Accepting Global Warming Without Accepting Global Warming
June 27, 2006
After listening carefully to New York Times columnist and author Thomas Friedman on a recent edition of the PBS series, "The Charlie Rose Show", I've come to a major conclusion.
We can accept global warming WITHOUT accepting global warming.. We don't have to agree with their doomsday scenarios in order to support the lucrative technologies that are emerging to confront their predictions. As Friedman pointed out, China, Brazil and other nations are gearing up for the potential trillion dollar global warming industries.. Alternative fuels, clean air technology.
Let's me be very clear about it. Global warming and global cooling have been cycling in and out for centuries. From my readings, I conclude that the sun has more to do with the earth's temperature than all the factories in Asia.
It may be the warming cycles that create the greenhouse effect, trapping carbon dioxide. I'll expand on these three statements, but, my point here is...so what. It's perception that counts in politics. If the world wants to believe we need clean industries and clean energy, then let's give it to them. That's also the key in all sales and marketing: The Customer is always right. Unleash American industry to make a profit riding a myth at best, or shaky science at best (Notice I didn't say "junk science.")
The Myth. I want to thank skepticism.net for a wealth of opinion links on the subject of global warming.
Mother Earth has experienced 10,000 years of global warming and global cooling. Seven ice ages have occurred naturally. Early humans were just beginning to use sticks and stones to make cave fires, hardly impacting the natural cycles. No, it wasn't polluting industries that induced warming cycles. It was in fact the father of all fires, the sun, which has had the greatest impact on whether Earth was cooling or warming.
John K. Carlisle, Director of the National Center for Public Policy Research's Environmental Policy Task Force, points out "there is a strong correlation between the variations in solar irradiance and fluctuations in the Earth's temperature. When the sun gets dimmer, the Earth gets cooler; when the sun gets brighter, the Earth gets hotter."
He gives the example of the Little Ice Age that lasted from 1650 to 1850. Temperatures in this era fell to as much as 2° F below today's temperature, causing the glaciers to advance, the canals in Venice to freeze and major crop failures. Interestingly, this dramatic cooling happened in a period when the sun's radiance had fallen to exceptionally low levels.
Dr. Sallie Baliunas, an astrophysicist with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and one of the nation's leading experts on global climate change, believes that we may be nearing the end of a solar warming cycle. Since the last minimum ended in 1715, Baliunas says there is a strong possibility that the Earth will start cooling off in the early part of the 21st Century. Such is the way of natural cycles.
And what of the 'greenhouse' effect in global warming? According to Robert Essenhigh, E.G. Bailey Professor of Energy Conservation in Ohio State's Department of Mechanical Engineering. It is the rising global temperatures that are naturally increasing the levels of carbon dioxide, not the other way around.
Essenhigh believes these people fail to account for the much greater amount of carbon dioxide that enters -- and leaves -- the atmosphere as part of the natural cycle of water exchange from, and back into, the sea and vegetation. Compared to man-made sources' emission of about 5 to 6 billion tons per year, the natural sources would then account for more than 95 percent of all atmospheric carbon dioxide, Essenhigh said.
"At 6 billion tons, humans are then responsible for a comparatively small amount - less than 5 percent - of atmospheric carbon dioxide," he said. "And if nature is the source of the rest of the carbon dioxide, then it is difficult to see that man-made carbon dioxide can be driving the rising temperatures. In fact, I don't believe it does.
So, to summarize, I accept the conclusions of Carlisle, Baliunas, and Essenhigh: Global warming and global cooling are natural cyclic phenomena. The sun may in fact determine the direction of the cycle, and the planet itself generates more carbon dioxide than humans, and the global warming cycle itself may create the greenhouse effect. Al Gore and the doomsayers have their own explanations.
My point here is: So What.
If the world demands new technologies to reduce the five to six billion tons of man-made emission, let America industry jump in and develop them. So, let's just accept their premise, even though it's unlikely. In the end, we'll never know for sure. What do we have to lose? New multi-billion dollar industries, less toxins in the atmosphere, and breaking the 'addiction to oil.'