Global Warming Facts

Human activities may have little or nothing to do with global warming. Scientists in this article refute human activities as explaining recent warming, and offer that we find ourselves in the inevitable temperature upswing as part of a recurring 1,500 year cycle. Other atricles (1 and 2) presents scientists who point to a warming sun as warming not just the earth, but also on other planets.

In any case, I favor "smart designs", which yield the most benefit for the lowest costs of time, energy, and material... though of course I oppose governments mandating this.


Nadir said...

"Mr Avery, who was in London yesterday, said: 'If this were a CO2 driven warming it should have started in 1940 and risen strongly from there. In fact warming started in 1850 and rose sharply until 1940 then decreased for 35 years.'"

The Industrial Revolution started in the 1830s and 1840s, so some manmade activity could possibly be blamed for a warming trend that started in 1850.

But I agree that the earth goes through natural climate shifts. Human activity, however, is contributing to the warming trends.

We must remember that humans aren't separate from the earth. We are a part of it. We are literally like fish swimming in the atmosphere. The air we breathe in and out surrounds us. The emissions from our cars become a part of that air. Particulates rise and contribute to the warming of the earth. To ignore these factors is to ignore basic science.

But yeah, the earth warms and cools in cycles just like it rotates around the sun on an axis. This is the way of the universe. We're just making it happen to a greater degree. .2 degrees may not be much in a thermometer in your child's mouth, but over the entire planet it is a considerable percentage.

Paul Hue said...

Nobody ignores the facts that you cite, Nadir (our car emissions become part of the air that we breath), but some do dispute your claim that "human activity is contributing to the warming trends", which by the way does not qualify as a fact. I am unsure either way.

I believe that humans in the leading edges of civilization are improving the earth, and more importantly improving the conditions of humans living there.

Tom Philpott said...

The source for that article is a book by Fred Singer and Dennis Avery.
Are there any scientists not on the Big Oil payroll who seriously doubt that human activity affects warming trends? Maybe, but Singer is not among them. Before taking up Big Oil's climate agenda, Singer was on the Big Tobacco payroll denying links between industrial cigarettes and cancer.

As for Avery, please. First, he's not a scientist, but an economist, who from a perch at the Hudson Institute gets paid by Archer Daniels Midland and other model corporate citizens to launch polemics against organic agriculture. His ignominious screed Saving the Planet with Plastics and Pesticides is taken seriously by no one but the companies whose interest it champions.

For an amusing exchange between me and his son and co-author Alex Avery, also a Hudson flack, who ludicrously tried to link the recent spinach e. coli outbreak with organic farming, go here. Note: there's a typo in the last line of my response to Alex's response, which you'll find if you scroll down a bit. It should read: "By the way, how's [Avery's Hudson Institute colleague] Michael Fumento doing? Still making that Monsanto cash fall out of the sky?"

Taken together, Singer and Avery form a rather feeble opposition to the broad scientific consensus claiming the huge surge in carbon emissions over the last 150 years is causing the climate to warm.

Paul Hue said...

Tom: If you will dismiss all the scientists taking oil money, then you must also dismiss all the scientists taking govt money unavailable to global warming dissidents. What does that leave us with? I don't know; I don't know of a few scientist certified outside of either realm. Do you?

But of course I have an entirely different view of corporations than you. Even when it comes to cigarette manufacturers: I reached my own conclusion that cigarettes undermined health. But I figure that those companies give their customers what those customers want. Even with a few industry-paid scientists claiming no health problems, I can't sympathize with any consumers who used those products and then wanted to sue over lung cancer.

You also have a different view of governments than me. You believe that governments should solve peoples' problems, whether that be education or meals, clean air or protection from unhealthful products. It's not enough that I decide not to smoke, or not to dine where others smoke, you want government agencies to spend our tax dollars forbidding anybody from smoking around us, and to destroy companies that sell cigarettes.

I demur.

Which leads us to these questions:

1. Is the earth warming?
2. If so, what is causing it?

I am open to any answer, but suspect that you and Nadir are not. I am not absolutely certain that human activity has had zero, or even little, affect on temperature trends. But I do believe that many people who do believe so have created a socio-political climate that stifles debate on this subject.

In any case, I strongly advocate intelligent design of buildings, roads, devices, and cars that maximize output and minimize material, fuel, and waste, though within the realm of persuasion, not cohesion. In general, I believe that the advance of civilization has improved the world, and expect this trend to continue

Nadir said...

"The advance of civilization" doesn't have to include actions that threaten the health of the ecosystem or of the human beings, animals and plants that comprise a part of it.

The author of this article indicated that human activity does have an effect on global warming.

Government scientists in the USGS have determined that the earth is warming. Evidence from most quarters proves this. Is it a natural occurance? Probably. But human activity also affects the temperature of the planet. The science is pretty strong here, from scientists all over the world. The melting of polar ice caps provides some clue of this as well.

Tom Philpott said...

I'm a bit confused here. The Bush admin subscribes to the Singer/Avery thesis; government scientists who have warned about the impact of human action on global warming have been repudiated by the admin.

The scientific consensus around climate change has formed in spite of, not with the support of, the U.S. government.

Paul Hue said...

Tom: The highest levels of the executive branch doubt the global warming by people model. However, funding comes from congress ultimately, and the NIH and all elite research universities are dominated by people committed to environmentalism-at-all-costs philosophy. Good luck to any scientist openly doubtful of the Al Gore view getting tenure, or even hired. As best I can tell, the professors expressing doubt all have tenure, whereas any profs and grad students are free to openly cheer Al Gore and lambaste companies producing petro or SUVs.

You may find examples of Bushies penalizing scientists with your view, or suppressing their work; I am not sure of such charges, but I am aware that some have claimed this. I oppose any such actions, from either side. I seek truly free speech, where competing views get challenged and respected.

But the same does certainly happen on the other side.

Here is an article about liberal political funding of the most famous scientific group advocating humans-warm-the-world:


I do not believe that such funding invalidates their position. Scientists have to get their money from somewhere. If they work directly in this area, it seems that all funding sources will have some favored outcome.