Friday, February 23, 2007

"Climate Change Principles"

The company I work for published a document with that title, in response to the debate over global warming. It was broken into 2 sections: "What we believe," and "What we're doing about climate change." In a nutshell, "they" believe there's enough evidence to lend credence to the notion, and "they" will take steps, wherever practical and economical, to minimize consumption of fossil fuels, conserve energy, etc.

I found that much of it was in agreement with my own personal beliefs, regarding global warming and such. But it also prompted me to put down on paper (or the LCD screen, as a substitute for paper?) my own "What I believe." So, here it is:

What I believe

1. The best science available indicates that global warming may be partially caused by the build-up of greenhouse gases, which in turn is partially caused by human activities.

2. If my science teachers were correct, the earth has always been either warming or cooling; it's silly to expect that to be any different just because we're taking real-time measurements.

3. Some scientists believe that man might have the power to stop climate change. I'm extremely skeptical, because:
a) See 2, above.
b) I don't see any evidence that we have the collective will to change our warm-living ways, because of the lifestyle and/or economic hardships that any meaningful change would cause. (Unless, of course, those changes are imposed upon us by government mandates with penalties.)
c) There is no definitive evidence that human activity is causing global warming, so it seems presumptuous to assume we can reverse global warming.

4. Whether or not human activity is responsible for global climate change, it does have environmental repercussions on a local level. An obvious example is the traffic gridlock, and frequent air-quality alerts, that we are experiencing right here in Boise as more and more vehicles (most occupied only by the driver) crowd onto our roadways.

5. Although there is no definitive way to prove or disprove the human contribution to global warming, it certainly wouldn't hurt for us to conduct our lives in an earth-friendly fashion, and try to minimize our "carbon footprints" (a little Algore-speak there…). I believe we have a responsibility to be good stewards for this beautiful planet we live on… but my belief stems as much from Sunday school and Boy Scouts, as it does from science class.


Anonymous said...

I drives me crazy when people dismiss human caused global warming by saying "well, the Earth has alway warmed and cooled". Of course the Earth has cylcled through warm and cool periods, however those pre-industrial periods are measured on a geologic scale (thousands of years). We are now seeing these same trends occur over decades. I leave it to you to figure out what the difference has been.

Anonymous said...

For anyone willing to take an honest look, there is overwhelming evidence that humans are indeed contributing to climate change. Not sure what you need for it to be "definitive" but in science, multiple lines of evidence from myriad sources have indeed confirmed a strong human influence. Don't take my word; check out the latest IPCC report, or read Tim Flannery's "The Weather Makers" for a well-referenced summary on how we contribute to climate change. The blog "Real Climate" also provides access to all the relevant literature. The issue goes well beyond Al Gore--even if you don't care for the guy, Gore's message is right on target.

Anonymous said...

Sorry guys, I'm with the Bike Nazi. The major green house gas produced by human activiy is carbon dioxide. This is also the gas that is focused on in "An Incovenient Truth". The problem with this argument is that the Troposphere ("greenhouse layer of the atmosphere") on consists of roughly 0.5% CO2. If you read the numbers on the left side of VP Gore's chart showing the steady increase in CO2 since the industrial revolution, it reveals an increase of only 30 PPM (that's parts per million), or .003%. The major greenhouse gas is water vapor. We have not always had industry, but the sea has always been there passing water vapor into the atmosphere.

As for the IPCC, they are a United Nations agency. Since the UN is bent on world peace through international cooperation (overtly), they may be skewing the facts to serve their own ends. This is the real issue with global warming.

If you analyze the gases produced by petroleum combustion or coal combustion, you could find gases that WILL KILL YOU, in small quantities. Carbon dioxide is not one of them. But it does not take a global effort to get these gases to tolerably low levels. It only takes a catalytic converter or some such device. No political leverage there, but CO2, now we're getting somewhere!

The problem with global warming is that people have put all of their energy into that argument and have completely scuttled other issues such as world hunger, human sovereignty, etc.

I have done extensive research into the actual science of climate change (natural and anthropogenic forcings alike). I have studied many peer reviewed documents in the light of physical and environmental science. The science is not conclusive, the scientists are not unanimously convinced, and those who are convinced are no where near as concerned about it as Mr. Gore wants you and me to be.

Those who uphold the concept of man-made climate change the most vehemently, are politicians and news agencies, and one need not look too deeply to discover their incentive.