Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Calm View of the Global Warming Issue

Townhall.com once again provides some commonsense commentary on a current topic, this time on the issue of global warming. Columnist David Strom has written an article titled "Some People Seem to Know Everything, But Can’t Answer the Most Basic Questions" in which he offers some thoughts about those pushing the idea of global warming and why they are not qualified to do so. He begins:

Have you ever noticed that the people who seem to be most certain about things are often really quite ignorant?

It’s a version of “don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up!”

That’s what we are seeing before our eyes in the debate about anthropogenic (man-made) climate change. An unholy alliance of some scientists, celebrities, government and non-profit bureaucrats, and politicians have joined together to force massive changes to our economy and our lives based upon an intellectual framework as rickety as an old abandoned barn.
As for why we should be skeptical of this great bandwagon that so many have jumped on, he explains:

Climate scientists haven’t got much of a handle on why global climate is so naturally variable—and it is very variable indeed—and hence have a terrible time explaining why global temperatures have varied so much over the millennia. So if you don’t know how the system works, or for that matter which exact variables influence the wild swings within a very chaotic system, how competent will you be in detecting the influence of relatively minor influences such as human behaviors?

The data that climate scientists are using is incredibly unreliable and imprecise. There is very little actual data that is any good at all, it spans such a relatively short time period and is so very local in nature that it barely comprises a decent snapshot, no less a movie of earth’s climate history. Most of the data used is based upon climate “reconstructions” or proxy data such as tree rings and pollen counts, not actual temperature data itself. Hence the margin of error on this data is significant enough to nearly swamp any “signal” buried in the “noise” of potential errors. We are, after all, looking at temperature variations in the range of 1 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit,

Add to all this uncertainty the fact that basic features of the earth’s climate, such as what exactly causes clouds, how important are variations in solar energy output, how sensitive are the oceans’ heat “conveyor belts” to external changes, and you begin to understand how daunting a problem understanding climate changes really is.

And why have so many jumped on this bandwagon in the first place? Well, there is this:
We are still at a point in climate science where the things we don’t know or understand heavily outweigh the things we do. And yet climate scientists, who can’t yet explain fully big changes in climate like the cycles between ice ages and temperate times, want us to turn human civilization on its head. Based upon what, exactly? A hunch?

In any realm other than politics, such a conceit would be obviously absurd. But in politics, the normal rules don’t apply. It is in the interests of the politicians to stoke our fears and present themselves as the solution providers. In is in the interest of bureaucrats to extend their power. Celebrities want to be relevant, and pretty much the same is true of the media.

It is in all their interests to have citizens cede power and prestige over to them.

That’s why climate change is at the top of everyone’s agenda. It makes its proponents more relevant and more powerful.

The current climate scare has little to do with the state of the science, and everything to do with the political interests of the people promoting it.

Perhaps, as with everything else, we need to take a step back and calmly review the facts. This article is a good read and will give us all some points to ponder.

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2 Comments:

At 7:32 PM, Anonymous Pop said...

Once again, FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!

 
At 4:06 AM, Blogger Mary A said...

Yes, and not just for the scientists, but for the politicians, too!

 

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