Climate Change Science Currently Assailed by Political and Economic Agendas

Only two groups have settled on the certainty of anthropogenic man-made global warming: the popular media and those who stand to profit financially from the new politics and economics of climate change. The over-simplified version of the state of our world reads like this, “Man has released carbon dioxide into the air and it’s causing the planet to heat. Disaster is imminent.” That version, however, skirts the fact that although CO2 levels are at record highs, the planet’s atmosphere on average is no warmer than it was in 1998. What, then is the real state of climate science and how is it being used to further other agendas?

Climate science today stands locked in a war of competing methodologies. Since the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988, the “official” line of inquiry has relied on process theory. In this model, specific events or occurrences are posited to be the result of input states, which will in turn result in given output states. Observation theory, used by leading climate-change skeptics like Dr. William Alexander, Professor Emeritus at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a former member of the United Nations Scientific Technical Committee on Natural Disasters, rely on empirical studies; information gathered by means of observation or experience.

The catastrophic climate models arrived at through process theory cannot be verified. They are rather like the risk profiles used in the insurance industry to assess premiums according to such factors as age, occupation, or geographic location. Climate policies then, like insurance coverage, are designed to manage or answer the potential of certain risks coming true. In the best case scenario, the science is used to inform, not dictate the policy. Observational models, on the other hand, extrapolate scenarios from years of collected data. In this case, the models point to periodicity in various hydrological processes, like rainfall, to explain climate events such as drought or temperature fluctuations in terms of natural cycles. If the empirical studies are correct, none of the costly measures to control green house emissions currently being considered by governments around the world will alter the earth’s environment in any way. They are, in essence, insurance we don’t need.

There are definitely changes taking place on our planet. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are at an historic high. Glacial melting is occurring. Sea levels are rising and coastal areas are flooding. The earth is experiencing heat waves and certain areas are enduring unusually warm weather at odd times of the year. Do man-made green house emissions help our atmosphere? Certainly not, no more than eating chocolate daily helps a person maintain a healthy weight. But psychologists confirm that there are always deep-set emotional roots to morbid obesity that are far more complex than simply over-eating. The same is true of climate science. While it is easier for the popular media to reduce a complex situation to a sound bite, there are deeper roots to climate change than just greenhouse gas emissions.

Factor in the politics of climate change, and it is all but impossible to make an accurate assessment of the reality of global warming from news reports and government policies. Essentially the world’s governments envision the incentivization of responsible behavior through carbon trading. “Good” entities receive credits for producing fewer emissions. “Bad” entities that do not meet their limits can offset their behavior by buying the credits. And instantly a new commodities market emerges that creates age-old hurdles to diplomacy and constructive action.

Reports of interactions at the Cophenhagen climate summit, (December 7-18, 2009) are reminiscent of accounts of the Versailles Peace Conference at the end of World War I. Large nations are pitted against small nations, developed economies are standing against under-developed economies, and the need to assign blame to someone for the whole mess takes center stage. This time China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, appears to be standing in for Germany as culprit de jour. Look to the island nations for shades of the tiny Balkan states wedged in between competing super powers, and see expensive emissions limits reprising the role of crippling war reparations.

It might be instructive to remember, however, that the seeds of the second world war were sown in the peace of the first. If the delegates at Copenhagen and the individual governments they represent, continue to debate based on only one side of an unresolved scientific argument and to keep massive profit potential central to their goals, is it little wonder fewer people believe they are telling the truth about global warming? Policies that encourage energy independence; cleaner air and water; and vigorous, open scientific debate should be put forward as worthy in their own right, free of the manipulations currently infecting climatology.

Sources:

Alexander, Will. "Climate Change - The Clash of Theories." 3 April 2009, An Honest Climate Debate: http://anhonestclimatedebate.wordpress.com/2009/04/03/climate-change-%E2%80%93-the-clash-of-theories-by-professor-will-alexander/


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