Sunday, July 30, 2006

Global Warming Goggles

Today I turned on the Discovery Channel to catch almost all of Tom Brokaw's Global Warming: What You Need to Know special. I had heard about this special, which is in the name of Al Gore's own global warming celebrity movie. Needless to say I was intrigued, and began to watch.

It soon became apparent to me that the purpose of the special was to prove man-made connections to global warming. This special is similar to Al's movie, in that it highlighted only the changes that are suspected to be the result of global warming. Showing polar bears with less habitat, desertification, and "stronger" weather patterns is meant to imply these are all caused by man-made global warming. However, the fact that global warming may be natural is not discussed.

Two examples they used in the special both express my idea of "global warming goggles." One example was a pacific island that is slowly being overtaken by the ocean. While worldwide ocean levels have risen 4 to 10 inches, the ocean levels on this island have risen several feet in the past few years. Instead of investigating this extremely strange phenomenon, Tom expressed the reasons for the crisis as global warming.

Next, the special examined desertification in China and sub-Saharan Africa. Some places in China especially have seen rainfall levels drop substantially. What is completely ignored is that many areas of the world are seeing increased rainfall (including the majority of the midwest United States.) Why is the special highlighting only one aspect of climate change? Why are positive climate changes in other parts of the world ignored? Are not all climate changes a result of global warming, or only the negative ones? It seems cleart that these scientists are unable to see past their theory of global warming, and are ignoring the need for further research into these phenomenon. It's a shame.

One enormous uninvestigated aspect of global warming science is the unexplained massive climate shifts of Earth's past. Why, in millions of years of history has the climate changed drastically with no human connection? Tom briefly stated that scientists had "figured it out." He later never explained this statement.

The Kyoto treaty was brought up on a number of occasions (usually under the premise that is it our savior from the tragedy of global warming). Citing the need to ratify the treaty, and our lack of doing so as disastrous, the special went on to blatantly lie about the treaty and it's effects. While the special claimed correctly that Kyoto wanted to bring carbon dioxide emissions down 50% by 2050, they failed to state that even the Kyoto scientists claim this is not enough to stop global warming. The scientists interviewed by Tom ignored this fact, claiming that global warming could be "slowed" and "brought to a halt" regardless of what their global warming conspiracy theorists Kyoto friends have said.

Near the end of the special, Tom asked one of his resident global warming experts why anyone would disbelieve that global warming is being caused by man. The reasons the scientist gave were 1) those people are scared and 2) those people have financial incentives to maintain the status quo. The obvious rebuttal to this is that an increasing number of scientists are seeing through the theory of global warming because the science is flawed, not because they're scared or own ExxonMobile stock. I am a perfect example of a person that does not believe global warming is caused by man, for a variety of reasons - not including those two. I almost jumped out of my chair when Tom said that scientists knew why the Earth has had dozens of ice ages before the days of man-made carbon dioxide emissions. It seems obvious that the reasons behind these much more major climate shifts would explain a great deal about the 150 year .6 degree worldwide temperature increase.

Sadly, though, the special ignores any of this evidence. It instead attempts to make you believe in global warming, and vilifies those "scared" and "financially dependent" people who do not. It seems clear to me that someday the goggles will come off, and these scientists will be quite embarrassed at themselves - that is, until the next world destruction theory comes to life.

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