Sunday, December 20, 2009
It Isn't True if they Say it Isn't
As many as 40% of Canadians believe global warming is a hoax. That’s probably higher in Alberta. Talk shows hammer our airwaves day after day with ranting hosts... bringing up the recent "Climate-gate" scandal as evidence that more than 100 years of climate data is somehow fraudulent.
The lack of scientific transparency certainly raises ethical issues within the scientific community. However, the assertion that it proves a hoax is manipulative and ridiculous.
The simple fact is that science has measured surface and ocean temperatures... ocean currents... desertification... clouds... atmospheric pollution... the deterioration of the world's glaciers... the shrinking northern ice cap... the destablisation of the southern ice cap... the shrinking of the Greenland ice mass and countless other climate changes for more than a century. There is no other explanation for these massive shifts. They correlate directly with rising CO2 levels since the beginning of the fossil fuel age from 250 parts per billion (ppb) to 380 in the last 150 years. Yet climate-change deniers want us to believe these changes—and the rapid increase in average yearly temperatures (this decade is the hottest in recorded history, despite deniers’ fraudulent claims)—is all a matter of sunspots.
Every high student knows CO2 traps heat. It’s a simple laboratory experiment. In the last four decades alone, mankind has pumped hundreds of trillions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Earth is a closed system. That CO2 has nowhere to go and once in the atmosphere it traps heat for a very long time. For climate deniers to claim differently, they would have to come up with some radical theory to explain the changes. They have never done that because there is no other theory.
Their goal is simple; they want to sow doubt in those who do not have time to understand the science, or who are simply hoping against all rational hope that this disaster is not really looming at all, and that we can continue to pollute the planet with no negative consequences.
Much of climate change denial rhetoric comes from something called the Heartland Institute (not coincidentally funded by Exxon) and climate scientist Dr Patrick Michaels (lavishly paid by the coal lobby). Their job is not to disprove human-induced climate change; it is simply to plant doubt in voters and decision makers and delay forced changes through the democratic process.
These people are not stupid or greedy… or are they? Would they jeopardize our own planet? Is greed that strong? Would some people profit at the expense of others? We all know the answer to that.
The greenhouse effect is undisputed science… even by deniers. We continue to pump trillions tons of greenhouse gases into the air every year. CO2 levels in the atmosphere have increased by more than 50%.
Those are the facts. Logic dictates that there is a correlation between climate change and greenhouse gas. It may be easier to believe global warming is a sham. I wish it were.
You may never read this column again. Fine. Just don’t ignore the disappearing lakes and forests of this province, or the rapidly shrinking glaciers that fill our rivers every summer. And when you notice, ask yourself, “shouldn’t someone come up with a theory to explain all this?”
We already have. It was just easier to pretend it wasn’t happening.