Global Warming

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…or, for political cover when it’s snowing on your Save-the-Earth-From-Global-Warming Conference, try the term “climate change.”

I admittedly have problems contemplating that humankind is responsible for climate change, to the point where it impacts the climate beyond natural forces.  I think those predisposed to this thinking think much too highly of man’s ability to affect the climate, either negatively from our industrious natures, or positively by curbing our human endeavors. 

That does not mean that I believe our human activity is without effect on the environment.  In fact, clean water and air are vitally important and I don’t have a lot of sympathy for people, companies, industries, or countries who rail against the cost of compliance against generally accepted scientific findings.

That said, I’m not persuaded that the legion of scientists who fault us for increased carbon dioxide levels, and therefore global warming (oops, climate change) have arrived at their conclusions with honest assumptions and openness to all possibilities.  There are a lot of smart people on both sides of this argument, and both excel at calling the other side, in playground terms, names.

What do I know? I’m just a dweeb blogger who listens to lots of music and occasionally reads a book.  I just have a problem with the scale of our purported influence.  I know there is an ever increasing number of us humans, and every developing nation who actually develops results in more consumers who demand more industries to support them, thus more potential for pollution of all types.  Therefore, it is reasonable to ask whether climate change might be affected in terms of decades rather than centuries. 

But I also think.  In the 1970’s, it was the coming ice age.  In the 1990’s, it was the overheating of the planet.  And in 2010, “new data” now suggests the last 10 years has been the hottest recorded in a very long time, yet a year ago were perplexed that warming trends did not increase as expected.   

My opinions are not helped by politicians, who, in general, have sacrificed credibility for the sake of media sound bites.  From oil rig disasters to the generational effect of the nanny State, I think the vast majority of politicians have very superficial knowledge of anything specific, regardless of the breadth of their responsibility or the expertise of their appointments to Departments that Matter. When it comes to scientific discussions, politicians don’t invent things.  They parrot others’ studies.  And what better parrot is there than Al Gore?  In a nice recovery from inventing the internet, he won a Nobel prize for a movie, “Earth in the Balance.”  The main thrust of his enviro-doomsday movie is this statement:

“The relationship is actually very complicated but there is one relationship that is far more powerful than all the others and it is this.  When there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer, because it traps more heat from the sun inside.”

It was a movie, so of course, Al provided pictures to help capture the issues.  Many of his points have been well skewered around the internet (but curiously not by major news outlets), and HERE is as good and logical a site at debunking as others.  I’ll refrain from posting the first picture on that site in case there are copyright issues.

The whole “human influence” on the temperature of our planet would be much more obvious if temperature/carbon dioxide levels were fairly static before 1900.  Only, there weren’t.  There have been huge swings over the centuries without any influence from people.  Many scientists are not trying to disprove earlier accepted findings that these swings existed, particularly in the medieval period.  Why?  Because it threatens the current thinking.

But as importantly, the order of CO2 and temperature events creates a serious problem.  Al Gore had it backwards.  As depicted in his own picture, Global warming (temperature increase…) comes first, followed by carbon dioxide increases over the course of (quite a number of) succeeding years.  Yet, controlling CO2 remains the key discussion point as the effective means of reducing atmospheric temperature.  Go ahead, scroll back up and check out the picture and the discussion.  It won’t bite.

Does that mean I’m hiding my head in the sand and denying that the sky is falling?  Well, no and yes.  I’m not hiding my head, and I will allow that climate change is possible, even likely.  It’s just the human “we’re causing this and we can fix it” aspects that I find difficult.  I’m not alone.  There are many websites that poke holes at the base assumptions upon which the the favored peer-reviewed results are based.  HERE is a good one, though obviously I cannot speak for the bona fides of the author.  Still, it makes sense, especially if one approaches it with an open mind.  

There remain quite a number of scientists who oppose the prevailing green tide, despite being ostracized (belittled, named ignorant, etc.)   Carbon dioxide levels are increasing of late, and this merits investigation – into all possible causes.   One significant potential source is solar variability.   Man is becoming good at making fires or taking heat out of our buildings and putting it back outside.  That pales in comparison to the sun, which has been, for a sufficient time, a credible heater for our planet, despite not being in an approved industrial park or trading and capping its emission impact on an energy exchange.  In fact, the sun has been providing energy throughout the existence of life (less one day if Genesis nailed it correctly). 

There have been numerous studies on the effect of solar radiation, sunspots, solar wind… and even those who argue that it is not a factor in recent years will confirm that it has a major driver prior to the industrial revolution, even into the first half of the 20th century.  Studies over the past 20 years, though, pretty well support the sun is not a major player, but nothing is for certain

Part of the problem is figuring out who is paying for which study.  I’ve now read way too much on this, but when the funding has been indicated, the results pretty well align with the motivations of the financier.  



Climategate was certainly a setback in public opinion over the legitimacy of global warming conclusions.   Earlier, in 2009, George Will, a conservative columnist, referred to information that counters the idea that it’s getting worse everywhere, and was taken to task for being, basically, politically incorrect even though his sourcing was legitimate. (Articles HERE and HERE).  Interestingly, I found one scientist who claimed his findings were routinely altered and mischaracterized in Wiki, and another’s who name entered into Google referenced an opposite opinion for the first several pages of search results.  I know… I should have jotted down the name for show and tell.

I don’t know the answers, but I think I represent a large part of the population that would like to see studies funded by entities that aren’t biased to seek a certain conclusion.  As it is frequently said, follow the money.  I don’t know that this is possible, and I have to refrain from citing a good number of Russian and Chinese studies as unbiased sources of facts just because they think as I do.  But whether a study is influenced by the State or by corporate dough or by personal convictions, truth in is hard to verify.  The internet is full of information, but that doesn’t mean all information is right.  That said, whether in sound-bites or dissertations, it’s very obvious that the prevailing trend is that the global “we” will shortly dictate that the winds not blow as hard and the waters not rise as high, even as we preserve green space by adding a few floors to The Tower of Babel.  Until then, I’ll hold to the words of Mark Twain:

“It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.”
An interesting blog I’ve followed for months is Robert Rapier’s energy blog.  It has less to do with global warming and more to do with fuel availability and energy alternatives, which is a far greater priority in my opinion.  Good reading.

1 comment :

  1. Thank you for sharing your study. I agree the climate change is not a natural phenomenon. Human is the cause of this problem. Carbon dioxide nowadays increased drastically because of some man made structures that pollutes the environment. But it’s never too late for us human to change and care for our nature.