SuperFreakonomics - Part 2

Texas GOP Vote previously blogged about the significance of the last chapter in SuperFreakonomics entitled “What do Al Gore and Mount Pinatubo have in common?” We all know who Al Gore is but what exactly is the significance of Mount Pinatubo?

Mount Pinatubo is a volcano on the Philippine island of Luzon that erupted in 1991. The eruption was one of the most powerful in almost one hundred years, shooting more than twenty million tons of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere and killing about two hundred and fifty people. When all was said and done, the volcano was eight hundred and fifty feet shorter than before the eruption.

Normally you would think that adding an additional twenty million tons of sulfur dioxide, a by product of coal and petroleum combustion, would lead to an increase in global temperatures or at least some other unwanted effect, but the opposite was found to be true. The earth actually cooled off by an average of 1 degree Fahrenheit. This is because sulfur dioxide, when in the stratosphere, very effectively blocks out some solar radiation, much like the ozone layer.

So not only did this single eruption erase all warming effects human kind has ever created, but forests across the globe grew stronger due to the more diffuse light, and sunsets were prettier than ever before!

A company called Intellectual Ventures headed by Nathan Myhrvold, the former CTO of Microsoft, is developing a method to use sulfur dioxide in order to cool the earth if the globe ever does get warm enough to pose a problem. The company's plan is to lift a small hose by means of hot air balloons into the stratosphere. Sulfur dioxide could then be pumped through this hose and in a couple of years, global temperatures will fall to those seen in pre-industrial times.

The authors even mention a paper that suggests that the global cooling seen in the 1970's was actually caused by heavy particulate emissions. Government regulation of emissions has reversed this trend, effectively causing the warming they are now complaining about!

So in summary, why do the Democrats in Congress find it so important to scare us with threats that the world is coming to an end if

A.) We already have a viable plan that will cost $250 billion, as compared to the trillions that will be spent per year with the cap-and-trade legislation

B.) We still do not even have full proof that global warming exists. Al Gore used faulty data to back his claims.

C.) Reducing emissions will not prevent global warming, but cause it!



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