Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hot Enough For Ya?


As the U.S. and Europe are gripped in a blazing heat wave, I thought I'd bring up global warming, a topic on which I've very rarely touched.

Not too many years ago, it was fashionable for global warming denialists to claim the event wasn't occurring at all. Now, after several mountain-loads of scientific evidence has shown that the earth is indeed heating up, the denialists have turned to a new tactic: claiming it is a natural event and not the result of greenhouse gas emissions.

Now, clearly there are many political motivations on both sides of the global warming issue. And clearly some of the more alarmist voices are overstating the case against greenhouse gases while ignoring what role natural climate change patterns may be playing.

But here's my thinking: if global warming is just a natural climate change event, isn't it an amazing coincidence that this serious warming trend so closely corresponds with mankind's increasing emissions of greenhouse gases? I mean, what are the odds? Isn’t it a bit more likely that there isn’t a large coincidence at play and that the science is correct: greenhouse gases are warming the planet.

While the current heat wave may or may not have anything to do with global warming, it does give us all a chance to stop and realize we should take a proactive stance against global warming rather than just sitting back and hoping the science is wrong.

4 Comments:

Blogger Tom Strong said...

A lot of them are also now taking the stance that it's too late to do anything about it; we have to simply suck it up and try to react to these "natural" events as they happen.

I'd like to personally thank these people for delaying any meaningful preventive action from taking place over the past thirty years.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coincidence? One of the largest increases in greenhouse gas emissions occurred during the period of 1940 - 1970 - exactly at the same time that the Earth experienced a cooling period. Many of the same climatologists now warning of global warming were the cassandras warning of the next ice age during the mid-70's. Much of the "evidence" is not widely accepted. In fact - much of the evidence generated in the last few years has not been thoroughly vetted in academic circles (see WSJ article approx. 2 weeks ago discussing the self selection bias of climate research). The most widely accepted statistical study has had numerous holes punched in it (confirmed by 3 different stat PhDs in recent congressional report - note - go beyond the headline and read the text of the study as happens in politics the summary of the study differs wildly from the actual results - who knows why).

I fully agree we need to do what we can to mitigate and minimize pollution - reducing car emissions, etc. are great goals and can be reached - but enough with the scare tactics. If you really want to help reduce global warming (if you believe it to be a problem) become a vegetarian - one of the largest contributors to global warming is methane gas - primary source of methane gas - cattle around the world. who knew - cow farts would doom mankind!!

The greenland ice core samples that are so widely reported on in proof of global warming have also all proven the theory of a russian math professor - Dr. Malankovich (sp?) who developed a theory that the Earth wobbled on its axis approximately every 10,000 years - when it did the Earth experienced a n ice age. The greenland ice core samples have proven this to be true. We are now at the end of another 10,000 year cycle.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous PiledHigh.Deep. said...

The argument relies on more than just the improbability of a coincidental rise in both temperature and CO2. Climatologists can model the effect of factors affecting temperature (CO2, aerosols, earths orbit, cow farts, etc...). One can then analyze the effect of changing individual factors and evaluate their individual contribution to temperature changes (i.e. the sensitivity of temperature to a change in cow farts for example). Greehouse emissions have been found to be a large factor in the increase of temperature. This does not mean, however, that other factors have not also contributed to the increase (e.g. Milankovitch's wobbling axis theory). The existence of these other factors in no way precludes the fact that emissions have greatly affected temperature. All projections of future temperature that take such various factors into account (and their expected changes) show an increase in temperature that is largely driven by increases in greenhouse gasses. For further information I would see the National Academy of science report http://www4.nationalacademies.org/onpi/webextra.nsf/web/climate?OpenDocument before I went trotting to newspaper articles.

FWIW- global cooling predictions of the 70's were never widely accepted in the scientific community. From the 1975 NAS report introduction: "Climatic change has been a subject of intellectual interest for many years. .... The climates of the earth have always been changing, and they will doubtless continue to do so in the future. How large these future changes will be, and where and how rapidly they will occur, we do not know". http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/nas-1975.html
also see: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/the-global-cooling-myth/

10:00 AM  
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2:47 AM  

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