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November 28, 2008

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Posted by Chase Cooper

Because if green isn’t quite the new red, it’s at least the new pink!

On the day after Thanksgiving, there’s a lot for which to be thankful regarding global warming (about which I wrote in my IDS column last week).

But first, just for fun, I know it’s not nice to laugh at the mentally challenged, but sometimes you just can’t resist:

Climate change skeptics on Capitol Hill are quietly watching a growing accumulation of global cooling science and other findings that could signal that the science behind global warming may still be too shaky to warrant cap-and-trade legislation… More than 31,000 scientists across the world have signed the Global Warming Petition Project, a declaration started by a group of American scientists that states man’s impact on climate change can’t be reasonably proven.

Dear Editor: As a scientist and life-long liberal Democrat, I find the constant regurgitation of the anecdotal, fear mongering clap-trap about human-caused global warming (the Levi, Borgerson article of 9/24/08) to be a disservice to science, to your readers, and to the quality of the political dialogue leading up to the election… The global warming alarmists don’t even bother with data! All they have are half-baked computer models that are totally out of touch with reality and have already been proven to be false.

Less than half of those surveyed, or 47 per cent, said they were prepared to make personal lifestyle changes to reduce carbon emissions, down from 58 per cent last year. Only 37 per cent said they were willing to spend “extra time” on the effort, an eight-point drop. And only one in five respondents – or 20 per cent – said they’d spend extra money to reduce climate change. That’s down from 28 per cent a year ago.

  • Czech President Vaclav Klaus, an advocate of free markets and an opponent of global warming hysteria, is set to become the next [rotating] president of the European Union. Not surprisingly, the New York Times ran a, shall we say, less-than-favorable profile on Klaus. I’ve been following him off and on for a few years, and there’s no one I’d rather see in a leadership role in Europe. Check out this op-ed piece he wrote last year, in which he warns: As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism.”



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Posted by Danny at 6:36 pm on November 28, 2008

I think you’re missing the point. The idea is that Global Warming is generated by the increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is not proven — this part of your argument makes sense. There isn’t any clear proof that carbon dioxide is causing global warming. However, the increasing amount certainly isn’t going to bring about better health for anyone in the world. So, regardless of whether or not it’s affecting the temperature of the planet, I think I’m ok with reducing the amount floating around in my breathing space. Yay green energy.

You also argue that global warming itself is just a baseless myth, since obviously a few cold days prove that cold days still exist, therefore global warming must be a myth. I’ve read your comments addressing Al Gore, wondering what he’s thinking on those cold days of the year. What kind of science is that? Of course there are outliers — cold days. Just because James Blake beats Federer in one tennis match doesn’t mean he’s better or it will ever happen again. My point, that’s ignorant science…really, that’s not science at all, but just trying to find anything on which to base your argument.

That brings me to another point. Global Warming isn’t just about the general increase in the global temperature, but also encompasses the idea of Global Climate Change, which is just as important and ignored by many critics. This is the reason many areas of the world are becoming more arid and can support less people, leading to war and crises. If carbon dioxide is in any way affecting global climate change, thus causing these problems, it makes sense to error on the side of caution and explore our options.

For example: the ice caps are melting at a rate higher than anything in thousands of years. In time, much of that ice will be water, submerging many populated areas, with obvious complications. If I’m faced with two options — supporting work to reduce carbon emissions (creating a healthier environment for myself and all of the human race) or doing nothing — I know what I choose.

Posted by Chase Cooper at 12:11 am on November 29, 2008

Danny, Thanks for your thoughtful response. Cold days don’t “disprove” global warming, of course. What I have commented on is the wonderful irony (schadenfreude, poetic justice, whatever you want to call it) of Gore and other environmental extremists having their speeches and rallies on unusually frigid days. See this, this and this for a sampling of these humorous events. (Actually I just found a link where someone helpfully listed 11 instances of “The Gore Effect.” It’s here.) Talking about the Gore Effect is a little like posting the video of the tree worshipers… it doesn’t really prove anything, but it does make me laugh. And I like to laugh.

Of course, people still get all wound up over those exceptionally cold events, switching their rhetoric from “global warming” to “climate change.” Well that’s just great. With “climate change,” whether temperatures rise, fall, or just fluctuate around a mean, as long as there’s change, we’ve got a crisis that we need the government to come in and fix. Ever since the warming stopped in the late ’90s, environmentalists have tried to transfer the panic from “global warming” to “climate change.”

But why is the idea of “climate change” so scary anyway? The climate has been changing for billions of years without human intervention. Why do we assume that whatever temperature the earth was during the 20th (or 19th or 18th) century is somehow “ideal,” and that any deviation from it will bring sudden and irreversible catastrophe? Many scientists suggest that warming is preferable to cooling. A warmer climate would yield longer growing seasons and open up regions of the world not currently available for agriculture. It’s much easier to survive in a warm environment than a cold one. The point is that there are pros and cons to everything, and the fact that all you hear on global warming is doom and gloom suggests that the issue is more political than scientific.

I think we should be responsible stewards of the environment. I support clean technology and [reasonable] conservation efforts. I also am optimistic about the development of viable alternatives for oil, coal and other current fuel sources. But I do not buy into this philosophy that we should take precautions just to be on the safe side. The proposed solutions to global warming (or climate change) invariably involve massive governmental intervention – restrictions on freedom and increases in taxes. The hysteria over global warming is no more and no less than a political campaign to consolidate power by convincing people that the fate of the planet is at stake. I don’t buy it. I appreciate your willingness to recognize that CO2 causing warming is not established science (in fact some climate experts think that warming causes an increase in atmospheric CO2, not the other way around), but you’re willing to go further than I am in altering your lifestyle based on speculation and theory. If the choice is clear for you, I say go for it. But don’t demand that the rest of us do the same, especially without some solid proof that these changes will even make a difference.

Posted by Danny at 1:08 am on November 29, 2008

“The proposed solutions to global warming (or climate change) invariably involve massive governmental intervention – restrictions on freedom and increases in taxes. The hysteria over global warming is no more and no less than a political campaign to consolidate power by convincing people that the fate of the planet is at stake.”

Not necessarily. For example, the US military is one of the greatest causes of pollution and environmental destruction in the world. Countless books and articles have been written on different events or scenarios in which the military has been the direct cause of major environmental problems. Then, you also calculate the absurd amount of oil used for transportation, etc. If you want to talk about the causes of increases in taxes, maybe you should consider that it ate up 43% of US taxes in 2007 (http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending). Speaking of restrictions on freedom, I can’t think of a time in recent US history (except for perhaps during the Cold War and McCarthy-ism) that Americans’ freedoms have been more restricted, and I’d venture a guess most of it is not due to the “hysteria” over global warming. In other words, maybe we should re-evaluate how much money we devote to certain arenas here and maybe rank them next to other issues. IDEA: build one less stealth bomber — that’s $1 billion for the programs you mentioned, without any increase in taxes.

What is it exactly you refer to when you say “restrictions on freedom”? The freedom of US corporations to use archaic methods of industry in order to maximize profits, at the expense of the rest of the world? The freedom of normal Americans to buy SUVs because they like driving big trucks? In my opinion, the rights of the rest of the world come before the pleasures of US citizens and businessmen. I think we can deal without such wastes if it means a cleaner and healthier world for everyone.

As for the idea that “global warming is no more and no less than a political campaign to consolidate power”, who is consolidating power? I’m at a loss as to guesses. I mean, Al Gore didn’t run for President (as many critics of his film assumed he would); big oil sure isn’t happy (the biggest group of consolidated power I can think of… of course, I’m also including some influential government officials in this section); and as far as I know, Chuck Norris isn’t a supporter. Who are you referring to?

As for global temperature taking a dive in the late 1990s, that’s true, but that lasted for a year. Since then, it’s been increasing (http://www.seed.slb.com/en/scictr/watch/climate_change/change.htm). Looking at any graph on this kind of things shows nothing is static. Temperature fluctuates. But, looking at a graph encompassing the last 200 or even 1,000 years shows a more obvious increase. And you’re right, there are cycles over billions of years. However, some research points to the increase in CO2 levels during these periods of sudden and drastic increases in temperature as well.

I agree with you that some people hype global warming up to be more than it has been proven to be; yet, many are just thankful that attention has finally been given to the environment, which cannot be exploited forever the way it is done now. And, as far as the possibility that it really does have rough consequences for humanity, it is better to study it thoroughly and act on what we know than assume it to be junk science.

Posted by I.J.R. at 3:36 pm on December 1, 2008

Awesome video! However, the passion of these “mentally challenged” individuals makes sense. Trees are pretty important to dendrophiliacs. Gives new meaning to the term “woody.”

Posted by Grumpy Old Fart at 3:58 am on December 2, 2008

Great video. They just care so darn much! Too bad nature don’t give a damn. Danny: Your comment about the military shows the driving force behind the Global Warming Hoax. Its just an attempt to force through a leftest agenda under the cover of Save The Earth. The public is starting to wake up to the nonsense and the Left is starting the hedge their bet by changing the subject from Global Warming to Climate Change, or even that Global Warming can cause Global Cooling. Saying the climate is changing is like saying the weather is changing. Of course it is. It always has, it always will. Some studies say it is trending warmer, some say lower. Since we are in an interglacial period of an ice age, I’m betting on lower in the long run. Too bad, warmer would be better for the world. It needs better study so we can prepare but we need to drop the man-caused global warming nonsense. Its nothing but an scheme for money and power and we need our economies running full bore to fight the coming challenges.

Posted by Where's De Brockman??? at 11:42 am on December 8, 2008

OOH LEFTIST AGENDA!! I love it!! So old fart, grow up in the fifties did you? Allende and the commies down south and Kruschev east??

Of course this Global warming or what you call it is a grab for power! Based on fake bullshit like scientific theory!(republicans love this word, theory, because they think it discredits scientists, as though scientific theory were as quick and made up as the bs theory you have about 6000 year old earth, and man being made by god to dominate the land)

And an Ice Age? Of course! And Hillary and Obama are Socialist Reptilians!

What sound debating skills you have, gramps! “I’m not fucking pay an extra dollar for gas so one polar bear can live! How dare these commie liberals try to make it so the earth is sustainable! There is NO PROOF that the thousands of tons of trash generated a day are bad, they all disappear anyway! And nuclear power is perfectly safe! What’s that you say, 10,500 year half life something something? Go hug a tree, fascist! And who wants trees anyway? Lazy tax dollar getting no job having trees, get a job!”

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