Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My Position on Man-Made Global Warming

With some of the debate happening on this site, and with my promises to review a global warming book and Mr. Gore’s movie, I thought a little explanation of my own thoughts on global warming may help for the coming articles. I don’t claim to be a climatologist. It seems like every news agency has a complete staff of those, so we don’t need any more. I have read a few books on global warming, I have studied geophysics a little, and I enjoy reading articles that appear in the news about global warming. I am not paid by any oil company, research institute, or President (current or former). However, if anyone out there knows how I could get paid by these groups for my opinion, please let me know.

First, there is no consensus about man-made global warming. If you don’t believe me, check out my global warming tag and see how many comments I get on my global warming posts. Most of them are quiet heated (on both sides). Even if there was consensus, science has nothing to do with consensus. Political policy involves consensus, but not science.

Secondly, there is a lot about the Earth’s climate we don’t know. Scientists don’t understand how clouds form or their exact effect on climate. They know clouds effect the environment, but they are not sure to what degree. Global computer models that are constantly sited are only as good as the assumptions the programmer puts into them. The data we do have is very small and incomplete (accurate hurricane measuring didn’t really start until 1944) when compared to the age of the planet. For every study citing ice cores or tree rings as evidence for global warming, I can show you another study that says the exact opposite.

Third, there is no proof that global warming is a bad thing. If the planet was to increase its temperature by 1 degree over the next 100 years, that might be beneficial. It could cause an increase in plant life and human life. Hot weather kills less than cold weather. If we knew a 1 degree increase might cause an additional 1000 deaths in the summer, but save 10,000 lives in the winter, would that be bad?

I believe that the Earth is getting warmer. I am just not sure how much of that is man’s fault. The Earth’s climate is constantly changing. It has been since before man got here and will be for a long time after we are gone. Just by existing on the planet, man has some impact on his environment, as do all other creatures that inhabit the Earth. The question is: what component of the Earth’s warming is our fault? Various sources claim the Earth has gotten warmer over the last century. The amount varies from less than 0.4 degrees Celsius to about 1.0 degree. I don’t believe all of that is man made, but how much of it is?

I also believe that most “solutions” currently offered by environmentalist are unrealistic. Many of them would cost a tremendous amount of money for very little real benefit. The more extreme solutions even wish to implement a population control with no settlement having more than 20,000 people. Think of that the next time you are in New York, London, or San Francisco.

We need real research to solve what component of the current climate is a result of man. Then we need to decide if there is anything we can actually do to change the Earth’s climate. We need to figure out if we should change the environment, and if the change is worth the cost. If the best we could do is to lower the temperature by 0.01 degree at a cost of $100 billion would that be a good investment?

I hope I haven’t rambled too long. I also hope this helps clarify my views on global warming and gives my readers a base line for the upcoming book and movie reviews. As always, I welcome comments about this or any other post.


Anonymous said...

Andy wrote: "However, if anyone out there knows how I could get paid by these groups for my opinion, please let me know."

Here's how to get the money:

A think tank funded by Exxon Mobil is offering up to $10,000 for papers critical of the scientific consensus on global warming.

Brandon said...

Andy: I would suggest that you look up the Newsweek article Global Warming Deniers: A Well-Funded Machine, it's a pretty interesting article.

familyman said...

I'm actually pretty much with you on this Andy.

If you look at the history of the Earth, the planet definitely seems to have it's own agenda. It's not going to stay the same just because humans are here now and we really don't want anything to change.

That being said, Will you agree that renewable, sustainable, clean energy sources are something we should be investing in? And actually should have been investing in heavily for the last 30 years?

Just think where we'd be now.

Andy D said...

Yes, I do believe we should have been investing in other enegry sources for some time now. Wind and solar energy arn't where they need to be in order to be real energy sources right now. I believe they could be one day, but we must continue to develop the technology.

I think we need to build more nuclear reactors in the United States. Europe continued to build them and they have nuclear plants that are generations ahead of us on this.

Anonymous said...

Andy wrote: "there is no consensus about man-made global warming."

Notice that when Andy gets caught on this--that there is scientific consensus--he says that consensus really isn't important. Consensus is just taking a poll.

If 99 doctors tell you to take your kid to the ER because of a life-threatening fever, but one doctor says not to worry about it, only a jerk would ignore the consensus and let the kid die. In fact, we put people like that in jail.

And Andy: surprised you didn't comment about the $$ we found for you. Too busy writing your article for Exxon?

Andy D said...

Anon, it's not even the same scale. You make it sound like skeptics to global warming are few and far between. They aren't.

You would have people bleive that the science behind global warming is settled. It isn't. In Mr. Gore's movie, he uses the "hockey stick" graph to show temperature vs. time. That graph has been proven false by more than one scientist, by more than one group, and by more than one country. That doesn't sound like settled science to me.

Anonymous said...

So, Andy, if the U.S. National Academy of Sciences says that the hockey stick graph is essentially correct, would you say that's consensus?

Because they have said so.

If a random sample of close to 1000 peer reviewed science articles on global warming found no dissent on the basic science of anthropogenic global warming, would you say that's consensus?

Because that's what an exhaustive study found.

If that's not consensus, what is? I don't think you could come up with a definition that any scientist would recognize.

Andy D said...

When I read your comment, I thought, "Surely he isn't talking about Naomi Oreskes. As someone who has been following this debate, you can imagine my surprise and delight when I found out that you had in fact cited Mrs. Oreskes. Her "928 paper study" has been refuted more than once. For one such example, see here. David Wojick provides a link to reach papers Mrs. Oreskes didn't include in her "research".

As far as the NAS saying that, "..the hockey stick graph is essentially correct," is a little bit of a luke warm endorsement at best. The NAS said they agree with the results of the study for the last 400 years, the data prior to that is less certain. From your own link:

"Panel members were less sanguine, however, about whether the original work should have loomed so large in the executive summary of the IPCC's 2001 report. "The IPCC used it as a visual prominently in the report," says Kurt Cuffey, a panel member and geographer at the University of California, Berkeley. "I think that sent a very misleading message about how resolved this part of the scientific research was."

Does that really sound like a ringing endorsement to you?

Anonymous said...

Let's keep score for a second here.

On the hockey stick:

Andy says it's "proven false."

The National Academy of Sciences says it's "essentially correct."

On consensus in science:

Anonymous cites a peer-reviewed study published in the journal Science.

Andy cites a blogger!

Andy, you're getting shredded.

Andy D said...

So if I understand you correctly, Scientific consensus that the hockey stick is correct is supported by the phrase "essentially correct"?

Also, the big dramatic part of the hockey stick is how long temperatures are a straight line, the "handle" of the stick if you will. The NAS expressed some doubt on that part of the graph.

Are you sure I am the one getting shreaded?

Anonymous said...

Andy, you can't have it both ways. You can't say that the graph is "proven false" and then use as evidence of your claim a scientific report that says the graph is "essentially correct." Those are mutually exclusive claims.

What do I think? I think the graph is "essentially correct." If you disagree with that and think the graph is "false," fine, but just be honest that you are disagreeing with the National Academy of Sciences.

And there are plenty of other studies that show the same basic temperature pattern. But those are done by scientists not by bloggers...

Andy D said...

I will try this one more time Anon. The NAS said they believe the the second half of the 20th century was warmer than any other time in history. The NAS did confirm some inaccuracies in the graph, and did comment that uncertainties in the graph should have been communicated better. The NAS said they agreed with the substance, but with a couple of comments. You cited the NAS as a ringing endorsement. I argue that it is far from that.

I do believe the hockey stick is incorrect. I have seen studies by other scientist and other government agencies that dispute the hockey stick. I didn't cite the blog as a contradiction of the hockey stick, I cited it as a contradiction of Mrs. Oreskes' study. The two are not related.

However, the very fact that there are questions from scientist (some cited in your reference) shows that Mrs. Oreskes claim that the science is settled is simply wrong.

Anonymous said...

Andy, since the National Academy of Sciences, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science apparently don't constitute scientific consensus for you, here's a scientific experiment I'd love for you to do on your own: go find some permanent sea ice in the arctic and camp out for a while.

See for yourself if the science on global warming is settled. We'll interpret radio silence from you as a sign that the science just settled you.

Kram said...

The article ends on a good note, the oil and gas in the arctic will be more accessible. I'm not up on all the global warming stuff but that sounds like a benefit to mankind in that gas prices might go down. The other benefit of the arctic reduction is that the water has to go somewhere, maybe it will come to my yard. I live in the SE US and we're in a drought. Sounds like nothing but positives to me.

Anonymous said...

kram: You're joking, right?

Kram said...

Actually, I think there is some truth to what I said. Really, what is the the artic melts, things heat up, a few animals die, and humans get what we need and want. That's why we are at the top of the food chain.

My personal belief is that man is not responsible for "global warming". What a great token phrase to use to disguise a religion. Why not go back to the days of Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians and their worship of the Sun God. The science behind global warming is comparable to the proclamations of the Pharoahs, Caesars, and Kings. He (the scientist) said it so it must be. Besides, based on past "man is destroying the world" bandwagons I think were would all be dead. If my memory serves me right, hairspray cans were going to destroy the world by the year 2000... my date might be off since I probably lost brain cells from using hairspray and depleting the ozone.

The truth of the matter is, we will not and cannot destroy this planet. Yes, we can make it nasty and a miserable place to live but no matter what you say or think the earth will fix itself given enough time. If the earth can survive the impact of an asteroid and recover to give us the incredible place we have right now, the comparable little bit of carbon we spew into the air now will have minimal impacts.

Anonymous said...

kram: go find your own planet to trash. This one belongs to people who like being alive and healthy.

I'm serious. Get the hell out of here if you don't like clean air, clean water, and a healthy climate.

Andy D said...

Anon, I typically wouldn't have posted your comment. I try to keep this site free of insults and name calling. I want open debate and I welcome anyone who wishes to comment in a civil manner on politics to this site.

However, I published your comment because it illustrates Kram's point. Many who believe in Man made global warming treat it more as a religion than a science. You're didn't even try to come back to Kram's points, you simply yelled at him. Typically, that is illustrative of someone who has no rebuttal.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the sentiment about good manners.

At the same time, if someone threatens to destroy your home, let alone your planet, I hope you react not only with arguments, but with strength and resolve.

kram isn't interested in talking science; he/she wrote off the world's scientists in one single insult. kram threatens your home and mine.

Kram said...

I'll guarantee I do more to combat environmental issues than the High-Priest of the "Global Warming" cause, Al Gore. Though, I think he can purchase more "carbon-credits" than me. Purchasing "carbon-credits", if my history is correct, is similar to a religion that allowed people to purchase their passage from hell. Hhhmmm...

Thanks Andy, I'm glad you did post his comments. My point was made.

Saint said...

I think Kram is right on the money. Could we really destroy the planet if we wanted too? Scientist believe an astroid hit the planet with catastrophic impact, killing most all life and altering our climate forever. Bible believers believe in a global flood that killed everything that wasn't on the Ark. I think everyone would agree that one of these two events happened. Yet, here the earth stil sits.

Nobody knows what the climate was like millions of years ago, or what it will be like millions of years from now. No scientist anywhere will claim to have those answers.

Maybe if we think humans can turn Earth into a lifeless chunk of rock floating in space, we are really thinking to highly of ourselves. We can't even get fire ants out of our yards permanetly, how are we going to destroy the planet?

Sure, we could make things miserable, and maybe even kill off most of life, but the Earth will still be sitting here spinning. For the evolutionist, this shouldn't be a bad thing, cycle of life will get to start over and evolve something new. Or maybe, man will evolve into a better critter.

Me, I believe in Creationism. I think the world and all of the creatures are ultimately in God's hands. Sure, I can make things worse or better with how I treat the environment, but I'm not the one deciding the end fate.

In 3,000 years, which light bulbs I had in my house are not going to make a difference. Maybe more people would team up and make things better if we quit all the doomsday, and just agree that things are not like they used to be, and they will probably not be like this in 300 years. Then the only two questions to answer are: can we do anything about it, and should we?

Anonymous said...

Somebody call in the logic professor.

Saint and kram say that

a) since humans cannot destroy all life on the planet therefore

b) global warming is not a threat.

Try this on:

a) since humans cannot destroy all life on the planet therefore

b) Nazis cannot kill 6 million Jews.

Whoops. Of course, they did though. Because a) has nothing to do with b) !!

Whether or not humans can destroy all life on earth (there are people working on that right now, of course) has nothing to do with how crappy life on earth could become.

I'll say it again: go find your own planet to destroy. I'll be defending my home planet against people like you for as long as I live.

Andy D said...

I think Saint and Kram where looking at a much larger picture. I think their basic argument (and one I agree with) is this: Mankind doesn't have the ability to drastically alter the climate of the planet. If we did, shouldn't we be discussing what the optimal climate might be? If we could control the climate, surely there are parts of the planet (like Africa or The Netherlands) what would like the average temperature to be a few degrees warmer or colder.

And lets face it, that is what this entire discussion is about, 1 degree over the last 100 years, and a potential 2 or 3 degrees over the next 100 years.

Saint said...

Here we go, since we can't win the argument at hand with the facts we have, or in this case don't have, lets bring in irrelavant issues to stir up people's emotions. Anon - do you really want to open the can of worms about comparing global warming to the 6 million people who were killed at the hands of a ruthless dictator?

Why don't you find a local survivor and tell him that? Why don't you call up the families of those who didn't survive and tell them that? Maybe that's too difficult. I settle for this, call the families of the US Armed Forces who saw thier fathers, sons, and brothers all leave home and never come back. Why don't you call up survivors of WWII and tell them that their buddies who got blown to bits in front of thier eyes that their death amounts to the same thing as me changing the light bulbs in my house? Is that where you really want to go?

I don't remember myself or Kram either one saying we couldn't kill all the life on the planet, we just said you can't destroy the planet. How bad will life be if we institute everything that we can to make the earth 1 degree colder again? Let's be honest, no cars, no lights, no indoor plumbing, no computers, no electricty at all. We can have animals, until they release green house gases, then they will have to be removed as well.

I'm not saying global warming is not a potentail threat, I'm simply questioning the supposed "undisputed facts and science" behind all of your silly doomsday predictions.

As for your precious scientist that know everything, how about this: in 1490 the world was flat and you could fall off of it. Luckily, one individual decided not to listen to the "undisputed facts and science" behind it. If the "leading scientist" can be wrong about that, maybe we, as a society, should pay attention and ask questions when at least some scientist are saying something different.

Anonymous said...

OK dear creationists and science-deniers. You heard it here and you heard it from the world's scientists. Global warming is already costing us all. And it will keep getting worse if we don't stop it.

There's no point in arguing with you, because you dismiss actual physical evidence (Lake Chad, melting glaciers, increased hurricanes, drought, melting arctic, highest CO2 levels since before humans existed, rising sea levels, increased flooding, etc.), use tortured logic ("humans can't really effect the climate" --that's using a conclusion as a premise without evidence) and you ridicule the conclusions of the world's scientific organizations.

I hope you don't implode with guilt later in life when you realize what you and your right wing heroes are doing.

Anonymous said...

NO 'Consensus' on "Man-Made" Global Warming