Climate Change
(aka Global Warming)

I want to start by saying that I really like Planet Earth. I have lived here for my entire life and it is the only planet I know very much about. I would never do anything to harm it, nor would I advocate any idea that might provoke others to harm it in any way. So when I see scientific truths being misrepresented, which have the effect of harming its future in support of a political agenda, it bothers me greatly.

Addressing a subject as complicated as this one could well be framed with a few basic questions, to wit:

   Q. Is the climate changing?show

   Q. Is the climate warming or cooling?show

   Q. Is it being affected by human occupation?show

   Q. Why don’t scientists know more about this stuff?show

Almost all of my formal training has been in the hard sciences – Chemistry, Physics, Electronics, Optical Systems, etc., and having worked with engineers and scientists throughout my entire career, hearing the so-called Climate Science community regurgitate the same tired arguments year after year is a source of extreme disappointment for me. Those who are satisfied with the current Sky-Is-Falling TV/Internet rhetoric would be well advised to discontinue reading beyond this paragraph and turn the TV back on.

As Dr. Dean Edell often said, “To sway someone’s opinion, always start by asking what evidence could possibly change their mind”. If the answer is, “there is none, much time can be saved by changing the subject and abandoning the debate”. Those open to a slightly different perspective on Climate Change might consider the following truths, which will be explored in more detail in the sections that follow.

  1. A brief definition of the word “science” is, “knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws obtained and tested through the scientific method[i]noun : principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.
  2. Notwithstanding widely differing definitions of the word “superstition”, for this reading, the definition shall be narrowed to, “a belief in something for which there exists no scientific evidence”.
  3. Superstition is often used to falsely predict the future.
  4. Science, when used appropriately, can enhance the accuracy of predictions, leaving them still uncertain.
  5. The word “weather” refers to the characterization of short-term patterns (years & decades) of atmospheric conditions. The weather is obviously changing almost daily, for all of us to see.
  6. The word “climate” describes long-term changes in weather patterns (centuries & millennia), in a particular place – Earth for example.” The climate is almost certainly changing as it has for countless millennia, and no one knows if it is currently warming or cooling.
  7. Human activity is almost certainly adding to the “natural” climate change, by adding greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. However, in spite of today’s popular TV / Internet rhetoric, it is impossible to know if the amount of “human warming” is adding to a “natural warming” or detracting from a “natural cooling”.

 

For those wishing to continue reading, this very brief interview would be an excellent place to start. If you value the perspective of people like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bjorn Lomborg, or the lady scientist who blew the whistle on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for fudging the data, read on.

We know that Earth’s climate has changed a lot over the past half-million years or so. We now seem to be well into the seventh cycle of glaciation, which might last another several thousand years, or it could start cooling off tomorrow. In fact, the next natural cooling cycle might have already begun, and shorter-term weather changes could be masking that cooling effect – there is simply no way to know, despite what politicians, journalists, and some Climate Scientists tell us. It is also true that human-generated greenhouse gases are accelerating the warming of the planet. But “by how much” and “whether in-phase or out-of-phase with the natural change” are questions for the Gods.

The problem of not knowing is compounded by the fact that humans do not perceive Climate Change directly – they don’t live long enough. Changes that occur over 100 years or so are shifts in weather patterns, not climate changes. These shifts in weather patterns are not helpful in arriving at meaningful long-term climate projections – in fact, they bring confusion to the question. Even more confusion is added by journalists reporting on things they don’t understand, politicians pretending to act on those things, and so-called Climate Scientists, whose primary motivations are often rooted in things other than promoting science.

If we understood the actual science better, we would be able to develop remedial actions that might slow the change, but those things are likely to be very expensive and minimally effective. Many of the ones currently being pursued are actually counterproductive because they consume valuable resources that could be used more productively and because they draw attention away from real solutions. A smarter approach is to accept the inevitable change and start preparing for it. So the following discussion is offered in the five pieces in the menu on the right.

By: Jim
Written: 2010
Published: May 2021
Revised: September 2021
Revised: June 2023
footnotes
footnotes
i noun : principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses