Thursday, July 12, 2012

Archived message post about climate change

Five years ago, I got into a debate with someone on a message board over climate change.  He linked me Senator Inhofe's site on how global warming is a hoax.  Here a is a partial tearing down of Inhofe's links:

First of all, posting anything from Senator Inhofe should raise alarm bells.  He has an unmistakable bias.  He also doesn’t have enough of a grasp on science to draw any conclusions on anything.  He’s a Bible-beating fundamentalist who denies evolution, thinks the Earth is 6,000 years old (give or take a couple thousand years), and buys into the Christian Nation movement’s historical revisionism.  He’s one of the Senators I can put in the same room with David Barton of Wallbuilders several times over.  His credibility is shot with me from the beginning.

Next, I know this is an exercise in futility, but I figured I would go and see what the scientists mentioned in the article you posted ACTUALLY said.  Of course, if your posting history is any indication, you’ll just ignore it, deny it, or simply insult me as some sort of rabid believer.  I would take a look at whom you’re trusting for your “evidence” before criticizing anyone.

Let’s take a look at what Dr. Claude Allegre ACTUALLY said:

Some of it gets lost in translation (the last paragraph is kind of awkward), but what I’m getting from the article is that he’s telling scientists to be cautious of jumping to conclusions about climate change and how it manifests itself, and about man’s role in it.  That’s fine.  He’s a scientist, and if he weren’t skeptical to some degree, it wouldn’t be healthy.  He also says that it is likely that there IS climate change.  He’s not saying that man ISN’T causing it, but he IS saying that scientists should be cautious about pointing the finger.  I’m more than comfortable with that statement. 

The press elaborated somewhat on what he said, but they could have taken it from a different source.  He says ( that environmentalists should be more practical in coming up with solutions to what they perceive to be the problem, rather than doing it through changing government policy or through demonstrations.  I HEARTILY agree with him here.  Of course, the solutions come at a price to the energy industry, which means big oil and big coal will resist the change.  How do they do it?  They lobby politicians and buy patents that they will NEVER use to ensure their future, rather than letting the market decide. 

Bruno Wiskel is a conservationist, but not a climatologist.  He teaches courses on energy efficiency at the University of Alberta (he is not on the actual staff of the university).  They’re not university degree courses, but adult education courses; he teaches them because he’s an author and the builder/owner of an energy-efficient home.  He is critical of Kyoto, but I can’t find anything on him critiquing the IPCC.  I am also finding several articles that say that he presents no evidence at all for his conclusion that anthropogenic global warming is a myth, but I’m not finding anything detailed.  I’m not buying his book to find that it’s full of empty, misleading, or ill-conceived arguments. 

Some of us might remember Dr. Nar Shaviv from “The Great Global Warming Swindle”, which was a swindle itself.  That little blot on his record aside, I have read some articles from him, and, unlike the paid shills in the propaganda film, Shaviv is an actual scientist.  Like Allegre, he is cautious about anthropogenic global warming.  He does not deny that carbon dioxide COULD be a cause of anthropogenic global warming; what he IS saying is that his reading of the IPCC report tells him that nobody knows the signs of anthropogenic global warming, that indirect aerosol effects (like emissions from smoke stacks) are unknown, and that the sun COULD be an alternative explanation.  He does NOT say that carbon dioxide is not the culprit and that the sun is; he is merely saying that we don’t know enough about the role of carbon dioxide in global warming in the 20th century.  It is worthy of note that he begins by saying that carbon dioxide is more likely to play a role in the 21st century.  Here is the article:

Next, let’s examine the actual words of Dr. David Evans:  Again, we have a cautious scientist who is being used to say that global warming is a hoax, when all he is saying is that the causation of global warming is not entirely understood.  What IS understood—and it is in this article—is that carbon dioxide IS a greenhouse gas.  There are other factors that COULD cause global warming, and—he makes a great point here—politics have played a part in under-funding the research of other possible causes, such as industrial pollution and cosmic rays.  However, he does NOT say that carbon emissions are NOT responsible, only that they might play less of a role than other causes that are not entirely understood at present. 

Anyone else getting tired of the spin yet?  I sure am.  People like Inhofe grasp at straws to try and support their claims, but once his sources are investigated, we find that they’re not quite what they appear to be.  So many global warming deniers say that the sun is DEFINITELY the cause, but the scientists that they say support their claims are not as sure as they are.  That’s good to know, because science is all about caution, skepticism, and not jumping to conclusions.

I’m going to stop here.  It appears that many of the scientists are cautioning policymakers not to make policy on science that is not fully understood, but most think that there is good reason to diminish use of fossil fuels.  I can understand that position.  Adopting policy on global climate change before all factors are understood could lead us down the wrong path.  I have been arguing that policy isn’t the way to go, anyway; innovation is the best option—as long as it isn’t hindered by oil and coal interests.

No comments: