SEARCH BLOG: ENVIRONMENT or GLOBAL WARMING or POPULAR WISDOM
This is a little longer than usual, but your patience either will be rewarded or you will become very upset with me... or both.
Some government officials believe that government must "do something"... anything... and all of the time... and, thus, often will seek extensive and expensive legislation based on "popular wisdom" to fill that mandate. Witness the latest from California Senator Dianne Feinstein.
In a speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, California's senior senator unveiled a legislative package she intends to introduce when Congress reconvenes in January. The bills would require carmakers to improve mileage and would coax power producers to meet emission standards, while extending California-style green-technology programs nationwide.
"There now is a scientific consensus that global warming is happening and we can't stop it," Feinstein said during an interview. "The effort we have to make is to restrict it."
Some of you may have actually read the links on my recent post to an organization of eminent climatologists, geologists, and meteorologists who have evidence that disputes the popular wisdom of an increased level of CO2 as the cause of global warming. In case you haven't and don't have the time, they are summarized here.
They point out several inconvenient truths:
- global warming begins approximately 800 years before an increase in CO2
. When researchers first looked at the results from these cores they observed a repeating correlation between CO2 and temperature through several glacial/interglacial cycles. However, when they began to look at higher resolution cycles they say something different. They observed that temperature would go up first comes up first, with CO2 coming up later. This correlation indicates that as one might expect as temperatures warm biological productivity increases resulting in more CO2 in the atmosphere. The lag between CO2 and rising or falling CO2 levels is something like 800 years."significant changes in climate have continually occurred throughout geologic time. For instance, the Medieval Warm Period, from around 1000 to1200 AD (when the Vikings farmed on Greenland) was followed by a period known as the Little Ice Age. Since the end of the 17th Century the "average global temperature" has been rising at the low steady rate mentioned above; although from 1940 – 1970 temperatures actually dropped, leading to a Global Cooling scare."
"What I would like to draw your attention to is the level of CO2 levels, as preserved in prehistoric air bubbles, from very high quality ice core records from Antarctica
"Now let's look at the geologic record. I only want you to look at a couple of things on this diagram. First of all, please note in the top [half of the] chart the varying amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through the last 500 million years. At times in the past CO2 levels have been up to 16 times higher than at present."
"The bottom [half of the] chart shows the range of global temperature through the last 500 million years. There is no statistical correlation between the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through the last 500 million years and the temperature record in this interval. In fact, one of the highest levels of carbon dioxide concentration occurred during a major ice age that occurred about 450 million years ago. Carbon dioxide concentrations at that time were about 15 times higher than at present."
- water vapor, not CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas by a margin of 50:1
"Although CO2 can have a minor influence on global temperature the effect is minimal and short lived as this cycle sits on top of the much larger water cycle, which is what truly controls global temperatures. The water cycle is in turn primarily influenced by natural celestial cycles and trends."
Dr. Tim Patterson, Professor of Geology at
- I also pointed out recently, there are those who see a potentially different mechanism at work:
Although the current human-induced high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere are thought to be unprecedented in the recent geological record, some scientists argue that it's possible the changes we are making by pumping CO2 into the atmosphere could ultimately help usher in the next ice age.
"There are operations within the climate system that we still don't fully understand," explains Professor Chronis Tzedakis, from Leeds University, UK.
"It's possible that our pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere could somehow lubricate the flipping from one state to another."
It appears that Sen. Feinstein should be concerned about the increased presence of water in our atmosphere and take actions to ensure that legislation prohibits anyone from using more water... or maybe preparing us for the next ice age... or maybe she should just try to pass legislation without resorting to debatable theories about the climate.
I'm all for more efficient automobiles, heating and cooling systems, traffic management systems... for reasons other than problematic global warming... and less fear-mongering. While, I don't always agree with the conclusions drawn between economic theory and government action with my friends at Cafe Hayek, I think, in this case, they have a pretty reasonable conclusion based on some jumping through unnecessary economic-theory hoops.