Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Global Warming Letter in Times-News

This letter was printed in the Times-News August 30, 2006

The purpose of the letter is to get some feedback. The points I write about are from "A Long Term Perspective on Global Warming" by Petr Chylek. I found the essay during my "debate" on JuniperWest's blog, of which I recently wrote. As I described in that post, I didn't get any useable information from them, so I thought I'd write this letter in hopes of causing more discussion. If you follow the link above to the online version of the newspaper, scroll down to the bottom and there are reader comments. I have to admit, the moon thing has got me stumped. If I see any response letters in the upcoming days, I'll post links to them as well.

Here's the letter:

People talk about global warming as if it's a new phenomenon. It's not. We have ice core-derived temperature data for the last 420,000 years. This data shows that global warming periods have occurred in the past. Our current warming period started 11,000 years ago. It has made the development of our civilization possible. It truly is a remarkable period of the Earth's existence.

In more recent terms, there have been two distinct warming periods in the last 120 years. The first lasted from 1890-1940. We are currently in the second period, which began in 1970. In between, there was a noticeable cooling period from 1940-1970. The drop in temperature during these decades alarmed many scientists, with some even predicting imminent global catastrophes.

The warming trend that began in 1890 was not caused by CO2. The warm periods that occurred 130, 240, 320, and 420 thousand years ago were not caused by CO2 either.

An important predictor of the future is the past. In the midst of the current global warming period, we should be striving to understand our planet's past warming trends in order to better understand the present and prepare for the future.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

There Is No Global Warming Consensus

I have recently been involved in an online discussion centered around global warming. It started out innocently enough, when in response to a blog post touting the global warming movie "An Inconvenient Truth", I expressed my uncertainty on the subject. I was then asked by another commenter to provide proof of scientists that don't subscribe to the "truth" that global warming is mankind's fault. So I did.

Apparently the blog owner and the commenter didn't appreciate it.

I asked them to critique my initial findings, but instead I was told I was biased and immoral. They accused me of refusing to listen to their mountains of scientific evidence; the only problem with that being they never provided any. I was amazed and dismayed by how quickly they backtracked from discussing science.

I had no idea what a hornet's nest I was uncovering by daring to ask questions. Coincidentally, Reach Upward posted on the subject of the almost religious fanatacism of environmentalists about the same time I was busily swatting hornets. It has been a fascinating experience for me. Here I was, an honest seeker of knowledge, and my very integrity was called into question.

It was not all a loss, however. While I didn't get much pro-global warming info from Juniper West and friends, I did find enormous evidence that a scientific consensus does not exist. In presenting this evidence, I have realized that the global warming community desperately wants to move past actually discussing their theories. They want action, and they want it NOW. This is why they incessantly claim that the "science has spoken", a consensus has been reached, and wo to anyone that stands in their way.

Here are a few dissenting voices for your consideration:

On April 6, 2006 60 scientists signed a letter to the Prime Minister of Canada asking him to "examine the scientific foundation of the federal governments climate change plans." They go on to say that, "We appreciate the difficulty any government has formulating sensible science-based policy when the loudest voices always seem to be pushing in the opposite direction. However, by convening open, unbiased consultations, Canadians will be permitted to hear from experts on both sides of the debate in the climate-science community. When the public comes to understand that there is no "consensus" among climate scientists about the relative importance of the various causes of global climate change, the government will be in a far better position to develop plans that reflect reality and so benefit both the environment and the economy."

Richard Lindzen is a Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, and also one of the most outspoken critics of the global warming hysterics. On July 2, 2006 his op-ed was printed in the Wall Street Journal. His was a piercing critique of "An Inconvenient Truth."

"A general characteristic of Mr. Gore's approach is to assiduously ignore the fact that the earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing. To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough; to do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse. Regardless, these items are clearly not issues over which debate is ended- at least not in terms of the actual science."

Indeed, natural climate variability and our own inability to really understand the compliated and convoluted forces that make up the Earth's climate seems to be a common thread amongst dissenters. A Petr Chylek, Professor of Physics and Atmospheric Science at Dalhousie University in Halifax, worte a fascinating paper entitled, "A Long-Term Perspective on Climate Change." I have been too busy swatting hornets to delve deeper into his claims, but he makes a strong case for our current warm spell being nothing more than natural climate activity, especially when viewed in the context of thousands of years worth of the Earth's temperature. He claims, among other things, that we are currently in one of a few of the warming periods the Earth has experienced over the las 420,000 years. Temperatures have consistently risen and fallen over time, we are simply in a rising period that has been extremely beneficial to humankind, allowing us to live and prosper.

Basically, what many of these scientists seem to be saying is that we don’t understand the weather. Crazy, I know. In fact, the text of the IPCC Working Group I Third Assessment Report reads, “…the accuracy of these estimates continues to be limited by uncertainties in estimates of internal variability, natural and anthropogenic forcing, and the climate response to external forcing.” There are so many factors involved in the earth’s constantly changing weather that great uncertainty remains as to what the major causes may be; or if there even is one major cause.

The scientists I have quoted here are not alone. Lest you think that there are only a few, and that those few are greedily taking Big Oil’s money in return for their dissenting view, I refer you to a petition compiled by the Oregon Petition Project, and signed by over 19,700 scientists since 1998. The petition says, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

Claims of a scientific “consensus” are false. It is the product of desperate people desperately seeking to steamroll their agenda over anything and anyone in their way. It is unfortunate that the discussion has come to this. Discussions of public policy choices should be just that: Discussions. Instead, my own foray into the world of environmentalists seems to be the rule and not the exception, even among scientists. Those that dare to speak up and speak out are treated as heretics; rarely is their science even discussed, rather they themselves are attacked and belittled. Unfortunately, in so doing, science and scientists lose sight of what is most interesting and most beneficial about their work: the search for truth.