when everybody is a climate scientist…

Global warming deniers demonstrate that a little bit of knowledge mixed with lots of willful obfuscation is a very dangerous and unreasonable thing.

global warming prediction 2099
NASA’s projections for temperature anomalies due to global warming in 2099

There’s a reason why I’m not a fan of doing posts about global warming. Just mentioning those words can be an invitation for a stream of partisan bickering and blind, dogmatic fury filling inboxes and comment lines. No matter how much you try point out the science abuse from both sides of the political divide, explain how the right wing New-World-Order-through-environmentalism theories fall short, or the problems with using the Climategate debacle as proof of anything, it doesn’t seem to matter. Some people just want to be angry with the idea that polluting on a global scale may backfire, others want to throw around their personal forays into climate science, and you’ll even find a wannabee Glenn Beck or two trying to audition for the role of a culture warrior rather than discuss anything of substance. And if you’re lucky, you can get it all with just one post.

But then again, when you’re dealing with people for whom the notion of snow in winter is treated as absolute proof that a warming trend of a few degrees over the next century must be wrong, you should be ready to expect that a discussion of how to deal with pollution and clean up the mess that has the potential to harm us in the future just isn’t in the cards. It’s not just global warming that could force us to change the way we live at some point in the future. We’ll also need to consider how we deal with our trash and with toxic or dangerous waste that can leak into groundwater and poison our drinking supply. We’re already finding traces of drugs in our everyday tap water and houses have been built on toxic waste dumps with alarming results. But eh, who needs to worry about that when you could just rail against all those obnoxious liberal warming alarmists with gems of scientific insight like this

Classify CO2 as a pollutant. Next up, classify H2O as a pollutant. And solar activity doesn’t cause warming? Wow you cannot be serious? While the Earth was warming, so were many of the other planets in our solar system. Coincidence? Nah, Man caused it all.

Note, the snark, the indignant recitation of scientifically incorrect factoids, and equating carbon dioxide with a simple water molecule as per the standard argument that since carbon dioxide is naturally occurring in our atmosphere, it must be good. There’s a problem with that idea though. Humans can’t breathe carbon dioxide and while it’s responsible for keeping our planet warm enough for our mild climates, just a trace of it is plenty for the job.

So if a little carbon dioxide is the difference between an icy world and a warm, habitable planet, we should probably use a little logic and ask whether pumping out carbon dioxide with wild abandon could have some consequences. And speaking of planetary climates, what evidence do we have that the other planets in our solar system are warming up other than a categorical declaration of something thrown out years ago and largely abandoned today in anti-warming arguments? Finally, how exactly does the Sun affect climates on our world? The only serious scientific work done on the subject comes from Henrick Svensmark and his work is not nearly as airtight as presented in a very friendly documentary on his theories…

# science // climate change / debate / global warming / pollution


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