the polar bear climate change photo

Started Mar 24, 2007 | Discussions thread
Gary Eickmeier Veteran Member • Posts: 3,479
Short Course on Global Warming


Most of us believe that global warming is a serious threat to the planet, that it is caused by anthropogenic (human) activity, but the administration is ignoring it because it is too expensive to fix. You read arguments from both sides on the science of the issue, but how do you know which scientists to believe? Well, all you can do is gather together a few simple facts on the greenhouse effect and decide on a more informed basis. So let’s begin.

First, the warming from the sun would re-radiate back into space if it weren’t for an atmosphere that is held close to the surface of the planet by the force of gravity. This atmosphere acts as a greenhouse in keeping the heat in until a point of equilibrium is reached. This is a good thing, because without this effect we would be a giant iceball.

The gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect are water vapor, CO2, Methane, N2O, and miscellaneous gases such as CFCs. These gases are not equal in their global warming potential, or contribution to the effect. It all shakes out to CO2 being 72% of the contribution from gases other than water vapor. However, most of the carbon dioxide is natural, and the man-made part from driving our SUVs around is about 2.33% of the contribution from all gases excluding water vapor.

But water vapor is the 800 pound gorilla that is usually ignored in the hysterical reports from the councils that everyone is reading about. Water vapor is 95% of the greenhouse effect, which then makes the anthropogenic contribution from all of our factories, vehicles, and breathing closer to 0.117% of the total contribution - that is zero point one-one-seven percent, just in case you thought that was a typo.

So how did all the hysteria start, and why are they doing it? The simplest explanation is that there are environmental organizations that depend for their funding on “sky is falling” scenarios that they can save the world from. The scientists are pulled into it because their funding is controlled by politicians, who will pull their funding or grants unless they are coming up with the “right” answers so the politicians can save the world. This leads to a groupthink effect in which dissenters are discredited, misquoted, or fired.

Now - you can quote any source you want, or believe any argument to the contrary, but those numbers above will not change. The Kyoto Protocol calls for mandatory CO2 reductions (of 30%), which, in Dr. Fred Singer’s opinion, would have an undetectable effect on global warming, but have a devastating effect on the U.S. economy. I do not mean to argue against those things that we should be doing anyway, such as decreasing our dependence on foreign oil and building more mass transit systems. But those good things have nothing to do with global warming and should be approached in ways that will help, not destroy, the economy.


Dr. S. Fred Singer, atmospheric physicist University of Virginia, U.S. Weather Satellite Service
Dr. Wallace Broecker, Columbia University
Dr. Richard Lindzen, Professor of Meteorology, MIT

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