Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Poison for Galileo?

I'm no fan of official truths or other orthodoxy that isn't scientifically or factually based. So, I've had a real problem with the attitudes of the people who beat the drum on global warming.

I have no doubts at all that man's activities have contributed to whatever global warming there is. I also have no doubts that man's activities aren't the only factor. The earth has constantly undergone climactic evolution, so I think we should expect this.

I have great suspicion for the alarmists among the global warming activists. Mainly, when I was a kid in the late 70s, I remember scientists telling us we were entering a new ice age during those years of especially harsh winters and mild summers. Those alarmists have been proven wrong, so there's no reason for me to think these alarmists are correct.

I have more than suspicion for those who want to see a strict single view party line on the topic. I have contempt. Too many speak as though there only one possibility, when clearly there is not. So, it is with interest that I note the conflict over the 'state climatologist' in Oregon.
In the face of evidence agreed upon by hundreds of climate scientists, George Taylor holds firm. He does not believe human activities are the main cause of global climate change.

Taylor also holds a unique title: State Climatologist.

And even though that title is not a state government title, Oregon's governor wants to strip him of it.
Taylor has held the title of "state climatologist" since 1991 when the legislature created a state climate office at OSU The university created the job title, not the state.

His opinions conflict not only with many other scientists, but with the state of Oregon's policies. So the governor wants to take that title from Taylor and make it a position that he would appoint.

The thing about scientific consensus is that the outcomes stand up to scrutiny. It isn't necessary to brand one a heretic. And yet, so many global warming activists act to stifle the other side. Why? If the facts are on the side of global warming, they do the job of silencing crackpots. But, this is politics and not reason.
Kulongoski said the state needs a consistent message on reducing greenhouse gases to combat climate change.

The Governor says, "I just think there has to be somebody that says, 'this is the state position on this.'"

Again, why? Is there a state position on whether or not the earth is round? It isn't necessary. The evidence is plain there. Link to full article.

So many things we know more about today, we were once just flat wrong about while having very strong opinions. No new ice age here. No flat earth, thank you. Marxist and Keynesian economics? Trash can. Alarmists were saying in the 1970s that we would run out of gasoline by 1980. Instead, gas is pretty cheap. Coal was supposed to be exhausted by now, too. So was lumber.

So, let the debate flourish. Regard with suspicion anyone who would sensor either point of view and work to establish an official truth. And let's be cool-headed about this and remember that the earth's climactic changes are best measured over centuries and not months. I fear reactionary policies towards any phenomenon, man-made or otherwise. They rarely serve us well.


Jeff Pruitt said...

This Glenn Beck nonsense is truly disturbing. First off, the guy isn't even a climatologist - he doesn't have a background in climatology or have a PhD. It's actually quite laughable that global warming deniers are using this "scientist" to support their argument. Please don't fall for it. The facts are quite obvious and the IPCC's latest report is quite clear.

The only people that think "the facts are still out" are those that haven't bothered looking at them.

However, I heartily agree w/ your last statement:
"I fear reactionary policies towards any phenomenon, man-made or otherwise. They rarely serve us well."

Mike Kole said...

Great, Glenn Beck talked about this guy, eh? Well, I came to it by myself, no help from Glenn Beck.

Anyhow, guilt-by-association accusations aside, I am deeply concerned that the global warming argument is little more than a reactionary attempt to push policies that are punitive to American corporations. The solutions I've heard seem to target the USA without the slightest interest in targeting bigger poluters in other nations. Why is that? If this is all about science and not politics, and a genuine interest in helping the environment, shouldn't were adhere to the facts and attack pollution where it is worst?

Unless I am way off base (and I could well be) I understand that the earth's temperature has risen 1 degree over the last century. That doesn't seem like much to me, but then, I'm not equipped to make a blanket pronouncement on the relative severity of such a change. And, again, I'll point to the warnings from the 70s of the coming Ice Age. Moreover, the history of the earth is one of evolution (remember that?), and of climactic evolution. Leave it to us simple humans to try to fight this and attempt to hyper-engineer the world into a false freeze of conditions. So, on all that basis, to me, the facts are very much still out.

I'll make it a point to read more on this topic.

Are we polluting? You bet. Are we doing a better job of mitigating polution? You bet. Are there bigger polluters than the United States? Absolutely.

Last question: If this guy isn't a scientist or a climatologist, why did Oregon State give him that title? Seems odd, doesn't it? That question is worthy of an answer.

Jeff Pruitt said...


I appreciate you willing to look into the topic. Specifically I would encourage you to read about

1. US pollution per capita relative to the rest of the world.

2. Current CO2 levels relative to the last 3 million years

3. What impact rising CO2 levels has on climate models

4. What the biggest source of CO2 emmissions are and what we've actually done to mitigate the problem

5. Steps other countries have taken vs what the US has done

6. Read the IPCC's 2002 report (executive summary) as well as the latest release

If after looking at just these 6 topics you still feel the way you do then I would be 100% shocked. Most people feel the way they do because they don't know enough about the topic...