Monday, August 06, 2007

Fighting the Global Warming War, One Letter at a Time

For the past decade I've maintained a steady stream of letters to the Editor of our local weekly newspaper, The Independent Coast Observer (ICO), Gualala, California. Unlike my letters to the San Francisco Chronicle, almost all my letters to the ICO are printed, even though its editorial policy is to the left of the Chronicle.

My most recent letters have concerned global warming. I assert global warming is natural, and the ICO and most of its readers blame it on mankind, particularly the United States. My most recent exchange has been with a young person who just completed his first year of college. Naturally he is ready to require mankind do everything possible to save the Earth from the depredations of the United States, even if there is only scant evidence that the Earth needs saving, or that there is anything that could be done to effect a rescue.

I'm sure that the young man believes in the gospel according to Al Gore, and worships at the altar of "An Inconvenient Truth."

In my letter I first take him to task for being ignorant of all the letters I wrote while he, as a Freshman in college, was learning that he already knew everything. However, as President Reagan once famously said, I won't hold my opponent's youth and inexperience against him.

After the perfunctory salutation "Editor," my letter begins:

Mr. McMurtry, you asserted that I haven’t backed up my claims with sources. Obviously you are ignorant of the many previous letters I have written the ICO on the subject of global warming, and of the many sources I cited in those letters. Since the ICO Editor will hold me to his 300-word per letter limit, rather than the over 700 words he allowed you, please Google “Strong as an ox and nearly as smart,” my blog. There you will find over 50 articles I have posted on global warming, many of which are my letters to the ICO, each one of which has links to supporting studies.

The Harvard study was one I had cited in previous letters. Harvard researchers looked at over 240 climate studies, and determined that the Medieval Warm Period (AD 850-1350) was world wide, and was warmer than the present.

The Vostock ice core sample you mentioned showing CO2 the highest in 420,000 years was earlier cited by me because it indicated warming preceded, not followed, increased CO2 by hundreds of years.

(I had to edit out the following two paragraphs to keep under the ICO's 300-word limit per letter, but since I am the editor of my blog, I get to indulge myself and put them back in.)

Perhaps the current increased levels of CO2 are a lagging indicator of warming 800 years ago, just as a study of peat bogs indicates that CO2 reached a level similar to today about 4,700 years ago at the end of the much warmer Holocene Climate Optimum (9,000 to 5,000 ago).

Yale Professor Mark Pagani found atmospheric CO2 five times higher than present levels 45 to 34 million years ago, without any sign of prehistoric SUVs.

You mention the California drought, Western states wildfires, and Katrina as possible examples that climate change is real. However, Googling “wildfires,” “droughts,” and “hurricanes” brings up many examples that these are not new phenomena. For example, wildfires burned ten times more acreage in the 1930s than today, and housing development plus forest mismanagement including fire suppression, not climate change, are responsible for recent increased devastation.

I’ve exceeded the ICO limit before I could even briefly address half your points, which are unsupported (i.e., range of disease carrying mosquitoes) or based on computer climate models. Since these models can’t even explain weather we’ve already experienced, I question their validity as clarion calls for us to waste scarce resources in vain attempts to turn back natural forces.

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