North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Less emotion in the global warming debate
The idea of man made global warming is highly controversial at this time. It is one of the hot button emotional issues of the current political landscape. As such, rational debate on the topic has all but faded. Conservatives assume anything uttered on any subject by liberals must be false and of course the liberals feel the same way about conservatives. And while the specifics of the issue are complex, some of the simple elements are not. I am not an environmentalist nor a fan of Al Gore. I voted against both Bush and Gore and would do so again. I would like to point out some of what is not really in question. Some of the basis of this idea of global warming is not coming from an esoteric field of science in it's infancy called climatology. Some of it is coming from basic science. Basic physics and chemistry that has been established for hundreds of years and is by no means ?controversial?. That being said consider some of what is known.
Melting of polar ice.
If you look at a satellite image of the northern hemisphere from the early seventies and compare it with one of today, you'll see with your naked eye that the volume of ice is roughly 1/3 less than it was just 35 years ago. There are now oceans in place of some glaciers. The melting of the remaining glaciers can be seen at ground level with no scientific instruments. You can simply ?go look? and see it first hand. Although receding at a slower rate, the ice on the other end of the globe in Antarctica is doing the same thing.
Warming of the oceans.
Over the last several decades the average temperature of the world ocean has increased by one to few degrees. There are two points to make here. The temperature of the ocean is well known and accurate. It has to be. International shipping is a multi-billion dollar business. Accurate maps of temperature lead to accurate maps of currents which translate directly into increased profits for shippers. Scientists have been studying the oceans for centuries, it is not a new area of study. The second point to make is that this small change is in response to a large amount of energy. Consider that there is a small but measurable amount of energy needed to raise one gallon of water one degree. Now multiply that amount of energy times every gallon of water covering our planet and the number becomes noticeable. A corollary to warmer oceans is stronger storms. When a hurricane or typhoon moves over warmer water in intensifies. This is well known and predictable. So it naturally follows if you have warmer oceans, you will have stronger storms. And this has been the case in recent years. Though the frequency of storms may stay the same, the average intensity has gone up and this can obviously be expected to continue.
Measuring the outdoor temperature is also a simple procedure which has gone on for over a hundred years. Worldwide, the average temperature has increased and is continuing to do so. A report last month which went by with little fanfare (even from the liberal media) is that while we've had some record cold temperatures in the U.S. this winter, for the northern hemisphere as a whole, this was the warmest winter on record.
The above are of course just a few of the several observations by many different fields of well established science all pointing in the same direction. It is not necessary to invoke climatology to see that the Earth is heating up. It is only necessary to invoke common sense.
Okay, the Earth is heating up but the Earth has gone through periods of cold and hot in the past, isn't this just a natural phenomenon?
This is a reasonable question. It is well known there have been heating and cooling periods in the past. So we can see global warming is occurring but the questions is, ?Is it man made?? This is of course a much more difficult question to answer and this is the question which should be debated. There is one piece of evidence which at least suggests the possibility for a man assisted if not man made warming.
Carbon dioxide levels.
Carbon dioxide is a simple gas. It's properties are well known and easily quantifiable. How rising levels of carbon dioxide act in the atmosphere are also well known. The effects of carbon dioxide on a planetary scale are seen by studying both Venus and Mars as well as Earth. Again, this is not ?climatology? but basic chemistry. None of the other warming periods in history were accompanied by an industrial revolution, the result of which are several different industries which produce mammoth quantities of carbon dioxide. Historical carbon dioxide levels are measured several different ways from tree rings to ice cores (some ice cores dating back several thousand years). That is the primary difference to this warming period compared with previous ones. Is it enough to say we are directly responsible for the temperature rise? Not yet, but the evidence is mounting quickly.
Is Al Gore a pompous collectivist? Duh. Am I calling for ?government regulation?? No. What I am calling for is less emotion tied to this issue and a more rational debate. Our planet is heating up, this has a significant impact on our lives and businesses; from more world wide drought to the intensity of storms like Katrina and Rita. (Rita by the way, was the second most devastating storm in U.S. history.............second to Katrina.) It behooves us to determine whether or not our activities are even partially responsible for the increased temperatures which are climbing every year.
First, the ad-hominem attack implied in the title of your post is false. The global warming issue is fueled by religious hysteria from the alarmists. The response from skeptics is largely factual.
Second, you are confusing emotion with emotionalism. Using emotion in your presentation may be appropriate -- if the global warming debate is in fact a struggle over the survival of civilization (as both sides argue) -- then not using emotion in such a debate would be foolish.
However, trying to substitute proof with blind fear and mysticism is fallacious, which is the real problem with environmentalism.
To briefly respond to your points:
First, you acknowledge the possibility that climate changes naturally. More than that, climate is ALWAYS changing, so it HAS to be either cooling or warming. So the fact that it's getting warmer by itself means nothing. In fact, it's gotten .6 degree warmer in the 20th century according to the IPCC. Temperatures have risen faster than this historically.
Melting of polar ice.As I pointed out, that earth is warming by itself means nothing. However the trend is very gradual and uneven, so your claim that "the ice on the other end of the globe in Antarctica is doing the same thing:" is false: http://www.usatoday.c...
Most glaciers are retreating (many are growing) -- but evidence suggests that they have been doing so for thousands of years.
Warming of the oceans.Again, by itself this means nothing.
Stronger stormsThis is false. No responsible scientist claims this. This is a great example of the baseless fear mongering and junk science of enviro-hysterics. For example, Al Gore's new movie on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," opens with scenes from Hurricane Katrina slamming into New Orleans. The former vice president says unequivocally (http://www.washtimes....) that because of global warming, "it is all but certain that future hurricanes will be more violent and destructive than those in the past."
"With the official start of hurricane season days away, meteorologists are unanimous that the 2006 tropical storm season, which runs from June 1 through November, is likely to be a doozy."
Can you name a single hurricane from 2006? If not, don't be too hard on yourself -it's "the most tranquil season in a decade" (http://www.tbo.com/ne...)
The recent IPCC report itself "confirms its 2001 conclusion that global warming does not effect hurricane activity"
The number of hurricane days was been decreasing since 1970 from 600 to 400 according to Georgia Tech atmospheric scientist Peter Webster."
In fact, here is a grant of storm intensity that shows that feather is getting MILDER: http://www.oism.org/p...
Increased temperatures.The actual rise in the 20th century has been a very moderate .6 degrees. I think this is GREAT -- a warmer climate benefits everyone. I only hope for more.
See the actual trend here: http://www.junkscienc...
Carbon dioxide levels."The effects of carbon dioxide on a planetary scale are seen by studying both Venus and Mars as well as Earth." Please provide some proof for this. We haven't spent enough time observing climate to make any conclusions about the "effects" of CO2.
It's clear that humans contribute to increasing CO2 levels. It's also clear that a warmer climate means higher CO2 levels.
However, the causality is reversed -- historically, higher CO2 levels have followed higher temperature levels after 700 years.
Furthermore, there is no correlation between rising CO2 levels and global temperatures:
What I am calling for is less emotion tied to this issue and a more rational debate.Rational debate is great, however you're still engaging in an ad-hominem attack, and a completely unjustified one, since it is the environmentalist side which uses hysterics to advance its cause. On the other side, it IS true that environmentalism represents the greatest current threat to industrial civilization today.
Our planet is heating up, this has a significant impact on our lives and businessesOnly slightly, and the effect is largely positive, see: http://wiki.objectivi... "Global warming carries many benefits which are being ignored:"
from more worldwide droughtFalse. Droughts are local evens, and there is no proof they are increasing. Even if the climate became drier (which it hasn't) that is not the definition of a "drought"
to the intensity of storms like Katrina and Rita.False, as shown above.
(Rita by the way, was the second most devastating storm in U.S. history.............second to Katrina.)Only because the U.S. coastlines have the greatest concentration of wealth in history -- which our government made vulnerable via socialist coastal planning.
It behooves us to determine whether or not our activities are even partially responsible for the increased temperatures which are climbing every year.Sure. But such a climate increase in temperature would be a tremendous boon for humanity, so I would only say "bring it on!"
Edited by David V. on Apr 1, 2007 6:11 AM
While I concede the confusion between emotion and emotionalism, I still think you are ignoring some basic science.
On the warming of the oceans.
I did not claim a higher frequency of storms due to warmer oceans nor did I claim the warmer oceans were due to man made causes. I was trying point out the intensity of storms is tied to warmer water temperatures. You claim, ?This is false. No responsible scientist claims this. This is a great example of the baseless fear mongering and junk science of enviro-hysterics.? I would point out our current understanding of hurricane development is closely tied to ocean temperature.
Melting of polar ice.
You claimed my statement, ?the ice on the other end of the globe in Antarctica is doing the same thing? is false.
However, the citation you refer to, while claiming a cooling and even a thickening of some of the ice in Antarctica, notes that this is unusual data. ?If the thickening is not merely part of some short-term fluctuation, it represents a reversal of the long retreat of the ice,?. Below are references to Antarctic melting.
Carbon dioxide levels.
Again, carbon dioxide is not some newly discovered exotic substance. It is a simple gas, the properties of which are well known. Let me clarify here. It's properties are well known, the specific level needed in the atmosphere for an increase to a specific temperature on a global scale is less well known. This is consistent with what I stated, ?Is it enough to say we are directly responsible for the temperature rise? Not yet, ?. However, your claim of a reversal of causality doesn't hold water. The fact that CO2 levels rise after a warming period doesn't mean that without a warming period, dumping millions of tons of it into the atmosphere has no effect on CO2 levels or on temperature. The pre-industrial maximum of CO2 levels appears to be 280ppm (parts per million) compared with today's value of 380ppm, an increase of roughly 27% which was not seen through tens of thousands of years of geologic data including several cooling and warming periods. But getting back to basic science, the absorption, reflection, reaction rates etc., for CO2 as a gas are not in dispute by either side. CO2 molecules allow visible wavelengths into the atmosphere but absorb and re-emit other wavelengths (heat) thus not allowing them back into space. Therefore, if you increase the amount of gas in the atmosphere, you increase the temperature. The question is not if, the question is how much.
Simple explanation of greenhouse effect
Also, please elaborate on your claim, ?such a climate increase in temperature would be a tremendous boon for humanity?. I live in central Oklahoma and although business for local construction companies dramatically increases after damage from a major tornado, I'd bet I'd be hard pressed to find any local owner of such a business that gets excited when he hears the tornado sirens blow.
I think the main point I was trying to make with the original post is that at least some factual science seems to be summarily discarded by conservatives if the source is a liberal. To me this seems to take away from real debate on the subject.
Also, what am I doing wrong? My quotation marks keep turning into question marks when posted. Is there a simple fix?
Also, what am I doing wrong? My quotation marks keep turning into question marks when posted. Is there a simple fix?Meetup is not compatible with the "smart" punctuation produced by Microsoft Word.