Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Al Gore is at it Again

Al Gore is back before Congress to try to stop global warming. This is despite the fact the theory seems to be falling apart, but it's natural for him to try since he has a lot of money riding on this issue.

What are the facts about Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth"? His slide presentation, book, and movie are all seriously misleading. For a brief but excellent review of 25 misrepresentations in the book, visit Iain Murray's article, "Gorey Truths." One of the big shockers Gore used was the now famous "Hockey Stick" graph showing mean temperature changes in the Northern hemisphere over the last millennium. That graph has been thoroughly debunked. For a very readable explanation, see Orson Scott Card's "All in a Good Cause." For a deeper scientific treatment of the issue, see Steve McIntyre's work on the issue here. How about the impressive hydraulic lift shot in the movie version of "An Inconvenient Truth" when Al Gore shows a graph that correlates carbon dioxide levels to temperature for hundreds of thousands of years? He chose the scale very carefully; when you zoom in on that graph, in most cases temperature actually rises before carbon dioxide levels do, sometimes as much as a millennium before. Solar activity correlates much better to temperature changes than carbon dioxide levels do.

For graphs showing this correlation, please visit here and here.

In fact, Gore's slide show is full of pseudo science, questionable data and outright lies designed to stir people up. The goal seems to be twofold. First, Gore is making a lot of money from the panic from various sources, including a green hedge fund that gives him a huge stake in keeping the global panic going. Secondly, Gore and other global warming activists seem very committed to global socialism, and the global warming scare is a perfect vehicle for the institution of socialist policies. How bold is that claim? Not very, if you listen to Christine Stewart, Canada's former environment minister: "Climate change provides the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world." On another occasion, she said, "No matter if the science is all phony, there is still collateral environmental benefits to global warming policies."

What about all that scientific consensus on human-caused global warming? Consensus is a political term in this case. Science isn't about consensus. It's about proposing a hypothesis, confirming or disproving that hypothesis through experiment and other data collection, and providing that research to the scientific community. If the proof can be replicated independently and repeatedly, and the hypothesis describes and accurately predicts real world phenomena, it becomes a theory. That theory stands only until a better one comes along. Even allowing the use of the phrase scientific consensus, however, Mr. Gore has a significant problem, as discussed in detail in point 24 of Iain Murray's article, "Gorey Truths." There really isn't any consensus at all.

Finally, much of the scare about global warming is based on projections about the future created by computer models. These models, again according to Al Gore, show that human interference is much stronger than any natural cycles. Really? Somehow I doubt that even the worldwide output of every tailpipe and smokestack in the world compares to the power of the sun. "The Sun's energy output is about equal to 77 billion megatons every second. The entire power-generating capacity of the earth equals about 60,000 megatons per year, so in one second the Sun produces over a million years' worth of energy for the earth. If the Sun derived its energy by burning coal, it would take only 18 hours to burn a mass of coal equal to the earth. And the Sun has been doing this for 4.6 billion years. " I digress, however. Simply put, the models global warming activists use are flawed. There hasn't been any global temperature increase since 1998 or so. From 1998 to 2007 is the warmest decade on record, they say, and then attribute that not to human causes, but to the Pacific current El Nino. Currently, global warming is stalled by the cooler current, La Nina. Oh, and by the way, new ocean data added to warming models say the earth may not warm for ten or fifteen years, but after that, it's going to skyrocket. Maybe. NASA's deep ocean probes meant to prove global oceanic temperature rise seem to be indicating just the opposite, and we may be headed into a period of global cooling.

The short version is this: The more hard data scientists obtain, the less accurate previous models of warming are shown to be. Also, the data seems to indicate natural factors solidly override any hypothesized human-caused ones. Perhaps Nature likes to make a liar out of Al Gore. In any case, I fail to believe the models, because I simply don't think we have enough data to be sure of anything yet, and I don't think our models are able to handle a system as complex as global weather. This is something global warming activists work hard to suppress.

My opinion on Global Warming falls very much in line with Michael Crichton's Author's Message in State of Fear:

"We know astonishingly little about every aspect of the environment, from its past history, to its present state, to how to conserve and protect it. In every debate, all sides overstate the extent of existing knowledge and its degree of certainty.

"Nobody knows how much warming will occur in the next century. The computer models vary by 400 percent, de facto proof that nobody knows; and

"Before making expensive policy decisions on the basis of climate models, I think it is reasonable to require that those models predict future temperatures accurately for a period of ten years. Twenty would be better."


Yes, he's a science fiction writer, but he also happens to be a trained scientist.

I do not know what the future holds. I submit that no one else does either, and that we need to work harder to find out before we do anything that would cripple the already weakened U.S. economy or prevent developing nations from producing and using the energy they need to join the modern world. Hysteria about and faith in global warming prophecies should be replaced with the healthy skepticism any critical thinker should use in evaluating scientific data. There's enough contradictory evidence to make a reasonable person sincerely question what the media and Al Gore tells her.

I question Mr. Gore's data, his methods and his motivation as I should and anyone should.

2 comments:

Big Jay said...

My litmus test (I don't mind calling it that) for whether somebody is serious about science as it relates to global warming is whether they are in favor of nuclear fission as a solution. If you're talking to someone who believes in global warming, and doesn't want to use nuclear power to replace coal, you might as well be talking to an illiterate fundamentalist christian about abortion.

That is not to say that I'm on board with the Gore crowd on global warming. But if I believed in global warming hook line and sinker, the number one solution on my list would be to immediately replace all coal power plants with nuclear power plants. They're obviously not doing that, and that makes me more skeptical about global warming than any of the other evidence against it. If the global warming disciples are rejecting the best solution, then how much do they really believe it?

Andrew said...

I agree entirely. The question isn't whether the globe was warming. It was. The question is whether it was human caused. I find the sunspot theory much more convincing than the CO2 theory (the mini ice age? No sunspots).

We even have really safe reactor types that could be put into use now. I chatted with my oldest brother today and he mentioned control rods, to speed or slow a reaction, are engine technology. Why bother with them for a civilian power plant that can put out a continuous supply of power?

The pebble bed reactor is even safer than what we have in use (which is very safe) and produces Carbon 14 as a byproduct.

Double check your Wikifacts, naturally, but it seems to be good info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_bed_reactor

Also, I'm very pro nuclear power. See:

http://politicsandrandomness.blogspot.com/2008/06/going-glowing-green.html