"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Perspective on Man-Made Global Warming (Excuse me: "Climate Change")

For my very first post here, I'm gonna recycle a comment I have placed in a LOT of other people's blogs (Hey! Recycling is good for the planet, right? RIGHT?!!! :-)

My biggest problem with global warming is the absolute certitude of some of its' proponents (Example: Al Gore stating that "The science has been settled!").

Let’s try for some perspective, time-wise...

For those comfortable with the metric (S.I.) system, imagine a line about 4.6 kilometers long (a bit under 3 miles). That would represent the 4.6 billion year age of the Earth at 1,000,000 years/meter; 1 mm (about the thickness of a paper clip) would represent a THOUSAND years.

That line would span the downtown area of quite a few large cities, with some to spare. Here in Houston, the downtown streets are 16 to the mile, making their spacing about 100 meters. Thus, that line would be about 46 blocks.

The reign of the dinosaurs ended around 65 million years ago (65 meters, about 2/3 of a city block down that line from today).

The first of our ancestors verging on intelligence may have emerged from 2 to 4 million years ago (2 to 4 meters, say 6.5 to 13 feet; your living room could be around 4 meters in one of its' dimensions).

What we call "modern" man may go back 40,000 years or so (40 mm, TWO FINGER-WIDTHS on that line).

Written history goes back 6000 years (six millimeters, 1/4 inch on that line).

Fahrenheit's thermometer is around 300 years old ( 0.3 mm, you’re approaching the thickness of a business card now, or the diameter of a grain of salt).

The portion of that time-line during which precise temperature measurements were recorded would be literally microscopic.

And from that tiny portion, we dare to make really long range climate predictions, and mandate actions based on them? And decide to totally destroy our economy because of them?

I live about three miles west of some of Houston's major downtown buildings, so it's very easy for me to visualize that line.

Taken across the street from my apartment complex, looking towards downtown. The closer buildings there are about three miles away. Picture that time-line stretching all the way to them.

Looking at that time-line of Earth's history, and the flyspeck of our own existence upon it, the notion of asserting that ANY science has been "settled" strikes me as arrogance beyond comprehension (as in "only a politician could possibly believe that").


1 comment:

Jimmy J. said...

You make an excellent point about the certitude, which all the "Warmers" have about the issue.

It is a theory and their proof for the theory is quite thin. It is based on two observations:
1. Temperatures have been increasing for the last 150 years and CO2 has also been increasing during that period. They believe correlation proves causation.
2. They have constructed computer models that, as long as you feed in the right data, appears to model the last 150 years. They then project those results into the future and come up with a projection of drastic warming in the future.

When you get into the details, however, there are many holes in their argument. Most of these people (the Warmers [Gore especially]) are basically progressives or statists at heart. They want this drastic warming to be true because it provides a rationale for more state power to control citizens and to cripple capitalism. At least that's my judgment. That is why they are so invested in their theory being correct and must keep anyone from questioning them by bringing up "inconvenient facts."

One of the best "Fiskings" of AGW theory is here:
It's long, but, IMO, well worth the time.