I have always wondered about the veracity of things being said in the wild world of ‘Global Warming’.
Being old enough to have experienced chemistry and biology classes at school before the Global Warming debate kicked off, I recall teachers describing how the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has varied quite considerably over thousands and even hundreds of thousands of years, and that this did not seem to affect living beings. What caught my interest at the time was nothing to do with what effect CO2 has on the planet, but much rather how the teachers could possibly know what the atmosphere was like thousands of years ago. In a way, the mechanics, i.e. drilling for ice samples, were much more interesting at the time than the actual amounts or what they signified.
Skip a few years ahead, and all of a sudden I was hearing that the CO2 level was rising and that this was a very bad thing. So recalling what the teachers said, I did not quite follow. And this remains the case.
I am not a scientist but everything I have read on the topic suggests that there are simply too many variables to make accurate predictions. One particular debate I have been following is that, assuming the earth is getting warmer, what effect would that have on the weather, and wouldn’t that, for instance in the form of more clouds, then have follow-on effects on the warming and the climate overall. I do not know the answers but I am fairly certain no one else does either. And even if we knew the answers, and if earth really was getting warmer, wouldn’t we also then need to ask whether that is a good or a bad thing, before we start thinking of remedies?
Thus, it is always good to come across very down-to-earth analyses of the current state of affairs. One of these featured in the WSJ a few days ago.
Here are some quotes:
“The models differ in their descriptions of the past century’s global average surface temperature by more than three times the entire warming recorded during that time. Such mismatches are also present in many other basic climate factors, including rainfall, which is fundamental to the atmosphere’s energy balance. As a result, the models give widely varying descriptions of the climate’s inner workings. Since they disagree so markedly, no more than one of them can be right.“
“These and many other open questions are in fact described in the IPCC research reports, although a detailed and knowledgeable reading is sometimes required to discern them. They are not “minor” issues to be “cleaned up” by further research. Rather, they are deficiencies that erode confidence in the computer projections.”
Sadly, with the able help of the media, who are looking for stories, and academics, who are looking for research grants, politicians keep milking this issue as a means of elevating their own importance.
On that note: Who wrote this piece? None other than Barack Obama’s former undersecretary for science in the Energy Department, Dr Steven Koonin.