Saturday, August 04, 2007

more inconvenient truths about global warming

Did you know that, from 1895-1932, the world's scientists reached a consensus that the Earth was cooling and that a new Ice Age was imminent? Newspapers all over the world reported that the polar ice caps were getting thicker, that glaciers were getting bigger, that arctic animals (such as penguins) were moving in on Europe because the continent was getting colder, and that, unless "something was done," the entire Earth would be destroyed by global cooling. The New York Times breathlessly reported, on Sept. 18, 1924, "Macmillan Report Signs of New Ice Age." The debate was over, scientists were in agreement (allegedly), and mankind was doomed. Global Cooling Cometh. Yet all was well.

Did you know that, from 1932-1969, the world's scientists reached a consensus that the Earth was warming and that a devastating "Heat Age" was imminent? Newspapers all over the world reported that the polar ice caps were getting thinner, that the glaciers were shrinking, that arctic animals were in immediate danger due to the loss of ice, and that, unless "something was done," the entire Earth would be destroyed by global warming. The New York Times breathlessly reported, on March 27, 1933, "America In Longest Warm Spell Since 1776; Temperature Line Records A 25-Year Rise." The debate was over, scientists were in agreement (allegedly), and mankind was doomed. Global Warming Cometh. Yet all was well.

Did you know that, during the 1970's, the world's scientists reached a consensus that the Earth was cooling and that a new Ice Age was imminent? Newspapers all over the world reported that, as our winters grew longer, the Earth would be unable to produce enough food for humanity and that mass starvation was inevitable. The New York Times breathlessly reported, on May 21, 1975, "Scientists Ponder Why World's Climate Is changing; A Major Cooling Widely Considered To Be Inevitable." The debate was over, scientists were in agreement (allegedly), and mankind was doomed. Global Cooling Cometh. Yet all was well.

Today, Al Gore's Travelin' Salvation Show and Goat Rodeo is circling the globe, traveling in private jets and ginormous SUV's that leave carbon footprints the size of a Third World country, spreading the news of Global Warming. The debate is over and scientific consensus has been reached (allegedly). All who disbelieve are ridiculed as "deniers." The world will be destroyed unless we do something. The New York Times breathlessly reports that "Past Hot Times Hold Few Reasons To Relax About New Warming." Even the New York Times realizes that their track record predicting the weather is nothing to brag about.

I know that I am a wooden-headed conservative. I am not nearly as sophisticated as the liberal intelligentsia. Yet, I have to wonder--why in the world would I ever take these Climate Chicken Littles seriously when they have never been right about climate patterns? Why in the world would I ever listen to a bunch of people who have a success rate of ZERO when it comes to predicting the weather? These lunch heads that make up Brother Gore's Goat Rodeo told us that the increased number of hurricanes we experienced the last couple of years, and the hotter temperatures we experienced the last couple of years, was Absolute Proof that man-made global warming was true. When the summer of 2007 turned out to be cooler than expected, and when the number of hurricanes was lower than expected, we are lectured by the Climate Chicken Littles that this proves nothing; that "weather" and "climate patterns" are two different things, and that it's all just a little bit too complex for anyone but liberals to understand. Riiiight!

Actually, I think I do understand. Liberals, just like the Chicken Little in the children's tale, have a pathological need to scream to the heavens that "the sky is falling." They just can't help it. It's that insideous disease called "liberalism" that causes them to act this way.


Blogger JC said...

Actually, there wasn't a scientific consensus in the 30's re an ice age or in the 60's re a 'Heat Age' or even in the 70's re an imminent ice age. It sounds like you might have read Warren Anderson's 'Fire and Ice' article which predominantly documents the media's take, not the position of the scientific community. If you want a good history on how the scientific community have handled climate change over the past century, I recommend Spencer Wiert's The Modern Temperature Trend.

The closest thing in the 70's to a consensus was the National Academy of Science who released a report that concluded "…we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines its course. Without the fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate…".

Contrast this with the US National Academy of Science's current position when they issued a joint statement with the Academies of Science from Brazil, France, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom: "There is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring... It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities... The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action."

11:13 PM  
Blogger hondo said...

Yes, I did read "Fire and Ice," but you have misunderstood my point, and I apologize for not stating it more clearly. The truth of the matter is that, just as you say, there was no scientific "consensus" or unanimity on any of the previous declarations of climate change. My point was that the media and the Chicken Little climate change "scairdy cats" have always claimed that there was unanimity whenever they cried wolf in the past. The claim of "consensus" was actually bogus in those days, just as it is bogus today. My point is that the Al Gore types are purposely lying about "scientific consensus' in an attempt to sway public opinion to their side and to force feed their cockamamie agenda to us.

As for this Spencer Wiert character, I have to admit that he gave me a good chuckle. He's saying that the climate change worshippers were always wrong in the past, but now they are really, really right. You'll have to forgive me for treating that "intellectual opinion" as nothing more than a punch line to a really bad joke.

11:33 PM  
Blogger JC said...

Hondo, thanks for the response. I didn't get that impression from Spencer Wiert's article (but I appreciate you reading it). I got the impression that climate science has steadily been evolving its understanding over the past century as more data has come in, proving or disproving various theories. No climatologist would say they understand everything now - but that they understand enough to have a clear idea of what's causing global warming. There are uncertainties in their results but the uncertainty has been narrowing as the data and modelling improves.

If your point is that the media aren't to be trusted, I'm all for that conclusion. They always take the most sensationalist line in an effort to sell copy. Or if you're saying environmentalists are alarmists, I'd find it hard to disagree. Even in the scientific community, you'll always get diverse opinions - but scientists need to be able to back up their opinions with hard data and peer reviewed research. Which is why in this whole global warming debate, I've made it a point to read the peer reviewed scientific literature before drawing any conclusions.

And when I read the papers, I find anthropogenic global warming pretty compelling and a complete absence of any other credible explanation. I've read many studies (I'd be happy to send links if you're interested) that explain how natural factors like solar variations or volcanic activity have caused natural climate change in the past such as mentioned in the Fire and Ice article. Many of these studies also show how these natural forcings have shown little to no long term change over the last 50 years and can't possibly explain the sharp warming since 1975.

Similarly I've read many studies examining our climate's sensitivity to CO2 - both from modelling and from paleontological studies (eg - comparing temperature and CO2 in ice cores). Both lines of study come to the same conclusion - Earth's climate has a "climate sensitivity" of 3 degrees Celsius. In other words, if we double the CO2, temperature goes up 3 degrees. When you match this up with rising CO2 levels over the past few decades, global warming is exactly what you would expect to happen. If you don't subscribe to AGW, not only do you need to explain what is causing all the warming, you're gonna have to explain why CO2 suddenly *isn't* causing global warming the same way it's done the last million years.

5:18 AM  
Blogger hondo said...

JC--First, please let me say that I truly appreciate the respectful way in which you have presented your disagreements. It is most unusual--on this blog, anyway--for someone to disagree with me without questioning my heritage. Thank you!

Now, as for your latest comment, I do have some disagreements with it. First, you stated that "No climatologist would say they understand everything now." That really isn't true. The climateologists who line up on the Al Gore side of man-made global warming are virtually unanimous--the debate is over, we know all of the answers to all of the questions, and man-made global warming is a scientific fact. That's the party line, and anyone who disagrees is ridiculed, or intimidated into silence. I have to tell you, I am real suspicious of any theory that requires threats and intimidation to get people to agree with it.

Next, you say that uncertainty has been narrowing as the computer modeling has improved. Well, that's not exactly true either. More and more evidence continues to roll in that suggests that global warming is not man-made, but there are many other possibilities as to why global warming is taking place. They include the possibility that the Earth just naturally goes through cycles of warming and cooling, but no definitive conclusions have been made. I would submit to you that the more we know (technology, etc.) the more we find out that we don't know.

Next, you made a point about peer-reviewed scientific studies. I will freely admit that I am no scientist, so correct me if I'm wrong with what I say next. It appears to me that the only thing that "peer reviewed" means is that one scientist gats a few of his scientist buddies, who already agree with him, to look at his new study and put their rubber stamp on it. "Peer reviewed" means nothing to me because I have seen too many examples of peer review fraud.

You mentioned CO2 as the culprit in man-made global warming. Would you agree with me that CO@ levels have continued to increase year by year for the last 100 years as the world's population has increased? I think that's probably a safe assumption. Then tell me why, over that 100 year time period, we have gone through cycles of warming and cooling, even as CO2 levels continue to increase. Simple logic tells us that CO2 can't be the culprit. Let's pretend for a moment, though, that I agree with your premise. What should we do about increasing levels of CO2? Tell everybody to quit breathing? I don't mean that in a sarcastic way. I am just astounded that anyone could possibly label as a "poison" the byproduct of human respiration.

For me, it's real simple. The man-made global warming people have to answer a couple of questions, using facts/logic/reason, before mainstream America will ever regard them as anything more than modern-day Chicken Littles:

1. If global warming is the fault of man, then why are Mars and Pluto also experiencing global warming? They don't have planes, trains or automobiles, and they don't have a billion people exhaling CO2. How is global warming the fault of man on Earth, but not on pther planets in our same solar system?

2. "Climate" is defined as "the composite or generally prevailing weather conditions of a region, as temperature, air pressure, humidity, precipitation, sunshine, cloudiness, and winds, throughout the year, averaged over a series of years." The word "weather" is defined as "the state of the atmosphere with respect to wind, temperature, cloudiness, moisture, pressure, etc." In other words, climate is weather averaged over a number of years. The devotees of man-made global warming say that their computer models can tell them what the weather is going to be like worldwide over the next 50 years. Question: How is that possible when those same computer models can't predict with any degree of accuracy what the weather will be like for the next 5 days? In other words, if they can't get a 5-day forecast right, how can they gat a 50-year forecast right?

3. The standard answer to my last question is usually that scientists can look at data gleaned from the past several decades and use their computer models to accurately predict trends. In this case, they are predicting a serious warming trend. OK, then answer one final question. The past 10 decades have shown us that the earth's climate has endlessly cycled from warming to cooling to warming to cooling, and so on. Predicted tragedy has never happened, and the Earth keeps cycling on. Can you cite just one scientifically-proven fact that will show that the cycle has stopped and that it's just going to keep getting hotter?

Until those questions can be answered by something other than political propaganda, I can't view man-made global warming as anything other than a fairy tale.

12:20 PM  

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