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Taking Climate Change Seriously

Article by Roger Meiners July 22, 2013 //   3 minute read

The science regarding global climate change is not settled, but policy makers have no doubt the thermostat is going up. The EPA Web site reads as if written by a hysterical environmental group drumming up donations by scare tactics:

The evidence is clear. Rising global temperatures have been accompanied by changes in weather and climate. Many places have seen changes in rainfall, resulting in more floods, droughts, or intense rain, as well as more frequent and severe heat waves. The planet's oceans and glaciers have also experienced some big changes - oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, ice caps are melting, and sea levels are rising.

The fact that there has been no warming for more than a decade is ignored and, instead, every storm is claimed to be due to climate change. The fact that there were more tornados in the 1920s than in recent years is ignored. Nor are hurricanes unusually large or frequent in recent years. As Roseanne Roseannadanna would say on “Saturday Night Live” after misreporting the news, “Never mind.”

A paper published in a physics journal by Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy, biology, and chemistry at the University of Waterloo, reports:

Conventional thinking says that the emission of human-made non-CFC gases such as carbon dioxide has mainly contributed to global warming. But we have observed data going back to the Industrial Revolution that convincingly shows that conventional understanding is wrong.

As summarized in Science Daily, Professor Lu believes the discussion is wrongheaded: 

The climate in the Antarctic stratosphere has been completely controlled by CFCs and cosmic rays, with no CO2 impact. The change in global surface temperature after the removal of the solar effect has shown zero correlation with CO2 but a nearly perfect linear correlation with CFCs — a correlation coefficient as high as 0.97.

CFCs were phased out due to the Montreal Protocol pushed through by the Reagan Administration. The banned substances, commonly used in air conditioning and fire retardants, have been eliminated and temperature stopped rising.

This does not settle the CO2 matter, but shows that the science is far from settled. Before policy makers go on the warpath against the carbon energy that drives the world economy, investment in sound science would seem to be in order. Like the economy, the atmosphere is too serious to leave to policy makers.