April 25, 2009

By the numbers ye shall know them

FROM- Tulane Hullabaloo
Understanding global warming

The fallacies of Gore and the data of NASA prove questionable

Several months ago, syndicated radio host Dennis Prager accurately described the three conditions that must hold for global warming theorists to be correct.

Number one: The Earth must be warming. Number two: Increasing man-made carbon dioxide emissions are causing the warming trend. And number three: Global warming will be destructive.

There is certainly scientific consensus that man-made carbon dioxide emissions have increased every year during the last decade. But there is no scientific consensus that those emissions have driven temperature upwards.

In one fell swoop, the first two conditions for global warming can be all but thrown out. Since Al Gore released his well-known movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” the Earth has cooled by approximately one-third of a degree.

In that same time, man-made carbon dioxide emissions have increased. That means that since Gore’s movie, there has actually been a negative correlation between carbon dioxide emissions and temperature, which pokes a hole in his graph that link carbon dioxide emissions and temperature.

Gore also falsely inferred that correlation means causation. He showed that there is a correlation between temperature and carbon dioxide emissions and assumed that the correlation means that one force is causing the other. In the last century, however, along with increasing temperatures, there has also been an increase in the amount of cell phones. Correlation? Yes. Causation? I hope not.

Unfortunately, Gore is not the only person who has published dubious data regarding global warming. Late last year, NASA published a report claiming that November 2008 was the warmest November in recorded history. Skeptical scientists immediately challenged NASA’s data, and NASA came out and apologized, claiming that they accidentally copied the October 2008 temperatures recorded in Russia.

NASA, which is oft-quoted by global warming advocates, has been adding 0.15 degrees Celsius to its U.S. temperature reports since 2000, according to well-known global warming skeptic and statistician Steve McIntyre. According to McIntyre, NASA claimed that the year 2006 was the warmest in recorded history. Well, close, sort of. It was actually the fourth warmest. Number one was 1934, when carbon dioxide emissions were nowhere near today’s levels. In fact, only four of the 11 warmest recorded years have occurred in the last 54 years.

That much of the world and many of our leaders have drunk the global warming Kool-Aid is a testament to the fact that humans generally believe what they want to believe. The left wants to believe that global warming is true because it gives them an excuse to control our lives.

After all, if your “carbon footprint” is destroying Earth, then the government should have the authority to make coal, electricity and gasoline extremely expensive. It’s remarkable that on the one hand, the left wants America to give massive amounts of aid to starving Africans. But on the other hand, the left also wants to subsidize ethanol, which drives up the global prices of corn, milk, meat and eggs. Higher staple food prices are far harder for Africans than for Americans.
I can continue rattling off statistics that cast doubt upon the idea of global warming. I can continue describing unforeseen consequences (higher food prices, rapid deforestation, etc) that have developed as a result of policies that address global warming. But the bottom line is that dogma permeates all levels of this debate, and people currently entrenched in their opinions are likely to remain there.

What those people don’t realize is that every action people take has complex, far-reaching and often unforeseen consequences. Forcibly raising the prices of energy — the lifeblood of every economy — would have many unforeseen and disastrous consequences. But, as usual, the left does not understand the world’s complexity. The left thinks that human actions have predictable, foreseeable consequences.

As author Stephen Covery said, “While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.”


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