Monday, October 15, 2007

Global Warming - Non-Issue (Politically)

Blog Action Day Post

First, please note that I consider Global Warming an issue, but not one needing Political Mandated Legislation.

Greenhouse Gases, and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in particular, are claimed by Global Warming Alarmists to be responsible for "run-away" Global Warming. The Alarmists also claim the Earth will suffer cataclysmic disasters unless actions begin immediately to eliminate Carbon Emissions in the form of CO2. The reason CO2 is so often mentioned is simple. We really can't do much about the other Greenhouse Gases.

The major greenhouse gases are: water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and ozone. Of these gases, water vapor is by far the largest component and the one over which mankind has the least control. Carbon Dioxide is the only one of the remaining 3 over which mankind has any real chance to control. And about 1/2 of the atmospheric carbon dioxide comes from natural causes (mainly volcanoes).

It is generally accepted that much of the atmospheric CO2 increase during the last 150 years is most likely due to mankind's increasing use of Fossil Fuels (Oil, Gas and Coal) to produce energy. However, the scientific evidence is not yet clear as to several things. Therefore, before we go off the "High Dive into the Global Warming pool", it would be wise to insure that there is water in that pool.

Last month the OpinionJournal of the Wall Street Journal published an excellent article Chill Pill by a former Governor of Delaware, Pete Du Pont.
There is both global warming and global cooling on the planet Earth. There always has been and there always will be, because temperature change is cyclical: The Earth's temperature oscillates up and down, ebbs and flows, over decades and centuries. Sometimes the earth warms, as it did in the Roman Warming period (200 B.C. to A.D. 600), the Medieval Warming period (900 to 1300) and in modern times from 1910 to 1940. And sometimes it cools, as it did in the Dark Ages (600 to 900); the Little Ice Age (1300 to 1850) and from 1940 to the late 1970s.
As Mr. Du Pont notes, the Earth naturally goes through cycles of cooling and warming. It is known that the Vikings cultivated Greenland and in fact there is a reason it is called Greenland not Whiteland.

While CO2 is one of the Greenhouse Gases, it's role in the Earth's Climate Change Cycles is not clear. The levels of CO2 have risen and fallen in the past, but not necessarily in direct correlation to Earth's Temperature Cycles.
For example, about half of the global warming increases since the mid-1800s occurred before greenhouse gas emissions began their significant increases after the 1950s, and then temperatures declined well into the 1970s when CO2 levels were increasing.
Recently it was discovered that a mistake in US yearly temperatures shows that the widely held idea that 1998 was the Warmest Year is wrong. When the error was corrected, 1934 became the Warmest Year, and 5 of the 10 Warmest Years occurred before 1940, when CO2 levels were relatively low.
During the 20th Century the earth warmed by one degree Fahrenheit, and today the world is about 0.05 degree warmer than it was in 2001. These small increases have led the global-warming establishment to demand that we adopt the international Kyoto policy of stopping the growth of CO2 emissions so that global warming does not destroy us all. Or in Al Gore's words, "At stake is nothing less than the survival of human civilization and the habitability of the earth for our species."
Mr. Gore is a recent recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize. However, his "claims" as presented in Mr. Gore's Movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" are not backed up by hard evidence and facts. Recently a British Court found that Mr. Gore's Movie could not be shown in British Schools without a disclaimer due to the films errors. The court found that the errors were so great that it is more Political Propaganda than Scientific Evidence. Quoting again form Mr. Du Pont's Editorial.
Six years ago Danish scholar Bjorn Lomborg's "The Skeptical Environmentalist" took a look at the global-warming data and found it to be far less threatening than the Gore globalists were claiming. Mr. Lomborg's new book "Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide To Global Warming," makes the case that while "global warming is real and man-made," the Kyoto approach is the wrong way to improve the lives of the world's people.
The Kyoto Accord was rejected by the US Senate on July 25, 1997. The Vote was 95-0! At the time, Al Gore, Jr. was presiding over the Senate as the Vice President of the US (The VP can only cast tie-breaker votes). Mr. Du Pont continues with these interesting statements.
Global warming is supposedly killing people. The 35,000 deaths from the August 2003 European heat wave were, in Al Gore's view, an example of what "will become much more common if global warming is not addressed." But the actual data put things in perspective. Whereas 2,000 people died in the United Kingdom in that heat wave, last year the BBC reported that deaths caused by cold weather in England and Wales were about 25,000 each winter, and 47,000 a year, in the winters of 1998 to 2000. Similarly, in Helsinki, Finland, 55 people die each year from heat and 1,655 from cold. In Athens, Greece, a much warmer place, the deaths from excess heat are 1,376 each year and the deaths from cold 7,852. All told, Mr. Lomborg calculates that about 200,000 people die in Europe each year from excessive heat, and 1.5 million from excessive cold.
Sometimes the fact of a situation present very interesting conclusions, when one steps out of the box of conventional thinking. But there's more.
The final table in the book dramatically makes the case. Fully implementing Kyoto would cost $180 billion per year, but for $52 billion per year we could do much better by tackling the challenges Mr. Lomborg mentions. The world would avoid 28 billion malaria infections (and 85 million deaths) over a century, instead of Kyoto's avoidance of 70 million infections (and 140,000 deaths). There would be one billion fewer people in poverty instead of Kyoto's one million fewer, and 229 million fewer people would suffer from starvation rather than Kyoto's two million.
The evidence presented here clearly indicates that there are better places, with a much higher cost/benefit ratio, to spend our money.

For an idea of the Political Cost of Global Warming Legislation, look here.

For more on why Al Gore, Jr. may be pushing for Political Legislation to control Global Warming, see this previous post. For more on Global Climate Change, look here.

Finally, if you have the time, view this Video. Caution, it's about an hour and a quarter in length.

H/T Flopping Aces

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