Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Greenhouse Hoax

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On many occasions over the last 100 years the science community has made assertions about natural disasters and impending doom. These assertions have included warnings of mega-tsunamis, meteorites striking the earth, impending ice age, and none of these events have come true as foretold. Thats not to say they can't. The issue is more one of: (i) Perspective, (ii) Facts supporting their evidence, and (iii) the way evidence is presented.

The current assertion warning of global catastrophe is 'global warming' or more precisely the assertion that humans are largely causing global warming. There have been several reasons why I have always been skeptical of this latest threat:

1. The argument that all climate scientists believe there is a global warming phenomena, and that humans are largely the cause of it.

2. The argument that scientists had a high level of understanding of the processes that cause global warming

3. The argument that a computer model was going to predict climate change 100 years into the future when they cant even get a 3 day forecast right

4. The philosophical values that underpin most people's lives. My concern here is that climate scientists are 'normal people' - they are not critical thinkers. They are empiricists who look at sensory evidence from an emotionally charged philosophical context.

5. There has been no 'great debate' where opponents have had an opportunity to present evidence or question the evidence against climate change.

Since forming those conclusions I have always remained open to new evidence that might cast into doubt my existing beliefs. In the last few years there were 3 compelling sources of information that have shaped my opinion:

1. Media articles: Particularly in Japan I was reading weekly articles asserting scientific conclusions that just didn't stand up to scrutiny. Some were even inherently contradictory. There was the occasional article suggesting that scientists had it wrong. One could be forgiven for thinking that the media has no interest in presenting conclusive arguments for or against climate change. I would suggest the media has a vested interest in keeping us in doubt. If you think about it the best story is the one that never dies, that evokes great passions, that poses a great threat, because everyone will be interested in it. There are plenty of 'crackpot' scientists in specialised fields that you can get quotes from to support your cause.

2. Al Gores movie:

3. Global Warming Primer published by the National Center for Policy Analysis. This document grabbed my attention because as a geologist I took great interest in paleo-climates, fossils, and I knew that ancient landscapes could be understood by looking at evidence from rocks. Its interesting that no advocate of 'man-made climate change' has made any assertion or refutation based on rocks that date back billions of years.

suggesting that human I have come across a number of media articles that have reinforced in my mind the belief that scientists still dont know what they are talking about.

4. Personal observation: There are places on earth like China where we are actually seeking 'regional cooling'. China is of course the dirtiest polluter on the planet because its power stations dont remove nitrous oxides and particulate matter from their emissions. Only the newer plants built from the 1990s have these anti-pollutant plant installed.

The last document I read presents several points that reinforce my belief that the dire warnings of climate change are misguided, and that humans are largely to blame. The pertinent arguments are:

1. Water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas. It accounts for 95% of greenhouse gases. It makes sense that if the earth was naturally warming (in a documented natural cycle) a higher percentage of water would be concentrated in the atmosphere. Humans account for just 0.28% of global greenhouse gases.


PS: I dont give much credence to the assertion that the National Center for Policy Analysis is independent of private money or government agencies.

Reason is the standard for debate.
- Andrew Sheldon
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