Home > Environment, Science > For some, thinking is not their strong suit

For some, thinking is not their strong suit

Jay points out an anti-global warming post by a new Montana legislator. It’s not impressive. You can get the article here, which is probably the best way to go. The full site appears to have been designed in 1996, or by a team of 9 year olds. Seriously, frames, blinking text, and animated flag gifs are pure evil.

Anyway, onto the article. It’s mostly nonsensical conspiracy theorist rambling, as Jay so ably points out, so I won’t concern myself with that. This is what I want to discuss:

Carbon dioxide emission as a cause of global climate warming is the biggest hoax of the last 30 years. In 1975 the number one slot was held by those who proclaimed that the earth was entering the next ice age because economic growth was producing pollutants that were eating a hole in the ozone layer and letting the earth’s heat escape into space.

First off, this is simply a dumb reason not to believe in a scientific hypothesis. Scientific hypotheses are overturned constantly. Pick any scientific theory or hypothesis and some contradictory was probably advocated by scientists in the past. That’s sort of what happens with science. We gain more knowledge, progress is made, we know more about the world. So it’s simply ridiculous on its face.

Secondly, it’s simply wrong. Actually, it’s at best disingenuous and at worst completely false. There were some who promoted the idea that global cooling was imminent, due to the hole in the ozone layer. They were in the media, primarily (e.g. this Newsweek article). The scientific community didn’t approach anything more than there would be an ice age in the next 20,000 years; for example:

Future climate. Having presented evidence that major changes in past climate were associated with variations in the geometry of the earth’s orbit, we should be able to predict the trend of future climate. Such forecasts must be qualified in two ways. First, they apply only to the natural component of future climatic trends – and not to anthropogenic effects such as those due to the burning of fossil fuels. Second, they describe only the long-term trends, because they are linked to orbital variations with periods of 20,000 years and longer. Climatic oscillations at higher frequencies are not predicted.

The NAS in 1975 said they simply didn’t know:

…we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines its course. Without the fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate…

Of course, the report also said there was a finite probability of a imminent (within 100 years) significant global cooling. That, of course, tells us very little, especially considering the NAS’s assessment of the state of knowledge of the climate science community. It’s possible, but they weren’t in a position to say more than that. We are now and the evidence says that global warming is caused by humans.

The bottom line is that this is a climate skeptic myth. There’s plenty of information in the links above, including discussions of most scientific papers brought up by the purveyors of this tripe. There were alarmist media articles about global cooling then. There are alarmist media articles about global warming now. The difference is that the science backs up global warming now and it didn’t back up global cooling, according to the consensus of the day.

Categories: Environment, Science
  1. rob
    February 6, 2007 at 2:25 am

    I’m not sure what to think, personally, but from what I’ve read there’s more evidence than conspiracy nutcases for carbon dioxide at least being a secondary cause of climate change, e.g. this collection of reliable sources:

    http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/guide.html

  2. February 6, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    Considering Steve Milloy is little more than an industry propagandist (here and here), I’m not exactly inclined to trust his interpretations of those papers. The NAS and the IPCC, who have produced comprehensive reviews of the evidence, and are qualified to do such things, say the evidence points the other direction.

  3. February 7, 2007 at 8:06 am

    Ah, Steve Milloy, mouthpiece for Industry.

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