by John Hawkins | August 16, 2006 2:15 pm
Once again this summer, the number of global warming alarmists has risen with the temperatures. These environmental extremists blame heatwaves, droughts, hurricanes, floods, hot days, and just about any and every other weather related phenomenon you can imagine on global warming. Then, if you try to point out how hysterical they’re getting, they tell you that you have no right to express a contrary opinion if you’re not a scientist. Well, granted, I’m not a scientist. But, then again, neither is Al Gore. So, let me introduce a few counterpoints to the sort of unhinged doom mongering the former veep and his acolytes on the left have been spreading far and wide of late.
First of all, although you’d never get this impression from reading the coverage of global warming in the mainstream media, we don’t have a very good understanding of how our global climate really works or what the long term weather trends are going to be across the planet. If you need proof of that, just look back to the mid-seventies when people were panicking over global COOLING. For example:
Newsweek agreed (“The Cooling World,” April 28, 1975) that meteorologists “are almost unanimous” that catastrophic famines might result from the global cooling that the New York Times (Sept. 14, 1975) said “may mark the return to another ice age.”
Why did they come to that conclusion? Because, from roughly 1940 to 1970, the earth was getting colder. On the other hand, why have we been hearing so much about global warming lately? Because the earth got warmer from roughly 1970 through 1998. What’s that? You didn’t know that the earth hasn’t gotten any warmer over the last 8 years? It’s true.
“Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).”
So, does that mean the planet is about to start cooling again? Is it going to continue getting warmer? Are we going to stay in place for a while? Is this something that man is doing somehow? We have no idea, folks. The earth has been getting warmer and colder for millions of years and not only do we not know exactly why that is, we have no effective way of differentiating between the earth’s natural cooling and heating cycles and any temperature changes caused by man.
That’s why, despite what you may have heard, there is no scientific consensus on global warming. To the contrary, “17,100 basic and applied American scientists,” including “2,660 physicists, geophysicists, climatologists, meteorologists, oceanographers, and environmental
scientists” have all signed a petition stating the following:
“We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.
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.”
But, let’s set those dissenting scientists aside for a moment. Let’s say that we all agree that man is responsible for global warming and that we need to do something about it. Great, now what exactly would that “something” be?
The stock answer would probably be, “Well, we could sign on to the Kyoto Protocol.” So, let’s talk about that option. First of all, even most environmentalists will admit that Kyoto is supposed to be a tiny, “first step”. As Reuters pointed out:
“Even before the United States, which produces a quarter of the man-made emissions blamed for causing global warming, pulled out, it was clear that Kyoto’s aim to reduce greenhouse gas output by 5.2 percent of 1990 levels was just a first step.
Scientists say an emissions cut of at least 60 percent is needed to prevent catastrophic impacts of climate change this century, including rising sea levels, the spread of deserts and even worse weather-related disasters.”
So, the Kyoto Protocol is just a drop in the bucket. Yet, even in socialistic, environmentally conscious Europe, they’re not coming close to meeting their targets under Kyoto:
“…(H)ow about the 15 western European countries that were Kyoto’s original members? Sorry, for the second year in a row, according to figures released in late June, emissions rose for the EU-15.
As a whole, the EU-15 was supposed to cut its emissions by 8 percent; just two years before the clock begins ticking…it has cut emissions by less than 1 percent.
…To look at it another way, from 2000 to 2004, U.S. emissions increased by 1.3 percent; in the EU-15, they increased 1 percent. In both places, the only time since 2000 that emissions actually fell (2002 in the EU, 2001 in the US) have been recession years.”
When push comes to shove, the reality is that few countries are going to damage their economies today by slashing emissions in order to stave off a hypothetical disaster that might or might not occur in 100 years.
Moreover, even if the United States and a few European countries were run by the most hard core, tree-hugging, frog-licking, granola-eating environmentalists ever to walk the earth, it wouldn’t change the fact that the majority of the world still isn’t going to dramatically cut their
greenhouse gas emissions. So, what then? What happens when huge, developing nations like China and India keep right on producing greenhouse gases at an ever expanding clip? Are they going to be hit with sanctions? Are we going to go to war with them to stop them from efficiently increasing the size of their economies? Of course not. What that means is there is no “Kyoto Protocol 2” coming down the pike that is going to be the solution to this problem, if there is indeed a problem that needs to be solved in the first place.
So, does this mean we should do nothing? Not at all. We should continue researching the climate, global warming, and new clean-burning fuel technologies. We should also consider putting more resources into emissions reducing energy sources that have already been proven to be cost effective and efficient, like nuclear energy. But, those are suggestions based on logic and science — not hysteria, unworkable international treaties, and political agendas disguised as scholarship — so that common sense approach will probably be given little heed by the environmental extremists and the members of the mainstream media that are aiding and abetting their cause.
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