Since we kicked off the week with an interview by these two authors I thought I'd end the week by giving you a glance at one of the subjects covered in their book. I hope it contains food for thought.
Global Warming: Man or Nature?
Rarely has a subject received so much attention as has the notion of “global warming,” especially since the publication of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, the Nobel Peace Prize award received by him and the
While there is nothing simple about predicting the weather or evaluation of the myriad of statistics available about it, here are some of the assumptions on which the calls to action are based:
1. All scientists have reached a consensus that Gore and the
2. The world is rapidly heating up.
3. The major cause of the supposedly increasing temperature is mankind’s increasing production of evil CO2. Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), which is caused by people, is to blame and Mother Nature is innocent.
4. Action must be taken immediately or we are doomed.
5. Primary threats include rising of the world’s ocean levels by as much as 20 feet as a result of the melting of various glaciers, especially on Greenland and in the Antarctic, leading to a huge loss of lives and habitats for residents of low-lying coastal areas, such as Bangladesh and Manhattan.
6. An increased number of very destructive hurricanes, cyclones, tornados—all as a result of global warming—will occur
7. Polar bears are decreasing in number because of the melting ice, and they need to swim greater distances to find food.
8. Islands, such as the Maldives Southwest of India, are slowly sinking as the ocean rises.
As it happens, in the real world, all of these assumptions are seriously being called into question by a growing number of so-called “deniers.” Though still difficult, it has become easier to publish papers that seek to replace widely held myths with facts in refereed scientific journals. A turning point may have occurred when BBC News published an article by Paul Hudson in October 2009, entitled “What Happened to Global Warming?” The BBC had previously been fully behind the “Kill CO2” movement. Hudson noted that for the last eleven years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures and that the global climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise. Note that, simply put, the temperature of the world has not risen for eleven years.
Everybody knows that the weather changes from day to day and season to season, and that even local forecasts a day in advance can be wrong. The notion that the “sophisticated” computer models used to predict climate change over the next twenty to fifty years for our entire planet are accurate is mind boggling. They all have fudge factors. There are a number of reasons. Weather depends on many factors, including what happens in uninhabited land areas and over the oceans, which cover about three quarters of the planet. There are external factors, such as sunspots, cosmic rays, variations in the energy output of the sun, El Nino, Ocean Decadal motions, volcanic eruptions, pollution of the atmosphere, about which we are slowly beginning to learn. It seems strange, but we sometimes forget that CO2 is not the most abundant greenhouse gas. Water vapor has a much higher concentration. Evaporation of water vapor is also dependent on many factors, which include cloud cover, changes in the surface characteristics of water and ice, winds, and temperature. There are the chlorofluorocarbons which were used in spray cans, methane from farm animals, exhausts from jet aircraft, radio waves bouncing off the ionosphere, ozone, and so on. In addition, we haven’t had many, many years’ worth of good data as to what the actual surface temperatures have been across the planet. Satellite measurements can be very useful, but obviously haven’t been available for many decades.
There is considerable concern with the effects of local factors on the surface measuring devices, especially near cities which tend to hold in heat, and even near structures out in the country. Some devices have even been moved to different locations, though not noted in their compilations. Many devices previously located in the country have been moved to airports.
There are, of course, some indirect means of trying to get a handle on past temperatures, such as the use of tree rings. Cores are taken and the thicknesses of the tree rings each year have a close, but certainly not perfect relation to the overall temperatures that year at the location of the tree. However, not surprisingly, tree rings and tree growth are influenced by other factors besides temperature. Rainfall, shade, root nutrition are among these. One almost bizarre example of the difficulty of using dendrochronology is when a dozen trees at one location were used (even though many more had been examined). Though all were growing in the same area, the results were nowhere near identical. There was also some indication that the data was cherry picked, so that only those trees giving certain results were used. This is not surprising for propaganda and politics, but is surely not the way of science.
There should be no surprise that politics has been such an important part of the global-warming warnings. Al Gore, after all, is not a scientist, but a politician. Likewise, the IPCCC is a much politicized body. The members are supported by their home governments. The actions that are being discussed all involve politics: How much should we reduce our CO2 production, as though passing a law would accomplish the reduction? How many hundreds of billions of dollars should be spent on ameliorating CO2 production? How much should the developed countries give to the undeveloped ones to assist in their attack on C02?
Most CO2 is produced by the burning of fossil fuels in power plants. No government will tell its people to keep their houses much colder in the winter and turn off air conditioning in the summer, that industry should reduce its output, or that cities should be darkened. Closing all coal-fired power plants would be disastrous in many places, though some extremists have demanded such an action. One gets votes, after all, by making promises that one hopes will be forgotten once it’s seen that they cannot be kept. Politics has also been very important in determining the awarding of research contracts. The worse the situation is made to seem, the more research must be done. Thus, most publications discussed in the media provide a range of values for how much the temperature or sea level will increase. The focus is always on the high and usually unrealistic end. For example, some have claimed the sea will rise twenty feet; current rates are about a millimeter a year.
Not surprisingly, one doesn’t hear much about the benefits of higher CO2 levels, such as increased plant growth and crop yields. Controlled experiments have demonstrated that increased CO2 levels lead to increased crop yields. Many countries, such as
Politically, it isn’t accepted to talk about the fact that water vapor is the most prominent green house gas, much more so than CO2. However, it is very much more difficult to predict accurately the effect of water vapor on planetary temperatures. Far more of the planet is covered with water and ice than with power plants. When water evaporates into the atmosphere, clouds form, and they are blown by unpredictable winds. Clouds keep some solar radiation from reaching the planet by reflecting it back out to space, thus cooling the planet. However, the clouds also absorb some of the heat emitted by the ground and help heat the atmosphere.
It is certainly clear that there have been warmer periods of time than the present, which could not have been caused by CO2, because so little industrialization existed then. There have also been lengthy cooler periods, which also obviously had nothing to do with CO2. The famous “hockey stick” graph shows what seems to be level temperatures for a long time and then a steady increase because of CO2. More careful and honest work shows that the curve just happens to omit periods of higher and lower temperature that could not have been influenced by the production of CO2 and has discretely been left out of recent
The history of environmental movements certainly includes examples of bandwagon jumping to take care of a perceived problem, often with severe and unplanned consequences. One of the better examples is the banning of the pesticide DDT in 1972. This was directly the result of the hue and cry stemming from Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring. Apparently, egg shells of predatory birds, such as hawks, were thinner because of DDT. The problem is that DDT was by far the most effective, inexpensive, and safe weapon against the anopheles mosquito that spreads malaria. Because of the banning, there have been literally millions of deaths, especially amongst young children in
A much more recent example involves the production of biofuel to reduce the use of imported oil. Producing corn to be converted to biofuel greatly increased the income of farmers, but, unfortunately though predictably, substantially raised the cost and reduced the supply of food for people. In addition, more detailed calculations have indicated that sometimes more production of CO2 was produced by all the activities associated with the farming and the extraction of the biofuel than would have been produced using the equivalent amount of oil.
In addition, the pressure for non–CO2 producing (renewable) power plants, such as solar and wind power, has been dependent on major government financing, incentives, and subsidies. Because of these it has been profitable to build large solar and wind facilities, but operating them requires much higher expenditures than using non renewable resources. It was found in
There are other strange aspects of the anti-CO2 war. A number of anti-nuclear groups have loudly proclaimed the need to avoid building new nuclear plants and hopefully to shut down old ones. They are also against CO2. But the nuclear power plants produce far, far less, CO2 than do any other major sources of power production. Some countries in
It should not be surprising, considering the examples given in other chapters, that there have been unexpected but significant new scientific developments concerning the factors that control global warming. It was announced on
They found no correlation between temperature or precipitation and growth rates. It would seem that CO2 had nothing to do with the growth rates since it had slowly and steadily increased during the period of growth. One can safely predict that the “warmists” will attack or ignore these results. It is also likely that the “deniers,” who have been getting more and more publicity, will cite these results.
It is interesting that the apparent hoax involving the flight in
· NASA: 10
· Other Government Scientists: 6
·State Climatologists: 9
· Academies of Science: l0
· Avowed Environmentalists: 4
· Noted Scientists: 27
· Other Nobel Prize Winners: 3
Hatch, in his introduction, states that the statements prove there is not a consensus, even at the UN, on the widely touted
The authors, Stanton T. Friedman and Kathleen Marden are among the “who’s who” of their field.
Kathleen Marden is a social scientist, author and educator who has served as the International Director of field investigator training for the Mutual UFO Network. She has appeared in many TV documentaries and in radio programs, and has lectured throughout the
Stanton T. Friedman has appeared on hundreds of Radio and TV programs, including the History Channel, Nightline, Larry King Live, numerous times on Coast to Coast AM, and in many documentary films. He is also the author of Flying Saucers and Science, Top Secret/Majic, and Crash at Corona.