May 15, 2011

POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY: The Death of Anthropogenic Global Warming

I’ve noticed recently that no one in America is talking about global warming – Anthropogenic (literally: anthropo = man [as in anthropology]; genic = produce, beget, be born [as in Genesis]) or Cyclical (literally: circular [implying “it happens regularly”]).

Most likely, it’s become too hot a topic that some members of the scientific community have shifted from making sweeping generalizations to more generic, safer sound bytes that are harder to argue with, ie – “climate change”.

There is of course, a more sinister possibility. It may be that the AGWs (proponents of Anthropogenic Global Warming) have fallen into mild disarray and with the membership creating documents that contradict the party line and no way to reign them back in, have fallen back to a more tenable position claiming, “The climate is changing” rather than the more headline-grabbing “Humanity has changed the global climate and we’re headed for disaster unless we do something about it right now!”

I have been corrected by no less than five people after saying something about “global warming”! More than one of them then added, “It’s called ‘climate change’ now, Dad.”

My prediction is that the phrase “global warming” will now disappear, as did the 1950’s phrase “global cooling”. With the full knowledge that Wikipedia is at best a gateway tool, I am going to take my quotes and information for all three phrases (adding “climate change”) from their corresponding Wiki articles (see references below).

According to the article on global cooling, that whole thing came about because people were stupid, misinformed and gullible. (“…gained temporary popular attention due to a combination of press reports that did not accurately reflect the scientific understanding of ice age cycles, and a slight downward trend of temperatures from the 1940s to the early 1970s.” and “…the popular press the possibility of cooling was reported generally without the caveats present in the scientific reports.”). It was them media’s fault and had NOTHING to do with scientists of any stripe and even if it did, they were stupid, too and didn’t know what they were talking about” (… the knowledge necessary for understanding the mechanism of climate change is still lamentably inadequate," and “Before such questions as these can be resolved, major advances must be made in understanding the chemistry and physics of the atmosphere and oceans, and in measuring and tracing particulates through the system.”)

Fortunately, in the intervening forty years (ignore the fact that AGW was proposed in the early 00’s and the final death wheezes of global cooling were in the late 70’s making it a mere 20 years later…), science has made stupendous advances and can now speak with a complete understanding and a perfectly united voice because the evidence for global warming is incontrovertible, inarguable and without dissent (by ALL the smart people on the planet; ie, there are no smart people in the US): “The scientific consensus is that global warming is occurring and is mostly the result of human activity. This finding is recognized by the national science academies of all the major industrialized countries and is not rejected by any scientific body of national or international standing. According to a recent Gallup poll, people in most countries are more likely to attribute global warming to human activities than to natural causes. The major exception is the U.S., where nearly half of the population (the largest percentage of any country) attributes global warming to natural causes.”

Dumb Americans; it’s probably just like that metric system thing – all we measure in metric units is bottle of soda. Oh, and medication. And car and bike tools. And track meets. (Meh – we’ll get there.) We don’t know nothin’! Except for our scientists, who are the best on the planet. According to Wikipedia at least, the only people who matter on Earth (I wonder if most of them still use the Mercator Projection world map, too) are EuroAmericans: “Over a third of the world's population was unaware of global warming, with people in developing countries less aware than those in developed, and those in Africa the least aware. Of those aware, Latin America leads in belief that temperature changes are a result of human activities while Africa, parts of Asia and the Middle East, and a few countries from the Former Soviet Union lead in the opposite belief. In the Western world, opinions over the concept and the appropriate responses are divided…‘results show the different stages of engagement about global warming on each side of the Atlantic’, adding, ‘The debate in Europe is about what action needs to be taken, while many in the U.S. still debate whether climate change is happening.’”

You know, aside from the fact that the two statements above contradict each other (that’s Wiki for ya), this whole event is starting to become clear to me…

The new catchphrase, “climate change” has its own Wiki, too: “Climate change is a long-term change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in the average weather conditions, or in a change of the distribution of events around that average (e.g., more or fewer extreme weather events). Climate change may be limited to a specific region, or may occur across the whole Earth.” (Ten years seems an awfully SHORT amount of time from which to draw conclusions of climate change. To me, “climate” implied a long-term, Human-lifetime-unchanging kind of thing.)

By definition, climate is the “general or average weather conditions of a certain region, including temperature, rainfall, and wind. On Earth, climate is most affected by latitude, the tilt of the Earth’s axis, the movements of Earth’s wind belts, the difference in temperatures of land and sea, and topography. Human activity, especially relating to actions relating to the depletion of the ozone layer, is also an important factor.”

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved. (I sorta wonder if that last sentence was in the 1995 edition of the Dictionary. It seems somewhat klunky to have been around very long.)

My point in all of the above is that I think the new god of Anthropogenic Global Warming is dying and the ranks of its accompanying priesthood who have been propping up their new version of Humanity Is God (in my MARTIAN HOLIDAY stories, I’ve given it the name United Faith in Humanity) are finding their believers converting to other religions in droves.

I believe that the climate is changing. Nothing on Earth is eternal, of COURSE it’s changing – the where and why are coming clear and certainly Humans contribute to the change.

But the incredible hubris of a scientific community that first believes that the same community twenty, thirty or forty years ago had no idea what was going on – and that the current community has got it all nailed down and tight – is stunningly egocentric and myopic. “While much remains to be learned, the core phenomenon, scientific questions, and hypotheses have been examined thoroughly and have stood firm in the face of serious scientific debate and careful evaluation of alternative explanations,” [United States National Research Council].

I believe the scientific community of Alfred Wegener’s time said much the same thing about continental drift…




Jeff said...

Sooner or late people will realize that it makes lots more sense to pour $$$ into what we're actually concerned about -- sudden bouts of really bad weather. For instance, how often do "500 year floods" really happen? This era is the best we've ever had for monitoring the physics and effects of natural disasters as they happen and nothing in the AGW-cultists canon is relevant to it.

The Coffeehouse Storeroom said...

When it comes from phasing "Global Warming" to the new edition of "Climate Change" it has to do with actual diction.
With global warming, people back in '06 and before people would say, "Look at all this rain and snow, it's been colder than ever. So much for global warming."

But the actual effects of the current "climate change" do not stay restricted to warming climate. It includes any drastic change in weather patterns.

And then, about climate change: (or global warming or Al Gore Apocalypticism Syndrome or whatever you wish to call it) the earth always changes with its weather patterns. But when you pump toxins straight into every facet of the environment, well, you can't expect daisies and pretty pink birds to appear every where.

And especially when people start to see changing patterns right after the reign of Queen Victoria and the 1900s, well, hint hint, you just got on the industrious road to poisoning your planet.

It's a little like setting fires in your house, when you know you can't buy a new one. And while there's always Mars and Benjamen Driscoll (if you can understand that reference I applaud you) we don't have that option at our fingertips.

GuyStewart said...

I'd be happy to plant a few trees if it would bump up the planetary O2 levels -- but it might be more effective if I scooped up algae and flung it about area lakes. As to the rest -- I agree. We've been horrendous stewards and the Church is only now catching on. What sometimes gives me pause is that while scientists typically point fingers at the Right and accuse them of promoting climate change and pollution, it was science run rampant that created and marketed DDT, thalidomide, PCBs, CFCs and all the other alphabet soups that contribute to the problem of erratic climate fluctuations. The biggest culprit however is STILL CO2 (plus methane), and while Humanity does its part to contribute to an overabundance of the gas -- it does so because of science morphed into technology. I'd like to see more fingers working and fewer fingers pointing -- from "both sides" (has anyone ever noted that when it comes to intelligent life on Earth (NO SARCASTIC COMMENTS HERE!) there is only ONE side...