Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Trouble with the Global Warming Controversy


Bars depict number of named systems (open/yellow), hurricanes (hatched/green), and category 3 or greater (solid/red), 1886-2004

Source: NOAA

The trouble with the Global Warming controversy is that if the alarmists are wrong, their solutions would be disastrous, but if they are right, doing nothing would also be disastrous. That’s why I think not enough attention (and probably not enough resources) is being paid to the attempts of some nations, including the USA, to do something meaningful about the problem.

As time passes, however, it becomes more and more apparent that doing something meaningful is not going to happen on a world-wide, cooperative basis until the junk science and the various bouts of hysteria are overcome. As David Warren commented recently, “You have to laugh -- at the people gathered for the climate change summit in Montreal, and their running dogs in the media. They are deeply invested in the idea that a human-compounded global climate disaster, which only they can understand, can be prevented only if the world’s taxpayers surrender money and power on a planetary scale, to the care and feeding of themselves and their kind. The only thing they can’t agree on, is what this impending disaster will be. Global warming? Ice age? Inundation? Drought? Glut? Famine? Or all of the above?”

(A new study published this week in the journal Nature (Dec. 1) turns global warming alarmism on its head. British researchers reported that the ocean current responsible for the tropical winds that warm Europe’s climate has decreased by an estimated 30 percent since 1957. The headline of the New Scientist report (Nov. 30) on the study nicely captured its import, “Failing ocean current raises fear of mini ice age.”)

Or take the reaction to recent hurricanes that have struck the southeast coast of the US over the last two years. “See, it has to be manmade global warming causing these storms”, ignoring completely the facts as presented in the chart above. There is no question that the 2005 season has been the worst ever, with a record 23 named storms and with an unprecedented 3 of the 7 major hurricanes reaching category 5 status, but as the chart shows, there have been many heavy hurricane seasons since 1851.

Lets face it, anyone who examines the record of past hurricanes can see that we are in a bad cycle that has reoccurred again and again in the recent past. Therefore running around screaming disaster is foolish and tends to diminish the efforts that should be made to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Diminishing our use of these fuels is obviously in our best interests by improving national security, improving our overall health, and, possibly, reducing global warming.

David Warren goes on to say:
“Meanwhile, the Kyoto Agreement -- the stick with which the international bureaucratic left has been beating an anti-American tattoo for many years now -- has fallen to pieces. This is what makes it so necessary for its supporters to suggest the sky is falling, instead. Look out for more big climate scare stories, coming to a newspaper near you. Do not expect them to be coherent.

Kyoto is now being disowned by one European state after another -- on grounds it is utterly impractical, and seriously counter-productive -- led by the little England of Tony Blair, that is about to fire up the coal generators again, in the face of looming power shortages. The politicians have hardly resolved to get out of the environmental regulation business. But neither have they suddenly decided to advance the heat death of the universe, instead. They just need to spread their bureaucracies in a way that will contribute less to the strangulation of their tax bases.

They still buy into the possibility that human acts might be contributing to a global warming trend that either is or is not happening, on a time scale that might be short, medium, or long. They just realize that if something must be done about greenhouse gas emissions, there have got to be more intelligent ways to do it, than by suppressing economic activity throughout the Western world.

And there are. They consist mostly of getting the bureaucracies out of the way of technological innovation. Which could mean, for instance, letting oil prices soar to levels where competing methods of generating heat, light, and motion kick in, of their own free market accord.

Just in case you were curious about the big picture, carbon dioxide levels remain significantly below their average for the last 100 million years, at least on this planet. And I’ll tell you a little secret. Plants love the stuff, trees especially. The more you give them, the faster they grow. This is one of several elementary facts, the suppression of which was at the heart of the Kyoto climate scares. For were the CO2 levels rising, a solution would be, “let a million arbours bud”. That was among the U.S. suggestions, for how to actually reduce CO2 accumulations. It wasn’t acceptable to the Kyotans, who insisted on turning out the lights instead. Which is how Kyoto defeated itself. And will continue to defeat itself.

These people will not give up, however. There is too much money and power to be grabbed.” David Warren

I have mentioned several times now that the United States has signed an agreement with China. India, Japan, Australia and South Korea that focuses on energy innovation and research and development of cleaner technologies, as well as technological transfer to the developing world in order to address global warming. This treaty represented a clear break from the underlying mechanisms of the Kyoto Treaty, which most Europeans had favored until now, and which was rejected by the US Senate by a 95 to 0 vote in 1997. The signing of this treaty has been greatly underreported by the main stream press; they need to get on board.
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At 8:30 AM, Anonymous bob said...

David Warren's views are not supported by the facts. To his claims that Kyoto is falling apart:

"Climate-change conference ends with key deals"

And to his factoid about CO2 levels :

"CO2 'highest for 650,000 years'"

Facts are more convincing than opinion.


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