Warming Frenzy Resembles Iraq War Runup
that earth isn’t the only planet undergoing global warming these days,
or so National Geographic reported on its Web site not long ago.
also enjoying milder temperatures, based on data from NASA’s Mars Global
Surveyor and the Odyssey missions. The carbon dioxide ice caps near the
planet’s southern pole have been retreating for three consecutive
astronomist Habibullo Abdussamatov, who heads St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo
Astronomical Observatory, contends these findings are evidence that the
sun is behind Earth’s current warming. His theory flies in the face of
the most widely accepted hypothesis that excess greenhouse gas (carbon
dioxide) emissions from human activity are the cause of the current
Abdussamatov goes a step further, maintaining that solar irradiance
began to decline in the 1990s, and will reach a minimum by about 2040.
This diminishing effect will produce a steep cooling of the earth’s
climate in about two decades.
certainly contradicts all the increasingly dire warnings and predictions
about the deadly consequences of an Earth that will continue to overheat
unless and until human beings do something radical to curb greenhouse
stop with curbing only carbon dioxide emissions? Why not insist on
ridding ourselves of all pollutants? Ban emissions of lead, sulfur,
carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide and, of course, spent nuclear fuels.
These latter pollutants are so immediately toxic that just a few grains
of them could kill whole cities, yet the global nuclear power industry
keeps churning out hundreds of barrels of the stuff annually.
So why have
we singled out carbon dioxide for our particular wrath du jour? Do we
become concerned about something only if we think it presents an
imminent threat to our existence? Why do we allow other real problems to
fester? My mother experienced the ill effects of smog back in the 1960s,
when few others gave it a thought. Today asthmatics and those with
allergies pay an ever-higher price in suffering (and medical bills) from
non-carbon dioxide related pollution, but who’s calling for action on
Back in the
lab, other scientists, of course, maintain that Mr. Abdussamatov’s
theories are incorrect. They contend that past epochs of Earth’s warming
can be explained by our planet’s wobbling on its axis and moving closer
to the sun, and that such is the case with Mars now, because the Red
Planet also tilts on its axis from time to time. These scientists also
believe that it’s merely coincidence that both Mars and Earth are
undergoing global warming at the same time.
coincidence. Now that does strain credulity. In fact, this frenzy about
greenhouse gas emissions resembles the entire rush to war with Iraq back
in 2002-2003. Those who opposed invading Iraq were smeared as “soft on
defense,” or “in league with the terrorists,” or some other such
nonsense. These days, those who question the greenhouse gasses orthodoxy
face the same kind of reprisals—they are “dupes of the oil companies” or
are “in denial” about the problem.
change is only too real. The critical question then becomes what is its
actual origin, as opposed to popular beliefs about its causes. Only when
we answer the cause question accurately can we then do anything truly
beneficial about climate change. And yes, even if the source of global
warming turns out to be solar emissions and not greenhouse gasses, we
can still plan for the effects of rising temperatures and take steps to
relocate populations if necessary.
what will transpire, however, if we pour enormous sums of money and
energy into eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions yet the climate
continues to heat up - or even reverses course and cools down, as Mr.
Abdussamatov theorizes. Now that really would be a nightmare scenario –
we will be strapped for resources to adapt to the actual changes and the
reputation of climate science may never recover.
are high indeed.
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