Thursday, July 13, 2006
Review Of Global Warming, What You Need To Know
Positive trends in Global Warming
I just reviewed Global Warming, What You Need To Know, narrated by Tom Brokaw, which will premier on the Discovery Channel July 16 at 8 PM. Although the subtitle, What You Need To Know, sounded intriguing, I soon determined what they meant is that I need to know that Global Warming is man made, and that in some vague way some or maybe all of us can solve the problem, or maybe not.
I not only did a review, I did a pre-review I titled Chilling Out Global Warming Hype.
This "Global Warming is man made" sermon was backed by a Mormon Tabernacle-sized choir of scientists, but was remarkably unscientific. Not a scientist, not an argument, was presented that challenged the conclusion that Global Warming is man made, and will have catastrophic impacts on most of the Earth’s life forms - except noxious insects, who will thrive and add to the bedevilment of the unfortunate survivors. Over and over again, scientific observations were presented, and then catastrophe was predicted. Many of the scientists presented what was basically anecdotal evidence, since their observations seemed confined to what they personally observed during the past two or three decades of their work experiences.
The whole effort reminded me of the saying, “When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” In the absence of dissenting opinion, scientific incest was committed repeatedly. Polar bears were examined, and recent observations showed their average body weight was down about fifteen percent from other observations made in the past twenty years. Global Warming has reduced the amount of sea ice earlier in recent years, making it more difficult for the polar bear to fatten up on seals. Interestingly, in the 1930's there was another period of vastly reduced sea ice in the Arctic, and enough polar bears survived to be imperiled today. The polar bear scientist “cherry picked” the time period, leaving the impression that all was a polar bear paradise before mankind got around to screwing it up.
Much was made of the fact that the global temperature increased one degree Fahrenheit in the past hundred years, but the fact wasn’t disclosed that most of that increase occurred in the first half of the 100 years. The emphasis on anecdotes and recent observations obscured the fluctuations which have occurred even in this century, let alone in the past 1,000 years. The Medieval Warm Period of roughly 1,000 years ago was not mentioned, probably because it is an Inconvenient Truth that it was as warm then as now without the benefit of the internal combustion engine. Then the subsequent Little Ice Age was overlooked, which actually set the stage for our current discussion of the climate warming. Of course it’s warming, or we would still be freezing our butts off!
One of the showcased scientists for man-made Global Warming was James Hansen of NASA. What he didn’t say in the documentary was more interesting than what he said. In an article NASA Extinguishes Global-Warming Fire, By Patrick Michaels, The Cato Institute:
“NASA's James Hansen now predicts precisely the same, small amount of warming in the next 50 years that the much-derided "climate skeptics" predicted all along. According to both the skeptics and Mr. Hansen, the planet is destined for a mere 0.7 degree Centigrade (1.25 degree Fahrenheit) warming between now and 2050. It's a good thing "W" listened to those skeptics before he decided on Kyoto. If he had waited for NASA, he might have committed the United States down the road to an unwarranted economic disaster for no good reason.”
That part of Dr. Hansen’s predictions somehow didn’t find a place in the documentary. This presentation technique is known as “lying by omission.” “Cherry picking the facts.” “Cheating.” I am not a scientist, but I’m sure it is not known as good science. It’s the sort of thing I would expect from a used-car salesman selling damaged goods.
More questionable “scientific” testimony abounded. An Amazon rain forest specialist noted that 2005 was the driest year he had seen in twenty years. I think that would be analogous to a scientist in Oklahoma saying 2005 was the driest year he had seen in twenty years, without mentioning he hadn’t been born in time to observe the Dust Bowl years.
An Australian ranger noted that it was hot in Australia – many fires, nasty drought – yet he didn’t tell us what Australia was like in earlier epochs. Are we to believe that what we observe in our lifetimes is the sum of knowledge?
In February 2006 an island in the South Pacific experienced the highest tide the inhabitants had ever seen. I wonder what high tides their ancestors experienced? Apparently, this vignette was to illustrate that oceans are rising because of Global Warming, although: “No mention was made of the fact that sea level has been rising at a rate of 1.8 mm per year for the past 8,000 years; the IPCC (United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) notes that ‘No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected.’” Click on the link to see my previous advice to Al Gore that the rising sea levels "Ain't No Big Thing."
The repeated melodramatic special effects of flooded cityscapes – New York City landmarks, London submerged, an island village under water – demonstrated how desperately Global Warming was being oversold. Over and over again, what was presented as “what could be,” morphed into “what would be,” with no regard for other possibilities.
El Niño was presented as a growing menace, even though recent observations indicate that La Niña appears to have the upper hand at the moment. This fact contradicts the Global Warming position that Pacific Ocean heating is out of control.
Hurricane Katrina, of course, was highlighted, although the fact it was a piddling Category 3 hurricane – no big thing – when it hit New Orleans was not mentioned, nor was the fact that poorly constructed levees broke under a force they were designed to withstand. I thought that scientific ethics would have demanded that the multi-decadal hurricane cycle – hurricanes wax and wane in a cycle that stretches over decades – would be mentioned, but it apparently was not a Convenient Truth for the proponents of man-made Global Warming.
The entire “documentary” can be summed up with one word, “dishonest,” but that doesn’t do justice to the presentation. After trading on emotion laden phrases such as man-made Global Warming is an “irreversible problem,” we are at or past the “point of no return” for our climate, “coastal civilization will disappear,” “half of the species will be extinct in fifty years,” we are relieved to find that, miraculously, solving man-made Global Warming is not that hard after all.
“We have the technologies now,” to “come in for a soft landing, not a crash landing.” We can drive hybrid cars, take mass transit (if you live in New York), replace an incandescent light with a fluorescent bulb, and pretend that over two billion Chinese and Indians aren’t industrializing full speed ahead. That’s right, pretty soon they will be consuming fuels to produce energy for their needs just like we have been, only there will be eight of them for each of us, and they won’t have an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to mess up their rapid industrialization.
That’s right. America can solve man-made Global Warming simply by turning our economy back to the Stone Age – too much greenhouse gases produced by horses to just go back to the horse and buggy days – which will retard the growth of the Chinese and Indian economies so much that they will be pushed back into a pre-industrial state too.
Or maybe we can all get the energy we need to support a modern life style from wind and solar farms, plus from all the other alternative methods of producing power. However, anyone with a grasp of the enormity of future world energy needs knows that all of the “clean” technologies are actually very polluting in their own way and are totally inadequate to meet demand.
Of course, nuclear power could and would get the job done, but the same illogic that drives scientists to embrace man-made Global Warming also prevents them from mentioning that nuclear is the only viable alternative to the world’s “clean, non-polluting” power needs.
If you watch Global Warming, What You Need To Know, please pay close attention to what is not presented. Science is full of Inconvenient Truths on both sides of the Global Warming issue.
For more of my comments on Global Warming, please go to Bring On Global Warming! and The Four Whorsemen Of Global Warming. But only go to my earlier posts if you really want a fair and balanced look at Global Warming. They are full of the Inconvenient Truths that Al Gore and the "Global Warming is man made" preachers don't talk about.
The reviews below are linked to indicate that I'm not a lonely voice in the wilderness - although being one is usually a good way of being right.
Brokaw Warns..... Bloomberg.com
Senate Committee: Brokaw's Global Warming Special is Biased (Be sure to click on the "Update" link at the bottom)
Senate Majority Press Release
"What You Need to Know" About Brokaw's Global Warming Special
'Global Warming' TV Special 'Misleads Public,' Scientist Says
See the Truth on climate history
Misled again: The Hockey Stick climate
Robert Samuelson knows that if Global Warming is a potential calamity, the only way to minimize it (probably can't stop it) is through engineering, not political moralizing.
To possibly learn, and perhaps even understand, the "Greenhouse Effect," don't go to Al Gore or Tom Brokaw, go to Junkscience.com. Damn, they're good!
"These days, people get bashed over the head with the idea that there is a consensus, and anybody who speaks out against the so-called consensus is a contrarian or a tool of the oil industry or an otherwise morally suspect person." (Iain Murray, a senior fellow specializing in global climate change and environmental science at the free market-based Competitive Enterprise Institute)
Al Gore, Tom Brokaw, and other enthusiasts of man-made Global Warming are fond of citing a "consensus" of scientific opinion supporting their position. However, the study they are most enamored of by Naomi Oreskes has more holes in it than Howard Dean's emotional stability.