Selected facts lead to bad policyPublished 10:56am Friday, January 17, 2014
I would like to take just a few words to offer some comments regarding the article published last week during the polar vortex titled “Global Warming?”
Since I’m not a climatologist, I know my guess about the average temperature of the earth is as good as the next layman who offers an opinion based on his backyard weather center.
Rock Hill teacher Bob McCollister very well may be correct in his declaration that there would be no one to fill a chair in his classroom who disagrees that global warming is happening. It is hard to disagree with the facts, especially as we know there has been warming recently.
What isn’t mentioned anywhere in the article is the alleged root cause of carbon dioxide gas (CO2). It is this, and the following policy of eliminating all sources of its release into the atmosphere, that is the cause of all the dissension and debate.
If we’ve followed the news at all in recent years, we know that the cry of most global warming prognosticators is that CO2 is the root cause of climate change.
This is why strict regulations are being thrust on the coal powered electric plants, why numerous power plants are being retired and thousands of coal miners have and will lose their jobs.
Is carbon dioxide to blame? Can causation be established between this and other warming periods in our climate’s history?
I wish to quote a few words from William Happer, the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University, in an article he wrote in First Things journal in the June/July 2011 issue:
“The earth’s climate has always been changing. Our present global warming is not at all unusual by the standards of geological history, and it is probably benefiting the biosphere. Indeed, there is very little correlation between the estimates of CO2 and of the earth’s temperature over the past 550 million years.”
Often we hear the talking point that unusual and extremely brutal weather is just another result of an increased CO2. According to Dr. Happer, “this does not necessarily follow. The frequency of extreme events has either not changed or has decreased in the 150 years that CO2 levels have increased from 270 to 390 ppm.”
Dr. Happer concludes his very revealing and in depth article that “the message is clear that several factors must influence the earth’s temperature, and that while CO2 is one of these factors, it is seldom the dominant one. In our efforts to conserve the created world, we should not concentrate our efforts on CO2…We should instead focus on issues like damage to local landscapes and waterways by strip mining, inadequate cleanup, hazards to miners, and the release of real pollutants and poisons like mercury, other heavy metals, and organic carcinogens.”
The full article I reference here, “The Truth About Greenhouse Gases” can be found at the journal’s website www.firstthings.com. Obviously, these conclusions are not the type we are used to reading or hearing from regulatory agencies. As a logically thinking person, I am at least going to take into consideration the facts that a dissenter to the prevailing notions of climate change present, until I find a reason not to.
I believe facts are our friends. In our day, when science has the ability to bring us data from an incredible breadth of our planet’s history, we must be making policy based on all the facts and not a carefully selected set of them.
I am afraid, as we all should be, of unwise actions and policy that is based on selected facts and illogical conclusions that are propagated as truth to the unsuspecting. Because of current policy, many families are now living in poverty throughout coal producing areas of Appalachia. And there may not even be any truth to the charges against coal.
My mind remains open, yet skeptical about carbon being the enemy of our climate. In a climate as vast and old as it is, it seems reasonable to me to reserve some uncertainty about the cause of this period of global warming.
I hope that individuals and groups who have a powerful interest in proving or disproving the CO2 connection to global warming will cozy up with all the facts, so that policy makers won’t have us wasting precious resources on fruitless crusades that harm people and our economy.