Is Global Climate Change a Hoax?

I find it interesting that some people can look at scientific data and make assumptions about it without finding out what the facts are.

I recently heard a talk show host on a local radio station say: “Man made climate change is a hoax because scientists said they had all the science down long ago and now a leaked UN study says they were off in their predictions?” Really?

Anyone who says this is obviously not too familiar with how science or the world itself works.

We have known for hundreds of years that mankind does change the environment. That is painfully obvious. Just look out the window and see the skyscrapers, the roads, the smoke stacks; you get the idea. But it wasn’t until the industrial age that we began to see that we may well also be changing the weather.

Darwin understood that all animals effect and change their environment just by existing. But what he probably didn’t know was that the first plants that used photosynthesis some 3 billion years ago changed not only the climate of the planet, but it’s very nature. Because of those tiny life forms we now have an oxygen rich planet.

And we think there is nothing we can do that effects our weather? We think that Mother Nature is too powerful to be altered by what we do? Seriously?

In 1827 Joseph Fourier stated: "The establishment and progress of human societies, the action of natural forces, can notably change, and in vast regions, the state of the surface, the distribution of water and the great movements of the air. Such effects are able to make to vary, in the course of many centuries, the average degree of heat; because the analytic expressions contain coefficients relating to the state of the surface and which greatly influence the temperature.”

In 1864 John Tyndall was studying infrared radiation in gasses when he discovered that CO2 as well as methane blocks that type of radiation very effectively. And from his work, by 1890 scientists had begun to realize that growing carbon emissions would lead to higher temperatures in the distant future. Some thought that would be a good thing.

But by the turn of the century we were also beginning to study ice ages and realized that sufficient air pollution could counter act the greenhouse effect and lead to an ice age.

In 1938 Guy Stewart Callendar discovered that both temperature and CO2 had been rising for the past 50 years. But by 1945 that trend changed and there was a cooling effect that lasted till 1975. By the 1960s the effect of manmade air pollution was sighted as the reason. Scientists began to worry about an ice age if the trend continued.

In 1968 Paul R. Ehrlich said: "The greenhouse effect is being enhanced now by the greatly increased level of carbon dioxide. This is being countered by low-level clouds generated by contrails, dust, and other contaminants. At the moment we cannot predict what the overall climatic results will be of our using the atmosphere as a garbage dump.”

So what happened? By 1975 air quality was getting better because we did something about it. The world started a warming trend again. Pollution was decreasing but CO2 was not, and was in fact on the rise.

So the evidence and reason for climate change has been known for almost a century, and that we have a hand in it is not in dispute anymore among scientists. Most say they are 99 percent certain of that, and 95 percent certain that global warming is a reality to come.

95 percent certainty is the best you can ever expect from a scientist, as a rule, as there is always the possibility that there is information we don’t have and can’t factor in.

So a scientist considers 95 percent certainty as good as fact, or as close as we can get with what we know.

What you have to understand is that the world and its climate is a chaotic system. Chaos in this sense is a scientific term. Small changes in the system can cause major changes in the weather, making pin point accurate prediction difficult to impossible over the long term. And large unforeseen events can hamper prediction as well.

This was discovered by a man named Lorenz; a mathematician and meteorologist assigned to find a way to accurately predict the weather. Instead he discovered what became known as the butterfly effect. The fact that seemingly small and even nonlocal events can set chains of cause and effect in to motion that in the end produces large unpredictable changes, making accurate weather prediction beyond 5 days impossible.

Volcanic activity can and does effect climate, kicking massive amounts of pollution into the atmosphere and delaying CO2 effects. That seems to be what the UN report is telling us happened to throw off predictions. That does not make the science wrong; it only makes the predictions that did not factor it in wrong, and how can you account for an unknown variable? Still they did get it right by half.

Now, I’m not a global warming freak. I share some of our turn of the 19th century scientists in thinking this is a good thing, to a point. The alternative is a cooling of the earth and the possibility of an ice age down the road. Imagine Canada and a good deal of the northern US covered in ice for 10000 years.

Talk about devastation of North America’s economy. I’d rather grow palm trees in my back yard.

I’ll never live that long of course.

But it is clear we can and do affect the global climate, and that’s both a good and bad thing.

Remember that we did drop our pollution levels after we were warned about the health risks of high pollution in the air. We are not perfect yet but we are doing better than we were and we averted a catastrophe. In doing so we created another one, as pollution balances out CO2.

Is the answer really balancing pollution and CO2? Other than removing both at the same time in a nice balance that seems to be the only other answer. I hope it is not one we take. I can’t really see anyone trying to justify adding pollution to offset warming from increasing CO2 levels.

What about the ozone layer? We stopped using CFCs and the hole is closing as predicted. It still appears every year but it is getting smaller all the time. The science seems to have been right.

We admitted that we had something to do with both of those problems, but we won’t admit that we are affecting the weather on this planet just by what we do?

I think it is safe to say that we do affect the weather. The big question is: how much, and in what exact ways?

That is to say; people often cite the idea that the world has gone through countless changes, from extreme heat to ice ages all on its own. The fact of the matter is that any global effect is due the state of the entire system. What humans are doing has to be factored into what the earth itself is doing and how it all plays off each other. The planet does nothing on its own. This is a cause and effect universe. Nothing happens without cause, and cause is usually not singular, and is almost always the culmination/result of interactions between multiple factors.

Where are the peer reviewed evidence that shows that human activity is except, when no other activity including volcanoes is?

The science is simple and accurate in that: pollution has the tendency to create a cooling effect while high CO2 creates a warming effect.

We are not the only way pollution enters the atmosphere and we aren’t the only way CO 2 enters the atmosphere. We add to these problems, we don’t create them on our own. But we add tons of both every year. More than double what the earth itself and all the other animals add.

A real conversation needs to be had on what would be best for the planet. If the earth is warming then perhaps that is not a bad thing when compared to the death toll, and potential wars, of another ice age.

We need to know more about what the oceans, the largest portion of the planet by far, are doing and how that will affect the weather. By some accounts oceanographers say added fresh water to the ocean from a major melt due to warming might start a global cooling trend.

We need to accept that we do affect our en tire planet, including the weather. Then we need to try to put the entire picture together without jumping to conclusions. Then we need to use our knowledge to stabilize the system so we neither have excessive warming or excessive cooling.

We will probably never be able to predict the weather with 100 percent accuracy, but we may be able to keep it from going to extremes for hundreds of years at a time, once we fully understand how to do that. It is clear we really still don’t have more than a few clues so far.

I only hope that what we have done already isn’t a time bomb waiting for the right set of conditions to set it off, as many scientists seem to think likely.

Should we stop using fossil fuel tomorrow? Even if we wanted to we can’t. Transportation depends on it, and everything depends on transportation. No one is talking about a quick way to independence from fossil fuels. In fact we are finding new ways to get them out of the ground and the seas and even rocks. We are building pipelines and muscle cars. The only sign that anyone wants to do anything about it all is treat of the dreaded CO2 tax and ever higher prices at the pumps.

Meanwhile countries are finding that wind and solar power are not a reliable alternative. Ontario’s wind power generators on any given day produce less than a tenth of their supposed capacity and less than 3 percent of total energy used.

It is also one of the main reason people here pay more for electricity than we should be by half. For goodness sake, switch to nuclear power. Let’s use nuke plants to make hydrogen for hydrogen cells and run cars and trucks and perhaps trains on that. Today’s fuel cells bond the gas to the metal and release it only when asked for. You can shoot bullets through a tank and it won’t explode. The science for these new fuel cells has been around since the 1970s but no one has pursued hydrogen in earnest.

Natural gas is another good alternative. Why? Because it produces far fewer greenhouse gasses than gasoline or fuel oil or diesel oil produces. We have known about that for many years and I predicted in the late 1970s that cars would all be running on it by now. We were developing ways to do exactly that a few years later. Why did that not happen?

Until all electric cars are affordable and can run 300 miles per charge like the Tesla can, they are never going to be main stream. People love the comfort and convenience of fossil fuels. And even so, cars do not make up the bulk of the problem.

No. Global climate change is not a hoax. But what is a hoax is the idea that we are ever going to drop fossil fuels until there are none left or someone comes up with a miracle.

So there is no doubt in my mind that we will begin to see real global climate change in the future. I think we have gone too far to turn back and fix it. The question is: how bad will it be? And will it be heating followed by radical cooling or gradual heating that could eventually run out of control?

The alternative is that you believe that the earth will always compensate for whatever we do.

I somehow doubt that. It just doesn’t seem reasonable to me.

To me, while it seems perfectly reasonable from the science to assume global climate change with a 95 percent certainty, I do not hold the same certainty that we already know exactly what is going to happen or how to fix whatever eventuality comes to fruition.

We need to sit down and really think it through before we act and find that we did exactly the wrong thing. But we will likely have to eventually act.

All I ask is that we wait until we can grow tropical plants in Canada. Level it off right there. Selfish, I know. But like I said, I don’t expect to live long enough to see it happen. All I ask is one winter without snow or ice before I die. I doubt that I will see that either. But it doesn’t mean it won’t happen someday. Would it really be that bad?

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