YES, THE Earth is warming. It has been warming since 1850, the end of the Little Ice Age. Global warming is a natural phenomenon, something that happens periodically. The hoax being foisted upon us is that (a) it is our fault and (b) we can do something about it.
If the tree-huggers, proponents of the Kyoto Treaty and its subsequent Protocols, university researchers and Third-World countries get their way, the hoax will cost Americans and Europeans trillions of dollars. Developing nations, such as India and China, are almost totally exempt from the treaty, so refineries and chemical plants in North America and Europe will simply move more plants to exempt Third World countries. The loss of jobs and income will be staggering, and it won’t stop global warming.
We’ve been warning you about the junk science involved with global warming in this column for years. But anyone who opposes the idea that we can actually do something about global warming is usually dismissed as a tool of big industry or a fool who can’t see the obvious.
Michael Crichton’s recent novel, State of Fear, completely debunks the junk science surrounding global warming. Crichton spent three years researching the subject. The book has more footnotes than I have ever seen in a novel, and it’s backed up by 34 pages of author’s notes, appendices and a bibliography listing resources, references and technical papers on the subject. He even supplies web site addresses for some of the harder-to-find references, so you can check them out yourself.
Crichton’s message is:
- We know astonishingly little about every aspect of the environment.
- Nobody knows how much of the warming trend is natural and how much is man-made.
- Nobody knows how much warming will occur in the next century. Computer models vary by 400%. He predicts it will go up by 0.812436 ºC, and says his guess is as good as anyone’s.
- The oceans are not rising and all glaciers are not receding (some are, some aren’t).
- He suspects that the real man-made contributor to global warming is land use (cutting down the rain forests, for example).
- Most important, he says that before we destroy our economies by passing dumb laws, we should develop climate models that are accurate.
Where have we heard that before? From our own control engineering expertise, which says you can’t control something unless you understand how it will respond. Béla Lipták, my fellow CONTROL columnist, harps on this continuously (See "A Process Only Mankind Can Control"). To any control engineer, it makes no sense to pass restrictive environmental laws unless we know what the effects will be.
Don’t get me wrong: I am in favor of cleaning up the air and the water, reducing emissions, eliminating smog, and stopping acid rain that destroys lakes. But let’s do it for the right reasons, not because junk science says it will stop global warming.
How did we become so convinced that global warming can be stopped? Crichton says it’s because global warming has become politicized. It is politically correct to be concerned about it, to accuse North America and Europe of causing it, and to propose laws to stop it. Universities are big beneficiaries of global warming theories because their researchers can snag millions of dollars in grants if they propose research that is politically correct. And woe to professors and scientists who disagree. Their data is suppressed, their grant applications denied, and they don’t get published. Crichton says that one proof of this is that so many outspoken critics of global warming are retired professors, who no longer seek grants.
Politicians usually go along with such trends, but not in this case. The U.S. Senate rejected 95-0 a non-binding resolution related to the Kyoto Treaty, which says it couldn’t support an agreement that didn’t tie developing and developed nations together in reducing greenhouse emissions. The U.S. House of Representatives also steadfastly refuses to pass laws that will cripple our industries. We are probably safe for the time being.
Nevertheless, it pays to be vigilant. I recommend that you read Crichton’s novel, and get acquainted with the subject a little better. It presents the case against global warming junk science, is an entertaining read, and gives you plenty to think about.