anthropogenic carbon dioxide is totally to blame for any observed climate changes is at best scientifically very shaky. There are far too many holes in the theory for it to pass the conventional rigour that should be applied to any scientific debate.


Kelvin Kemm

Dr. Kelvin Kemm is a nuclear physicist who runs his own business strategy consultancy, Stratek, based in Pretoria, South Africa. For many years he has also been involved in improving public understanding of technology issues. He regularly writes articles, gives public presentations and appears on radio and television, presenting science topics to lay audiences in an inspirational manner. He is active in energy policy matters and believes Africa must chart its own future, independent of developed country perceptions and pressures. Dr. Kemm has been awarded a Lifetime Achievers Award by the South African National Science and Technology Forum.