Hot Air About Global Warming
By now, many of you have heard about “climategate”. It seems like someone hacked into a computer at an English research institute, and found some emails. A few of the emails have been released, and people say curious things. With years of correspondence to go through, only a part of which has been released, there is lots of room for mischief. If the hackers are smart enough to steal those emails, they are also smart enough to fake a few.
PG is not a scientist, and these reports makes his head spin. There is a suspicion that a lot of the people making noise now don’t understand the science, but are creating a turmoil to support already held views. It should be noted that there are big money interests who would like to see talk about global warming go away, so they can work without interference. These interests have lots of money to buy off journalists, who then produce prose like this: “AGW (anthropogenic global warming) is about raising taxes; increasing state control; about a few canny hucksters who’ve leapt on the bandwagon fleecing us rotten with their taxpayer subsidised windfarms and their carbon-trading; about the sour, anti-capitalist impulses of sandal-wearing vegans and lapsed Communists who loathe the idea of freedom and a functioning market economy.”
The discussion has leaped out of the frying pan of science, and into the fire of politics. There is an international conference in Copenhagen soon, and the timing of “climategate” is curious.
Two words stand out in this discussion, believe and prove. PG wonders if they are appropriate. AGW is not really a matter of believe or not believe. Since the industrial revolution, man has made an enormous change in the balance of the atmosphere. This ecosystem has evolved to where it is over billions of years, either by accident or intelligent design. Man has made profound changes in the last two hundred years. As Chamblee54 crunched the numbers last July:
The atmosphere on planet earth is a marvel, quite possibly unique in the universe. It supports a wide range of life forms, from amoebas to Bruno. This blanket of gas evolved over a period of billions of years. Man has changed it more in the last two hundred years than nature did in four billion before that.
Those numbers don’t mean too much like that, so lets put them into another form. Comparing 200 years to four billion years just takes a calculator. That is like comparing one minute to 38 years. What G-d created ( or nature evolved, or however you explain it), what took 38 years to create, industrial man has nearly ruined in one minute.
In the interest of showing how we got our numbers, here is the breakdown. Divide 4 billion by 200 and you get 20 million. Divide 20 million by 1440 ( the number of minutes in a day) gives us 13888 days. Dividing 13888 days by 365 gives us 38 years. Even if the earth is less than four billion years old, the fact remains that industrial man has destroyed in almost no time what took a long time to create.
The second weasel word in the current blabberfest is prove. There is a difference between prove and indicate. If they emails are genuine, they would indicate that some scientists in England cooked the books on their research. As to the larger issue of what industrial man is doing to planet earth, they prove nothing.