Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Global Warming Debate Continues

We've heard of Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth, but now there is another global warming docudrama. This one is called The Great Global Warming Swindle. You can view the whole thing on Google Video here. I would recommend that you do.

First, I need to make a single point. Many global warming activists like to say that the debate is over, that we need to stop arguing and do something about the problem. Arguments like this are pure falsehood, and as a person who is dedicated to science (just got two Associate of Science Degrees last Friday,) the debate is NEVER OVER. In science, nothing is ever immutable fact, nothing. Immutable fact comes from religion, not science. Science is study, continual study, always subject to revision on discovery of new information, or falsification of old information. But the debate is never over. It's just not in the nature of science for the debate to be over. That is not the way it works. Ignoring the facts and issues at hand, the debate in science is never over. I'll say it again, there is no end of debate in science, ever. And there is no such thing as a scientific consensus. Science is not up to a vote.

Ok, back to the docudrama. I would like to say that the reason I am calling it a docudrama, and the same reason I call AIT a docudrama is this: both use people, and people are not prone to objectivity. Both are edited, and both are meant to convey a point, not an unbiased reporting of information. Both contain elements of truth, as well as elements of untruth. I have weighed the truth in AIT before, so I'll weigh TGGWS here and now. I have done a little research, and this is my review of the film.

The film makes the point that carbon dioxide levels trail temperature changes by a significant amount to time. I have made this point before, but I my reasons were not as scientifically based as the ones presented in the film. TGGWS states that the reason for this is that the oceans hold tremendous amounts of CO2, and when they warm, they are able to hold less of it and it is released, but this effect is quite a bit delayed because the oceans are enormously large, and warming of them takes hundreds of years. Here's an important point regarding the truth of the film. The expert presented to do most of the backing up for this point has since complained that his view was mischaracterized. He still believes in human caused global warming, and says that as the oceans warm it will only get worse exponentially. This point is well taken, but the science of what he says holds true, and the point that CO2 levels trail temperatures still stands. So the point here is this: The essential tenet of the global warming theory, that CO2 causes global warming, is false. Global warming causes CO2.

I won't go through the entire movie point by point, but I'll explore one more, and that encompasses the nature of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas and pollutant. Every oxygen breathing creature on the planet exhales CO2. Every photosynthesizing plant on the planet absorbs CO2. Every living thing on the planet is made of carbon and if allowed to decompose would turn into CO2 among other things. CO2 is a small time greenhouse gas, but CO2 is NOT A POLLUTANT! Pollutants do damage, sulfur, nitrogen, and phosphorus oxides are pollutants that cause acid rain that kills plants, trees, and aquatic life. CO2 on the other hand comes from living things and is absorbed by plants who release oxygen which is breathed by living things which exhale carbon dioxide and the process continues.

Here's an assignment for you. Look up the most potent greenhouse gases. You'll find that water vapor accounts for 36 to 90 percent of the greenhouse effect. Try to outlaw that. You will also find that methane is 17 times as powerful a greenhouse gas as CO2 is, so stop farting.

I believe in living sustainably. I believe in renewable power. I believe in breathing clean air. But the air I breathe only contains 0.05% carbon dioxide, that is until after I breathe it. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, it is virtually inert, and the lesser of several greenhouse gases. But here's a thing that environmentalists forget. The rest of the world cannot afford to live carbon neutral. Most of them don't have electricity or running water or access to medical care. And without the industry to create these things, they cannot afford to invest in clean energy. It's a luxury only we in the industrialized world have, and one we should do our best to utilize.

I think there are one of two solutions to this problem. Number one, we allow third world countries to industrialize using their own non renewable reserves and then help them develop renewable energy as quickly as possible ushering in a world technological age where health and comfort abide. Or number two, we build infrastructure for them, relying on their renewable resources alone. And then there's number three, we prevent them from becoming industrialized and continue to force them to live in squalor and poverty, dying of lung cancer from cooking fire smoke, living to the ripe old age of 40. I hate the use of fossil fuels, but what is the option here? People are more important, plus with our support, they can build power plants that have minimal pollution.

Oh, and today when everyone is trying to encourage a one day boycott of gasoline, here's a better idea: buy a Tesla Roadster or a Prius. Those are the ones I recommend.


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