Reader Feedback 02/06/2007

 

Here is some interesting reader feedback on our latest WWNK Special Report "Climate Change II." Due to space limitations, only a few letters can be shown here.

It is unfortunate to see you jump on the alarmist bandwagon. I am just finishing "Meltdown--The predicable distortion of global warming by scientists, politicians, and the media" by Patrick J Michaels. Please read it and do a follow-up report. The world has been warming and cooling forever and will continue to do so for a very long time after we are long gone. Have you asked yourself why scientists are all seemingly on one side of this issue? Could it be that they are all at the same public trough of money? The louder they yell "FIRE," the more money they get to research. And, of course, the media gets higher ratings... Very sad.

(Jim S.)

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Mr. Cook's article is very well done. It is nice to see some sound reasoning on this subject. It will be even better when we can be sure that solar variations that cause so much of the change in data rates can be standardized for our time period and eliminated as background noise or certified for contribution... if indeed that can be done.

In regard to petroleum emissions as a major source of CO2... with the peak oil problem coming our way... against everybody's wishes/wants/woulda-coulda-shoulda/whatever... that part of the industrial CO2 problem will be self-correcting. We will not be able to burn what we can no longer find. But will we end up with something worse based on coal... until that runs out?

Also, combining the populations of China and India would give a combo roughly 9 times the population of the U.S. With the U.S. using 25% of the world's crude oil at the present time, where will the other 450% come from when the Chinese and Indian populations achieve automotive parity? A 450% increase in worldwide capacity is a cute trick in a declining supply scenario. Or does that mean a little thing called "civilization" is going to get lost along the way? Global warming may not be the issue of concern when the lights go out and the tanks run dry. It might linger on for a while as a fond memory when home heating oil, natural gas and propane are no longer available. But hey... Franklin stoves used to work rather well. My grandparents used them. Maybe my grandchildren will, too.

(Gill E.)

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Thank you for the two insightful articles. I am a retired physicist and computer scientist, and many years ago was involved with the first European Meteorological satellite and have maintained a scientific interest in a number of fields. When the Global Warming issue hit the political stage, I was somewhat skeptical regarding both sides of the issue. As I have studied it further, I guess I would come down on the side of the first article. Climatology is a rather complicated phenomenon. We can catalog the factors that influence the climate, but their interaction is a bit harder to sort out, and this is largely because the scale needed is very long indeed, ranging from the Solar Sunspot cycle to the longest of the Milankovich cycles, orbital eccentricity, about 400,000 years.

Certainly there is a correlation between increased CO2 and temperature, but this is not proof of a causative effect, in fact, it likely is accidental. The major systematic changes in climate over the last one hundred years are largely due to solar activity, e.g. dustbowl of the '30s and subsequent cooling through the '60s. Man is responsible for about 4% of the emitted CO2, and I don't think we can accurately measure if it has an influence on our climate.

I believe there is no disagreement amongst scientists the glaciers on Greenland and Antarctica are melting at their equatorially orientated boundaries, but that the ice pack in the interior is actually increasing owing to the increased precipitation caused by the warmer climate. We also know that the climate about the time of the Vikings was warmer than it is today. You might argue that it was because winter solstice and perihelion more-or-less occurred at the same time. Today the perihelion occurs around January 4, so that is hardly significant. But what caused the cooling, which is often referred to as the mini-ice age? Likely, it was the shutdown of the Gulf stream caused by the melting of the Greenland glaciers much as is happening today. So ironically, I think you could present a plausible scientific case for global cooling, and we should alert the politicians to prepare for this!

I think my major criticism of Cook's article is that he is using short-term data for a phenomenon which occurs on a much longer scale.

(Tom L.)

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As an ex-meteorologist, I was absolutely enthralled by today's article by Brent Cook. For myself, I am absolutely convinced that the anthropogenic effect is predominant in the recognized global warming effect. I would also give little or no credence to any statement on the subject by either Mr. Harper in Canada or Mr. Bush in the USA (or any other politician, for that matter). 

Thanks very much for both articles about global warming and for the many other interesting articles which I have read on this site.

(George I.)

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In his WWNK contribution, Brent Cook asserts:

"There are three central questions we need to address; 1) are we in a period of global warming, 2) if so, is this an aberration and, 3) if it is in fact abnormal, what could be the cause?"

Not quite. There are actually five central questions we need to address; the three Brent stated, and two more. First, if we are in a period of global warming, and it is an aberration, will the Earth compensate accordingly and maintain balance on its own, and second, assuming the Earth can and will handle it, do we need to be concerned?

Brent does acknowledge this, but it is buried deep at the very end of his article, where he says:

"There is, however, insufficient information available to say for certain that we are headed for a climatic catastrophe or that the Earth cannot take care of itself."

Being a good steward of our natural resources just makes good common sense from an efficiency perspective. What bothers me, though, is the hysteria surrounding the whole global warming issue. The Earth is not "dying"... of course man is having an effect on the Earth, that is a given. But neither side of the global warming issue seems able to prove their case one way or the other.

Maybe if we stopped politicizing the issue and instead approached it from a common-sense engineering perspective, we'd not only (possibly) save the Earth but end up wealthier and healthier to boot.

(John T.)

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The question of whether or not human beings are affecting the climate is a red herring. The real question is whether or not the state is the mechanism to address this, or any, challenge to humanity?

To say that the state is a bumbling, ineffective institution when it comes to producing positive results is to underestimate its negative effects. Two instances come to mind in the throttling of nuclear plants (which would have reduced our dependency on oil and our greenhouse gas emissions) and the response to Hurricane Katrina. Why should we expect any more success in addressing climate change?

If the state is to organize the economy in order to produce alternatives to fossil fuels, we can expect a multitude of Halliburton-style fiascos in which huge amounts of tax dollars disappear into black-hole research projects that never would have been funded in a free market. After all, the bureaucrats are not spending their own money--why should they care? You might remember the Japanese MITI-sponsored "Fifth Generation Project" which was destined to destroy American supremacy in computing and wreck our economy. Whose economy is wrecked at the moment (not that I do not foresee trouble ahead as von Mises, Hayek and others predicted)?

Other examples of the negative effects of state control of the economy are reflected in current corn prices which are related to the ethanol craze, the volatile pricing of gasoline in California, the battle over the minimum wage in American Samoa, the impairment of American investment markets by Sarbanes-Oxley, the high regulatory cost of building a house, etc.

If the debate is only about whether or not policy will be determined by science, the battle is probably over. The real question is whether or not policy is ever an effective tool in achieving the goals of anyone but those whom it makes more powerful.

(Brian J.G.)





Posted 02-06-2007 4:55 PM by Doug Casey