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“It was probably always too much to believe that human beings would be responsible stewards of the planet. We may be the smartest of all the animals, endowed with exponentially greater powers of insight and abstraction, but we’re animals all the same. That means that we can also be shortsighted and brutish, hungry for food, resources, land–and heedless of the mess we leave behind trying to get them. And make a mess we have. If droughts and wildfires, floods and crop failures, collapsing climate-sensitive species and the images of drowning polar bears didn’t quiet most of the remaining global-warming doubters, the hurricane-driven destruction of New Orleans did. Dismissing a scientist’s temperature chart is one thing. Dismissing the death of a major American city is something else entirely.” – Jeffrey Kluger, Time Magazine, 03/26/2007
The Global Warming debate, if given the quote above, can even still be called a debate, was recently charged by the release of the new report from the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change). The popular movement appears solidly against the continued theorized propagation of anthropogenic global warming arising mainly from carbon emissions. However, the evidence in favor this hypothesis must be viewed in the light of a few challenges and salient questions. There is little argument that the climate has become warmer over the last century, but there is some debate over how much and how likely the trend is to continue in the future. Bjorn Lomborg, in his both The Skeptical Environmentalist and in his recent article concerning the 2007 IPCC report, gives an excellent summary treatment of the global warming problem. It should be noted that from a political/economic view, Lomborg is one who believes in the efficacy (and probably necessity) of the government in solving many problems, and his main aim is to identify the extent of those problems, not prevent governmental solutions should such challenges emerge. In the book, he outlines six questions in regard to climate change, and specifically global warming (page 265):
1. How much effect does CO2 have on the temperature?
2. Could there be other causes behind the increasing temperature?
3. Are the greenhouse scenarios reasonable?
4. What are the consequences of a possible temperature increase?
5. What are the costs of curbing versus curbing CO2 emissions?
6. How should we chose what to do?
The final two questions are problematic from an Austrian economic point of view in that estimating “costs” objectively, especially on so large a scale, is an adventure in folly (and question six uses those costs as a basis for action). However, it is important to look at what may happen in any given course of action and allow people to weigh their own costs and benefits, as they are indeed ultimately subjective. This would take a radical change in how governments currently deal with pollution (regulation instead of tort law). It is unfortunate that this change has little possibility of happening, as I would consider the individual assessment of costs coordinated through the market governed by such tort law capable of producing the best result.
I encourage all to become more educated on the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming.
I trust that most people can find arguments supporting anthropogenic global warming through the internet. However, I have updated to provide the links from the Time feature still available online:
What Now For Our Feverish Planet? By Jeffrey Kluger, Thursday, Mar. 29, 2007
On the Front Lines Of Climate Change By Mark Hertsgaard, Thursday, Mar. 29, 2007
Global Warming Heats Up By Jeffrey Kluger Sunday, Mar. 26, 2006
Feeling The Heat By David Bjerklie, Sunday, Mar. 26, 2006
A Science Adviser Unmuzzled, Friday, Mar. 24, 2006 – Interview with James Hansen, Chief Climate Scientist at NASA
The Greenest Bank By Adam Smith/London, Friday, Mar. 24, 2006
How to Seize the Initiative By Unmesh Kher, MICHAEL D. LEMONICK, Margot Roosevelt, Daren Fonda, Sunday, Mar. 26, 2006
Dr. Martin Hoffert suggested the following book in response to my source, Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air about Global Warming by Dr. Patrick Michaels and Dr. Robert Balling which he did not consider valid:
And of course, Al Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth.
There are some articles I would recommend by Dr. Tim Ball, Chairman of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project and an environmental consultant and former professor of climatology at the University of Winnipeg.
Alexander Cockburn, noted liberal columnist who writes the “Beat the Devil” column for self-described “flagship of the left”, The Nation, recently penned an article dissenting against the theory of anthropogenic global warming (and takes a hack at the Catholic Church in the process) on his CounterPunch website.
A recent article from www.mises.org, website of the Mises Institute (self-described mission: “The Ludwig von Mises Institute is the research and educational center of classical liberalism, libertarian political theory, and the Austrian School of economics. Working in the intellectual tradition of Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) and Murray N. Rothbard (1926-1995), with a vast array of publications, programs, and fellowships, the Mises Institute, with offices in Auburn, Alabama, seeks a radical shift in the intellectual climate as the foundation for a renewal of the free and prosperous commonwealth.”): I Was On the Global Warming Gravy Train by David Evans, a mathematician, and a computer and electrical engineer.
A controversial documentary film by English television producer Martin Durkin shown on Channel 4 in England. This video is varyingly available due to copyright smackdown…which probably means it will never be seen again anytime soon. Here’s the Google video link, as long as it lasts. A specific rebuttal to the Great Global Warming Swindle
Naturally, The Daily Show presents the single biggest retard to ever raise a doubt about anthropogenic global warming (the clip from the show is no longer available through Comedy Central’s website). During the segment, a grade school teacher more or less claims she could find only the 30-year old Newsweek article disputing anthropogenic global warming. I guess the articles I’ve gathered here don’t count…or that documentary (which admittedly was screened in England on 03/08/2007, so it may have been well past when these events occurred).
- Correcting Krugman on Climate [Mises Institute 6/8/09]
- Oceans Rising Faster Than UN Forecast, Scientists Say[Bloomberg 6/18/09]
- Snowy Hail in June in New Jersey [CBS 6/16/09]
- Myths and Facts about Al Gore’s Energy Usage [FactCheck.org 6/21/09]
- Man Up, Climate Skeptics, or Miss Out on the Money [Bloomberg 6/16/09]
- “Dear FRONTLINE: Your 2-hour program broadcast on 21 Oct 08 called HEAT followed the script of the self-appointed priests of global warming exactly. There was no attempt at balance. Those who might have provided it were marginalized as ‘Deniers’ with no names and were accused by innuendo of being paid by the fuel industry. A Canadian reporter who was also an environmentalist discovered that many ‘Deniers’ were highly qualified scientists who would better be called the less pejorative name ‘Climate Realists.'” [10/27/08]
- “Recent mapping of a number of raised beach ridges on the north coast of Greenland suggests that the ice cover in the Arctic Ocean was greatly reduced some 6000-7000 years ago. The Arctic Ocean may have been periodically ice free.” [10/20/08]
- General website for both sides of the climate debate
- Playing the race card on anthropogenic global warming: “‘It is critical our community be an integral and active part of the debate because African-Americans are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change economically, socially and through our health and well-being,’ House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said July 29.” [7/29/08]
- Perspectives from the libertarian front: Cato and Liberty. [August-September 2008]
- A fascinating account about the controversy and wrangling over the infamous hockey stick graph. [8/11/08]
- Chicago Trib reports that most recent decade has the fewest 90 degree days since 1930. I’m not even sure what a statistic like that means. [8/13/08] McClatchy notes that Alaskan glaciers actually grew over the last year. [10/14/08]
- The Global Warming gestapo is in full force, proposing fines for unsorted trash [8/01/08] while taking a blow concerning disposable diapers in England. [10/19/08] A supporter of the anthropogenic thesis makes an argument against punishing those who speak out against it. [7/21/08]
- Former Vice President Al Gore was interviewed by “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross about the release of his book, “The Assault on Reason,” in paperback: “And as we’re talking today, Terry, the death count in Myanmar from the cyclone that hit there yesterday has been rising from 15,000 to way on up there to much higher numbers now being speculated,” Gore said. “And last year a catastrophic storm last fall hit Bangladesh. The year before, the strongest cyclone in more than 50 years hit China – and we’re seeing consequences that scientists have long predicted might be associated with continued global warming.” Gore claimed global warming is forcing ocean temperatures to rise, which is causing storms, including cyclones and hurricanes, to intensify. [5/06/08]
- It was revealed by ABC News that one of the famous shots of supposed Antarctic ice shelves in An Inconvenient Truth was actually a computer-generated image from the 2004 science fiction blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow. [4/22/08] I feel like it hasn’t been fully determined how much damage this movie did to all the actors that were in it. Jake Gyllenhaal was only able to salvage his career by doing Brokeback Mountain, which came at the price of pretty much everyone assuming he was gay (not that that’s a bad thing). Fun fact though: according to imdb.com, Jake had a cameo in City Slickers and another in “Homicide: Life on the Street”, where he probably got screamed at by Andre Braugher and fondled by Richard Belzer.
- Phil Chapman, a geophysicist and astronautical engineer who was the first Australian to become a NASA astronaut, weighs in: “Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously. All four agencies that track Earth’s temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over. There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that 2007 was exceptionally cold. It snowed in Baghdad for the first time in centuries, the winter in China was simply terrible and the extent of Antarctic sea ice in the austral winter was the greatest on record since James Cook discovered the place in 1770. It is generally not possible to draw conclusions about climatic trends from events in a single year, so I would normally dismiss this cold snap as transient, pending what happens in the next few years. This is where SOHO comes in. The sunspot number follows a cycle of somewhat variable length, averaging 11 years. The most recent minimum was in March last year. The new cycle, No.24, was supposed to start soon after that, with a gradual build-up in sunspot numbers. It didn’t happen. The first sunspot appeared in January this year and lasted only two days. A tiny spot appeared last Monday but vanished within 24 hours. Another little spot appeared this Monday. Pray that there will be many more, and soon. The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth’s climate. The previous time a cycle was delayed like this was in the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790. Northern winters became ferocious: in particular, the rout of Napoleon’s Grand Army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812 was at least partly due to the lack of sunspots.” [4/23/08]
- The National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service
- The UN and others continue to hedge their bets on any sort of cooling trend: “Global temperatures for 2008 will be slightly cooler than last year as a result of the cold La Nina current in the Pacific, UN meteorologists have said. The World Meteorological Organization’s secretary-general, Michel Jarraud, told the BBC it was likely that La Nina would continue into the summer. But this year’s temperatures would still be way above the average – and we would soon exceed the record year of 1998 because of global warming induced by greenhouse gases. The WMO points out that the decade from 1998 to 2007 was the warmest on record. Since the beginning of the 20th Century, the global average surface temperature has risen by 0.74C. While Nasa, the US space agency, cites 2005 as the warmest year, the UK’s Hadley Centre lists it as second to 1998. Researchers say the uncertainty in the observed value for any particular year is larger than these small temperature differences. What matters, they say, is the long-term upward trend.” [4/4/08]
- Al Gore on those who doubt the links between humans and global warming: “I think that those people are in such a tiny, tiny minority now with their point of view. They’re almost like the ones who still believe that the moon landing was staged in a movie lot in Arizona and those who believe the earth is flat. That demeans them a little bit, but it’s not that far off.” [3/30/08]
- Reactions to the recent global cooling by National Public Radio [3/19/08], the New York Times [3/2/08], Daily Tech [2/26/08], and the National Post [2/25/08].
- “We’re all fucked” says climate maverick James Lovelock. [3/1/08]
- The Australian makes a bold move to the basket: “If [biologist and senior fellow of Melbourne-based think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, Jennifer] Marohasy is anywhere near right about the impending collapse of the global warming paradigm, life will suddenly become a whole lot more interesting. A great many founts of authority, from the Royal Society to the UN, most heads of government along with countless captains of industry, learned professors, commentators and journalists will be profoundly embarrassed.” [3/22/08]
- Blogs Against the Hypothesis: World Climate Report and Steve McIntyre‘s Climate Audit