Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Global Warming or Not Global Warming

That is the question. In a sense, the answer is obvious: of course it is warmer now than a couple centuries ago. It's been a long time since the Potomac or the brackish canals in Holland have frozen. To which I reply, "So big fucking deal? What else do you expect coming out of a period called The Little Ice Age?" I sure as hell hope it's getting warmer, because I'd rather not go through another 1800 And Froze To Death phase.

The next question is whether humans are causing the warming. There are more unknowns than knowns on this question, but there are several lines of reasoning that would argue that we have little if any long-term impact on climate. First, the climate of earth has been both much warmer and much colder than it is today. It has also shifted from one to the other, repeatedly, sometimes over very short periods of time. All this happened millions of years before humans walked the face of the earth, so I find it hard to believe we had anything to do with it. Second, the current warming on earth is paralleled on Mars and Jupiter as well. If someone can explain how my SUV is causing Martian warming, I will happily eat a pound of dog shit. Third, natural events easily dwarf human activity. Mount Pinatubo put more carbon dioxide, water vapor, sulfur dioxide, and soot into the atmosphere in a matter of weeks than all human activity over the last 100 years. Bottom line: humans are puny, and our affect on the atmosphere is puny as well.

All that aside, the latest prediction is that a couple degrees C increase in global average temperature is supposed to raise the oceans 21 feet. If the global warmers want to convince me that they have a fucking clue what they are talking about, then please explain why ocean levels were not 20 feet higher 1,000 years ago when the global average temperature was far warmer than even the worst-case global warming scenarios being put forward today? So warm, in fact, that Greenland was growing grapes on land now buried under glaciers.

All this was brought on by yet-another global warming conversation over on Jerry Pournelle's site that starts here, and continues here.


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