ETHICAL ISSUES: GLOBAL WARMING
Global warming is a fact. Global cooling is a fact. But global warming caused by man-made carbon dioxide is not a fact (a fact being absolute truth). Earth’s conditions continue to change because of constant cosmological and geological functioning. The earth precesses (wobbles on its axis) and its poles shift. Temperatures change. Sunspots affect conditions on earth; recent studies show that the sun’s activity affects the formation of certain clouds (water vapor), which themselves affect climatic conditions. Plate tectonics move entire continental masses, and sub-sea rifting and volcanoes affect ocean currents and temperatures world-wide. Earth is not a static entity—it’s dynamic, constantly changing, and it’s big. Conditions on earth and in its atmosphere change as well—they must.
Currently earth is in what earth scientists call an interglacial period. This is well-documented scientifically—it means that we have experienced a (well-documented) glacial period in the recent geologic past. There have been, in fact, several glacial periods in the distant past (and interglacial periods necessarily between); there is no reason to believe that this pattern will not continue in the future. Earth’s temperatures can be expected to vary in such a dynamic system, and they do. Global warming is a perfectly natural phenomenon. Global cooling is a perfectly natural phenomenon. Man has not affected it in the past, and there is no reason to believe that he is capable of doing so in the future.
Only one volcano can cause massive alterations to global temperature and climate over an extended period of time. Earth has experienced and will continue to experience innumerable volcanic events, all of which have contributed and will contribute to change. Man’s activities may well contribute in some way to change, but they are nothing when compared with natural processes. ‘Mother Nature’ adapts to change, maintaining a delicate balance that we cannot (and may never) understand at our present level of knowledge, and that we certainly cannot affect significantly no matter how smart we think we are.
Water vapor is by far the most important ‘greenhouse gas’; it exists as part of the natural (and necessary) hydrologic cycle which maintains the earth’s delicate water balance. Our understanding of all the factors affecting the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is far from complete, but it appears that it can only be lowered by decreasing evaporation over the oceans, a clearly impossible task for mankind. Regarding carbon dioxide as a polluting greenhouse gas, consider that we breathe out, and vegetation takes in, carbon dioxide. As a necessary part of the natural process, it can hardly be considered a pollutant. We can’t survive without it, and we have no way of knowing how vegetation and the oceans maintain the delicate balance.
Balance is the key, and it exists with or without mankind. Climate change is natural and normally proceeds relatively slowly. As it does, nature adapts in important ways over which we have no control.
It is not possible to accurately model all of the variables affecting climate change because we neither understand nor know all of those variables. Just consider the past two very severe winters. We don’t understand that, and it’s happening in current real-time.
Mathematical (computer) modeling is insufficiently developed to predict local weather over even the short term, let alone global climate over the long term. It requires accurate and well-understood data currently unavailable. While it’s becoming a useful tool, we’re not there yet.
Recent revelations have exposed the political drive toward control of greenhouse gases to slow ‘global warming’ as questionable. Scientific data were both ignored and manipulated by the IPCC to obtain results in keeping with their agenda. Important discoveries that contradict what has come to be the ‘politically-correct’ view were ignored and buried by biased researchers. It was not objective science, and it was only a matter of time until it was exposed. More recent work (by The University of Pennsylvania, among others), confirms that the IPCC model is seriously flawed; the evidence against it continues to grow.
Junk science and subterfuge pervades both sides of the global warming debate, promulgated by partisans and politicians alike. The global warming scare as it exists is unfounded and unethical (you may wish to recall the global cooling scare of the ’70s). These are not consistent with what we have learned and know about earth science. Future research and studies will doubtless continue to confirm this.
Political correctness is a disease that has proven to have wide effects. When science is compromised, we cannot trust it to be, as it must be, objective. This example of unethical behavior has no place in our society and culture. Politics has no place in science, and science must not be politicized. Must law be turned into a global lying contest before we correct the problem? I hope not.
The author of this piece adds the following only to support his own expertise in this matter. If you are easily bored, reading it is discouraged…
I have been an active geological scientist for more than half a century. Geology is the science of the earth (and by definition, the environment). Typically, we geologists begin our investigations by observing and documenting current conditions, then working backward to determine how they got that way. This is accomplished using, among other tools, the method of multiple working hypotheses devised by T.C. Chamberlin, an American geologist (no, I didn’t know him—he was before even my time); it has found its way into other investigatory sciences. Essentially, it involves looking at current conditions and investigating simultaneously, without prejudice, every conceivable path that might have led to the current situation. This method will necessarily include chasing down dead ends and correcting wrong turns, but it has the advantage of identifying false and misleading information and enhancing the credibility of the conclusion. It is, if anything, a thorough and exhaustive approach.
My own geology education began in 1950 and has been augmented in many ways since that time. Being the definitive earth science, geology includes hydrology, meteorology, climatology, oceanography, even cosmology, any science that adds to knowledge about the earth and conditions thereon. In other words, it’s not just ‘rocks.’ It goes back to the Big Bang, and proceeds from there.
Geologists necessarily investigate past earth environments using various techniques including drilling & coring, geophysics, glaciology, tree rings, fossils, stratigraphy, mineralogy, structural science, and anything else that might provide clues to historical climate change, among other things. In other words, we are uniquely qualified to determine what happened when, during the earth’s long history. It’s what we do.
When I began my education, plate tectonics, ‘continental drift,’ mid-oceanic ridges and other massive, literally earth-shaking, features were only ideas. In other words, I go ‘way back. Now, plate tectonics can be observed in real-time. When I began my geology education, geophysics was a ‘science abornin’. Now, precise geophysical methods are used regularly and with confidence to investigate and measure accurately otherwise-unobservable earth conditions. I have been involved directly in its development and use.
I have grown up with, and contributed to, contemporary earth science. I have kept current with post-graduate courses in rock mechanics, hydrology, engineering geology, soils engineering, remote sensing, seismology, geophysical methods, even statistical methods and computer modeling, few of which were available in my undergraduate years. I have done this because I had to keep up with the ever-developing earth sciences. I have written professional papers and articles, and I continue to study my chosen science even as I grow unable to follow it all.
I bore you with these details only to point out that I know something about the subject. I am, in fact, an expert, and I lay my expertise on the line. Regarding ethics, I am dedicated to the truth.