The Mythology of Climate Change
There are plenty of myths that often permeate the climate change debate, and if one reads the mainstream media, you will get the idea that world is close to extinction. However, what you read in the media is mostly wrong.
Myth one is that the science is settled on climate change, but the reality is the science behind much of the assertion of climate warming is imploding. The present day climate changes are showing a temporary plateau for the past two decades, and the computer models that scientists have based their predictions on have been wrong in predicting the present trends. In the 1970’s, many scientists were predicating a coming Ice Age and then two decades later, it was that we were going to fry to death, but now we have some scientists seeing a return to a cooler trend. This is the complete opposite than what has been called for by computer models.
Myth two is that much of the media simply doesn't explain the various sides or the nuances of the debate by the various factions. It is supposedly the good scientists who believe the climate is changing and warming and the evil scientists who don’t believe that our climate is changing. The reality is that there is a consensus that our climate is changing by almost all factions, but the main debate is what is the cause. The consensus is that climate has been changing for a million years, so that climate undergoes change is not the issue. The real debate is whether it is caused by humans, nature, or a combination of both.
Myth three is that those who believe in man-made climate change have the superior argument. But the real secret is that opponents of anthropogenic climate change have the better argument and one reason is past climate change history. We have seen far more radical changes in weather than what we are presently witnessing, and even in the past one thousand years, we have seen both warmer and colder climate than present, and no one buys that the warmer climate around 1000 AD that saw Vikings colonizing Greenland was man-made. The biggest scientific mistake that many climatologists make is to assume that humans are the main reason that climate changes and ignore the role of nature. The failure of truly understanding natural events in climate change is undermining our ability to forecast future weather. Some scientists are viewing the changes in solar activity as influential in the current trends, and this solar activity could predict what would happen in the future, which is one reason that some scientists are calling for a possible mini-ice age! The role of the Sun in determining our weather is a natural event with very few exceptions, but you won’t read that in most American media. You often have to read British newspapers to get stories like this and more balanced reporting on this issue. This merely reflects the tendency of most American journalists to surrender to conventional wisdom. Most scientists have accepted that climate change is a natural constant on our planet and that the present warming has proceeded a mini ice age that ended in the middle of the 18th century.
There are many different natural events that many scientists believe will lead to climate change on this planet. Some of these events like solar activity are driven beyond this planet and others have their origin within this planet. It could easily be that various natural events intertwined are the main reason for climate change and the biggest problem we have now is that there is very little research studying natural events.
Myth four is that energy companies are funding the skeptics, but the reality is that most energy companies, either to avoid a war on energy companies from the political left today or to win economic favors from politicians, are as likely to give to green causes as those who are skeptical of primarily man-made climate change. Most government funding goes to advocates of man-made climate change and the academic bullying done by many on the man-made side makes it difficult for those who challenged the status quo to get funding or tenure. Never mind, their arguments are prevailing over the conventional wisdom. If you want energy companies, or government funding, just tell them you believe man is evil and causing all environmental problems, and you can make a pretty good living.
Myth five is that warmer climate is worse for humanity than colder climate. The opposite is true. If we gain a degree, we might be better off, if past history is any indication, since we would have longer growing season and more land area that could actually be cultivated for food. The height of the Roman Empire occurred during a warming trend, a trend as warm, if not warmer, than the present climate. One reason was that the growing season was longer and more food was then available.
Myth six is the relationship of carbon dioxide to global warming. There are numerous things we don’t know, the first being figuring out what the proper level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is. There have been times in climate history of this planet that we have seen carbon dioxide levels even higher than present with little effect upon life on our planet. Nor is it automatic that CO2 levels is the primary mover to global warming as we have seen throughout this century, CO2 levels have climbed during both warming trends and cooling trends. Some scientists will make the argument that CO2 levels go up as a result of global warming as opposed to causing it.
The other aspect is that CO2 is a necessary building bloc of nature, not a pollutant as the EPA would have it assigned. Some scientists have argued that a rise in CO2 would be good for the planet as it would increase vegetation growth and less water would be required to maintain this growth, thus conserving water. There is so much we don’t know, and to base economic policy on what we don’t know is just plain bad policy.
The seventh myth is that we must have immediate action or else. Due to the limitation of the computer models and the tendency of these models to exaggerate warming trends, it could easily be argued that any warming trend would be within the margin of recent warming trends. And the dirty little secret is that even advocates of anthropogenic climate change admit that even if we put a halt to much of the use of carbon fuels, we would see very little change in our present climate. What we will see is an increase of poverty rates and economic misery that would affect the poor the worst. Life would once again be brutal and short for most of us.
Is climate change the result of natural events or are human the real culprits? Do humans add an additional factor to natural events? And what are those natural events that cause climate change and how do they interact with each other? More importantly, can we find a historical pattern that could be used to more accurately predict the future? As you can see, we have historical records to show that natural events have caused far more radical changes than what we are witnessing, and we do not have a complete understanding of those events. Those who believe that nature is the primary moving force behind the present climate change have the better argument since they can already prove that natural events were the primary movers behind past climate change. This debate is little more complicated and contains more nuances than what the media would have us believe.
The major problem we have in the way of real science is that those who believe in anthropogenic climate change have attempted to bully those who disagree with them and try to choke off debate while stifling real scientific dialogue. Part of the reason is the research money available and the intense competition for it. Another big reason could be that the climate change debate has given environmental extremists a chance to institute major government control over our daily lives in the name of saving the planet. Regardless of the reason, one side of the debate has attempted to close off what is a needed debate and in the process is politicizing science. It is the believer of anthropogenic climate change that is acting the part of the inquisition, and it is those who view climate change as due to natural events the true defender of proper scientific dialogue.