Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Environmental Wars: The Science Behind the Politics

My son, Brian, and I are about to go on a mini adventure. If you are a frequent visitor to this blog, you know that I am a science skeptic, and that I am especially skeptical about the claims of the global warming scaremongers. To that end Brian and I are attending a conference put on by my old friend, Dr. Michael Shermer, and his Skeptic Society. I have maintained to Michael in our debates over the years that his organization is misnamed in that they are only skeptical about thing spiritual, and buy outright all things of science. However, to his credit, he has assembled a group of experts for his June 3 conference that spans the universe of opinion on this hot topic.

To make the adventure even more interesting, Brian and I will go see the Gore movie (as in Al Gore) on global warming, read a couple of current books on the subject, and scan a number of websites in preparation for our trip to Pasadena. I'm sure we will add to our list of questions before that meeting, but for now I have these:

Can we extrapolate from the agreed upon 1 degree F increase in average global temperatures any continuation of warming?

Is the 1 degree increase over the last century outside of normal variation for that long of a period?

What is the likelihood of the next century seeing a reversal of this warming trend as opposed to the likelihood of a continuation?

If man is contributing to this trend, by what percent? How does this compare to say termites, cow flatulence, volcanic activity, Sun activity, and such?

What do the majority of scientists currently say about the self-healing nature of the atmosphere?

Every article on this subject cries out that the sky is falling. Why are scientists who believe in global warming universally apocalyptic? It adds to the feeling that they are selling fear. Isn't it possible that another 2-4 degrees of warming might create more benefits than catastrophes? Aren't there any upsides?

Where is the overt evidence of belief in this future, even on the part of scientists who are leading the pack? Is anyone hedging against this future? Who is buying or selling property, or moving investments in or out of assets that will be gaining or harmed by global warming?

Has anyone done studies to anticipate the results of human activity to stop global warming if we are completely wrong? In other words, if man does actively attempt to cool the atmosphere, and natural conditions were going to produce cooling anyway (much to the shock of scientists in 2040), might not man's intentional intervention create a greater apocalypse than the current (alleged) accidental one?

If you're interested in more information about the conference, you can get it at

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