Friday, August 04, 2006

Global warming is real...

WaPo - The Tempest... it is definitely hotter in Virginia this week than it was a month ago.

It's hot. Damn hot. Hot enough to make it seem obvious that "global warming" is real... and it may be. But let's not get caught up in Al Gore hysteria just yet.

Records were set 76 years ago - decades before the controversy over "man-made global warming" began. And the highest recorded temperature on earth was back in 1922.

We've got to get past the labeling and hysteria.. Using the term "global warming" has become the enviros equivalent to "pro-choice". Of course... that sounds right! Of course we want "choice", and it is... really hot!

But the issue with the rhetoric is not typically that the earth is warming, but with the seemingly indisputable theory that the warming is being caused by man... more specifically by big business and SUV-driving soccer Moms across the country.

The "caused by man" tag on the term "global warming" has to divide the debate into three categories. The first would be a group of global warming non-believers... those who either don't buy that the earth is warming in the first place or who admit to an apparent warming trend but only as part of a normal cycle. This group sees no reason for concern at this point and thinks all the hype is absurd.

Paul YeagerThe second group believe the earth may in fact be warming beyond what could be considered a "normal" trend, but they don't yet buy into the idea that man is a primary cause... and that there are non-"global warming" reasons for heat. (like summer!) Unlike the non-believers though, this group is concerned about the possibility of negative effects from the warming and wants to actively seek out potential ways for man to intervene or at least better adapt to the warming should it continue to rise in coming decades.

The Al Gore's of the world make up the 3rd category. This group seems to want to politicize "global warming" as a man-made issue deserving of priority even over the war against Islamofascism. The world as we know it is coming to an end next week if we all don't drive a Prius and if Bush doesn't sign Kyoto. Of course, knocking down our economy would be a bonus side-effect, as the U.S. is far to powerful now anyway.

Many in this last group want to move on to discussing solutions, as if disputing or questioning the "man made" aspect of what "global warming" has apparently come to mean. They seem to say that as if agreeing on the cause of the warming isn't really that important... let's just get right into ways of cutting down our greenhouse gas emissions. But if the current warming is part of a 30-40 year trend, or if it's the result of the sun being closer or hotter... then isn't that something we should be more sure of before we commit huge amounts of money and resources and risk the health of our economy?

This is what I don't get about Gore and his followers. It's like they're playing poker and want to go all-in with an unsuited 5/queen combo and a king showing. How could we have been concerned about global cooling 30 years ago, and now want to bet everything on heat? Here is a quote from a 1975 Newsweek article on the coming ice age:
"Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change. ... The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality."
Do we not understand that the earth is constantly heating and cooling? How were there record temperatures in the 20's and 30's? How accurate were readings 100...200...300 years ago? How accurate can we really expect to be with ice core and tree ring readings?

For a group of people that generally think we can deal with evil in the world through talking instead of acting, it's bizarre that with respect to global warming there's no discussion allowed... only what feels like knee-jerk action.

I don't know...the earth changes, and human beings adapt. Isn't that it? Plan for the worst and pray for the best... not cut off your leg because toe is broken? Maybe I'm too locked into my own ideology... maybe I just can't bring myself to support anything Al Gore stands for. That really could be the issue for me... or maybe I'm just not informed enough. Regardless, I'm still a skeptic.
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