Friday, April 23, 2010

Hot Topic

With so much crazy out there, so much from which to choose, I haven't commented lately on global warming denialism. But there's a thought I've had for a long time and just haven't gotten around to mentioning. So here it is. In honor of Earth Day, which I missed.

A favorite tactic among the supercilious is reminding us that a mere forty years ago, there were scientists sounding alarms over the prospect of global cooling. To which I have two things to say in response. First, the obvious: that's what science does. It corrects itself. By definition. Science differs from, say, entrenched reticence, religious fundamentalism, or reflexive rejection of whatever you don't like, in that it challenges the known; tests it; refines it; seeks falsehood and replaces it with something closer to truth. Continually.

Next, my little insight. The argument defeats itself!! If, based on geologic trends over previous eons, we were predicted to be heading into a cooling phase, and if, within a mere four decades that trend has entirely reversed, doesn't it suggest something pretty serious and non-geological (for lack of a better term) is happening? Isn't it pretty apparent that NOTHING but human activity could account for such rapid change? A half-century! A semi-demi-hemi-nanosecond in geologic time.

Or, to put in another way, it's like calling off the fire department as your house burns, because yesterday a guest told you it was cold inside.


  1. OK Sid, I still believe in Santa Claus so you can believe in your Global Warming..oops I mean Climate Change...
    But its a little hard to convince the cinical among us when Al Gore weighs 300lbs(Figure out how much extra CO2 he exhales in a year than little ole 140 lb me, its alot) has 2 20,000 square foot mansions, and takes a Gulfstream 4 everywhere he goes...except when he can't fly cause the airports are snowed in...
    Why do you care anyway, not to be blunt, but whats your life expectancy?? Let the next generation worry about it, just like they did with us...Besides, the sun's gonna explode in the end anyway...


  2. Uh oh Sid. I hesitate to call myself conservative or libertarian because of the crazies who also describe themselves that way. I feel the same way about arguing against expensive measures to curtail human CO2 output. While I don't deny that the Earth has warmed somewhat in the last century, I am skeptical of the anthropogenic part, and the unprecedented part.

    Rather than try to argue for my position, let me instead direct you to a program on CBC (our public broadcaster) about the non-crazy denialists. Blurb here (search for "THE DENIERS". Mp3 here (be patient, it apparently takes forever to load, and doesn't give the usual little loading graphic as it does, almost 25MB total). I hope you enjoy it.

  3. Frank: there's an outside chance my son might get married and have a kid. I want him to have the opportunity to grow up and live in one of Al's mansions.

    Timmyson: I'll check out your sources. Meanwhile, whereas today's temperatures aren't unprecedented, the rate of rise clearly is. By "clearly" I mean, that's what they say.

    There seems no doubt of the effects of CO2 on the ocean: acidification. Bad. And of the positive feedback loop of methane release, heat, and more methane release. Bad. And, of course, it's pretty much self-evident that the sooner we get off our need for imported oil the better off we'll be.

    I admit to not having made an exhaustive study of the arguments. But I take seriously the fact that the number of reputable scientists who agree far outnumber those who disagree; and that among those that disagree are some who have PhDs, all right, but not in relevant topics. Not that that's definitive.

    There are "good" scientists who argue that the earth is 6000 years old; that evolution is a hoax, that the bible is literally true. It will always be thus.

    But I'll go to your references, and, if it causes me discordance, I'll get back to you.

  4. [About to argue some specific points, he paused, and reflected]
    But I'll go to your references, and, if it causes me discordance, I'll get back to you.
    That's the best anyone can hope for.

  5. Sid, I know I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed,but...............

    Why do you want your potential Grandson to live with AlGore????


  6. Well, Timmyson, believe it or not when I tried to download the MP3, it crashed my browser.

    As I said before, I give a lot of credence to the fact that the legitimate scientists who claim anthropogenic climate change is real far outweigh the others. I also accept that science isn't perfect, especially in such a huge matter as climate and geologic time. They could be missing something.

    Intuitively, it makes sense to me that doubling the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere would have an effect, even if Glenn Beck "disproves" it by exhaling on TV.

  7. Maybe your on to something Sid...
    That Gas-Bag Ted Kennedy pops in August, followed by the coldest winter in recent memory...

  8. Drekman... (Pus Be Upon You)We are aware that you drink the Climate Change denial cool aide; if you can just stop guzzling for a minute there is plenty of info out there if you can steady your hands enough to use Google.

    Plus, Canada has experienced the warmest driest winter on record (I know, to you Canada doesn't matter).

    "If you think conservatives are freaking out over the growing prospects that health care reform will, in fact, happen, wait until you see the freakout over climate change."

    "You see, a snowy winter in the northeast United States was supposed to have proved the climate skeptics right, after all. But a funny thing happened while they were celebrating: globally, this is shaping up as the warmest winter on record:"

    - Since satellite data has been in use -

    For Instance -See:


  9. Eugene, maybe your right...
    Why, it was 92 degrees in Brazil IN JANUARY?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    and I can't believe your pullin "If its on the Internets, its True" card... Who invented the Internets anyway??? Hmmm??? Put THAT in your Google Pipe and Smoke it...
    "Bing"s much better anyway...
    Did you know Mr. Brady was a Tea Bagger???

    Frank "I'll believe in Global Warming when I don't get 4 feet of Snow in Atlanta" Drackman...

  10. Drekman... (Pees Be Upon You)funny f\thing: you'll "Believe" in anything, as long as it isn't associated with any facts.



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