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Global Warming – We Didn’t Cause It

My Dad is a voracious reader.  Every afternoon he sits in his chair and reads all kinds of books.  It’s a huge benefit for me because I have an endless supply of free second-hand books and I get an intelligent review of the content before I start reading.  Sometimes he’s so impressed by a book that he sends out an email telling everyone why we should read it.  When he’s really moved by a book, he’ll order it and it will magically appear on my doorstep whether I have any interest in reading it or not.

Dad’s most recent book-related email was about Ian Plimer’s book, Heaven and Earth.  It’s a complicated text about climate change and global warming.  In a nutshell, the planet has been in existence for 4.6 billion years.  During that time, it’s gone through all types of climate changes.  Humans have only been around for the last 200,000 years.  For the non-math types, that’s only 0.004% of the history of Earth.

This past week I went to a great seminar with Ryan Kretschmer and Chester Klotz, transactional attorneys from Squire Sanders and Dempsey.   They shared the process of getting approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a company to make an initial public offering (IPO).  One of the questions a company has to answer is its effect on global warming and vice versa.  My first thought was, “What if the company doesn’t buy into the global warming hoopla?”

A company can have an effect on its surrounding community by creating dust, pollution, and noise, but, according to Plimer, human behavior has little impact on the global environment.  Here are some of the highlights from his book:

  • The Earth’s climate has always changed with cycles of warming and cooling long before humans appeared on Earth. Numerous overlapping cycles range from 143 million years to 11.1 years.  These cycles can be greatly affected by sporadic unpredictable processes such as volcanoes.
  • Measured global warming in the modern world has been insignificant in comparison with these natural cycles.
  • Contrary to nearly two dozen different computer models, temperature has not increased in the last decade despite accelerated input of CO2 into the atmosphere by human activities.
  • Dangerous warming is not occurring on the planet.
  • Thermometer and other measurements do not indicate that the planet is warming.
  • Human emissions of CO2 have not created a rise in sea level.
  • The oceans will not become acidic.
  • The speed and amount of modern climate changes are not unprecedented.

Apparently, one company said in its application to the SEC that global warming could affect it if the polar ice caps melt enough, the oceans would flood their coastal facilities.

Seriously?

Entire industries have been built around the concept of “going green.”  If Plimer is right, it’s all a gimmick to get us to spend more on hybrid cars, solar panels, and recycled toilet paper.  Al Gore won a Nobel Prize for preying on the fears of the impressionable public.

Some would say, not only did Gore win the Nobel Prize based on bad science, but he’s making tons of money with has cap and trade scams.  Maybe we can stop the wasteful spending to limit CO2 emissions and use the money to give increased economic opportunity to countries that are not as wealthy as the United States.

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4 Comments

  1. Global warming or no we need to be smarter about how we use our finite resources. Constantly overconsuming and throwing things away, polluting, etc all have negative impacts on our environment that cause harm with or without a larger global warming trend. I don’t care if you don’t believe in global warming – it just bothers me when that stance is used as an excuse to call off all efforts to reign in or mitigate our impact. For example – landfills and disposal of high-tech items in China are still HUGE issues so “going green” by using recyclable materials (and then actually recycling them) is not a gimmick – it’s a valid response to trying to address a large global problem that exists whether or not you believe in global warming.

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Thanks for your comment Katie! It bothers me so much when I’m somewhere that doesn’t recycle. I’ve heard that for some buildings and communities it’s cost-prohibitive to participate in recycling.

      I heard back in the depression era we were a lot less wasteful. They actually had to have commercials that encouraged housewives to use disposable products like paper napkins and paper towels instead of using cloth.

  2. M C says:

    Point 1 – This shows that large amounts of particulate matter comprised of carbon and sulfur can affect the global atmosphere.

    This actually supports the science behind global warming, instead of challenging it. The EPA likes to make this point as well.

    Point 2 – It’s hard to relate modern temperatures to anything after 900AD, so you can’t reliably say they are significant or insignificant.

    *Very little confidence can be assigned to estimates of hemisphere average or global average temperature prior to A.D. 900 due to limited data coverage and challenges in analyzing older data.

    “human activities now emit 150 times as much CO2 as volcanoes (whose emissions are relatively modest compared to some earlier times).”

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/pastcc.html

    Point 3 – Actually, temperatures have increased and it’s very easily shown.

    *There is a high level of confidence that the global average temperature during the last few decades was warmer than any comparable period during the last 400 years.

    *Present evidence suggests that temperatures at many, but not all, individual locations were higher during the past 25 years than any period of comparable length since A.D. 900. However, uncertainties associated with this statement increase substantially backward in time.

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/pastcc.html

    Point 4 – I suppose it depends on what you consider dangerous. If you look at what has allowed human kind to establish stable governments, governments that promote law (and lawyers), it’s no wonder that they developed under a stable climate where weather was consistent, crops could be raised for the masses, and anomalous geological and atmospheric events were few and far between.

    “It is probably no accident that agriculture, cities, and civilization itself arose during this extended time of climate quiescence.”

    http://est.sandia.gov/earth/docs/National_Security_and_Climate_Instability.pdf

    Point 5 – Again, just factually incorrect. See my comments on point 3.

    Point 6 – Factually incorrect. Tell anyone in Indonesia that the sea is not rising and they will tell you otherwise. In fact, some territorial disputes were recently resolved because entire islands are now underwater.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123733017
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125088371

    Why hasn’t it risen more? That’s because the ice that has melted to date has been already floating in water. When you melt ice in a glass, the water level doesn’t rise. It’s only when you have ice that is not already submerged in water melt, that you will see sea levels rise.

    No links for basic physics you can observe in your house.

    Point 7 – Factually incorrect. Oceans are measurably more acidic now than they have been historically.

    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20080522_oceanacid.html

    Point 8 – I guess it depends on your definition of unprecedented. Certainly as linked to earlier, it’s hard to even make those kind of qualified statements when you can’t get accurate data on the rate of change prior to 900 AD.

    However, when you’re talking about the speed by which a single animal species has changed the global climate, then this is unprecedented. No other animal has done this in so short a period. We have to go back to single celled organisms introducing oxygen to the atmosphere, and that took eons.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2606772/

    1. Ruthie says:

      Myles: This is a crazy topic with lots of conflicting studies. I only gave a brief summary of a 500+ page book. I would love if you read it and let me know what you think.