Monday, April 09, 2007

Has Al Gore's CO2 Theory Fizzled Out? (part two)

A Crimes of the State Investigation

In part one I explored some of the countervailing evidence which casts doubt on the current carbon dioxide hysteria. For instance, the CO2 level changes lag behind the temperature changes in the historical ice-core record, sometimes by 800 years.

Recently, the global temperature fell from the 1940s through 1976, even though the CO2 levels (and other "greenhouse gases") were increasing during that same time period. This is an indication that CO2 is not driving the temperature changes (as is commonly believed). If it has any impact at all, it certainly cannot be considered the main driving force.

Changes in the sun's output seem to correlate to the data better. This news has not been met well by some readers.

I also have a correction to the first article. The last paragraph should have read: "Professor Ball states that CO2 is only 0.54 percent of the atmosphere..." These articles are sourced to the British TV documentary The Great Global Warming

Swindle (Google Video). I do not endorse the politics and opinions expressed in this show, especially at the end. It is, however, a source for numerous dissenting voices on this topic.

My character has already been attacked on a "progressive" website for posting this information. I have been accused of having an "agenda" and that I "hate Al Gore", and therefore I was just looking for some way to discredit him (as if I have nothing better to do).

Questions remain however, some of the most pivotal questions of our time concerning man's impact on weather:

Does a rise in carbon dioxide cause a rise in the temperature?

OR, does a rise in the temperature cause a rise in carbon dioxide?

If Al Gore had taken a few minutes to prove his case in An Inconvenient Truth we wouldn't be having this discussion. But Al Gore did not. His data does not show which parameter is influencing which and why. The science is not presented conclusively (or honestly), and therefore Al Gore is to blame by leaving this issue unresolved.

He has posited a theory. It is our right and duty to examine that theory and to scrutinize its flaws.

Earth's Oceans and CO2

It probably would have been easier for readers to comprehend my part one of this series if I had included the role of the oceans in the CO2 equation.

The oceans are described as being reservoirs of CO2 gas, and their role depends upon the water's temperature. In hot waters CO2 is emitted (raising CO2 levels in the atmosphere), and in cold waters CO2 is absorbed (lowering CO2 levels in the atmosphere).

"If you heat the surface of the ocean it tends to emit carbon dioxide. Similarly if you cool the ocean surface the ocean can dissolve more carbon dioxide." --Carl Wunsch, Professor of Oceanography, MIT

This process can take centuries and even millenia to occur. The oceans respond very slowly to changes in atmospheric temperature.

"People say, 'Oh I see the ocean doing this last year, that means that something changed in the atmosphere last year.' And this is not necessarily true at all. In fact it's actually quite unlikely because it can take hundreds to thousands of years for the deep ocean to respond to forces and changes that are taking place at the surface." --Carl Wunsch, Professor of Oceanography, MIT

The oceans then provide the mechanism for the theory that rising temperatures cause a rise in carbon dioxide levels (not vice-versa).

These amounts of naturally ocurring carbon dioxide dwarf the amount of CO2 currently produced by humans.

"Humans produce a small fraction, in the single digits percentage wise, of the CO2 that is produced in the atmosphere."--Professor John Christy, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, University of Alabama

So, forgive me for remaining skeptical that the alleged impending global meltdown is all the fault of a gas I happen to breathe out.

Methane, from cows, coincidentally is 20 times more heat-trapping than CO2. Since I don't contribute to the cow problem, because I don't eat them, I should get some kind of Goreian carbon/methane money credit, no?

Prove Your Case, Mr. Gore

The challenge is clear. In science you prove what you say, and your peers review your conclusions.

Professor Frederick Seitz, the former head of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, complained that the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had altered its report by deleting dissenting views, and it released a version that was not approved by the scientists listed on the report.

"None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases. (...) No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed to date] to anthropogenic [manmade] causes." --Professor Frederick Seitz, Wall Street Journal, June 12, 1996

Al Gore must know this. Must have seen the dissenting views, must have seen the 800 year lag in the CO2 relative to temperature data. Where is his response to this mountain of conflicting evidence?

More Politics

The nuclear meltdown is "on the table." Pelosi, H. Clinton, Obama and McCain have all come out for new nuclear power plants and taxpayer subsidies to build them. This follows Al Gore's performance several weeks back where Gore also approved of nuclear power as a response to the alleged greenhouse gas emissions problem.

Nuclear is not even the biggest nor most dangerous response to this problem which has yet to be proved.

In "How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor", Professors C. Ford Runge and Benjamin Senauer of the University of Minnesota study the massive changes going on today in the ethanol industry. Corn and sugar have long been subsidized by the federal government, leading to problems like overproduction and finding ever more ways to put corn oil and sugar into our diets.

Capitlizing on the existing taxpayer subsidy model, agribusiness is set to expand into an agri/energy sector. This will use up valuable and finite farmland/topsoil to be burned in automobiles, instead of eaten by humans.

These policies are already raising the prices of grains worldwide. The potential for starvation in poor populations is real and now more precarious.

More to come...