13 November 2008

Like a Canary in the Global Warming Coalmine

When somebody posts a global warming climate change thread to fark.com, and I can read the first 40 or 50 comments without wanting to put a bullet in my brain, this tells me something.

And what it tells me is this: that global warming, as a Pressing Issue That Will Kill Us All, Unless Brave Government Bureaucrats Save Us by Slowing Down Our Economy -- or, PITWKUAUBGBSUSDOE, for short -- is just about done with its 15 minutes of fame.

Do they ask for Nobel Peace Prizes back, ever? 'Cuz it just might be time for that.

Polling tells us that most people don't buy man-made Global Warming theories, and now we have evidence from places like fark.com -- hardly a bastion of conservative science-haters -- that folks are starting to see it all as a big joke.

Preserving the environment is, of course, an important goal. And we here in the West are doing a pretty decent job of it, in fact. Some places in the world, not so much. Something about needing to develop an economy first, to feed their people. What-ever.

But then, of course, we still have some True Believers, like those who insist that "Only We Can Change The Climate", as shown by the yard sign I saw the other day.

"ONLY"? There are no other factors driving climate change?

What about the Sun? The oceans that cover 75% of the Earth's surface? The atomosphere? The rain forests? The winds and ocean currents?

What about the fact that we still don't understand enough about weather, much less climate, to build accurate weather models, or climate models?

What about all the climate variations in the past, before the Industrial Revolution? The world has only been partially-industrialized for about 150 years now. The climate has been around a lot longer than that, and yes, even warmer than it is today. If man-made CO2 is so important, how did that happen?

What about the latest evidence that we are entering a new minimum in sunspot activity, the level of which we haven't seen in like 300 years? There is pretty strong correlation between these periods and cold weather, such as lower crop yields, brutal winters, etc. In other words, it's as close as you can get to proving something without being able to recreate an experiment over and over.

I'm not sure how we got sold on this, but the idea that our cars and lawnmowers have a bigger impact on heating up our planet than the Sun is a little goofy. Think about it. When you are outside on a hot summer day, and you are in the sunlight, you get hot. When you move into the shade, you get noticeably, distinctly cooler. In fact, that's exactly why we like the shade.

The Sun puts so much energy on this planet, even at a distance of 93,000,000 miles away, that the temperature difference between sunlight and shadow is at least 3-4 degrees, and often more. All. Over. The. Earth.

Add all that energy up, for me. I'll wait ... (cue jeopardy theme, dah dah dah dah, dah dah dah, dah dah dah dah DAH dah-dah-dah-dah-dah ...)

Ok, whatever, forget it, it's A LOT of energy. Furthermore, we like it, because it helps our crops and trees grow.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that every other established climate factor is bigger than human input. In other words, no matter what we do, we couldn't impact it to any measurable degree. OK, maybe if we detonated every nuke on the planet at the same time, some bad stuff could happen. But you get the idea: the amount of energy that is created by the interaction of all the factors above -- mostly driven by the Sun -- is a staggering sum, not fully appreciated by most people. It's like, a gazillion joule-newtons, or something. Srsly.

To think that we humans could compete with that, as a factor in changing climate, strikes me as, well, vain. We aren't really all that.

But just for discussion purposes, let's grant the point that man is causing CO2 to go up. So even with our supposed catastrophic impact on the climate, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has only risen from .00035 to .00038, or from .035% to .038%. So we need to freak out about that, because that change in .003% of the atmosphere is going to cause great ruin and devastation, but the other 99.997% of the atmosphere is nothing to worry about? Really?

Hey, I'm on board with taking care of the environment, and I do think we waste too many natural resources. But I need better evidence than that.

You'd think our fearless leaders in government and NGOs would be a little more skeptical as well. And you'd be wrong!

Those of us who live in the real world don't compete for federal and international grants. We don't put lipstick on our research pig, in a desperate attempt to convince small-brained bureaucrats -- who provide no useful service to taxpayers, but do hand out government largesse, i.e., our tax money we've so generously provided to them at the point of a gun -- that a CRISIS is upon us.

These good "scientists" and "researchers" and government/NGO lackeys all know that no matter what the cause of a given climate problem -- the Sun, perhaps, or La Nina, or other atmospheric shenanigans we still don't understand, and couldn't change even if we did -- the correct fix for that problem is always more money. Money fixes everything, even if the lack of money was not the cause of the problem in the first place. Money is magical.

Got that? So when the planet warms up, temporarily, well, this is just further proof or two things: (1) man is at fault, obviously, don't be an idiot, and (2) money is the obvious way to fix it. You big dope, you.

That is some pretty vain thinking, right there. But scientists who push this hype on us, and the government types that push this hype on us, they at least have an excuse for buying into it: $$$.

Us? Not so much.

And never mind that historically, it has been much, much warmer than it is today -- why do you think they call it Greenland? -- which would point to natural causes, and which would imply that could happen again. Never mind that generally, warmer is better for the planet and the people on it, especially for growing crops, which sustain us in the form of food. No, we need to ignore all that established fact, and focus instead on wild, unproven schemes that will definitely restrict our economic growth.

So you'd better rush out, and buy your carbon credits now, before the government forces you to, at a higher price. Even though they are an obvious scam, designed to line the pockets of charlatans and snake-oil salesman like our friend Albert Gore Jr.

Listen, I've gotta run, but really, this has been cool. Thanks for all the info, and, no kidding, if I was in the market for a crisis, I'd be so all over this one. But I'm actually trying to cut down on my enviro-crises, because I've learned over the years that they're always wrong, and often in exactly the wrong direction.

So I'm just really trying to cut down on my crises. Maybe next time though!