Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Crash Course in Global Warming, Part One

All right, I'm going to try to explain both sides of the Global Warming debate. I'll try to be as middle-of-the-road as possible, so spare me any over-arching partisan stuff. Well, enjoy:

Global Warming

In the last few years, the fight over climate change has been reaching a fevered pitch. While many believe that Al Gore's 2006 An Inconvenient Truth was the first time that Global Warming hit the main stream, it was in popular culture before that. Even games like Civilization II, made in the late 90s contained climate change.

Yet, An Inconvenient Truth has stayed as the standard bearer for those who believe in Global Warming, so I will examine some of the claims made therein.

An Inconvenient Truth

First up, the former Vice President claims that the world's glaciers are melting. Well, are they? Yes. It cannot be argued that some glaciers are indeed melting. However, the question of why has not been definitively answered. In fact, looking at the future scientists are not even sure that this trend will continue. What cannot be argued however is that Al Gore over-sensationalized this aspect of his documentary. Whether this was to fool people or to relate how important climate change is is anyone's guess.

Second, polar bears are dying. Al Gore is sure to get emotions running high with his artistic rendering of a polar bear swimming to a single, small block of ice that breaks when the bear finally reaches it. Climate change is killing polar bears faster than they can reproduce and it will only get worse, he claims. So, has the population of polar bears gone down in recent years? Absolutely not. But if the ice caps do indeed melt, then many polar bears will die. For now, however, they're on the rise.

Third, how quickly temperatures will change and how fast glaciers will melt. In this one, Mr. Gore warned of the impending screwed-ness of the world if we didn't stop our over-use of resources that were hurting the environment. Is what he said a possibility? Yes. But no study shows nearly the rate of ice melting as Al Gore predicted. Ranges for his level of apocalypse could be centuries in the coming, not a decade.

Is the Earth Warming?

This, of course, is the trickiest question of them all. Al Gore tried to tackle it, saying that it is at an almost unbelievable amount. The "hockey stick" graph has become synonymous with Global Warming, but is it true? Well, it depends. Without a doubt, Al Gore's predictions have been very, very wrong over the last few years. His fear-mongering about a temperature explosion has clouded real research and has made all climate change believers look like radicals.

So, Al Gore's wrong, but is the world's temperatures rising? Once again, this is a difficult question to answer. Take this absolutely accurate graph. Using a trend line that uses decades to come up with a figure, temperatures on average have risen. But look at this equally accurate graph. If you base the trend line on shorter amounts of time, then yes, temperatures have been going down over the last several years.

To have perspective, one must look at graphs spanning much longer times. As this graph shows, the recent rise in temperatures looks right at home. Whether it is or not, however, is still up for debate.

Incorrect Arguments From Both Sides

Well, I won't be the first to say this and I won't be the last: people who do not believe in climate change are not evil (necessarily). With data that is as skewed, unknown, and opinionated as this, anyone who says that those against Climate Change are "deniers" are dead wrong. I'm looking at you crazy liberals.

On the other side, those who say that people could not possibly change the environment are also wrong. An explosive example is the testing of the first nuclear weapon... Scientists actually thought that a single bomb could ignite the atmosphere. That would raise world temperature more than half a degree or two. With 6.5 Billion people on earth, we can change anything we want.

Well, that's it for part one. Please stay tuned for part, two, where I will cover Climate Gate, intense weather, and CO2.

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Harrison said...

The Hockey Stick was made using bad data (which its creator admits) and Gore got a D in college science.

Check out for good info.

Surfers paradise said...

Building a more sustainable methods of manufacturing is not going to cause economic collapse. What it boils down to, is right-wingers don't want to be proved wrong once again.

Luke said...

totally brati