Thursday, December 17, 2009

May I use my part of the trillions somewhere else?

I don't have the answers. I just want to call for some cool-headed debate on what is a complicated debate. You may slap me the next time you see me for my wrong-headed views, and I will donate $1 to charity (Subject to Global DanPark liability limits).

In this postmodern world, nothing is certain. Everything is up for analysis and debate. Except, one rock-solid tenet of belief: Global warming is imminently destroying our Earth, and Al Gore is its prophet. Only big oil companies and morons doubt the wisdom of fixing this problem at any cost. Think of the children!

Talking politics tends to me into trouble in life, so maybe I'll talk about it here to get it out of my system. I was a little hurt this summer when, after a political discussion, a new friend asked, "Are you an anarchist?" No, I'm just a little scared of the government providing all the solutions with a lot of unintended consequences. Climate change and carbon control initiatives are a way for government to assume a massive amount of revenue and control over the economy. Since we leave carbon footprints everywhere, control those footprints, and you control our lifestyles.

I don't have to doubt the premise of global climate change to doubt the intensity of its effects or the worthwhileness of spending trillions of dollars to make a slight modification, maybe around 1 degree, to climate predictions a century for now. For a few million dollars, we could be saving people from Malaria and AIDS and Africa. For probably a few billion more, we could educate those same people and lead them to better jobs. For trillions, we can maybe change their weather dozens of years from now.

Buy why not just change everything in case it turns out to be a problem?
The trillions of dollars it will take to stop or reduce the carbon used to power Duke University (take a trip to Coal Pile Drive sometimes and you'll see it is named that) to the car you drive to the higher prices you will pay for air conditioning, to more expensive groceries caused by higher trucking costs. If we are going to change every thing based on an invisible gas, we need to be really sure we know what we are doing. If it is a big problem, and after spending a lot of money, it will just be a slightly less big problem, we need to think hard about solutions.

But we don't know. Writer and intense researcher Michael Crichton pointed out that we don't know the weather 7 days from now with any confidence, so why should we change everything based on a forecast of 100 years from now. People assure me it's different. They wouldn't tell if they didn't know. But the East Anglia scandal has made clear that there is a lot of fudging and judgement calls to make the data "work." Will we have snow tomorrow: maybe? Will Pacific islands be underwater 100 years from now? Of course. If I make my predictions more dire, will more people listen to me, and will I get more funding? How well do we predict the number of hurricanes each season? How well do we predict each hurricane's path. When it comes down to it, most people believe because it's been warmer lately, forgetting that there is considerable natural variation from year to year and decade to decade.

Every process and every person and every animal (especially cows with their methane) are now enemies of the future, raising seas levels as they produce carbon, methane, and water vapor that will melt the planet. In fact, C02 is actually only 0.037% of the atmosphere (see Duke page). This little bit may cause a lot of trouble, but I would like to understand why, and our current news reporting doesn't bother to explain these ideas because the verdict has already been made.

Not every one who thinks this way is crazy. Robert Lindzen is a professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the WSJ, he writes

The answer brings us to a scandal that is, in my opinion, considerably greater than that implied in the hacked emails from the Climate Research Unit (though perhaps not as bad as their destruction of raw data): namely the suggestion that the very existence of warming or of the greenhouse effect is tantamount to catastrophe. This is the grossest of "bait and switch" scams. It is only such a scam that lends importance to the machinations in the emails designed to nudge temperatures a few tenths of a degree.

The notion that complex climate "catastrophes" are simply a matter of the response of a single number, GATA, to a single forcing, CO2 (or solar forcing for that matter), represents a gigantic step backward in the science of climate. Many disasters associated with warming are simply normal occurrences whose existence is falsely claimed to be evidence of warming. And all these examples involve phenomena that are dependent on the confluence of many factors.

Our perceptions of nature are similarly dragged back centuries so that the normal occasional occurrences of open water in summer over the North Pole, droughts, floods, hurricanes, sea-level variations, etc. are all taken as omens, portending doom due to our sinful ways (as epitomized by our carbon footprint). All of these phenomena depend on the confluence of multiple factors as well.

Consider the following example. Suppose that I leave a box on the floor, and my wife trips on it, falling against my son, who is carrying a carton of eggs, which then fall and break. Our present approach to emissions would be analogous to deciding that the best way to prevent the breakage of eggs would be to outlaw leaving boxes on the floor. The chief difference is that in the case of atmospheric CO2 and climate catastrophe, the chain of inference is longer and less plausible than in my example.

For somewhat of a rebuttal and summary of combating climate change, see .

And lastly, Global Warming, with its certainty of end times disaster, heroes like Al Gore, and vilification of evil resisters, is becoming a religion. It self-evidently true and questioning it is a fool's game. It is a cause that must be advanced at all costs despite any guarantees of return. Here's another Wall Street Journal piece on this issue: .


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