The holiday season has really put a crimp on my blogging. I’ve been collecting articles on topics of interest to talk about here. In an attempt to clean the queue, I’m just going to blast them out here. Many of these are going to seem like old stories, but all articles go in some depth on some stories you’ve probably already heard about, revealing details you probably had not heard.
- View from the lab: Anyone seen a billion tons of carbon lately?, by Prof. Steve Jones
- UN downgrades man’s impact on the climate, by Richard Grey
- Slapstick Politics: Weekend “Global Warming” Roundup – Of particular interest is the link to Sen. James Inhofe’s “Skeptics Guide to Debunking Global Warming”
- Slapstick Politics: Media Promotes “Couldism, Mightism And Perhapsism, Fueled By Computer Modeling” In Touting Climate Change. Sen. Inhofe held a hearing in December on the media’s reporting on the global warming phenomenon. The link here refers to his criticism of the media on that subject. You can view the full hearing on this here. Click on the December 6, 2006 link. Another link that might be of interest, though unrelated, is the one for a committee hearing on May 18, 2005, on eco-terrorism by such groups as the ELF (Earth Liberation Front) and ALF (Animal Liberation Front).
Edit 1/3/07: Just wanted to comment on item #2, “UN downgrades man’s impact on the climate”. It is things like this that cause me to doubt the much hyped explanation for why the climate is warming: The proponents of the CO2-only theory keep revising their guesses. Since in their estimation nothing about our activity has changed (most of the countries that signed on to Kyoto have not met their targets), what’s changing is their models. Why do their models keep changing if these climate scientists know how the climate works? The answer is they don’t. They’re still figuring it out. They don’t want us to see that though. What they’re still telling us by subtle means is (in Wizard of Oz fashion) “Don’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain. The climate is still warming and our carbon emissions are to blame for it. There is no doubt about it.” The only explanation for this non-scientific argument is there’s a political campaign going on. Since these people are guessing about the cause of global warming, I’ll guess as to their motivations, just for the heck of it.
I think there is a sense among these people, which is well-intentioned, that “for goodness sake, we’re in the 21st century. Let’s move forward.” They see the industrial revolution and its products as something that’s in the past, and of little value today. In fact, I’m willing to guess they’re disgusted by it. It’s old and it’s dirty. Let’s get rid of it! Yet they still see the West clinging to it. They want to give us a reason to give it up. They want to accelerate the move into the information/electronic age, where everything runs on electricity from one source or another, and where information technology is a part of that. There might even be some among them who were inspired by visions of the future from years ago, and are disappointed that we are not in futuristic cities with flying cars by now.
To tell you the truth, as far as the idea of running everything on electricity and computers goes, I don’t mind it, in concept. I just choose to look at things realistically, and what I see them asking everyone to do is very expensive. Sure, people who are wealthy can afford to upgrade to green technologies. It’s the middle class and poor I’m worried about in the scenario these people envision.
I saw a Charlie Rose episode recently with Charlie talking to a panel on the topic of alternative energy sources. One of the panelists made a salient point: With regards to energy, people are going to vote with their pocketbook, not their conscience, by and large. People are only going to invest in alternative energy modalities if they see that they can save money with it. Makes sense to me. I think the main barrier to even this working is typical consumer behavior. Most consumers look at short-term savings. For example, if the price tag of one solution, in a time frame they are familiar with, is less than the price of another, they are more likely to choose what they see is the less expensive solution. In many cases however they ignore the long-term costs, which may or may not be minimal. The solution that appears to be less expensive at first may cost them more in the long run than what appeared to be the more expensive solution. My own sense is people who are more wealthy tend to look more at long term costs because they feel less pressure to buy what appears to be the less expensive solution. They feel they can afford to look at quality products, no matter their price tag.
I have been critical of climate scientists who act like they know why the climate is warming, mainly because they are sounding the alarm before they have given themselves a chance to truly understand what is going on. I think that’s irresponsible. In my mind it’s equivalent to the FDA in the midst of a drug trial on a drug that purports to heal cancer saying, “This drug heals cancer!”, and releasing it to the public for them to buy and consume, before the trial is done. No one in their right mind would think that is responsible behavior, yet we seem to tolerate it from “most scientists” who “all agree” that our CO2 emissions are leading us to a global catastrophe.
Roger Pielke, a climate scientist at Colorado State University has a blog discussing global warming, and his exploration of what is causing it. I’ve done a little reading on what he’s found, and while I don’t completely understand everything he is saying, I can see he takes a level-headed approach to the subject, and I like that. He is approaching it as a scientist, not an advocate. He agrees with the notion that we humans are contributing to this phenomenon of global warming, but he does not accept the notion that CO2 emissions completely explain it. He says it is a piece of the puzzle, and there are other contributors to climate warming that are caused by what we are doing in our modern civilization. I encourage you to give him a read.
Personally I see this emphasis on CO2 as the cause of global warming as a harmful distraction from the truth that is staring us in the face. I have to admit I’m disappointed that more conservatives have not addressed this. The reason we should be focusing on trying to find an alternative to oil for fueling our machinery and transportation is that the places we get it from do not have our best interests at heart. In some cases they are working against us in various ways. We need energy independence. I put the emphasis on oil, because natural gas is a viable fossil fuel, and we can get it locally, and from friendly countries around the world.
I think the reasons that we pursue such a change are very important. Choosing to change our behavior in response to a theory that may not be true is harmful to the cause of making that change. Once the theory that supported changing our behavior proves to be less significant than everyone thought then people will discount the need to change their behavior. I’m referring to the “cry wolf” scenario. Let’s focus on a very real reason we should pursue alternative energy sources. I’ll be blunt. We should not be sending money to people, some of whom support a radical ideology that seeks to eradicate the Jews and conquer the West. I’m referring to the Wahhabist, Salafist, and radical Shia forms of Islam. Some who are promoting these forms of Islam, and by extension their terrorist activities, have been benefiting from the sale of oil to the rest of the world. I’m not saying they’re the only ones selling oil, but they are among the producers. Even Hugo Chavez, who now runs Venezuela, a major source of the world’s oil, is in effect an enemy of the U.S. Regardless of what may be going on with the climate, isn’t this reason enough to make a significant change in our behavior?