Saturday, December 19, 2009

Climate Change (aka Global Warming)

I have to admit that I am actually torn on this subject. On one side, you have fanatics screaming about how the planet is warming and being destroyed by mankind and its inventions which now pollute the earth. They discuss all of the science that supports their arguments while simultaneously denying or ignoring any evidence that contradicts them. Of course, the idea of using science or evidence to support an argument while dismissing any evidence to the contrary goes completely against the main scientific tenet - trying to prove a hypothesis wrong. And, contrary to the vehement arguments of those who support the idea that global warming is a man-made phenomenon, there is valid evidence that lends credence to the belief that it may not. Furthermore, what are the results of any actions taken to reduce the alleged man-made causes of the warming of the planet? The law of unintended consequences - which has been known to frequently raise its head as the result of new government legislation - seems a likely result. And when I mention unintended consequences, I mean examples like the use of DDT to destroy the insects that were eating crops in the 1950's and 60's in the United States - until it was noticed that it had a very deleterious effect on the people who consumed those crops. And there are many more examples that can be found in history. Additionally, if taking these actions does not alleviate or stop the warming, will other actions be undertaken? Will additionally studies be done to determine what else may be causing it? Does this mean that something should not be done? Not necessarily. There is a great deal of waste and pollution that certainly does not help the environment and that can and should be dealt with. Of course, there are already laws that exist to prevent and reduce pollution but that then requires enforcement. So, perhaps the key is not in creating new laws to reduce the global warming pollutants but to enforce the ones already on the books.

Oh, and as alluded to in my title for this post, has anyone noticed how "global warming" has now changed to "climate change"? Frankly, when I think of climate change, I think of the four seasons. But, then again, I tend to think pretty simply about this sort of thing. Of course, the argument for changing the title was some evidence that indicated the earth's temperature has actually not increased over the course of the last decade. The interesting part is that different measuring stations have provided different sets of data so there is no real standard - that fact in and of itself should serve as a warning sign as to whether the earth's temperature is in fact undergoing the changes that the alarmists claim. Or, perhaps that is nothing more than an inconvenient fact. (I wish I had considered how "punny" that is before I actually wrote it.)

On the other side, of course, are those who deny that the earth is warming or claim that, if it is warming, it is due to a normal cyclical pattern of the earth (among other potential causes). Furthermore, they argue, the global warming argument is nothing more than a naked power grab by a certain political faction whose intent is simply to impose their standards upon everyone else. Frankly, just because global warming is a theory does not mean that it may not be true. Indeed, that it is a theory at all is indicative that certain facts lend credence to it. To dismiss it out of hand is the same as ignoring anything that does not conform to a certain point of view. Additionally, to argue that it is cyclical or that it is nothing more than politics dictating how science operates ignores the facts that there is a problem with the pollutants being spewed into the atmosphere as well as the land and waters. Perhaps it is cyclical, but that does not excuse the actions of humanity that have certainly not helped the situation in any fashion.

Further, the recent "scandal" involving emails at a well-known think tank that deals extensively with the global warming issue may show poor judgment and lack of class among some of the leading proponents that man-made causes are hastening global warming, but it is not yet clear that there is a conspiracy on the global warming front.

Frankly, the issue on both sides boils down to the same thing - politics dictating how the scientific findings are received and interpreted. It should be the other way around but that is not how it is working at the moment. The best solution should be for both sides of the debate to step away from the divisive politics that they have enshrouded themselves within and to work together to come to a consensus that will benefit everyone. Unfortunately, as seen at the recent Copenhagen conference, that seems highly unlikely. Will the fate of both the planet and we humans who exist on it suffer as a result?

1 comment:

  1. The vast majority of scientists, particularly well respected ones, today believe global warming is occuring and man-made effects are a substantial contributor. This info is available from a variety of sources such as science periodicals and of course the "infamous" UN study. The scientists who DISBELIEVE!!!!, are a very small minority. Exxon-Mobil et al. have been sponsering studies to say that global warming isn't happening. You have to "cherry-pick" the evidence to say it isn't happening. Hmmmm, like a certain ex-President did.

    Look at worldwide coral bleaching, ozone layer depletion, glacier melting, satellite photos of arctic over last 30 years, blooms?, location of animals, feeding patterns (lack of food for polar bears), more chaotic weather patterns. The last is due more consideration. As I understand it, when you add heat or energy to any complex system it becomes more chaotic, hotter hots, colder colds, bigger swings, stronger hurricanes, etc.

    CNN isn't very good, but Fox "News" as a source for news??
    Fox "News" lies.
    I spent time at one point trying to watch that channel and filter out real facts. Frankly, it's a waste of time. They broadcast entertainment, racism, ignorance, and lies, which fit the perceptual paradigm of the Conservative Christian demographic and then they package it as "news". In actuality it is an echo chamber for this substantial segment of the American population, and because it is called "news" or "fair and balanced", these people will watch it BECAUSE it reaffirms their belief set. Thus Nielsen ratings are higher, advertisers pay the network more money, and Fox can negotiate for more money from cable and satellite providers (see recent Time Warner negotiations). They have borrowed this idea from the conservative radio gold rush in the 90s ala Rush Limbaugh.

    Sorry, but Fox as a source of news is nothing less than a joke.

    That is exactly why ppl are watching Jon Stewart and the divine comedy show and why Stewart is talking about Fox.