Global Warming Agnosticism


The matter of global warming is the cause celebre of the day that perhaps reached its acme with an April “special double issue” of Time magazine that devoted itself to the premise that global warming is indeed occurring and that we - as in humanity - are its cause. 

With its “Global Warming Survival Guide,” we are breathlessly admonished to give up Big Macs, drive a Prius hybrid, and move out of our houses and into New York City apartments, for starters, among 51 similar such (we are assured) energy saving, carbon reducing measures.  But already the isolated heterodox voices daring to question the ruling postulate are gathering themselves, in small heretical enclaves, mind you, but returning salvoes nonetheless that begin to undermine the pervasive apparatus of the global warming “consensus.” 

The chief weapon of the dissenters is the very same “science” that global warmists drape themselves in so adoringly when they make statements like, “the science is all but settled.”  But it is from “science,” that we hear reasonable objections to the doctrine of global warming, the current apocalyptic faith for many in the environmental left.

We learn, for example, as reported in a recent Wall Street Journal Editorial, that 1998 was not the hottest year on record as told by NASA, but rather 1934.  Further revised data subverts another frequently heard mantra, which is that six of the ten warmest years on record have occurred not since 1990 but in the 1930s and 40s, well before the greater impact of CO2 emissions would have been felt.

What is generally agreed upon is that the surface temperature of the earth has increased by .6 degrees Celsius over the last century.  Atmospheric CO2 has increased as well from preindustrial levels of 250 parts per million volume (ppmv) to current levels of 378 ppmv.  The precise relationship between the two is not known, notwithstanding global warmist assertions that it is.

For example, data based on ice cores, show that there indeed is a link between atmospheric CO2 levels and temperature but not the one global warmists avow, in fact, just the opposite.  Global warmists hold that as atmospheric CO2 increases (a result, they believe, of CO2 emissions released by the burning of fossil fuels) so too does temperature, but the data shows that temperature increases actually precede rising CO2 levels, sometimes by thousands of years.  It is the higher temperatures then that may increase CO2 levels by triggering the release of CO2 into the atmosphere from activated microbes in the oceans and permafrost.

There has also been much political hay made by environmentalists out of the upswing in major Atlantic hurricanes affecting the US since 1995, citing increased man made green house gases as the source; none of this, however, is supported by long term observation of Atlantic data.  While there may have been an increase in hurricane activity over the last 12 years, William Gray, an atmosphere scientist, informs us that there have actually been 44% more major land falling hurricanes in the US in the forty year period of 1925-1965 preceding the more recent one of 1966-2006. 

Global warming alarmists also rely heavily not on observed data but computer models of climate change that are notoriously inaccurate.  Such models miscalculate cloud cover, weather changes, the effects of green house gases, volcanoes, aerosols, and ocean currents, yet it is precisely such flawed models that global warmists depend on for their end time visions.

Global warming activists have been wrong elsewhere.  Oceans have cooled since 2003 not warmed as anticipated.  Cooler ocean temperatures do not support the global warmist contention that rising temperatures are behind the recent upsurge in hurricane activity.  Computer models predicted that global temperatures were supposed to have risen in recent years but the US National Data Center reports that in 2006 the world temperature was only .03 degrees warmer than 2001, statistically insignificant.

More galling, perhaps, is the use of the phrase “deniers” by alarmists for those who have not accepted the global warming faith, placing them on a moral plane with Holocaust deniers.  The analogy is of course sinister and false.  The Holocaust resulted in the death of six million Jews; global warming has killed no one.

Even worse though, are the hubristic “solutions” called for by activists to reverse global warming, as if we mere mortals could control the temperature of the planet.

If, for example, the entire world followed religiously the Kyoto Protocol until 2050, it would reduce global warming not an iota, but at a staggering economic cost.

What should be apparent to the dispassionate observer is that global climate change is a complicated, non-linear, and unpredictable phenomenon that defies simplistic monocausal explanations.  There are a host of unknown variables affecting climate any of which  may be far more significant than green house gases; these include solar activity, cosmic rays, cyclical changes in the earth's spin, tilt or orbit, volcanic activity, cloud cover, ocean currents, and others.  Greenhouse gases are but one small piece of a complex puzzle. 

It should also be recognized that climate change is not an aberration but an ongoing, natural, and probably cyclical process; it can also be chaotic.  Its etiology is multifaceted and not well understood, and there is no single all purpose cause; nor is there an “ideal” global climate to be sought after and maintained.  The pursuit of one is not just illusory and unproductive; it is costly and perhaps dangerous.


  • Nick Johnson

    October 31, 2007

    My theory is that the oceans have cooled due to the mass melting of glacial ice. Glacier melting is undeniable.

    The massive amounts of cold water has temporarily cooled the ocean temperatures. But what happens when there are no glaciers to melt and the oceans start heating up again? The glacial ice is not there to buffer the ocean temperature. Something to think about.

  • rmoss

    November 3, 2007

    i have not heard that theory. ocean fluctuations in temp are based on various factors. they include thermohaline circulation, global temperatures, atmospheric conditions, amo (atlantic multidecadal oscillation). the temp of oceans and atmosphere higher in 30s and 40s. temp in europe much higher a thousand years ago. we've had temp fluctuations throughout time. we've had ice ages and ice thaws. well before co2 emissions would have had any impact. the next questions is what will you do about it? there is nothing man can do that will alter the temp of the planet, we're just not that powerful or great. human ingenuity is our greatest resource. i trust that much more than govt regs, taxes, mandates, cap and trade, and various harebrained, costly, and ineffective plans that will damage our economy and prevent real solutions for cleaner fuels from appearing.

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