Gerald Doane: In defense of climate change | TheUnion.com
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Gerald Doane: In defense of climate change

We humans are prolific polluters of our lands, waters, and atmospheres. Nations of the world and their governments; industries like energy, agriculture, and manufacturing; non-government organizations; and individuals, all of us pollute.

Pollution is an ambiguous term, somewhat like pornography. As one Supreme Court Justice said about pornography, “I know it when I see it.” We could say the same about pollution, “I know it when I see it.” In other words, pollution often is in the eyes of the beholder.

Pollution to one person may mean ambiance to another. While one person sees the presence of vegetation encountering power line equipment as representing a source of pollution in the form of wildfires which pollute the atmosphere, another person sees the vegetation as ambiance, hiding those ugly power lines, poles, and transformers.

Most of us believe that polluters should be held responsible for cleaning up and abating their pollution. Should we follow policy and due process when we hold polluters accountable? Of course.

Politicians are a slimy group. Many have taken up the mantle of pollution control as a political strategy to retain political power.

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This brings us to the topic of global warming, a topic highjacked by politicians.

Earth has been warming since 1880 or about the beginning of the industrial revolution. According to NASA, average global temperatures have risen a significant 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1880.

But there are no actual measures of average global temperatures prior to 1880. We only have anecdotal information and estimates based on computer models.

Do we know the answer to why the Earth’s atmosphere is warming? We don’t. But we can make inferences based on other measures like global population growth and pollution emissions. These measures parallel the rise in average global temperatures and one can infer that emissions are the cause.

But the inferences fail to answer the question in two regards.

We have not adequately looked at the history of the earth’s average temperature variations prior to 1880 and the reasons behind them.

We have not accounted for solar system changes and for other-than-emissions global differentials.

Solar system differentials include radiation changes created by sunspots, sun flares or sun storms which occur intensely and periodically; Earth’s orbiting variations around the Sun; Earth’s rotation and tilt differentials; gravitational variations of the Moon, other planets and the asteroid belt; and meteor activity. All impact our climate.

Examine the Earth’s tilt for example. We would not have seasons but for the Earth’s tilt. If the Earth’s axis were perpendicular to its orbit around the Sun, theoretically we would have larger cold zones at and near the poles, a large hot zone around the globe’s equator, and minimal temperate zones between the hot and the cold. All relatively constant without seasonal changes. Our global climate would be extremely different from what it is today.

Are there changes in the Earth’s tilt? The Earth’s axis wobbles or differentiates, slowly modulating the angle of the Earth’s axis to its orbit around the sun. Thus, as the tilt differentiates, the seasons on Earth change back and forth ever so slightly over a relatively short period of time.

Have these solar system factors remained a constant in the global warming calculus or have they been measured and considered as variables?

Global system factors obviously have significant impact on our climate. They are wildfire, volcanic and earthquake activity emitting gases and particulates into the atmosphere; atmospheric variations like pressures, temperatures and currents; ocean temperature and current variations; atmospheric storms and electromagnetic activity; and of course, pollutants generated by human and animal populations.

Have all these global system factors, other-than-pollutants, remained a constant in the global warming calculus or have they been measured and considered as variables?

It is a complicated bit of detective work to find out what is responsible for the planet’s warming and we may never know precisely why. That does not mean we should stop cleaning up and abating the pollution of our environment, albeit for reasons other than global warming.

Our problem is with the politicking. Politicians have usurped the pollution issue for their own political benefit, and they have done so fraudulently.

I would argue that if the global warming issue were given a fair public hearing, both sides arguing the evidence and its collection, that politicians and their benefactors would be shown to be the frauds they are.

Our focus should be on cleaning up and abating pollution, a vexing but achievable goal, not on reducing, even halting global warming, a virtually impossible political goal.

Gerald G. Doane lives in Grass Valley.


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