On Global Warming
After an interesting discussion with the scientist and SF author David Brin on Facebook about climate change, I promised David I would give him a full response to his post, and this webpage is that response as, well let's face it, Facebook is not the place for a long winded list of my readings and how I arrived at my conclusion.
I include numerous links to where I obtained certain information. I have tried to quote as many varied sites as possible, and where possible, quote recognised or credible sources. I try to avoid the crackpot conspiracy sites as much I as try and avoid the alarmist extreme of the other end of the spectrum.
What is Global Warming / Climate Change?
Put simply, the Earth is warming up.(1) The cause is what the debate is about(2). I first heard about global warming twenty odd years ago. It got changed to Climate Change some time back, but the terms are inter-changeable. The long and short of it according to the IPCC(3), man made carbon emissions are to be blamed for global warming. But is there anything else to be considered? I thought so.
In 2006, I watched Al Gore's In 'An Inconvenient Truth'(4) In this film Al Gore proposed that there was a link between carbon emissions and global temperature. I likened the graph to a Pangaea(5) argument. It looks like it 'might' fit, but then coincidences abound. As it turns out, there is a fit, BUT, and it is a big but, there is a seven hundred year to a thousand year of lag.(6)(7). Which would indicate that the warming is not directly caused by carbon emissions.
The fundamental fact as I could see it, the divide was simply, those who said carbon emissions were to blame, and those who said the IPCC fudged the figures. Not wanting to be uneducated on the subject matter, I read as much as I was able, and I included other areas which might have an effect on global temperatures.
I read a lot about the following: Tectonic activity, volcanoes and carbon emissions, ice calving (a hot topic at the moment) Sea pollution and desalination, and how this affects the Gulf Stream. I also found out that the worlds oceans hold around 92% of the worlds CO2. I read about sea levels and average air temperature. How CO2 readings have been as high as 760 PPM 34 million years ago compared to 391 PPM in October 2012. The CO2 readings before, and after the industrial revolution started pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. About how the permafrost melting produces more carbon than was predicted, and more methane. I read up on Solar activity, in fact pretty much anything that mentioned global warming or climate change.
The long and short of it, the more I read, the more I realised that the subject was vast, very complex, and had an enormous number of variables. Then an odd thought struck me. Who is to gain from climate change? And who is to lose?
The socio-economic equation was way more complex than the science.
The western world is an oil based economy. It appeared that the people opposing climate change were driven by the people supported by this money. So should that add weight to the scientists arguments, even though I could find conflicting evidence of CO2 affects?
There is no simple answer.
There is recent evidence that the world is not warming up as fast as was predicted and that the global rise in temperatures has 'paused'(8)(9). It has also been noted that the Amazon rainforest appears to be more resilient to the climate change than feared.(10) Heck even the London Mayor Boris Johnson has weighed in on the debate(11). There are even articles on how the current temperature rise could delay or even stop the next Ice Age(12) There is, it appears, news that there is more Arctic ice(13), not that it is all melting away.
I came to my conclusion after reading quite literally hundreds of websites and associated links. I urge people to read as much as they can for themselves, and make their own minds up. I have included a list of suggested websites and books below. Read them all, including any links on them, and make you own mind up. I confirmed many of the scientific articles in my local library reference section, and I even read the odd book or five.
My conclusion: This is a natural cycle.
The Earth goes through warming and cooling periods naturally. It can be argued that mankind has exacerbated or speeded up the process, but for my mind, mankind is not outright responsible for causing global warming/climate change.
References / Links:
Skeptics v. Climate Deniers
Climate Change Skeptics
Books On Climate Change
Disagree About Climate Change