Monday, November 10, 2014

The Global Warming Heresies

Powerline blog discusses the significant split between Democrats and Republicans on global warming. New York exit polls showed that 71% of Democrats believe that global warming is serious problem, whereas only 15% of Republicans do so. Why the disparity?  
I think because there is hardly any evidence to support the alarmists’ case, so the whole thing is a matter of faith and politics, not science. If you have no particular reason to drink the big government kool-aid, either political or economic, you probably don’t. 
For years, whenever the topic of global warming comes up around my children, I have pointed out to them that there are three questions that need to be answered "yes" before anyone should agree with Gore, et al. First, is the planet warming? Second, is the cause of the warming man-made? Third, is global warming harmful? If any of the answers is "no", there is nothing that should be done to "combat" global warming. So, of course, asking any of these questions is a heresy in the minds of the global warming alarmists.

So let's go through the questions.

First, is the planet warming?  Christopher Monckton, writing at Watts Up With That, states:
Since October 1996 there has been no global warming at all.... This month’s RSS temperature plot comes within a whisker of pushing up the period without any global warming from 18 years 1 month to 18 years 2 months: however, on a strict interpretation the period without warming remains at 18 years 1 month.
... On the RSS satellite data, there has been no global warming statistically distinguishable from zero for more than 26 years. None of the models predicted that, in effect, there would be no global warming for a quarter of a century.
 Second, is the warming man-made? From the same article:
The global warming trend since 1900 is equivalent to 0.8 Cº per century. This is well within natural variability and may not have much to do with us.
 The fastest measured warming trend lasting ten years or more occurred over the 40 years from 1694-1733 in Central England. It was equivalent to 4.3 Cº per century.
We also know that the planet warmed during the Medieval Warming period, then entered a long-term cooling period known as the Little Ice Age, which ended in the 19th Century. Some of the warming over the last 100 years is probably due to warming as the Earth came out of the Little Ice Age. In other words, there is very little evidence to support the second question.

Finally, the third question, is global warming harmful? This question must also be answered in the negative. Again, from Watts Up With That:
An argument regularly advanced by alarmists is – can we afford to take the chance? This argument is often associated with a claim that a rise in global temperature greater than 2°C would be catastrophic – a theory backed by authoritative sounding computer simulations which suggest dangerous ocean acidification, deadly heat, and extreme weather. 
It is all very well to simulate these scary possibilities, but at the end of the day a computer simulation is just an educated guess – it is no substitute for observation.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to actually observe what a warmer world would actually be like? What if it were possible to create a parallel Earth, dial up the CO2 level, and actually see what really happens? Would anyone bother running a computer simulation, if we could observe the reality?
We can’t create a new planet, but there is a way we can observe the effects of elevated levels of CO2, and higher global temperatures, without relying on computer simulations – because these are the conditions which prevailed during the Cretaceous Period, the age of the dinosaurs.
As any kid can tell you, the world Cretaceous was not a dead planet, but one abundant with life. Even looking at more recent times shows the fallacy that higher temperatures would be dangerous. After the end of the last Ice Age, the poles were up to 4 degrees Celsius higher than today. The planet teamed with life. Similarly, rather than killing all life, the Medieval Warming Period saw crop yields increase as well as the health and lifespan of Europeans. Even looking at this year--described as the warmest year on record for England--reveals record crop yields.

In the article "Global Warming: A Boon to Humans and Other Animals," Thomas Gale Moore writes:
Warmer periods bring benign rather than more violent weather. Milder temperatures will induce more evaporation from oceans and thus more rainfall -- where it will fall we cannot be sure but the earth as a whole should receive greater precipitation. Meteorologists now believe that any rise in sea levels over the next century will be at most a foot or more, not twenty.[2] In addition, Mitchell flunks history: around 6,000 years ago the earth sustained temperatures that were probably more than four degrees Fahrenheit hotter than those of the twentieth century, yet mankind flourished. The Sahara desert bloomed with plants, and water loving animals such as hippopotamuses wallowed in rivers and lakes. Dense forests carpeted Europe from the Alps to Scandinavia. The Midwest of the United States was somewhat drier than it is today, similar to contemporary western Kansas or eastern Colorado; but Canada enjoyed a warmer climate and more rainfall.
... An examination of the record of the last twelve millennia reveals that mankind prospered during the warm periods and suffered during the cold ones. Transitions from a warm to a cold period or vice-versa were difficult for people who lived in climates that were adversely affected yet benefited others who inhabited regions in which the weather improved. On average, however, humans gained during the centuries in which the earth enjoyed higher temperatures.

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