Monday, February 26, 2007

I'm no scientist, but I am human and I'm tired of being made to feel less that human for living a modest (in terms of energy consumption) life by those who chose to spend their time jet setting around the planet and building two or three homes. So, they chose to drive a Prius to the Oscar's, they could have chosen public transportation. That would have made a statement.
I am not thoroughly convinced that global warming is as big an issue as as it's being made to seem by the media and politicians, and from what research I've done on the subject, the scientific community seems to be just as split. This article by George F. Will brings up some interesting points regarding global warming, the use of renewable energy, and the Kyoto Protocol.
I also found this article from JunkScience.com interesting. If you don't want to read all the scientific mumbo jumbo, here's a brief excerpt.
"So, humans aren't affecting the planet or its temperature.

Whoa! We didn't say that at all. This discussion is on greenhouse effect and possible enhanced greenhouse, but that's a long way from anthropogenic effect in total. Whether or not they really affect global mean temperature, human endeavors have significant local effects. The heat island effect mentioned above or the local effect of increased water vapor from large scale irrigation schemes would be good examples. Then there's land use change which can be variable depending on latitude -- replacing dark forest with wheat fields might significantly affect local albedo and cooling one region while denying shade in a more heavily irradiated region might cause ground heating through increased absorption. There are many effects in a hugely complex system, some will be negative, some positive and all represent change, although that is neither good nor bad in and of itself. That humans affect the region of their activities is true -- that enhanced greenhouse from human activity is known to be a current or imminent catastrophe is not. And this document is only dealing with greenhouse effect and "global warming."
What are the take-home messages:

* The temperature effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide is logarithmic, not exponential.
* The potential planetary warming from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide from pre-Industrial Revolution levels of ~280ppmv to 560ppmv (possible some time later this century - perhaps) is generally estimated at less than 1 °C.
* The guesses of significantly larger warming are dependent on "feedback" (supplementary) mechanisms programmed into climate models. The existence of these "feedback" mechanisms is uncertain and the cumulative sign of which is unknown (they may add to warming from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide or, equally likely, might suppress it).
* The total warming since measurements have been attempted is thought to be about 0.6 degrees Centigrade. At least half of the estimated temperature increment occurred before 1950, prior to significant change in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Assuming the unlikely case that all the natural drivers of planetary temperature change ceased to operate at the time of measured atmospheric change then a 30% increment in atmospheric carbon dioxide caused about one-third of one degree temperature increment since and thus provides empirical support for less than one degree increment due to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
* There is no linear relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide change and global mean temperature or global mean temperature trend -- global mean temperature has both risen and fallen during the period atmospheric carbon dioxide has been rising.
* The natural world has tolerated greater than one-degree fluctuations in mean temperature during the relatively recent past and thus current changes are within the range of natural variation. (See, for example, ice core and sea surface temperature reconstructions.)
* Other anthropogenic effects are vastly more important, at least on local and regional scales.
* Fixation on atmospheric carbon dioxide is a distraction from these more important anthropogenic effects.
* Despite attempts to label atmospheric carbon dioxide a "pollutant" it is, in fact, an essential trace gas, the increasing abundance of which is a bonus for the bulk of the biosphere.
* There is no reason to believe that slightly lower temperatures are somehow preferable to slightly higher temperatures - there is no known "optimal" nor any known means of knowingly and predictably adjusting some sort of planetary thermostat.
* Fluctuations in atmospheric carbon dioxide are of little relevance in the short to medium term (although should levels fall too low it could prove problematic in the longer-term).
* Activists and zealots constantly shrilling over atmospheric carbon dioxide are misdirecting attention and effort from real and potentially addressable local, regional and planetary problems."

As I said in the beginning of this post, I'm not scientist, but neither is Al Gore and he just won an Oscar for his documentary on the issue.

7 comments:

Kristen said...

Interesting stuff, thanks, Sandra.

Aola said...

On my computer,your blog is all messed up... does it look that way to everyone or is it just mine??

Sandra said...

It looks normal on my laptop and my home computer. What does it look like to you ?

Aola said...

on my computer everything is over on the sidebar with a huge blank space where the body should be... weird??

Becky said...

great post. totally agree with you. I'm not sure we've tracking the cycles of the earth long enough to know what the heck is going on, but I'm not a scientist either -- oh, and I don't think we're that important.

cv said...

I hear you.

I live in a used double-wide mobile home.
Not because I HAVE to.
I CHOOSE to.
I want to live beneath my means so I don't have to sweat every paycheck.

I know you are talking about global warming and the environment, but I am talking about the same essential thing: Why do we think we have to have EVERY THING?

I don't need a new wardrobe every 6 months. The majority of my disposable spending goest to stupid stuff like going out to eat or to DVD purchases.

I don't need a $300,000 house. My 29,000 mobile home keeps my head just as dry.

I don't need new cars, a coach purse, ralph loren anything, or a trip to Bermuda or wherever to see where they buried that pill-popping freakshow in heels.

What ever happened to living a simple life where you could afford to pay your bills and still save a little money every month?

Aola said...

WoW - love the new look, very nice!!