The Politics of Global Warming
Science and politics do not mix. They are like oil and water. Their natural state is to remain separate and distinct.
Science deals with objective reality and verifiable truths; politics deals in the perception of truth manipulated to meet a political objective.
This immutable separation between the two is no more apparent than it is in the controversy surrounding the topic of global warming.
What is fact? What is fiction? What is just plain run of the mill politics? How does this relate to the latest new science that came out of a Las Cruces meeting of solar physicists on June 14, 2011?
This article answers those questions.
The bottom line, though, is that both political sides on this issue are dead wrong!
Global Warming is Real
Science has proved objectively that the overall temperature of the Earth has increased by about .8 degrees Celsius (1.44 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1880.
That is a significant rise in temperature and its effects are being felt.
Yes, Mildred, despite what you may have heard on the radio… glaciers are melting, wind patterns are shifting and weather effects from the increase in temperature are being felt on our overpopulated planet.
I could go on and on debating the truth of this scientific fact, but that is neither necessary or needed for the purposes of this investigation.
The far more interesting questions are:
- Is earth’s temperature change human caused?
- Is Earth’s temperature going to keep rising, level off, or drop?
Politicos, both conservative and liberal alike, are motivated strictly by their narrow-minded preconceived beliefs about this controversial topic – not by science.
The United Nations set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) back in 1988.
Its original charter was to find out if there were ways to achieve “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”
That just means the IPCC originally wanted to answer this question:
- Can human caused global warming be reversed?
The IPCC is more political than scientific. It does not conduct original research nor does it monitor climate change itself.
Starting 23 years ago, it has produced four assessment reports and is working on a 5th report due out in 2014. In its first report back in 1992 the IPCC concluded that global warming was caused by human activity and has not seriously reassessed that position since.
The primary thrust of all IPCC assessment reports is to describe the effects of global warming, to define gas emission standards, and to define specific actions that countries around the world can take to reduce human greenhouse gas emissions.
If we take recommended IPCC actions, they say, global warming’s effects at first will get mitigated and then later reversed.
The Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 set targets for reduction of certain greenhouse gas emissions based on the 2nd IPCC assessment of 1995.
Kyoto made to many political decisions affecting emission reductions to be scientifically effective. That is because of the differing requirements between “Annex I” and “Annex II” countries.
For example, as a developing country, China was exempted from emission standards; yet today has replaced the United States as the world’s biggest polluter. Two other huge polluters, India and Brazil, were also exempted.
The U.S. decided the emission reductions could not feasibly be implement here so never signed the Protocol.
If the biggest polluters are not participating then Kyoto is doomed to failure.
Liberals and Global Climate Change
Liberals believe in group level solutions to problems that cannot be solved through local action or by individual initiative. That is why they favor big government solutions to social, economic and now scientific problems.
In their worldview there is no greater long term intergovernmental challenge facing humanity today than the threat of global climate change. It could end civilization as we know it.
Also, environmentalism has always been a cherished liberal value. So liberals naturally gravitate in droves toward a single solution that resolves both liberal causes… global warming AND environmentalism. A good way of thinking if it works.
Therefore it should surprise no one that liberals naturally embrace the ‘doom and gloom’ scenario that disaster can only be averted with the biggest intergovernmental solutions of all time involving every country on Earth.
Liberals believe massive expenditures by governments and individuals to reduce our carbon footprint is the only thing that will save us.
The IPCC’s 2007 assessment provides scientific support for the liberal worldview on climate.
President Obama and The Green Revolution
President Obama is at the zenith of the liberal green movement. Obama’s professed vision is to revive the U.S. economic engine and achieve world economic dominance once again by pushing green technologies. That, too, solves two problems with one liberal solution. What could be better?
Solving the global warming problem provides the scientific bedrock for the green revolution and justifies doing everything possible through legislation and regulation to bring it about. It appeals to the sensibilities of all liberals.
For liberals, overpopulation used to be the world’s greatest threat, but that unglamorous viewpoint has long since since fallen out of vogue. Now we have global climate change. This is much sexier and new!
Conservatives and Global Warming
Conservatives believe in less government, lower taxes, less government regulation and less government intervention in our individual lives.
That drives their worldview on global warming.
They generally believe market forces should prompt economic change rather than well-intentioned, faulty schemes to effect a liberal’s worldview of economic and social change.
For example, conservatives oppose the federal government forcing GM to waste precious corporate resources building more expensive electric cars that don’t reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions and are not what American consumers want to buy just yet.
They feel that is a prescription for expensive, corporate failure backed by government bailouts of billions of dollars funded out of THEIR pocketbooks. Conservatives don’t like stuff like that.
Therefore conservatives are justifiably suspicious of anything, like cap and trade legislation, requiring massive government taxation and spending and/or regulations that are at the very heart of liberal solutions for solving global warming.
Some on the radical right even believe that global warming is a liberal hoax designed to impose their green vision of the future on everyone else. No amount of truth or evidence will ever convince them otherwise.
Now Comes The Super Boring Part… Science Lessons for the IPCC!
It wasn’t until AFTER the IPCCs first THREE assessments that scientists proved beyond doubt, by direct measurements, that solar radiant energy output is variable. Prior to that it was believed that solar radiant output had been unchanged for billions of years. In fact, astronomers called it “The Solar Constant”.
Only over the last couple sunspot cycles it been discovered that the sun is hotter at sunspot maximum and cooler at sunspot minimum, varying by about .1 degrees Kelvin. That doesn’t sound like much, but is a big deal.
IPCC and Pre-1990 Science
We know that over geologic time, Earth’s temperature has gone way up and way down faster than a yo-yo. It is seen in Antarctic ice records and sea floor core samples.
Throughout Earth’s long history there have been huge fluctuations in temperature, as much as 10 to 20 degrees Kelvin (Celsius), taking place in periods shorter than a decade. That has happened over and over again long before humans came on the scene to cause any of it.
If not human caused, then how?
Historically, Earth’s climate change was driven mostly by the interrelated effects of volcanism generated gas emissions and particulates, albedo changes at the poles, changes in world-wide ocean currents (called thermohaline circulation) and fluctuations of solar radiant energy. The IPCC rejects all those causes of global climate change as factors in current global warming over the last century.
Science has proved that the rise in global temperature since 1880 cannot be caused by changes in volcanism, albedo and themohaline circulation alone. It also proves human activity has contributed.
The IPCC assessments do a good job associating anthropomorphic greenhouse gas increases to global warming.
Where Does The IPCC Go Wrong?
The IPCC can be forgiven for rejecting solar changes as a cause of global climate change. That is because the growing evidence shown in the “Solar Cycle Variations” graphic above is newer than most IPCC assessment reports.
Where the IPCC goes wrong is its flat out rejection that changes in the sun is a driving force in current global warming. Also, it erroneously assumes that the earth will keep getting hotter and hotter indefinitely into the near-term future.
Neither view is correct
What Happens If Global Warming Continues?
Global warming is melting glaciers and the polar ice caps. It is raising polar temperatures far faster than temperatures at the equator. It is also bringing greater rainfall to the northern and southern temperate zones. Despite conservative denials, this is fact. The IPCC is not wrong.
Ocean currents are responsible for 70% of all heat circulation on earth, only 30% is driven by atmospheric winds.
All this melting and rainfall is dumping huge amounts of fresh water into the northern and southern oceans. Its reducing their salinity. This has been measured and it is being closely monitored by places like the Wood’s Hole Institution right now.
If global warming continues, as is, it will melt enough glaciers and ice caps, and increase rainfall in the northern and southern temperate zones enough that the salinity of the northern and southern oceans will be reduced so much that thermohaline circulation will stopped dead in its tracks. Within just a few short years 70% of all heat transport on Earth would be shut off like a light bulb! Its dangerously close to that now.
That would trigger an immediate ice age.
This is not the stuff of Hollywood. This is real. Studies of the polar ice caps have proved dramatic global climate change has occurred repeatedly throughout Earth history. It can and will happen again if current global warming continues unabated.
We should be preparing Earth for the next ice age!
The Bombshell From Las Cruces
Finally, we come to the 6/14/2011 announcement from the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Physics Group meeting in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Reported there were three separate research studies indicating we may be heading into a prolonged period of sunspot inactivity.
Its not the first time that has happened. In fact, as recently as the 1600s we went through a similar experience lasting some 70 years when sunspots disappeared. That is called “The Maunder Minimum” shown above. Climatologists had previously associated the Maunder Minimum with a severely cold weather phenomena in the northern hemisphere called “The Little Ice Age“.
The current sunspot cycle maximum is already predicted to be the lowest in a hundred years, only about a 64 max. That compares to 1956 that was around 250.
As a result, the Las Cruces scientists with their three new studies believe there is growing evidence that sunspots will not return after this cycle and that we are headed into another period of sunspot inactivity and global cooling similar to the Maunder Minimum. They are calling it “The Grand Minimum“.
The IPCC and Sunspot Activity
It should be noted that the Maunder Minimum ended right at the beginning of the industrial age. The IPCC’s core argument is that human activity is responsible for all current global warming since the beginning of the industrial revolution.
After sunspot activity returned in the early 1700s it increased and increased to among the highest levels known since the last great ice age over 10,000 years ago. Activity peaked in the 1950s and 1960s. That peak even got a name – “The Modern Maximum”.
It should also be noted that the highest levels ever of sunspot activity known since the last great ice age corresponded to the ending of the ice age itself! Solar heating triggered its end!
Lastly, it should be noted that our current global warming growth cycle corresponds with the Modern Maximum. That isn’t by chance.
Solar activity and global climate change are intimately intertwined!
Political types are driven by their own conflicting political philosophies over the issue of global warming. Their understanding of science is blinded by their ideologies.
Science tells us that global warming is real. It also tells us if it continues that a world-wide ice age is inevitable.
The record of Antarctic ice changes over the last 10,000+ years reveals a close relationship between solar radiant energy changes as related to sunspot activity and global climate change.
Science further tells us that we’ve had periods of sunspot inactivity in recent centuries, including a 70 year period in the 1600s with practically zero activity at all that was closely trailed by the little ice age.
And now the latest information from Las Cruces tells us we are headed toward an extended period of little or no sunspot activity again.
We humans need to give up the egotistical notion that we can control global climate with politically defined legislation and regulation.
If anything, as science plainly tells us, we should be preparing for global cooling rather than global warming.