12 Mar 2008, 3:58pm
Latest Climate News
by admin

A Lot of Hot Air

A Guest Post by Neil McCann

I like to fondly think of myself as “a scientist”. I have a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Australian Environmental Studies). I like to think “scientifically”, and this is the first letter I’ve ever written – -just to establish that I’m not a total nutter or media/Internet blog junkie. I feel compelled to speak out about the current green/greenhouse obsession –- in the vein that silly ideas can take on a life of their own when other people do and say nothing.

To the greenhouse/global warming advocates: I am an unbeliever! I find it astounding that the only significant source of heat on the planet, in fact in the entire solar system, is completely ignored or unspokenly assumed to be static and unchanging, and that a minor gas making up a very small percentage of Earth’s atmosphere is declared definitely responsible for a less than 1% temperature change over the last 100 years.

The southern oceans of earth are documented as showing a temperature increase of 0.01 percent. It’s not science to assume C02 is definitely the culprit (human knowledge is littered with false correlations –- it is only a correlation between temperature and CO2, and correlation is definitely not causation), and that the sun, a fantastically enormous ball of fire that I can feel directly on my skin, that must and does vary (think solar flares) is definitely not. That isn’t science, it’s ideology.

Let’s be honest, it’s still only a theory. There is NOT universal agreement, and that’s a fact. Many scientists heavily dispute both the theory and the underlying data. Approximately 20,000 people with science degrees and/or post graduate qualifications recently signed a petition from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, a nonprofit, non-corporate funded research institute entirely disputing the global warming thesis. Not 50, 100, or 2000, but 20,000. Most people have never heard of OISM; it gets no airtime.

It’s quite possibly a classic chicken and egg -– which came first? — situation. When you boil a kettle, heat comes first, and then comes steam/gas. It’s counterintuitive to reverse this dynamic, as greenhouse believers do, i.e., that instead, add gas first and this causes the temperature to rise. Think about it, if the oceans are warmed, they then release, among other things, CO2. This is primary school physics. The earth is not a greenhouse anyway. It’s an open, not a closed system.

Science is ideally a quite rigorous process of hypothesis testing — with a null hypothesis, i.e., that there is no relationship between two variables. This process is based on reason and is often quite divorced from culturally based belief systems -– think Communism, Fascism, socialism, religion, sociology, Marxism, astrology, an “…ology” or “…ism.” The vitriol, dismissal and subsequent silence which greeted Martin Durkheim’s documentary “The Great Global Warming Swindle” which suggests the Sun, not a minor gas, is driving temperature variations on Earth, is a picture perfect example of this difference. Where is the research and computer modeling of the Sun as the driver or culprit of temperature rises? One problem is that the Sun is so far away, I’ll admit, but that doesn’t excuse ignoring it completely.

I believe one partial explanation for all this is that it is a mistake to assume that since we’ve had the industrial and technological revolutions, put men on the moon and created the Internet; that superstition, myth and irrational fears have all but disappeared. Not so, I would argue.

Modern environmentalism has become an example of the dictum: something repeated over and over become a truth in its own right. Until quite recently, “greenie” was a derogatory term implying dopey hippies. Now, if you’re not “green” about at least three to five things, you’re just out of touch with reality. It worries me it’s become so endemic. According to one Government Departments’ TV public relations campaign, you can help “save the planet” (yes, their words) by keeping your car tyres correctly pumped up.

We have a whole generation being told that each of us can “make a difference.” That if I, individually, make a worm farm and ride a bike twice a week, this will change the overall course of modern capitalist, consumerist, globalising culture. Now who’s out of touch? People who advocate that kind of thing are not paying attention to trends and numbers that are not hard to find. People in every country are buying more cars, air conditioners, flying more, consuming more. The ones that are not yet want to and probably will, and soon.

Anyway, to lapse into sarcasm, I can’t be too concerned about this obscure hypothesis, I’m still terribly worried about SARS, mad cow disease, deforestation, GM food, nuclear war, acid rain, (remember acid rain?), pesticides, salination, coral bleaching, bird flu , overpopulation, resource depletion, drought, flooding, fluoridation, Y2K millennium bug (that fizzed!), rising sea levels (oh, sorry, they’re not) and many, many other terrible events that could plunge our world into chaos.

People who know me will be outraged and are going to crucify me for writing this. Maybe I’m just a boring old fart. It’s definitely much more interesting to make up scary stories.

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