Friday, February 16, 2007

Some Thoughts on Global Warming and a Critical Review of the UN's IPCC Assesments

I've read quite a few articles regarding global warming - many from each "side" of the "debate." I've read plenty of articles regarding how the temperature of the earth is rising, plenty of articles saying that it either isn't or that some or all of the warming can be attributed to natural causes, and plenty of articles regarding various other aspects of the issue. I've read articles from each side arguing that the other is either distorting the truth, lying, using scare tactics, or bullying/paying people to keep quite, or a mix of the above.

I don't consider myself well enough versed in the natural sciences nor to have sufficient access to raw data to determine my own hypothesis as to what is going on. Therefore, the proper course of action (as I see it) is for me to make decisions about which scientists/experts/etc. I think are being the most objective and accurate.

I have to admit that there is something very hard to dismiss about the logic "CO2 and methane trap heat in the atmosphere; humans have been producing and will continue to produce vast quantities of both gases; ergo humans have caused, are causing, and/or will cause the earth to warm (relative to what would have otherwise happened, i.e., if nature would have caused natural cooling, the temperature might remain constant, but this could still be considered warming - relatively)."

Still, I have a lot of things that I am just not sure about: For instance, whether global warming - assuming it is happening - is actually a bad thing. Who's to say that, since humans are part of the environment, the warming we cause is not also "natural". Why should we isolate one factor in the environment and try to keep everything else constant by eliminating its effects? For that matter, since when has the environment ever been static? As I understand it, the physical and natural world (to say nothing of the flora and fauna that populate it) are constantly changing. Why should we try to "freeze" (no pun intended) the environment at a certain stage? It's not like the world has been just as it is now for an eternity and the only thing changing it is us. Even if that were the case, I'm not sure that I would immediately accept the idea that changing it would be an objectively bad thing.

Another thing that I am not sure about is which "side" is more reliable. Many things I hear make me want to think that global warming activists are definitely the less reliable bunch. For instance, the very fact that the UN seems to come down on their side makes me suspicious - I can't remember any time I looked at something the UN did (or didn't do) and thought to myself "there is an intelligent decision made by a competent organization." The fact that I often hear global warming activists implying or stating that global warming skeptics are just greedy capitalists who don't care about the environment also doesn't do much for my opinion of them (I don't like ad hominum attacks in general and I really don't like the cliche of "greedy capitalist"). I also don't like when anyone who has even the slightest doubt about the supposed impending catastrophe of global warming accused of "not caring about the environment" - it sounds way to much like when people who are opposed to minimum wage legislation are accused of "hating poor people."

Anyway! I think that does it for the "Some Thoughts" part of this post; now, on to the "Critical Review" part . . .

Dane alerted me to this article yesterday. I definitely recommend reading it even if you get lost in parts. While I've heard a lot of various scientific rebuttals to a lot of global warming hysteria, I've never come across something this . . . . . . comprehensive (for lack of a better word). I'm adding this to my list of things that makes me seriously doubt that global warming "activists" are the more accurate and more reliable side. This is also pushing me more into the camp of people who believe that many global warming activists are outright lying in their statements.

Like I said, worth the read. The issue as a whole, I believe, is also definitely worth staying on top off.


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