We receive mail criticizing me for my opinons on climate change. This one from James contains some good information and some conclusions I find faulty. I thought I would share our interchange, with a guest appearance from a friend of mine.
Art, I enjoy you shows and this may not be the place to post this but frankly my time is limited and I couldn’t find a better one.
I’m watching your Glacier Bay Alaska show and its great except for your unscientific human induced global warming dig.
I’m a lifelong environmentalist and licensed professional engineer practicing in the field of environmental engineering for 39 years and while agree we need to be concerned about environmental change. There is no doubt Alaska and Greenland are warming.
However, you are totally and absolutely wrong to claim that the natural process is being accelerated by human activity.
The simple fact is Greenland is now almost as warm as it was when Eric the Red Discovered it in 1000 AD. Thats right Art, Greenland was green back then and Vikings farmed the green coastal land for 300 years until the mini ice age. As a fact you can verify if you want to Greenland is still 1 degree C COLDER than it was when Eric the Red Discovered it.
There is no evidence that CO2 is the cause of any acceleration of the natural warming cycle.
BTW Greenland ice cores more than 400,000 years old produce historic factual evidence that a rapid climate change is about 12,000 years and if you want to wait and see the effect of the current cycle of Global Warming you need to live a long time guy. But cheer up the ice cores prove incontrovertibly that the quickest and best way to cool the earth is to put small amounts of particulate matter in the upper atmosphere. Thats right a little air pollution will take care of even the chicken little human induced global warming fanatics claims. Before you open your mouth about global warming you really need to get the facts and the best way to do that is look at both sides of a question.
The best way to understand how fanatical human induced global warmists are is to go back and look at the religious fanatics who predicted the end of the earth and when it didn’t happen they rationalized. For an example of religious rationalization of global warmist theory go to unScinetific American’s recent Hot Times in Alaska and check out the professor from the University of Alaska who shows Alan Alda a paper with three charts on in. One is the inaccurate computer projection which he admits isn’t very good under that is a chart of what actually happened in the same time period and below that is one where he combines the inaccurate prediction with the historical fact and claims that by combining the two makes the predictions of dire immediate global warming in the next 100 years is proved. Aside from the unscientific process of combining fact and fantasy to prove fantasy its no different that what end of the world fanatics have done or said.
Please take the time to know what you are talking about before making a fool of yourself. But cheer up it will be thousands of years before anyone really knows how much of a fool.
As for the computer models they don’t prove anything except that the data and design were faulty. Models don’t prove anything, never have never will.
Personally as an environmentalist I am upset that people like you give credence to t a bunch of fanatics that are trying to create a State of Fear that will cause us to make rash decisions that will damage our country.
A perfect example is the poster boy of green alternative fuels, corn ethanol. Not only does corn ethanol drive up the price of food, its a net user of fossil fuels. Thats right guy it uses more fossil fuel BTU’s to produce a gallon of corn ethanol than the BTU’s in the ethanol. But the real clincher is the additional fertilizer (produced with fossil fuel) adds to the already grossly polluted ground water and run off to the Missisippie River which has a 200 mile dead zone at its mouth were nothing grows. Thats a fact just like like the one about Greenland being Green in 1000 AD.
Thanks for your note.
We disagree on this subject. I wanted to respond clearly and fairly to your points so I asked my friend James Martin, the author and photographer of the upcoming book Planet Ice to respond for me. He is as well informed as anyone I know, has no axe to grind, but tends to speak bluntly. I give you James’ response:
I think the test of a scientific theory is how well it predicts future discoveries or events. When the climate change model was postulated back in the Seventies, it predicted that global temperatures would rise with the increase in CO2 and related gasses. Further, we would see wider swings in weather.
The predictions were conservative as it turns out. While it is certainly possible that this is a coincidence, I doubt it. When the early proponents of evolution and continental drift made their claims, they made predictions, and the accumulation of evidence supported their predictions.
Ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica prove that this is the high point in atmospheric CO2. The conclusion that CO2 is a major contributor to climate change is accepted by almost all climate scientists and endorsed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which earned one more Nobel Prize than either you or I. Your denial of the relationship between CO2 and climate change is very much in the minority of the scientific community.
Although you seem well informed on much of the data, check out Two Mile Time Machine by Dr. Richard Alley, by all accounts one of the premier paleo-climatologists and a leader of US ice core programs. There is no hint of hysteria or handwaving, yet he makes the connection you deny.
You write as if you presume we are ignorant regarding climate variation in Greenland. You refer to the temperature increase of Younger Dryas event, which was incredibly fast, as much as 11 degrees in decades, but the preconditions for that, a temperature minimum, do not apply under these conditions.
You have a point regarding global warming alarmists. People on both sides of the issue tend to cherry pick the data they prefer; it’s human nature. Conflating alarmists with scientists is an ad hominum argument, though. The fact that Al Gore made an unsupportable connection between climate change and Katrina doesn’t mean his other points are without merit.
I’ve read about the idea of using certain particulates to cool the earth. Maybe. I agree completely regarding ethanol.
In the end, either of us could be wrong. The question is whether our positions are falsifiable. What set of facts would change your mind, or mine? If there is no set of facts, then we are being irrational. Certainty has no place in issues such as these and your arrogant and dismissive comments on those who disagree do harm to your argument.