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article imageOp-Ed: Pressing the Reset Button on Global Warming

By Johnny Simpson     Dec 8, 2009 in Environment
Almost any AGW proponent can tell you all about ice cores, tree rings and CO2 ppm, for starters. Yet each of those elements are under intense scientific debate. There's plenty of science to go around in AGW, but not enough reason and logic. Time to reset.
It is currently Day Two of the Copenhagen Summit, and I am already sick to death of talk of Global Warming. I've been sick of it for a very long time now, actually. Yet in my previous heated opeds on the subject, both here and at Brietbart's Big Hollywood, I have taken the partisan view of a hostile AGW skeptic for a great many reasons, primarily over the fact that all of my reasoned arguments against the prevailing science have been met with outright hostility and scorn from Global Warming True Believers. I have been called a heretic on the order of a Holocaust denier and a tool for Big Oil. And that's not even counting all the highly personal slanders in what should have been purely scientific arguments.
Anger begets anger, and there are plenty on both sides of the Global Warming aisle who are plenty angry right now. Yet anger is the antithesis of cool calm collected science. So, in the true spirit of science, I will attempt to share my own cold hard reasoning and logic as to why I believe what I believe about Global Warming, or don't. Considering the impact of the proposed trillions in taxes, draconian bills like Cap-and-Trade that will double our energy costs, and perhaps even the extension of world government into our sovereign nation through global taxes and regulations, it is a discussion we must have. We must look closely at each and every element of Global Warming theory, determine its validity, and see how the valid puzzle pieces fit together in logical and reasonable fashion. Without logic and reason, science is John Nash in his garage, with a lot of pieces thrown together that just don't fit the Big Picture of reality.
This discussion is not an abstract for me. I served as a US Navy-trained meteorologic and oceanographic technician for five years, three in the Western Pacific. Though technically a Navy Petty Officer all that time, the command structure of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command ultimately fell under the purview of NOAA. I also received a Navy Letter of Commendation for my services while a meteorologic technician at Naval Air Station, Diego Garcia. I may not have a Ph. D. in meteorology, but I have some significant experience in the field. I worked right alongside those specialists for years. Picked a few things up along the way. Example. I understand that meteorology and climatology are not fixed like the Table of Elements or light speed. They are nascent sciences of our chaotic biosphere, which we are only beginning to understand now. Even with all we now know, we are still only scratching the surface. If you doubt me, compare this year's hurricane predictions to what actually happened. Why were the predictions so wrong?
The beginning of all wisdom is to say, "I do not know." And the most important thing I ever learned was way back in childhood: to use logic and reason to understand the world around me. Though there is plenty of science to go around vis-a-vis Global Warming theory, it is the qualities of logic and reason which are most seemingly absent from the debate. And even though much of the "settled science" has been found to be flawed over the years, even fraudulently so, the Global Warming Army marched on to Copenhagen unstirred and undeterred by discredited data, research papers or even ClimateGate. So let's look at the science through the prisms of reason and logic, and see how the pieces of this "settled science" fit. Or not.
In 1996 scientist Michael Mann, who is currently under investigation by Penn State for his peripheral role in ClimateGate (and now the subject of a viral YouTube parody), presented his world-famous Hockey Stick graph showing a dangerous rise in temperatures in the 20th Century. That graph was referenced in both the original third IPCC assessment report on Global Warming and Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. That graph was plotted primarily from coral, sediment, ice core and tree ring samples.
For years, the Hockey Stick graph was held up as the Holy Grail of Global Warming. It has been totally debunked since. Yet the "scientific consensus" on the Hockey Stick graph by Global Warming proponents was universal. It was the smoking gun. Logically, that should tell us that scientific consensus is meaningless unless the underlying science is sound. It wasn't. Just as it wasn't for Piltdown Man, though that faux curiosity enjoyed scientific consensus for 43 years. As did eugenics and phrenology in the early 20th Century. Scientific consensus proves nothing scientifically. Only that a lot of like-minded people agree.
AGW science is not settled. Not when logic and reason are applied to the science as it exists today. For nearly every subject an AGW researcher brings up, other scientists will bring their own countering data to the argument. Manmade CO2 traps heat and warms the earth? The Climate Research News has data to show that despite a 29% rise in global CO2 emissions since 2000, temperature has remained relatively stagnant. Who's right? Some AGW proponents say Arctic sea ice is dangerously low. Other scientists say it's at its highest levels since 1979. Again, who's right? And what is man's influence, if any?
It has also been scientifically stated that CO2 traps heat via its property of being able to absorb and refract energy in the infrared wavelength band. That is actually the entire premise of AGW: that excessive CO2 and other man-made greenhouse gases are trapping that radiation in the atmosphere, causing the earth to warm and leading to predictions of unmitigated disaster should nothing be done to stop and reduce it. Yet even that fundamental principle has been brought into scientific question. Some scientists have pointed to evidence that seems to indicate CO2 actually lags temperature. Other researchers pointed out as I have that CO2 emissions, having risen nearly a full third in this new millennium, have yet to cause a corresponding rise in temperature. Other scientists call CO2 a non-factor given that water vapor absorbs and refracts up to 75% of all IR energy in the atmosphere, as compared to CO2's 15-20%. So who's right?
It is because there are so many legitimate scientific questions like these being raised, and the monetary and regulatory stakes involved worldwide, that the entire science needs to be fully examined and debated by both proponents and skeptics of Global Warming. It is most troubling, from a scientific point of view, that there is so much resistance by Global Warming proponents even to FOI requests for taxpayer-funded research data, many of which have been fought tooth and nail to keep AGW data from prying public eyes. Even those of Congress. The unethical practices revealed by the ClimateGate emails generate even less faith in the "settled science." Real scientists don't conspire to delete damning emails, manipulate data to conform to preordained conclusions, blackball rival researchers, pressure journals to only publish their points of view, conspire to control the peer review process, or make damning statements like this one:
“Kevin [Trenberth of the International Panel on Climate Change] and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”
Do you really have to be a scientist to understand what's being said there? And therein lies the rub. If Copenhagen were truly a scientific venture, half of the 16,500 delegates would be some of the top names on the petition signed by over 31,000 skeptical scientists, nearly 10,000 with Ph.Ds in fields like climatology. Then there would be real and robust competing debates on the underlying science of Global Warming, both supportive and otherwise. Why are their educated voices not being heard at Copenhagen? That summit should be a meeting of scientific minds, not a gathering of the AGW faithful. That's religion, not science.
Global Warming science should also not be driven by greedy and power-hungry politicians and bureaucrats who see major newfound powers, massive self-perpetuating bureaucracies and Green of a totally different sort. That is the opposite of religion, and I believe based on the evidence that it has hopelessly corrupted the process. What else can you call it when so many climatologists have been fired from their jobs for holding scientific opinions? Or that none of the 31,000 skeptical scientists are welcome at Copenhagen?
I have an answer, and it all starts in Britain. The UK Met Office, one of the three primary sources of climate data for the IPCC, is conducting an all-out investigation of East Anglia CRU and completely reviewing all the data on hand. The Met will not be able to predict global warming trends with any certainty until 2012, when the investigation is completed. Penn State is conducting a similar investigation of Michael Mann's work. At NASA GISS, one of the other legs of the AGW tripod, the Competitive Enterprise Institute is suing the agency to provide climate data that James Hansen and others have refused to provide for two years, despite numerous FOIA requests.
With all these investigations going on, it seems to me that now is the perfect time to hit the reset button on Global Warming. Re-evaluate the entire science from top to bottom. Open up all the books, even the IPCC's. They're funded by our tax dollars too. Put the data and the science into the sunlight for all to see. Let AGW proponents and skeptics have it out in scientific and public forums such as universities and research centers like JPL, NASA and NOAA. Let the better and more solid science, reason and logic prevail. Base research grants not on predetermined sympathies, but on the validity of the applicant's qualifications, stated field of research and end goals. If it is finally determined that Global Warming really is happening and we better do something about it quick, fine. But the present uniform scientific consensus is flawed at best and corrupted at worst. If you doubt me, just try to talk to any of the renowned petition-signing skeptics with Ph. Ds in climatology at Copenhagen. Good luck finding any.
I am not a scientist. Figuring out what the hell is going on in our atmosphere is their job, not mine. But as a citizen journalist, I will beg the question: If we Americans and others in the West are to be expected to sacrifice trillions of dollars we can't really afford, and accept restrictions on our liberties that will most surely follow a pact like Copenhagen or Cap-and-Trade in order to save the earth, don't we at least have the right to know that the premise upon which we are being asked to commit such mountains of treasure and liberties is at least scientifically sound? And reached by a true consensus of scientists and researchers on both sides of the issue, and not government-funded researchers, politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen like Al Gore and Jeffrey Immelt who have just too many vested interests in seeing the science going their way?
For the record, this is my last post on the subject of Global Warming. I have tried science, I have tried flamethrowing, I have tried sarcasm, I have tried headbanging, and now I have tried logic and reason. The path the world travels from Copenhagen will not be up to me. It will be up to all of you and your respective governments. All I could possibly ask of you is to perform your public service as citizens in following the debate and courses of action our respective governments are planning, and for you to respond accordingly. But should we not at least demand that logic and reason rule the day? Should we not demand that all sides in the debate be treated with mutual respect, and not cursed as heretics and deniers a la Torquemada? That is not the scientific way. Unfortunately, much of the Global Warming debate to date has not been the scientific way, either. Why don't we give it a shot? Worked for Edison and Einstein.
Lastly, to dispute Global Warming does not make one an irresponsible steward of the environment. I fully believe in energy conservation and passing on our wondrous and extraordinary natural resources, not to mention our very planet, for future generations to enjoy as we have to date. Having been deep in high tech for thirty years with two US Patents under my belt, I also believe we can and should improve our energy technologies and switch over as best we can, but at a sane pace that does not disrupt our present energy, manufacturing and other economic and business bases, not to mention our power and gas bills and our very way of life. Many of the technologies are not there yet. I believe they will be eventually. But for us to believe that we can scrap coal and petroleum energy overnight and replace it with solar and wind power, given the current inefficient and costly states of those technologies, is unrealistic and once again leaning on science without using logic or reason. And I believe we have enough of that already.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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