February 24, 2010

More than a rock collector

FROM-Pajamas Media

Climategate: What We Should Be Doing About Natural Climate Change

Just because AGW is a fraud doesn't mean that we should ignore the natural and cyclical changes in the Earth's temperature.

by Harrison Schmitt

Earth’s climate changes are extraordinarily complex phenomena. They represent decadal, to millennial, to epochal changes in weather patterns as nature continuously attempts to compensate for solar heating imbalances in and between the atmosphere and oceans.

Nature’s attempts to restore heat balance take place under the complicating influences of the Earth’s inclined daily rotation, movement and release of heat stored in the oceans, aerosol production by many natural processes, water and carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, and periodically changing orbital position and orientation relative to the sun. In spite of all these variables and more, the Earth currently controls its temperature in a very narrow range as shown by satellite measurements of the temperature of the lower atmosphere (troposphere) since 1979.

Global surface and near surface temperatures have risen about half a degree Centigrade (about 0.9 degree Fahrenheit) each 100 years since the minimum temperatures of the Little Ice Age in 1660. Multi-decade intervals of more rapid warming and cooling have occurred during this current, centuries-long general warming trend as they have for over 10,000 years since the last major ice age.

Indeed, by the end of the 17th century, glaciers had advanced over valley farmlands cultivated as those same glaciers receded during the preceding Medieval Warm Period (about 800-1300). Since the last major ice age, decades long periods of warming and cooling have been superposed on longer cycles, the longest repeating about every 1500 years.

All of this has occurred without any significant human activity. Cooling between 1935 and 1975 and since 2000, and warming between 1975 and 1995 have been the most recent such variations and correlate strongly with variations in solar activity.

In contrast to these facts, climate change assumptions and computer modeling, rather than real-world observations, underpin the government’s efforts to restrict American liberties and confiscate trillions of dollars of American income in the name of “doing something” about climate change. The scientific rationale behind this proposed massive intrusion into American life requires more than a “consensus” of like-minded climate analysts and bureaucrats. It needs to be right.

Recent disclosures and admissions of scientific misconduct by the United Nations and advocates of the human-caused global warming hypothesis shows the fraudulent foundation of this much-ballyhooed but non-existent scientific consensus about climate.

Still, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other government agencies persist in over-stepping their regulatory authority to jam climate related regulations into our lives and economy at the expense of liberty, jobs, and incomes. Federal control of energy production and use, advocated by special “climate” interests, will have a vanishingly small effect on slowing three and a half centuries of very slow, erratic, but natural global warming.

A long-term federal and commercial agenda to gather power and profit in the name of “environment” at the expense of liberty has no constitutional foundation. The Tenth Amendment leaves to the states all governance responsibility for environment as no direct or indirect mention of it exists in the Constitution. Prudent protection of local environments by the states and the people does have justification in the Ninth Amendment’s protection of natural rights, including “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as formalized in the Declaration of Independence. The Feds need to butt out!

So, what should the people do now about climate, if anything? We must prepare to adapt to inevitable change, however unpredictable it may seem. We can recognize that production and use of our own domestic oil, gas, coal, and nuclear resources buys us time to meet these challenges and, at the same time, preserve our liberty.

We can develop far better surface and space observational techniques and use them consistently over decades to better understand the science of our Earth. On political time scales, we can quit taking actions with unknown and unintended consequences. We can choose sustained research and development of energy alternatives, those with clear paths to commercialization, rather than continue tax dollar subsidies and loan guarantees for premature or flawed introduction of politically motivated concepts. We can provide investment and business environments that will advance new sources of energy, particularly through reduction of personal and business income tax rates.

Basically, instead of being ideologically greedy and ignoring good science and economics, we can start being wise and truly concerned about our children, and their children, and the society in which they will live.

Harrison Schmitt is a a former senator from New Mexico and a geologist. He walked on the Moon as part of the crew of Apollo 17.


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