The science behind global warming
December 15, 2004
Stewart Udall’s Other Voices, Dec. 13, suggested we are all doomed by human-caused global warming unless we take “robust immediate action.”
“Scientists tell us that global warming is an omnipresent reality, that in this century it will change the lives of all of us and alter our relationship to the physical world. Only a comprehensive, global strategy will enable humanity to gradually cope with its implications.”
The only thing science has proven about global warming is:
• That the mean temperature of the United States is increasing at 0.07 degrees per decade. If it were to increase to 0.08 degrees per decade, by 2100 the planet will have warmed by 0.8 degrees. Yet, Greenland has been cooling by 2.2 degrees Celsius since 1987. Interior Antarctica has been cooling since 1960.
• That CO2 in the atmosphere has increased from about 280 ppm to 360 ppm over the past century. Doubling CO2 alone would only lead to about a 2 degree F. increase in global mean temperature over the same period.
• That long-term temperature measurements have increased in urban areas, while remaining relatively constant in rural areas. This heat island effect is distorting temperature records in developed and developing countries.
Scientist have not proven that CO2 is the main contributor to global warming. They only have computer models that make assumptions, many of which are not supported by measurements taken over the last 100 years. These models ignore the following:
• Our sun’s energy output continues to increase every year since 1900. We now have evidence that planetary warming is occurring on Mars, Neptune and Pluto.
• Water vapor, often in the form of clouds in dynamic weather systems, is the major contributor to atmospheric warming, yet it is not modeled. Too complex, say scientists.
• Methane, produced when plants rot and cows fart, is a larger contributor to atmospheric warming than CO2, by 25 times, yet it is not included in the models.
• The global warming models predict that the atmosphere should warm before the earth and oceans. Yet, since 1979 scientist using satellites and balloon launched instruments cannot find any significant atmospheric warming.
Udall’s suggestions for solving this problem of dubious origin:
“serious investment in clean, efficient new means of production and transmission.”
He wants to build new power distribution systems. Guess who gets to pay for this? The rate payer.
“buildings can be made ‘carbon-neutral,’ requiring no fossil-fuel energy to operate.”
He wants us to heat our homes and businesses using solar, thermal, wind and biomass technology. Again the rate payer foots the bill, and we mar the landscape with solar towers, windmills and burn the forests.
“mandate the spread of fuel-efficient cars.”
According to the California Air Resources Board rules, all cars sold in California after 2009 will be greenhouse gas friendly, increasing the cost by $1,000 to $1,500 per vehicle. You pay.
“perfect new ways of generating and delivering solar, wind and geothermal power.”
Again the rate payer funds this research.
Bottom line is: We are going to pay for the solution to a problem that only exists in computer models.
• Models that are flawed, incapable of replicating the conditions over the last 100 years, for which we have detailed measurements.
• Models that assume exponential population growth, producing a global population of 15 billion by 2050. Yet the real population growth is slowing. Current U.N. estimate is 9 billion by 2050.
• Models that assume exponential CO2 growth, an upward curve, at one percent per year accumulation in the atmosphere. Measurements show only a slight upward curve over the past 30 years, not year-to-year growth.
• Models that have proven internal data handling problems. In some models, using a table of random numbers produces the same results as historical temperature data sets from tree rings. Data sets that are supposed to show runaway global warming by 2100.
Now, I ask you. Are you willing to pay for all the changes called for by Mr. Udall, which are required to satisfy problems generated by flawed computer models? Are we going to throw out the historical measurements, that show little or no global warming, and believe computer models that cannot produce consistent results?
Yes, the earth is warming. It has in the distant past and will in the near future. Nearby planets are also warming. Planets without people, power plants, and gas guzzeling SUVs. Before we attempt to eliminate global warming, let’s make sure it is a problem we can solve before accepting the bill for Mr Udall’s utopian dream.
Russell Steele lives outside of Nevada City.
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