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Earth’s Hot and Cold Flashes…

Scott on April 7, 2006 at 2:09 pm

So…Where’s the truth and where’s the fiction?

February witnessed the first anniversary of the the Kyoto Protocols. In short, Kyoto is an amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Signers to Kyoto commit to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases. Kyoto is intended to cut global emissions of greenhouse gases with an eye towards “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” In short, Kyoto aims as stopping humanity from destroying the planet through our industrialized, mechanized way of living which releases harmful gases into the environment.

And if you read Time Magazine two weeks ago, the cover article concluded that the debate is over and that Global Warming is a proven, indisputable threat to humanity. The lead for the article reads

“Polar Ice Caps Are Melting Faster Than Ever… More And More Land Is Being Devastated By Drought… Rising Waters Are Drowning Low-Lying Communities… By Any Measure, Earth Is At … The Tipping Point. The climate is crashing, and global warming is to blame .No one can say exactly what it looks like when a planet takes ill, but it probably looks a lot like Earth. Never mind what you’ve heard about global warming as a slow-motion emergency that would take decades to play out. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the crisis is upon us.

Now, in spite of what Time Magazine says and regardless of the claims and goals of Kyoto, the other side of the argument has some valid points that can’t be ignored.

Fox News presented another look at Kyoto that provided an interesting contradiction to the goals and claims of the Protocol. So far Kyoto has cost an estimated $150 billion, but it has theoretically only reduced the average global temperature by 0.0015 degrees Centigrade. At its current theoretical pace, the protocol would take 667 years to fully implement and would cost $100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion dollars). The net result at the end of that time would be a drop of just one degree Centigrade of global warming.

George Will’s April 2nd commentary titled “Let Cooler Heads Prevail” pointed out the weakness of the theory of global warming and the historical context of global climate panic going back to the 1970s and fears of global cooling. Will reminds us of some of the headlines and news stories from the 70′s that played on people’s fears such including:

Science Digest (February 1973) – “the world’s climatologists are agreed” that we must “prepare for the next ice age.”

The Christian Science Monitor (Aug. 27, 1974) – headline “Warning: Earth’s Climate is Changing Faster Than Even Experts Expect,” reported that glaciers “have begun to advance,” “growing seasons in England and Scandinavia are getting shorter” and “the North Atlantic is cooling down about as fast as an ocean can cool.”

Newsweek (April 28, 1975) – headline “The Cooling World,” reported that meteorologists “are almost unanimous” that catastrophic famines might result from the global cooling

The New York Times (May 21, 1975) – reported that “a major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable” now that it is “well established” that the Northern Hemisphere’s climate “has been getting cooler since about 1950.”

So again I ask, where is the truth? I can’t help but wonder if it is someplace in the middle. What I mean is that we know that humanity can have a tremendous impact on the planet for both positive and negative. We can pollute and kill off entire ecosystems. We can deforest millions of acres and eliminate entire rainforests and all of the life sustained therein. And yet we can also turn deserts into green farmlands and can make habitable what was once deadly.

As a side note, I am reminded of how Hollywood always wants to get involved in these types of issues and present their “take” on the plight of humanity. I know there have been others, but off the top of my head I can name cinematic commentaries including…

Quintet (global cooling)…Paul Newman is living in a future ice age where humanity is barely holding on and occupies its time by playing the game Quintet.

Soylent Green (global warming)…Charlton Heston living in 2022 New York City where overpopulation has taken its toll and where green house gases have built up in the atmosphere and raised the temperature tremendously and destroyed the earth’s ability to provide food for the planet.

The Day After Tomorrow (global warming)…Dennis Quaid living through a global warming crisis with a twist (the warming causes massive glacial failure, which creates sudden massive cooling of the oceans, which causes freak freezing storm fronts that cover half the planet in ice).

A.I.-Artificial Intelligence (global cooling)…The story isn’t focused on the end of the world through an ice age, but the last part of the story takes place in a distant future where the earth is covered in ice and is populated by intelligent robots.

It would be nice if the people on both sides of this issue would come together somewhere in the middle and actually work toward truth. It seems that many alarmists on the Left react in extremes because they don’t think people will listen or pay attention otherwise. It also seems that many capitalists on the Right will do whatever they can get away, so unless they are forced to stop dumping and polluting, they will keep on doing what is cheapest and what promotes the most profit for them.

As I said, the truth (and the answer) must be somewhere in the middle.

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