Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Argument Against Global Warming

I've always been a nature lover. I'm on the board of a local land preservation organization.  I went to a leading university and I certainly know much about science. I'm against pollution without methods to limit or clean it up, and I'm for the setting aside of land as a way to preserve the beauty and richness of nature. I believe over-development is a big detriment to a world which needs our old growth forests to sustain the best of our natural world.

My argument is that we don't need political solutions to political charges of man made global warming.

First off, I believe it is warming, very slowly. The ice age or, more precisely, 'glacial age' denotes a geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, ending about 20,000 years ago -- at that time the temperature was as much as 8 degrees C colder than today.

In the last few decades science has shown that some localized warming has happened in certain key areas, mostly land areas in industrialized and civilized areas, so much so that certain concerned individuals and scientists have constructed a hypothesis of global warming caused by man's industrial activities. It is noble to investigate a hypothesis, if one uses truly scientific method, and one does not jump to conclusions based on incomplete evidence. Investigating a hypothesis should either confirm or deny the hypothesis, and if it does not conclusively do so, then another hypothesis must be built and investigated. I personally don't believe the science is a hoax, but I do believe it is incomplete. I believe the media and politicians have politicized the issue, making it appear to be a hoax.

Several things have happened in the last few decades with this issue. A mass of scientists have jumped onto this bandwagon, because it seems the obvious hypothesis, and many governments have funded their research, and it has inevitably become a consensus; and to collectivist government and media types it seems almost heresy for skeptics to deny this hypothesis. For this so-called 'theory' to be proven would require more data and evidence than has been so far been put forth, the evidence must span much greater time frames, and must include many more water and land areas, at different altitudes; and must be averaged over the entire earth.

Many in the media, academia and government political types have put forth the idea that: "we cannot wait, because what if it really is happening? Can we afford to lose precious time?"  I say yes, we must wait to invest economic capital into ill conceived political solutions to this mass alarmism. The ends never justify the means in this kind of political and media rush to take us off a cliff of sanity.

It is unfortunate that localized warming has occurred. Perhaps man's activities can account for a 'shifting' of weather and temperatures. Yet if the Earth's average temperature is unchanged, can the global average be attributed to man's activities with respect to the emitting of Carbon Dioxide? CO2 is a non-toxic non-polluting natural substance at about 380 parts per million, which is 0.000380, or 0.038 percent the make up of our atmosphere. Funny how the alarmists use big terms like parts per million, when the real numbers are quite small. The actual concentration in the last 60 years of CO2 has gone from about 0.00036 to 0.00038, hardly enough in my scientifically trained mind to represent a significant increase. Another myth from the media and politicians: CO2 is pollution. It most emphatically IS NOT!

I first saw this fact perhaps 20 years ago, and right away I said to myself, come on, 10% is hardly significant, when the total concentration is quite small. That's when I first became a skeptic, based on the numbers alone. The other part of the argument goes: the CO2 increase is causing the 0.6 degree Celsius increase in temperature over the last 100 years. That too just struck me as something that intuitively was not correct. How are we to know if it isn't the other way around?  Perhaps the increase of 0.6 degrees is actually causing the CO2 to increase. That's an important point that many skeptics have made, and the warming consensus has not come up with a suitable response.

Furthermore, the 0.6C figure is a number I inherently do not trust because it has been shown that far too many of the temperature collection points were located at industrial city locations that would show an artificial warming. What is needed is temperature collection over vast network across the whole of the earth, on the land AND at different altitudes, making sure that no bias is made for warmer locations like cities and near industrial equipment.

The media and politicians have latched onto this issue. This is the step too far for many skeptics like myself. They have taken a scientific matter which is not conclusively proven, and politicized it. I am frustrated when I hear politicians like Senator Boxer of California wax scientific, when it is obvious she is not very well trained in science. To skeptics like myself, the so-called 'hoax' in this matter is the way the media and politics have latched onto the whole issue. It is only a 'hoax' in that the media publishes every tiny bit of local warming they encounter, usually near the front page, or on the TV nightly news. Yet counter evidence, which is not as prevalent only because there are fewer scientists investigating or looking for that counter evidence, is not published, especially not on the front pages or on TV. When I hear politicians lecture us on how we must pass legislation, or all be doomed, I am skeptical to say the least. When has legislation ever saved us from anything? I'd say that if there is a problem, we need a scientific solution.

Now, needless to say, the governments give plenty of funding to the warming hypothesis scientific  community for studies, and that's fine. Yet they provide little capital to scientific studies that would purportedly try to prove that there is no warming, or further that there is no link between man's activities and localized warming, or that the local warming is a truly global phenomena of long term duration.  If a consensus of academia, mostly government funded science, politicians, and the media all put forth a hypothesis as if it were a proven theory, how can the complacent skeptics among us suddenly jump up and prove the opposite overnight? How can we prove that there is no warming (no significant warming and that it is not man's industry which is accelerating this trend) without considerable money and effort to put forth our own hypothesis and do much research all over the world to try to prove it. The alarmists have a huge head-start, and the media is stubbornly unwilling to support the skeptics.  Skeptics suffer from the 'head-start' that the warmers enjoy. One more factor: motivation. I am not motivated to prove a negative.  Chicken little tells me the sky is falling. Why should I go out of my way to prove that it isn't? Yet the warmers are somehow motivated to make us all believe that man is warming the planet. I ask: why? Why are they so invested in this hypothesis?

The hypothesis that I've always put forth is that the average temperature trend of the entire earth is on track to warm at the same rate it always has for hundreds of years, which is a very slow rate coming down from the ice age. Local trends will vary, temperature will vary, but in the end, it is likely that this is a non-event, and certainly nothing that will raise the height of the ocean beyond a historical level.

Even if it is warming, can we stop it? If we reduce our activity by 10% will that stop it? 20%? No. Ask the warmers, and if they are sincere, they will confirm this. What will stop it? Likely nothing we do will be able to stop it, if indeed it is truly happening.

Now I don't deny at all that there is localized warming, that might perhaps be temporary, in places like the Arctic region in summer only, which compared to the entire earth is quite small. I've read countless news reports of studies that have shown that more ice has built up, on average, across Antarctica. The media has not placed these stories on the front pages. The politicians have not stood on their bully pulpits to laud these stories like they have the glacier stories, nor their arctic stories.

Making this issue political has been a dangerous precedent, because it might enable the politicians to pass measures dangerous to our economy. Cap and Trade will place onerous restrictions that amount to taxation on energy companies and industry. Those companies will pass those costs on to the consumers, you and I. It has been estimated by many respectable institutions that energy costs would rise by significant margins, and prices of consumer items will also increase, due to the costs to manufacture and transport these items under the new Cap and Trade taxation/carbon trading schemes. Do we need these risky schemes at a time when we are in double dip recessions, and unemployment remains at about 10% with no change in the foreseeable future?

In conclusion, I believe that what we need most is more time. Now is not the time to push these political solutions to a problem that has not sufficiently been proven. Skeptics are willing to look at the evidence, but some of these institutions have destroyed or hidden the evidence, including one of the IPCC's main sources of scientific evidence, the East Anglia University in the UK. Many of these institutions have developed models based on data that they don't even permit the rest of us to see. How can we determine if this information is correct, if it is not completely open to inspection and validation?

Here are a few facts that perhaps ought to dispel the man-caused warming hypothesis:

- Greenland was green when the Vikings were there, much greener than today, so local warming is the norm, we have precedence for this kind of event. The Arctic might be warming today, but there is no evidence to suggest that it won't be colder there again, and how soon the changes will occur.

- Scientific studies have shown that on the whole, Antarctica is increasing in ice. The spur has lost ice, as alarmists have reported, but the main body has increased, and on average, the ice is growing. The alarmist media has failed to report the entire picture. (ICECAP's Joe D'Aleo observed in 2008 [PDF,], the relatively small area of the peninsula offers an extremely poor representative sample, as it juts out well north of the mainland into an area of the South Atlantic well known for its "surface and subsurface active volcanic activity." And in the greater scheme, adds D'Aleo, "the vast continent has actually cooled since 1979." 

Figure 1.  Antarctic Temperature Trend 1982-2004 from Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) sensors flown on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites. Red indicates areas where temperatures generally increased during that period, and blue shows where temperatures predominantly decreased.


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