Al Gore is wrong. There’s no “consensus” on global warming.
I feel like I am constantly being bombarded with global warming stories and my skeptic antenna is constantly tingling. The greater the volume for the argument, the more I doubt it. The volume is loud. My reaction to the global warming hype is just the way I am hard wired. For the most part, I get this “Deja vu all over again” feeling. Everytime I see someone writing in popular magazines or newspapers about a “consensus of scientific research”, I get worried. Then after a little research the “consensus” is not really a “consensus”. The “consensus” is that the climate is changing, that carbon dioxide levels are higher than in the past, and that carbon dioxide is not the only cause of global warming. There is considerable debate and continued scientific research on the impact of carbon dioxide on global temperatures. If Al Gore can say that scientists “don’t have any models that give them a high level of confidence” then the scientific debate is ongoing. The political and media debate on the subject is more perplexing. Sometimes I feel like I am living out a chapter in the book, “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” by Charles Mackay.
As Richard Lindzen says in this Opinion Journal article it does not take much scientific digging into the science behind the articles to see the weakness of the global warming arguments. Global warming is a macro prediction based on climatic changes resulting from increases in one variable, carbon dioxide. Basically it is a very simple model. The increase in carbon dioxide raises global temperatures. Unfortunately Mother Nature has rarely been so accommodatingly simple so I doubt this would be the first time. Don’t get me wrong! There are some fascinating climatic changes going on what I call the micro level. In fact almost of the research is being done on this level. I find the World Climate Report a good read on climatic science. However, when someone says they can plot out the temperature for the last 2,000 years to an accuracy of 1 degree I tend to ignore them and focus on the interesting science based on more reliable facts.
The scary part of this over-simplification of climatic change is that the global climate maybe dramatically changing but carbon dioxide effect is playing a minor role. It is our human nature that we are much happier with a dire global warming prediction we can do something about rather than the possibility that we do not know what is causing global warming or even worse, we cannot stop it.
The fact that we can do something about carbon dioxide is the most alluring idea to politicians in this election year. It is an issue that Democrats must use to capture the minds of the voting population before the impact of higher oil prices ripples through our economy and changes our priorities on spending for energy conservation. Businesses have always kept a watchful eye on energy costs and frequently have lumped energy conservation and reduced emissions projects together in the same project. Considering how many Toyota Prius have been sold this year so do the consumers. For the same amount of miles driven, energy efficient cars emit fewer pollutants. Higher oil prices will change the behavior of both businesses and consumers much quicker and more effectively than any government program. Energy conservation will put a dent in the production of carbon dioxide. For politicians the political opportunity presented by global warming could be short lived.