Warming to Climate Change (II)

THE EARTH'S AVERAGE TEMPERATURE has risen a little less than a degree Celsius over the past century. Although almost half of this warming occurred before 1940, greenhouse gas emissions (95% water vapor) began to rise substantially only after the 1950s. And one degree isn't much anyway, by any historical standard.

But it matters little, as 40% of all U.S. CO2 emissions are reabsorbed, mostly by vegetation. And CO2 is only one factor in GCC. Other factors are solar irradiance (Mars is warming, too), linear contrails, black carbon on snow, stratospheric water vapor, methane, and ozone. In addition, other factors contribute to global cooling: aerosol cloud albedo (reflectivity) effects, aerosol direct effects, surface albedo land use, and stratospheric ozone. The only factors we know much about are CO2 and methane; the others are largely mysteries.

But let's suppose that the planet is warming and let's also assume that's bad. High Priest Gore and his minions predict dire consequences of this one degree of warming. But how accurate a prophet is Gore?

There is no scientific consensus as to which climate change model should be used. In the last twenty years, no fewer than four major models have been created, with divergence in predictions of cataclysm, ranging from a 1995 prediction of five degrees Celsius rise by 2100, to a 2007 prediction of a 3 degree rise by 2100. And only half of all scientists believe humans are to blame for the present warming. The other half is silenced, frozen out as heretics by the mainstream media that has embraced the church of GCC.

But again, let's pretend Gore is right: the sky is falling. The melting ice caps will drown the polar bears and put NYC under fifty feet of water, right? Wrong. Sea levels have risen since the Earth began to come out of the last ice age, yet since 1961, the rise has been far lower than the historic average. Also, though the arctic ice sheet is melting, Antarctica's glaciers are thicker than ever, due to increased precipitation (remember that pesky greenhouse gas, water vapor? It takes the form of snow in Antarctica). And polar bear numbers have increased from around 5,000 in the 1950s to almost 25,000 today. That's a lot of Coke to share with the penguins.

Gore also predicted yearly hurricane disasters like Katrina. Yet the season that just ended was historically calm. In fact, there has been no change in either the occurrence or strength of hurricanes outside the natural range of variability.

But what about droughts and weather-related deaths? Also a false doctrine: since the 1920s, weather-related deaths have decreased from almost 500 per year to just under 20. And the chart for U.S. lands affected by drought looks like the NYC skyline, with many ups and downs and a gradual decrease since 1935.

Finally, what the prophets of doom fail to reveal are the many benefits from increased CO2: plants grow bigger and faster, which means more available water, greater farm productivity, less food scarcity, and less starvation of polar bears and man alike.

Mankind is the most adaptable creature on earth. If it's cold, we put on a jacket; if it's hot, suntan oil. If the sea rises 2", we build the seawall 2" higher. The real danger of the GCC orthodoxy is how it misplaces the scarce resource of money. If everyone in the U.S. drives a Prius (which costs thousands more than its conventional counterparts), there will be less money spent on real threats: malaria, water purification, nutrition research, starvation, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, and cancer.

On May 1, 1970, on our high school quad we had a speaker for the first "Earth Day" celebration. She warned us of the impending ice age that mankind had brought upon itself by its selfish use of the world's resources. My friends and I, even at that tender age, knew a loon when we saw one: she was wearing a parka in eighty degree heat.

So to Al Gore, I say, "You're a false prophet, your god is a fraud, and I already have a religion."

NEXT: An easy and inexpensive solution to illegal immigration.

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