Global Warming

This entry is part 6 of 33 in the series 2014

– Chapter Seven –

(From the book, Fixing America)

Global Warming

It’s silly, really, to consider that a topic that belongs to science has become a prime source of political division. Could you imagine this happening to other subjects? We could hear dialog like this:

“So, you don’t believe in the sixth quark? You are a quark denier and must be a conservative.”

“So, you believe the moon was once a part of the earth do you? Then you must be liberal.”

Yes, this sounds like a very foolish way to demonize a person by placing him on his opposing political side, but, ironically, this is what is going on with global warming.

If two people look at the facts of global warming and come to different conclusions, this should not mean that one conclusion is conservative and one is liberal.

Yes, it shouldn’t mean this – so why are those on the opposite sides today so politically divided?

The answer is simple. Most people today have not made their decision on global warming because of a study of the science, but because of political indoctrination. This has happened on both sides of the political spectrum, and it greatly obscures the debate.

To make the case, I merely ask: who is the most famous proponent of global warming theory? A famous scientist?

Not hardly. We all know it is that famous politician, Al Gore.

And who are those that most widely accept his theories?

Yes. The same people who accept his politics.

The world would not be so divided on the subject if the greatest proponent was a scientist with no known political connections, and was willing to truthfully present his case and debate it.

The problem with Al Gore is he is willing to present his case to friendly faces, but will not debate or receive and answer questions from skeptics. A real scientist would generally have no problem defending his studies.

Thus, we have the situation that the current global warming debate is more of a political debate than it is scientific. In fact, this is the first time in recent history that the right and wrong of what is considered scientific consensus has been judged politically more than scientifically.

Don’t get me wrong – science alone without politics does have its dogmas and mindsets. For instance, anyone who presents evidence that seems to disprove the Big Bang Theory is somewhat seen as a heretic, and often his thoughts are automatically discounted; but the emotional heat from this is nothing like that produced by the Global Warming Theory.

He who goes against the standard model in global warming can lose his livelihood and even receive death threats. The different problem here is that the majority of heat the skeptic takes comes not from other scientists, but from bureaucrats and knee-jerk political extremists who don’t know the difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius.

In this country, we make a big deal over the fact that we have reasonable separation between science and religion. Vastly overlooked is the fact that a merging of science and politics is just as suppressive. True science is not determined by a consensus of political thought with scientific budgets controlled by partisan politics.

The problem with the political approach over the science is that the conclusions are presented as absolutes similar to the days of Galileo. Those presenting one side tell us there is a definite consensus, as if all scientists agree that there is an emergency and something must be done now or the apocalypse is on us.

The other side also has their illusions, some thinking that there is nothing to be concerned about.

The truth, as always, is somewhere in between. On one side we do not need to destroy our economy and way of life to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere; and, on the other, we have to realize we take some risks by altering the content of our atmosphere. We do need an alternative for fossil fuels for a number of reasons.

What is needed in the debate is to stick to science and a critical examination of the track record of the experts to estimate how much they can be trusted in the future; also, good old common sense is a great help.

First, let us examine how the experts performed in predicting weather the recent past.

It wasn’t long after Hurricane Katrina that Al Gore insinuated that it, and all current and future hurricanes, is caused by man-made global warming. After this, the politicians, the media and even many scientists jumped on the bandwagon.1

Time Magazine ran this headline on Aug 29, 2005:

“Is Global Warming Fueling Katrina?”

The article reads:

“So is global warming making the problem worse? Superficially, the numbers say yes.”

Politicians called for more restrictions on man-made activities causing CO2 emissions.

Then the scientific experts joined in by making alarming hurricane predictions supporting the idea.

There is a problem for those making predictions, however. When the time period for the prediction is over, we can then evaluate in black and white whether or not it was correct.

For the 2006 hurricane season, experts were predicting more Katrina-like storms, giving the jitters to millions of people across the land and fuel for global warming scare tactics. Experts were predicting up to 17 named storms, but we had nine. They were expecting ten hurricanes and we had half that number – five. 2006 was the calmest hurricane season in a decade and the first time since 1997 that only one storm made its way to the Gulf of Mexico.2

After the 2006 season ended, the experts were a little embarrassed but not discouraged. 2006 was a fluke they said, caused by a growing El Nino. 2007 will see terrible storms, they exclaimed. Again, they predicted Katrina-like storms for 2007, giving lots of fuel to the global warming camp. In fact, the predictions for 2007 were almost a duplication of 2006. The funny part is the results were also a duplication, with one variation – 2007 was even calmer than 2006. It had the least hurricane activity in 30 years.

In 2008 there was some increase of hurricane activity doing damage to Haiti and Cuba, but nothing stronger than a Category 2 reached the continental United States.

2009 was again much below average, similar to 2006, with no storm of hurricane force reaching the United States.3

The record shows a trend toward fewer hurricanes rather than an increase.

After listening to all the hype that didn’t materialize, my question is this. Were the experts’ predictions based on pure science, or were their predictions influenced by the doomsday expectations of the global warming crowd with their “consensus” of scientists?

If predictions of doom by scientific consensus were dismally off for the United States four years in a row, then why should we have faith in their climate predictions 100 years in the future?

If climate is not predictable within the space of a year, then why do these experts expect a linear progression of change for the next century and beyond?

In a somewhat ironic note, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. -not an expert, but definitely a spokesman – said in 2008, through the LA Times, that the lack of snow in the Washington DC area was caused by global warming. Then, after record-breaking snowstorms hit the area in 2010, his voice was nowhere to be found.

Now let us look at another area of prediction of a hot political topic by using scientific consensus.

In the Washington Post, Nov 19, 2007 we read:

 

The United Nations’ top AIDS scientists plan to acknowledge this week that they have long overestimated both the size and the course of the epidemic, which they now believe has been slowing for nearly a decade, according to U.N. documents prepared for the announcement. . .

The latest estimates, due to be released publicly Tuesday, put the number of annual new HIV infections at 2.5 million, a cut of more than 40 percent from last year’s estimate, documents show.

 

This is interesting. A consensus of the best scientists the U.N. can produce were off by a whopping 40% in predicting the HIV infections only one year in the future. If a consensus of scientists are so far off in using fairly easy-to-handle data as an increase in a disease one year in the future, then why on God’s green earth should we trust U.N. scientists who are predicting results of weather 100 years in the future?

Yes, that’s right. We are assured that current weather patterns caused by CO2 emissions will heat up the earth to unbearable proportions in a hundred years or less. In fact, the predictions get more alarming every day.

Here are a few headlines from the Drudge Report just within a period of a few days in 2007.

 

WARMING WARNING OF ‘UNRECOGNIZABLE’ EARTH

November 17, 2007

 

GLOBAL WARMING WARNING: EXTINCTION FOR THIRD OF ALL PLANT, ANIMAL SPECIES…

November 17, 2007

 

UN OFFICIAL WARNS IGNORING WARMING WOULD BE CRIMINALLY IRRESPONSIBLE

November 12, 2007

 

For years now, it seems that the news media gives us some alarmist warning almost daily about the dangers of global warming. Along with these warnings are statements such as:

 

“The debate is over…”

“All respectable scientists agree…”

“There is a scientific consensus…”

“Those who question are global warming deniers.”

 

Just as global warming is a charged issue, so is AIDS. Before the U.N. admitted its incompetence, anyone who dared suggest that AIDS was not spreading the way the scientific consensus said was targeted as a cold-hearted bigot. Only now, when the cat is out of the bag, can a skeptic speak openly about it, and then only with the highest of sensitivity.

The question that needs to be examined is this: how could respected U.N. scientists be off by 40% in their predictions of AIDS when they had all the tools at their disposal to make a fairly accurate prediction?

This same Washington Post article gives the answer:

 

Critics have also said that U.N. officials overstated the extent of the epidemic to help gather political and financial support for combating AIDS.

 

Perhaps a number of years from now, when it is undeniable that U.N. scientists were wrong about many of their predictions concerning global warming, we may read a similar statement as to why warming damage was so overestimated. It could read something like:

 

Critics have also said that U.N. officials overstated the extent of the effect of CO2 to help gather political and financial support for combating global warming and instituting cap and trade policies.

 

Indeed, global warming funding is big business. In 2009, the Obama administration raised Bush’s already high amount of $7.37 billion to $10.6 billion for climate-related programs, with a bonus amount of $68 billion from the stimulus passed in Feb 2009.4 If we include other nations in the U.N., there will be over $100 billion available to fight climate change. 5

If you don’t believe these respected scientists aren’t willing to stretch the decimal point a little to get some of these billions by sounding alarms, then I’ve got some acreage on Pluto I will be happy to sell you.

Just try to find a skeptic who is not mimicking the party line, yet is receiving any of these billions. You can’t do it.

The Climategate controversy created by insider leaked emails confirmed some of the worst accusations of the skeptics.

It was discovered that the U.N. scientists were sabotaging skeptical scientists’ research by either ignoring or denying Freedom of Information requests. The UK Guardian reported that of 105 requests to the university concerning the climatic research unit (CRU), which Phil Jones headed up to the end of December 2009, only 10 had been released in full.6

It has long been suspected by skeptics that the peer review process was stacked against anyone not agreeing with the standard, but, after Climategate, there is hard evidence. Let us look at one example.

Siberia is supposed to be the landmass with the most warming during the 20th century, so any evidence to the contrary would threaten orthodox conclusions. Many skeptics have been suspicious of conclusions drawn there.

Lars Kamel, a Swedish astrophysicist, was a skeptic who submitted a paper to be reviewed. Kamel analyzed the temperature records from weather stations in part of southern Siberia, around Lake Baikal. He claimed to find much less warming than the orthodox conclusions, despite analyzing much the same data.

Kamel told the UK Guardian: “Siberia is a test case, because it is supposed to be the land area with most warming in the 20th century.” The finding sounded important, but his paper was rejected by Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) that year.7

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), summed up the orthodox view toward skeptics:

 

I don’t want to get down to a personal level, but all you need to do is look at their backgrounds. They are people who deny the link between smoking and cancer; they are people who say that asbestos is as good as talcum powder – I hope that they apply it to their faces every day – and people who say that the only way to deal with HIV/AIDS is to screen the population on a regular basis and isolate those who are infected.8

 

With a bias like this, is there any surprise that skeptics have difficulty getting peer reviewed?

Here is an anonymous quote from a scientist commenting online that sums up the thinking of many skeptics:

 

When I publish in my field I have to release my data and let people challenge it. Why have the raw data (not the processed data) claiming climate AGW not been released? Why has the statistical methodology used in the analysis not been made available? Why isn’t the raw data published online for independent analysis? Why were the Siberian tree ring data so selective? Finally, can I say that if you try publishing a viewpoint radically against the accepted truth in a scientific field you are in big trouble!

 

After the damaging emails weakened the orthodox global warming argument, it seems that scientists began taking a more jaundiced look at the 2007 IPCC report. Several disturbing revelations surfaced.

First, it was discovered that the prediction that the glaciers in the Himalayas would melt by 2035 was off by centuries. How could such a miscalculation be included in a report that is touted as being created by thousands of the best scientists on earth and screened by the best of minds?

It turns out that the Himalayan prediction came not from any of their supposed pool of climate scientists, but a magazine article in which nothing was peer reviewed. This magazine article was quoted by a zealous environmental group in their World Wildlife Fund publication, and apparently made it from there to the prestigious IPCC report.9

The UK Telegraph, Feb 27, 2010, succinctly sums up quite a number of other errors discovered:

 

…that global warming was about to destroy 40 per cent of the Amazon rain forest and cut African crop yields by 50 per cent; that sea levels were rising dangerously; that hurricanes, droughts and other “extreme weather events” were getting worse. These were a handful of isolated errors in a massive report.10

 

After all the billions spent in support of global warning research, we deserve better than this.

On the other hand, how much is spent looking the other direction? Where do skeptics get their funding? Do they get their share of the public funds? Hardly. The fact is that many of them get no funding, but work with their own time and money. A few have gotten some funds from oil companies and other corporations. Orthodox global warming believers attack them as if they are the ones receiving the majority of the funds, but are they receiving billions to prove their point of view, as are the warmers? The largest funding that can be attributed to the global warming skeptics is $19 million given by ExxonMobil over a period of years to the Competitive Enterprise Institute and others who have come up with non-conformists data.11 Because of pressure from environmentalists, they have backed off the funding. Now, keep in mind that we’re talking about millions here, not billions, as in orthodox research. A billion is a thousand million. That’s over 5000 times the entire funding by ExxonMobil. Big difference.

Harris Rosen, Central Florida’s most famous hotel owner, has lashed out at false global warming-related predictions. He believes that because hurricane experts like William Gray have been making alarmist and false predictions over the past couple years, Florida’s businesses have lost billions of dollars of tourist revenue. He said that surveys show that 70% of the guests who do not return stay away because of the false and alarmist predictions.

Rosen is threatening a lawsuit so maybe an “I’m sorry” may not be enough this time.12

False hurricane predictions using global warming data are destructive, but nothing compared to false long-range predictions demanding long-range drastic solutions.

The hurricane predictions have the advantage of being proven right or wrong within a year, and now, after several years of drastic incompetence, they begin to lose their power to scare the daylights out of the people.

But, with global warming, the predictions focus on the end of the century, many decades away. There is no chance to prove whether the predictions are right or wrong before trillions of dollars are wasted, and civilization itself drained of its life-giving energy.

Let us briefly examine orthodox global warming points with detachment and see how it conforms to reason.

1. Authorities stress over and over that anyone who disagrees with them is a “climate change denier.”

If I have ever seen a piece of propaganda, it is the use of this phrase. If Hitler or Goebbels were alive today, they couldn’t have produced any greater piece of emotional diatribe to promote their cause.

For one thing I do not think such an animal as a “climate change denier” exists. Everyone left and right agree that the climate changes with time so this should be a non-issue.

To associate those who question orthodoxy with the neo-Nazis today who deny the holocaust is completely outrageous, and as low of an emotional approach as one can achieve. I’ve not seen anyone using this statement that is able to put together a logical sentence about global warming.

2. “The authorities agree.” Instead of explaining why they are correct, they merely try to make us think that all scientists agree with them; therefore, we must also agree.

Let me give several pieces of information that destroys this attack on people such as myself, and makes their arguments inconsequential:

(a) Skeptics are neither global warming nor climate change deniers. When the data verifies that it is getting warmer, we assume it is getting warmer; and when they indicate it is getting cooler, we assume it is getting cooler. To categorize those who disagree as not accepting that it has warmed some in the last century is extremely deceptive and disingenuous. This argument could be turned around and the skeptics could accuse many of being global cooling deniers since it has not warmed since 1998 (as of 2010 data). The disagreement is not over whether there is overall warming in the last century, but the cause.

Most skeptics believe CO2 does have an effect on warming, contrary to what they are accused of thinking. They just believe that it may not be the major factor as believed by bureaucrats.

The bureaucrats (and some scientists), on the other hand, consistently state that man-made CO2 is the cause of global warming. This position disagrees with their own scientists they quote. The IPCC report of 2007 gives the belief that around 50% of global warming is caused by man-made emissions. Bureaucrats generally speak as if it is 100%. This is very deceptive language, even based on their own data.

The 50% figure is very inflated and fanciful, according to many climate scientists. Models are not capable of proving the exact figure, but the data I have studied indicates it is very minimal.

New analysis of NASA satellite data may force a revision of the warming effect of CO2. They show the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than IPCC computer models have predicted.12A

Computer models can only be as accurate as their input data, and IPCC models have been feeding the computers a huge error in the amount of heat released into space. When (and if) this error is corrected, projected warming will be substantially less.

The question then is – are researchers honest enough to make the correction when funding may be at stake?

(b) Financing research. Data presented from the skeptics is often dismissed merely because of the accusation that anyone who disagrees is a lackey of the oil companies. True, oil companies have financed a small amount of research, but this is distorted beyond all reality, to the point of projecting that the poor little U.N. scientists are fighting a monster of overwhelming proportions to present the truth.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The United States government alone (as previously noted) spends $4 billion per year on climate change research. This accounts for about 99.5% of such money spent in this country on global warming research, and anyone who voices skepticism in any degree rarely gets any of this money.

(c) Projections by orthodoxy are inconsistent and change from year to year, decade to decade in unbelievable proportions, even to reversing conclusions.

During the last century, consensus has shifted at least four times between predicting global cooling and global warming. Global warming was often presented with the idea that an apocalyptic situation is near. Over a hundred years ago, it was predicted that Canada would be wiped out and billions would die in an impending ice age.13

In 1971, NASA’s James Hansen’s research was used to predict an ice age. On July 9, 1971, the Washington Post stated that the temperature was expected to decrease 6 degrees over the next 50 years due to automobile emissions, and the next 5-10 years could trigger an ice age.

The prediction was wrong in both cases. The temperature went up over the next decade, the fifty-year predicted period is almost up, and the temperature is higher still.

Presently, interpretation is totally reversed. James Hansen is now the poster boy for the orthodox man-made global warming theory. Hansen’s calculations are currently used to predict global warming instead of cooling.

Hansen does not have much of a track record for making predictions. In 1988, he told the U.S. Congress that temperature would rise 0.3°C by the end of the century (it rose 0.1°C), and that sea level would rise several feet. It never even rose an inch.

In 2001, the third IPCC report of the U.N. predicted a sea level rise of somewhere between 4 and 35.4 inches by the end of the century. Then, in 2007, the fourth report predicted 7 to 23 inches. Then, to top it off, the non-scientist Al Gore predicted up to 20 feet!

Does this sound like guesswork or what? The 2001 prediction of a sea level rise between 4 and 35.4 inches is a variance of almost a thousand percent!

That would be like me saying, “The wind speed tomorrow will be between 5 and 50 miles per hour.” If I predicted such a thing, a person of common sense would look at me cross-eyed, and figure I didn’t have a clue as to what the wind speed would be tomorrow.

The 2001 IPCC Report also predicted a steady rise in temperatures from the turn of the century to the year 2100, but temperatures have held steady or decreased in the last decade.

Now, look at the change of the minimum and maximums between 2001 and 2007:

 

Minimum: Sea level rise was increased from 4 inches to 7 inches, an increase of 175 percent.

 

Maximum: The maximum was reduced from 35.4 inches to 23 inches. That is a reduction of 35 percent.

 

If this wavering and inconsistency sounds like science to you, then I have some new ocean front property I’ll sell you in Idaho.

(d) Actual history does not agree with present CO2 global warming theory.

Between 1850 and 1940, the earth experienced a global warming trend. During this period, the release of human-caused CO2 was insignificant.

Between 1940 and 1976, we had global cooling and many scientists were predicting an ice age. The fact that the earth cooled when we had our first major surge of human-caused CO2 gives powerful evidence that the current alarmist trend is just that — an alarmist trend.

(e) As there is an increase in the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere, there is a decrease in its greenhouse effect. This fact is often overlooked in computer models.14

The truth is that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and does produce an effect, but it is much smaller than projected by alarmists. You would think that CO2 is the main cause of the greenhouse effect, but it is only estimated to cause between 4.2% and 8.4% of it.15 That variance in estimate of about 100% just shows how difficult it is to pin down the exact effect of the gas.

In addition to this, an alarm is raised by the IPCC telling us that CO2 will remain in the atmosphere 50-200 years. This contrasts with geologists who say the time is more like five to ten years.16 Big difference. After reading about the deception in the IPCC from the leaked e-mails, I tend to go with the geologists.

Sometimes I think the alarmists do not believe their own doctrine, for most of them fight tooth and nail against the best two current solutions available, which are hydropower and nuclear energy. Instead, they offer us wind and solar power, which are unlikely to ever create a dent in CO2 emissions within the near future.

 

 

Not All Agree

Researchers Fred Singer & Dennis T. Avery tell us:

 

A survey of more than four hundred German, American, and Canadian climate researchers was reported in the UN Climate Change Bulletin in 1996. Only 10 percent of the researchers surveyed said they ‘strongly agree’ with the statement ‘We can say for certain that global warming is a process already underway.’ Close to half of the researchers surveyed-48 percent—said they didn’t have faith in the forecasts of the global climate models, the only strong argument in favor of quick, decisive international action to counter a dangerous global warming.

A 1997 survey of U.S. State Climatologists (the official climate monitors in each of the fifty states) found 90 percent agreeing that ‘scientific evidence indicates variations in global temperature are likely to be naturally occurring and cyclical over very long periods of time.’

In 1998, more than 17,000 scientists signed the Oregon Petition, expressing doubt about man-made global warming and opposing the Kyoto Protocol. More than 2,600 of the signers of this anti-Kyoto petition have climate science credentials. The petition was hosted by the Oregon Institute for Science and Medicine.17

 

Here is what Richard Lindzen, a meteorologist from MIT has written about ‘An Inconvenient Truth’:

 

A general characteristic of Mr. Gore’s approach is to assiduously ignore the fact that the earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing. To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough; to do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse.18

 

Here are a few of Al Gore’s inaccuracies as stated by Senator James Inhofe:

 

• He promoted the now debunked ‘hockey stick’ temperature chart in an attempt to prove man’s overwhelming impact on the climate.

• He attempted to minimize the significance of the Medieval Warm period and the Little Ice Age.

• He insisted on a link between increased hurricane activity and global warming that most sciences believe does not exist.

• He asserted that today’s Arctic is experiencing unprecedented warmth while ignoring that temperatures in the 1930s were as warm or warmer.

• He claimed the Antarctic was warming and losing ice. He left out that is only true of a small region and the vast bulk has been cooling and gaining ice.

• He hyped unfounded fears that Greenland’s ice is in danger of disappearing.

• He erroneously claimed that ice cap on Mt. Kilimanjaro is disappearing due to global warming, even while the region cools and researchers blame the ice loss on local land-use practices.

• He made assertions of massive future sea level rise that is way outside of any supposed scientific ‘consensus’ and is not supported in even the most alarmist literature.

• He incorrectly implied that a Peruvian glacier’s retreat is due to global warming, while ignoring the fact that the region has been cooling since the 1930s and other glaciers in South America are advancing.

• He blamed global warming for water loss in Africa’s Lake Chad, despite NASA scientists concluding that local population and grazing factors are the more likely culprits.

• He inaccurately claimed polar bears are drowning in significant numbers due to melting ice when in fact they are thriving.

 

Al Gore completely failed to inform viewers that the 48 scientists who accused President Bush of distorting science were part of a political advocacy group set up to support Democrat Presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004.19

A high court judge in England seemed to agree with Senator Inhofe and ruled that “An Inconvenient Truth” made nine claims that were not scientifically founded.20

There are many more arguments that can be made to show that the debate is not over on the truth of man-caused global warming. I just want to make enough points to instill doubt in the mind of the reader that what orthodoxy tells us may not be fully true. There are numerous good books by skeptics. One of the best I have found so far is “Unstoppable Global Warming, Every 1,500 Years” By S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery.

“So, you doubt the scientific consensus,” says the conformist. “What do you suggest we do then, drive gas guzzling SUVs and Hummers? Should we keep building coal-fired plants and drill for oil until the last drop is gone? Surely you must accept that CO2 has some effect. Should we do nothing?”

 

 

The Answer

Global warming alarmists have an unrealistic view of global warming skeptics. Among popular untrue assumptions are:

False assumption one: Skeptics do not believe the earth is warming.

The truth: The vast majority of the skeptics do believe the earth is warming and accept the scientific data until proven otherwise. There is a variance between satellite measurements and earth-based measurements. The satellite measurements, which are thought to be more accurate, show a lesser warming than the earth-based measurements, but alarmists ignore this fact.

False assumption two: Skeptics believe that humans are not a factor in global warming.

The truth: Again, the vast majority of skeptics believe that man-made emissions are a factor, but a small factor or, at worst, an unknown factor; and not the magnitude of alarm believers proclaim. It’s a little like accepting the scientific probability that a comet will hit us sometime in the far future. It could happen, but the probability is not high enough to lose sleep over. The earth could continue to warm for some time, but skeptics believe in the probability that a natural cooling cycle will kick in sooner or later and offset this.

False assumption three: Skeptics are like the flat-earth people of the past and reject science.

The truth: From my experience and study, the skeptics are much more scientific in their thinking and reality based than are the alarmists. Many of the alarmists pick and choose pieces of data that seem to fit their mindset, whereas the skeptics are more likely to look at the whole picture. For instance, most alarmists ignore the fact that from 1940-1978 the world had a cooling trend, even though we were experiencing the first major surge of CO2 emissions.

False assumption four: Skeptics do not care about the earth or the environment.

The truth: This is an attempt to demonize opposition to their consensus thinking. Skeptics are just as concerned (as a whole) as are the alarmists about Mother Earth. The difference is that alarmists want to press forward with drastic changes that often make little sense or will have little effect. Skeptics want to make changes that will have a measurable positive effect and help mankind, as well as the environment.

False assumption five: Skeptics do not want to do anything. At least the believers want to do something.

The truth: Even though skeptics are not worked into a frenzied state of alarm, many are happy to work toward common sense solutions to reducing man-made emissions. After all, they do have some effect and the safe path is to eventually reduce emissions.

This brings us to what should be some points of consensus regarding this problem. Here are items on which both believers and skeptics can agree:

 

(1) The earth is limited in oil resources. Sooner or later, we will have to switch to other energy sources. We might as well start now working in this direction.

(2) Limited oil resources could lead to many future wars and conflicts, which could be avoided by developing alternatives.

(3) We import close to 70% of our oil from foreign sources, many of them openly hostile to us and with the ability to hold us hostage. Anyone with a common sense on either side would agree that reducing these imports is desirable.

(4) Burning oil produces greenhouses gases, and both sides agree it would be safer to reduce them rather than to increase. Even many skeptics are concerned, just not alarmed to apocalyptic proportions. It would thus be desirable environmentally, from both sides, to reduce dependence on oil.

(5) Both sides generally feel it is desirable to reduce our dependence of coal-fired plants. These not only release CO2, but other contaminants such as mercury and more radioactive elements than a nuclear plant.

 

The truly big issue concerning global warming is how to reduce manmade greenhouse gas emissions? Unfortunately, there are two huge divisions, which are:

Division One: The alarmists want to reduce greenhouses gases in ways that will limit or remove certain freedoms. For instance, most support greenhouse gas decrees and laws plus taxes and fines, not only nationally, but also through the United Nations. Many consider the Cap and Trade legislation in the United States as a necessary but drastic solution. They believe this risk to our freedom is necessary because of the alarmist situation.

The skeptics only want to use law where absolutely necessary, giving no extra power to the U.N. and working with the free market as much as possible.

Division Two: The alarmists generally lean toward socialism and are anti-capitalists. They generally favor solutions that promote their social agenda and big government. There are exceptions, of course.

One of the worries of the skeptics is that the global warming movement has attracted the support of many ex-communists, socialists and enemies of the United States. These skeptics have grave concerns that the global warming movement could be a Trojan Horse to destroy our economy and freedom, and yet produce little effect on reducing greenhouse gases. They see the alarmist cries as a ploy to further their agenda more than true concern over rising sea levels.

It’s too bad this last division exists, because it has little to do with global warming itself. Instead, the division is over the true motivations of the movers and shakers behind the movement.

In seeking a synthesis that can unite, we must take the two above differences into consideration, and create goals that both sides can accept. Here are a few:

 

(1) Promote hybrid technology.

The best selling hybrid car, which is the Honda Prius, gets around 50 miles per gallon, yet is still a comfortable car for general use. Others are coming forward with more fuel-efficient hybrids all the time, and plug-in cars are being introduced.

The plug-in Prius is expected to average at least 112 MPG. Part of the reason is a lighter, more efficient lithium-ion battery. This new generation of batteries will not only make hybrids more efficient, but will pave the way for the first truly practical all-electric vehicles.

Both sides of the equation stand in the way of maximizing this solution.

The believers will mouth support of the hybrids, yet are slow to actually buy and use the most fuel-efficient cars. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a global warming believer asked what kind of car he drives and it turns out to be a standard fuel-guzzling SUV; asked why, believers like Robert Kennedy Jr. have a ready answer such as, “I have a big family and need one.”

Congressman John Kerry had a more creative answer. He merely said, “This is my wife’s SUV.”

Many wealthy alarmists, such as Al Gore, offset any savings on the road when they take private jets, where one trip can burn many times the amount an SUV does in a year. Barbara Streisand has SUVs, but usually ops to drive a motor home to work. The carbon footprint of her mansion has to be enormous.

In 2009, hybrids accounted for less than 3% of cars sold in the U.S., and even less in 2010. This seems hypocritical when over 50% of the voters elect lawmakers who want to use drastic measures to reduce our carbon footprint.21 Something doesn’t add up here. If we were in a state of emergency, then it would seem that the least a global warming supporter could do is buy a hybrid. This would have a much bigger impact than switching to fluorescent bulbs.

Another interesting fact about hybrids is that their sales spike whenever there is an increase in the price of gas. This indicates that people switch to them, not to save the planet, but to save a buck. There’s no way of knowing how many skeptics buy hybrids, but I would guess there are quite a few. I plan on buying one for my next car, and I am a skeptic.

We have a problem with hypocrisy of the alarmists, but there is also a problem with the skeptics. Some of them are very negative toward hybrid technology for no good reason, and make fun of people who drive them. Hybrids make good ecological sense, are economical to drive, reduce the need for foreign oil, and are comfortable to drive – some even say fun. The only downside is they cost a little more, but that will be offset as more are sold.

Hybrid vehicle technology makes a lot of sense, especially when over 100 mpg is reached. Resistance is futile. It’s only a matter of time before the majority supports it.

 

(2) Solar Power

Both sides support the use of solar power, but view it from different perspectives. The alarmists seem to believe that it can be a major factor in energy independence. The skeptics seem to be more practical and see it as helpful, but hardly making a dent in our energy needs in the near future.

In 2009, according to the Energy Information Administration, solar energy only accounted for a mere three tenths of one percent of the nation’s energy needs. This means there was only enough solar energy sold to supply one person in 333 with this alternative source.22

Again, there is something strange going on here. Over half the people demand solar as a solution to global warming, but they will not buy it themselves. Since this seems to be their number one choice, you’d think well-to-do alarmists would install solar panels, but few do. Even wealthy Al Gore was criticized for having no solar panels; shortly after his film “An Inconvenient Truth” he acquiesced and stated he intended to install them. The last I heard, he finally put in a few.

My question to alarmists is this: if you really see impending doom through global warming, and solar energy as the best solution, then why will you not install solar panels yourselves, especially in the states with government incentives?

The answer must be the same as to why they do not buy hybrid vehicles.

As far as being a clean renewable energy source, solar power is a definite improvement over fossil fuels. Some see it as free energy and completely pollution free, but this is not quite so.

Producing the materials (vast quantities of steel, glass, and concrete) for deployment of a solar hardware requires about 3% as much coal burning as producing the same amount of electricity by direct coal burning.23

In addition to this, solar panels often use cadmium compounds, which are very poisonous and must be replaced and properly disposed of periodically.

The greatest pollution problem is space, and this item alone could prevent standard solar energy from supplying more than a couple percent of our energy needs – unless a breakthrough is made.

The authors of the popular book “Superfreakonomics,” after consulting experts, make this observation:

 

Although a widespread conversion to solar power might seem appealing, the reality is tricky. The energy consumed by building the thousands of new solar plants necessary to replace coal-burning and other power plants would create a huge long-term warming debt… Eventually, we’d have a great carbon-free energy infrastructure but only after making emissions and global warming worse every year until we’re done building out the solar plants, which could take thirty to fifty years.24

 

Consider this: If we could convert 100% of the sun’s energy into electricity, a square foot of land at the equator would supply enough energy to light a 125 watt light bulb. But then if we take the nighttime or the variable weather into consideration, we would only have enough for a 22-watt bulb. The big problem is that we only convert about 14% of this into energy, so this reduces the power to 3.1 watts. Finally, if we move our solar collector to a more probable location in the United States – where most of us live – the power is reduced to around a single watt.

To build a solar energy plant equal to the power of a typical coal burning one of a billion watt capacity would occupy a space of 40 square miles.

To even come close to supplying our energy needs, we would need about 400 plants, which would require (figuring maintenance roads and access) 24,000 square miles of ground, which is almost equal to the surface area of Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and New Jersey combined.

On this ground, there could be no farming, no fishing, no hunting, no camping etc., and would be a great eyesore on the environment.

It is true we may have a breakthrough in energy conversion, but even if efficiency went from 14% to 20%, it would remain impractical as a large-scale energy source.

Another problem is that in large population centers (New York, Boston, and Chicago) where the greatest amount of energy is needed, the amount of sun available is much less, and transporting electricity from solar power over long distances is impractical and involves large energy loss.

And Great Britain and other northern nations are out of the question. It would take about half of the surface area of that country to supply power through solar means. If you ever lived there, you would understand.

The main reason there is not greater proliferation of solar power is the cost. Each watt created by solar power just costs more than those produced by coal, oil, nuclear or natural gas.

 

 

(3) Geothermal

Again, both sides support geothermal energy, but the supply is very limited.

This has some potential here in the United States, but until greater technology is developed to retrieve it from deep within the earth, this will only supply a small amount of our needs. We currently receive about a third of one percent of our electrical power from geothermal,25 and the maximum projected would be 4.6%.

 

 

(4) Bio-Fuels

The most discussed bio-fuel is ethanol. Many from both sides of the environmental spectrum support this alternative.

The advantages of ethanol are that it burns cleaner than regular gas and reduces our dependence on foreign oil. Some claim that it reduces pollutants and carbon within the engine, extending its life. There seems to be no disadvantage.

But…

I talked to a mechanic a while back who told me what he thought was a major problem of which most is not aware. He said that because ethanol burns hotter than regular gasoline, it causes the O-rings to harden, causing engine problems. He told me that if I wanted to get maximum mileage out of my engine to not use it often. He said using it one tank out of ten might be useful to keep your engine clean, but not to use it regularly.

Another major drawback is that it requires a tremendous amount of energy to create this energy source. The main source for ethanol in the United States is corn, and when the energy to run the farm equipment, create fertilizer and run the refineries to create the ethanol is considered, the net energy savings becomes negligible. Some contend that it takes more energy to create ethanol than it releases, and others a little less, but all have to concede it is like borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. We borrow energy to create energy.

Another strike against bio-fuels is they are made from grain, which causes the cost of such products to rise dramatically. This not only creates hardship for people in the United States – where corn, milk and beef are more costly because feed prices have risen – but this also means that food exports to Third World countries will decrease and prices will rise. Corn prices in Mexico have gone through the roof thanks to ethanol production consuming so much of it. Unfortunately, things will only get worse because do-gooders in Congress are mandating increased ethanol production.

The elephant in the room that tells us that ethanol from corn will not be a big part of any long-term energy solution is this: if we converted all the corn produced in the United States to ethanol, leaving none for animals or humans to consume, this would only give us enough fuel to replace 12% of our gasoline.26

Truly, any mandate that forces us to convert a higher percentage of our land to corn or corn-to-ethanol production is not in our best interests.

Yet another major drawback is that more ethanol production requires more land, and the land would be in continuous use. This country, and the world, has a limited amount of farm ground available. We will be lucky to have enough food to feed the world, let alone have excess to convert into fuel.

In 2011, ethanol production provides about enough energy to power the United States for one day. We are paying a high price for such a small benefit.

Some are under the illusion that the energy value of one gallon of ethanol is equivalent to one gallon of gasoline. The truth is that it takes 1.53 gallons of ethanol to equal the energy in one gallon of gasoline.27

If we already do not have enough to be concerned with, a news story tells us that a big problem is being created by nitrogen fertilizer run-offs in the Corn Belt states. This waste is making its way to the Mississippi River and then to the Gulf of Mexico, where it contributes to a growing 7,900 square mile dead zone with such oxygen depletion that fish, crabs and shrimp suffocate.28

When all things are taken into consideration, it seems to make much more ecological sense to drill for oil in ANWR in Alaska, (or anywhere for that matter) where only a couple square miles will be affected.

What effect do bio-fuels have as far as releasing greenhouse gases? Advocates say none, and here is their logic: bio-fuel only releases the CO2 from the plant that was taken in from the atmosphere. Corn takes in CO2 from the atmosphere, and burning it puts it back in making for a zero sum gain. Therefore, there are zero overall increases produced in CO2.

But, not so fast… A lot of energy is needed to grow the crops, and this includes gasoline, oil, coal, natural gas and other energy sources. Even if clean-burning natural gas is used, this means that more coal has to be burned somewhere else. Because it takes as much or more energy to create bio-fuels as they save, there is not much net reduction in greenhouse gases.

 

 

(5) Conservation

Both sides support energy conservation, but, again, each has a different approach. The alarmists want mandates with the force of law behind them, and the skeptics want to work with free will and work with incentives.

In U.S. households, simple heating and cooling accounts for about 90% of domestic energy used. Therefore, anything we can do within reason to make homes more energy efficient is helpful. Innovations are being made all the time and are being accepted and incorporated.

The second major goal of energy conservation is our vehicles of transportation. Again, the alarmists want mandates enforced by law and the skeptics, as a whole, prefer incentives.

Right now, hybrid technology offers the best solution, as mentioned earlier, but small economical gas-powered vehicles and all- electric vehicles are becoming available.

Unfortunately, the above five solutions are about the only ones widely supported by global warming alarmists.

“But,” says one, “they support wind power, don’t they?”

Don’t be so sure.

A few years ago, almost all environmentalists, global warming alarmists and the political Left endorsed wind power as the panacea for all our energy problems. It didn’t take long, though, before a crack in this united support began to occur.

The first problem began to surface when environmentalists became aware that birds, sometimes even endangered ones, were being killed by flying into the great revolving blades of the windmills. Suddenly, the question emerged: was this green energy worth the sacrifice of a few birds? Some thought yes and some no. Thus, the division began and is increasing. Then, a coalition of environmental groups sued the Texas Land Commissioner to delay or completely halt the construction of a giant wind farm of 60,000 acres south of Corpus Christi. The suit alleges that the windmills “could kill untold numbers of migratory birds and damage the bay.”

(American Statesman, Dec 5, 2007)

Soon other problems surfaced – pollution problems. No, it wasn’t greenhouse gas pollution, but other types.

First, noise pollution. Those who lived near a wind farm discovered these machines do not operate in silence, but give off an annoying hum. Some wind farms have been threatened with lawsuits for disturbing the peace.

Second, visual pollution. When the first wind turbines came out, most people thought they looked cool, but as they proliferated, the visual novelty subsided. Now, even strong environmentalists are fed up with the visual pollution. Even such global warming alarmists as the late Ted Kennedy and Robert F Kennedy, Jr. condemned windmills if built in their own back yards.

And that is just what has happened. For almost a decade the Kennedys opposed the construction of a wind farm near Cape Cod.28 What kind of message does this send to other wind energy investors? Perhaps to stay away from a project that may not get approval, even after ten years.

Actually, the proposed wind farm is about six miles out at sea and, from the Kennedy home, they are barely visible even on a clear sunny day. Still, this is seen as an invasion to the Kennedy pristine view. Ted Kennedy gave his reason for opposing the green energy:

“But don’t you realize — that’s where I sail!”29

In the beginning, Robert Kennedy Jr. didn’t seem to have much of a reason to oppose the wind farm (outside of wanting a pristine view) but, after he came under fire from fellow environmentalists, he came up with some additional reasons. He added that the wind farm could hurt the fishing industry and destroy tourism.

The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound filed a lawsuit in June 2010, claiming the federal approvals violated the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and National Environmental Policy Act.

If the $2.5 billion project is ever completed the electricity from it is expected to cost double that of other current sources so making a profit may be a problem.

On the other hand, proponents believe it will increase tourism and add more jobs than it will cost. A wind farm at sea can be a great tourist draw, especially to environmental types.30

The third problem with wind energy is with weather pollution. Research is just beginning on how a high density of wind turbines may affect the weather.

Charles Meneveau, a turbulence expert at Johns Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering said that “dense clusters of wind turbines also could affect nearby temperatures and humidity levels, and cumulatively, perhaps, alter local weather conditions.”31

Believe me, as soon as environmentalists realize that wind turbines could alter weather, many more will turn against them.

Wind has other drawbacks. One of them is very similar to solar in the fact that the materials for construction also require considerable outlay of energy (probably from coal) to produce.

There are also a limited number of geographical areas where there is sufficient wind to make wind farms economically feasible. We would be limited in how much we could use this source, even if we decided to move ahead full speed with it.

Many think that when wind farm construction is completed, the power plant is home free expense-wise. This is not the case, as maintenance and repairs have been higher than projected. One will often see non-working wind turbines because of some operating problem waiting for repairs.

A final problem is their unreliability. Wind does not blow consistently 24 hours a day, and since electricity from wind power cannot be stored, there will be gaps where power generated at one time may be only half as much as the day before. A community that uses wind power must have a backup source of power for windless days.

Some fairly large companies who have invested in wind power have later abandoned the projects because of financial loss. But, there are other, mostly smaller, companies that persist in perfecting this source in the hope of a better, cleaner world.

 

 

Other Alternatives

There are a number of potential green technologies that alarmists encourage and act like they would support if developed, but would they?

They claim to encourage ocean wave technology, but what if new methods of energy production turn out to kill a few fish, like the windmills kill a few birds? Suppose one of the Kennedys finds a wave turbine in the way of his yacht – what then?

Global warming alarmists claim to support putting solar reflectors on the moon and microwaving the energy back, but what if there is an increase of cancer from the microwaves – or even the rumor of such? All of a sudden, the alarmists would seek to sabotage the many billions spent on the project.

Others support going to the moon and mining for Helium 3, which is believed to be a source of clean nuclear energy. But will someone find some danger in the nuclear processes that will be developed for converting it to energy? You can bet on it.

Still others want hydrogen power, but when alarmists realize that it presently takes the burning of more coal to create hydrogen then the power released, the enthusiasm will change to protest.

Then, we have the granddaddy hope of them all – hydrogen fusion. The technology to produce energy using this method has not arrived yet, and it will most probably cost many billions of dollars to perfect. Today, many alarmists support research on nuclear fusion, but some are just spooked by anything with the word “nuclear” in it.

It would be a shame to spend a trillion or so developing nuclear fusion plants, only to be met with screaming protesters wanting them shut down because of some miniscule danger that might develop.

The problem with working with the alarmists boils down to this: there are only three partial solutions that they presently accept. (I say “presently” because they may even turn on these).

These three are solar, geothermal and conservation. Solar and geothermal combined supply less than 1% of our energy needs, so no solution is in sight from these sources.

When this is pointed out, they always turn to the importance of conservation. But the stark truth is this: conservation is not a solution. It has never in our history resulted in a permanent reduction of energy consumption. Even with the most supportive president and Congress, the best conservation has done is make growth a little slower than it would have otherwise been.

But hope springs eternal. With no evidence whatsoever, alarmists keep telling us that conservation can be a major factor in solving our energy problems and CO2 emissions.

This is just plain false. Conservation can slow energy growth and that is all. There is no evidence it can do more than this.

Now, here is what is scary about the plan put forth by the alarmists. They want to mandate by law a great reduction in any energy source that releases CO2, but have no plan to replace the energy that will be eliminated. If Al Gore has his way, and we reduce energy consumption that produces CO2 by 90 percent by 2050 with no way to replace that energy, what will happen? Using conservation only, we would have a depression that would make the Great Depression seem like the good old days.32

Alarmists seem to think that if they pass a law saying we have to reduce CO2-related energy use by 90%, such energy will somehow be magically replaced, as if by osmosis of some kind.

It would be nice if such blind faith worked, but that’s exactly what it is – blind faith.

Cap and Trade legislation is the first step in this direction. Some critics call it “tax and trade” because the additional cost that will be placed on consumers will have the same effect as a tax increase on all citizens, rich and poor.

After the stock market crash in 1929, Herbert Hoover had blind faith that reducing the money supply would somehow help the money supply, but, of course, it made the depression much worse.

Even so, reducing energy does not create more energy. To increase energy, as the world desperately needs, there is only one simple solution: more energy must be developed and produced.

There is one form of energy which should appeal to both alarmists and skeptics. This energy has virtually zero CO2 emissions and has a safety record in the Western hemisphere higher than any other source and doesn’t even harm birds, bugs or animals. It has the potential to provide us with all our energy needs for a thousand years and more. The good part is the technology is already here.33

This sounds great as a source of energy, but, even though alarmists feel we are in an apocalyptic time that needs drastic measures, they fight this solution tooth and nail.

What is this safe and abundant energy source?

Think nuclear.

Copyright 2012 by J J Dewey

Easy Access to all the Writings

Register at Freeread Here

Log on to Freeread Here

For Free Book go HERE and other books HERE

Check out JJ’s Political Blog HERE

JJ’s Amazon page HERE

Join JJ’s Study class HERE

 

 

Series NavigationKeys Writings 2014, Part 4Keys Writings 2014, Part 5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

code