The advocates of man-made global warming are fond of claiming science as their ally. But the science is almost immaterial since global warming is a thin disguise for what is a very dangerous political movement, one that would subjugate all of us to a tyranny that claims our lives and values are inconsequential compared to what authorities assert is best for the planet.
But, if we wish to pretend this is about science, the warmers have a few challenges.
We usually take if for granted, but how do we get a number, one number, for the temperature of the Earth? Terrestrial measurements a fraught with error as the environment around many measurement stations has changed. The most extreme examples are of rural stations ending up in the outskirts of cities where temperatures are normally warmer than in the rural location. There are also maintenance issues and other problems with terrestrial measurements.
Satellite measurements are more controlled but don’t go back very far, historically. Balloons provide great atmospheric profile data but weather balloons haven’t been around that long and they are not launched uniformly around the world. Ice core samples provide thousands of years of data but don’t help us know what the temperature was in places that don’t have ice.
So getting a single number for the temperature of the Earth today or historically is a problem. We either have long-term data or global data but not both. Still, we can at least look at something like ice core data and get information about the temperature record at one place on earth (let’s forget for now that the continents and their ice don’t stay put but move around over time.)
And even if we decide which measurements are the most meaningful, how does one integrate all the measurements to achieve one number, one, grand, global temperature? These are not minor scientific problems.
Is the Earth Warming?
The second problem, after determining one temperature number, is to ascertain whether the earth is cooling or warming or staying the same. In other words, are the measurement uncertainties small enough to allow us to predict a trend? The Earth’s temperature is certainly not staying the same over time, with or without people on board. (My preference is warming. Cooling would result in mass extinctions.)
Why is the Earth Warming?
Third, if we can get past that hurdles of measuring temperature and determining a trend, we are confronted with proving WHY the temperature is changing and not just qualitatively but quantitatively, to the fraction of a degree. A computer model is NOT A PROOF. A computer model is a hypothesis that must be proven by observation, experiment and testing. This is no different than what is required of any mathematical description of reality be it Newton’s laws or quantum mechanics.
How Do We Change the Temperature Trend?
Fourth, if we decide we can measure the temperature and that the temperature is changing and that people are the cause, we must now propose a solution. And, again, scientific necessity requires that we PROVE the hypothesis, that is, prove the cure we propose. Even advocates of warming have not found a solution tyrannical, oppressive and inhuman enough to make much of a difference in their temperature trend claims. By their own calculations “cap and trade” and other policy proposals make a difference of only a couple tenths of a degree C per century.
Is the Cure Worst Than The Disease?
Fifth, and finally, if we are to be humane, and the warmists show no signs of being humane, we should determine if our cure is worse than the disease. I say it is. The warmists predict oceans rising, cities being flooded and a host of disasters. (But, of course, it’s also true that more carbon dioxide means more plant growth and warmer climates have longer growing seasons.)
The warmists’ cure is an end to individual rights, freedom, capitalism and, frankly, humanity. Is living in a gulag run by enviro-nazis preferable to putting your home on stilts, moving inland or to a more Northern latitude?
Just to cap this off, what do we do if 1) we can measure the Earth’s temperature and 2) we can detect a trend and 3) the trend is caused by people and 4) we have a political cure but 5) our cure goes too far and we reverse the warming trend instead of stopping it? Would you prefer Cleveland is in the tropics or that Orlando is under ice?