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Global Warming - The Inconvenient Truth

October 8, 2007 The world is round, but politicians are trying to manipulate it into a triangle. According to Richard Lindzen, a professor of atmospheric science at MIT, a triangle of "alarmism" has been sounded in order to benefit political, scientific, and industrial parties. The triangle is formed by scientists who develop a theory, parties with something to gain run with it to the politicians, politicians looking for votes form policies, which in turn brings more funding to scientists, profit for the advocates, and approval for the politicians. A perfect triangle. Indeed, politics are changing the shape of science. Political and financial gains have become more important than the truth, and scientists have found that attempting to question the scientific validity behind policies results in a downpour of threats, loss of funding, and a tarnishing of their reputations. Scientists who comply, however, are being financially rewarded. What are these lies that some scientists are complying with? According to the film "The Inconvenient Truth," the CO2 count is higher now than any other time over the past 650,000 years; but, John Christy, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Alabama refutes this claim, explaining that there were numerous periods throughout the history of the Earth where the CO2 levels were actually many times higher than it is today. Environmental scientist, Professor Carter, concurs that the levels were as much as seventeen times higher. Though Professor Christy affirms that CO2 levels are currently on the rise due to the combustion of fossil fuels, he points out that this is actually a good thing. Christy explains that CO2 is the "lifeblood of the biosphere." Essentially, the world as we know it would cease to exist if it was not for the CO2 in the atmosphere. Just as the human body needs oxygen to breathe, our release of carbon dioxide breathes life into vegetation. In fact, Christy has researched a number of studies that indicate that this present level is actually invigorating to the state of the planet, thus he concludes it is a false belief that CO2 is harmful. Greenhouse gases do not have much impact on the Earth's climate, thus carbon dioxide changes do not and will not affect climate.

The "Inconvenient Truth" also claims that rising CO2 levels are contributing to a reported increase in the death toll of polar bears. Advocates of the theory claim that climbing temperatures and CO2 counts are causing arctic glaciers to melt, posing a threat to polar bears; however, the World Wildlife Fund reports though the population of two groups of polar bears have decreased, of the other groups, 45.4 percent are remaining steady and 13.6 percent are actually increasing (Burnett). Also debunking the theory is research conducted by Dr. David Legates, Delaware's State Climatologist, which revealed coastal stations in Greenland are actually experiencing a trend of cooling temperatures, amounting to a cooling of approximately 8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1987. Professor Carter informs that even though the land area of the Antarctica Peninsula, which represents about 2% of the continent's land mass, and even less of its total ice sheet, is expected to warm and lose ice, the other 98% is gaining ice. What is actually melting away is this theorized global warming threat. What other calamities are global warming advocates storming the media with? The film, An Inconvenient Truth, warns that the temperature of the Earth is rising to dangerous levels, predicting intense droughts resulting in a catastrophic number of human deaths. Indeed the temperature has increased; but according to twenty-two years of total surface temperature calculations, the rise has been less than 1 degree Fahrenheit (Christy). Hardly seems reason to break out into a sweat. Timothy Ball states that this slight change is "within natural variability and explained quite easily by changes in the sun...there is nothing unusual going on." Dr. Shaviv concurs as he had conducted a study reconstructing the Earth's temperature over the past 550 million years and found that two-thirds of the variances are caused by the flow rate of cosmic rays (Solomon). Couldn't this one-degree change be a trend of escalating temperatures? Perhaps, but the US has had hot weather before. According to Professor Christy, "in Alabama the nineteen hottest summers of the past 108 years occurred prior to 1955. In the Midwest, of the ten worst heat waves, only two occurred since 1970." Both Ball and Lindzen recollect that less than forty years ago global cooling was considered the crisis and they also believe that current global trends are again indicating a cooling. History has proven that people panic before logic can forecast what is really taking place; this seems to be a case of history repeating itself. But what about those convincing, logical-appearing models and graphs that "An Inconvenient Truth" illustrated? Computer models today attempt to calculate different variables in hopes to predict the unfolding effects of global warming on our planet; but Professors Bob Carter and John Christy, as well as many other climatologists, argue that it is implausible to structure a scientific conclusion based on computer predictions. The science the models represent is extremely complex, thus rendering it impossible to achieve perfectly accurate results. Though there is agreement that there is usefulness in utilizing such models, they warn of the need to be weary of the results. The only way to make credible predictions is through in-depth analysis of past and present climate changes.

So, what is there to fear? Al Gore and his advocates are warning the public to be afraid of global warming, but as it turns out, it is the scientists who are afraid and what they are actually scared of is the politicians. Richard Lindzen says that the science of climate has become a "climate of intimidation." He explains that "in 1992, Senator Al Gore ran two congressional hearings during which he tried to bully dissenting scientists, including myself, into changing our views and supporting his climate alarmism." Gore, as vice president, even went so far as to try and enlist Ted Koppel to attempt to discredit the scientists who disagreed with the global warming theory. Journalist Ross Gelbspan published both books and articles which accused scientists that publicly disagreed with Gore of being "stooges of the fossil-fuel industry" (Lindzen). This trend of climate intimidation has spread, becoming a threat of global harming to anyone who dares to share their contradictory findings. Henk Tennekes was a research director of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Society; but after questioning the scientific basis for global warming, he was dismissed. Aksel Winn-Nielsen, former director of the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization was branded by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as a "tool of the coal industry" as he too questioned the validity of such claims. Insults, slander, and dismissal are not the only weapons brandished to silence dissenters; once esteemed Italian professors, Alfonso Sutera and Antonio Speranza lost their funding for climate- research (Lindzen). Scientists rely on the financial support generated by government's policies; when biting the hand that feeds them, they have found themselves starving. This ultimately gives politicians the upper hand and they are twisting the wrists of scientists, rendering them no choice but to cry "mercy."

It appears that politicians are utilizing scare tactics and dangling carrots to control the field of science, but Timothy Ball reminds us that "if we don't pursue the truth, we are lost as individuals and as a society." Society, however, has put their trust in the politicians, and these politicians are in no position to make a judgment over a science they have little to no understanding of. They are generating policies based on flimsy foundations and using unreliable models for support of their alarmism. There is money to be made and votes to win; thus it appears that for many the theory of global warming is actually a very convenient untruth.

WORKS CITED Ball, Timothy. "Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts?". Canada Free Press. February 5, 2007. October 2, 2007. < http://www.canadafreepress.com/2007/globalwarming020507.htm>; Burnett, H. Sterling. "Are Polar Bears Dying." Environment News. Heartland Institute. May 1, 2006. October 3, 2007. < http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=18971>; Carter, Bob. "The Myth of Dangerous Human-Caused Climate Change." Ice Age Now. September 24, 2007. October 3, 2007. <http://www.iceagenow.com_Bob_Carter.htm.>; John R. Christy. "Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works". May 2, 2001. October 3, 2007. <http://epw.senate. gov/107th/chr_0502.htm> "An Inconvenient Truth." Dir. Davis Gruggenhim. Perf. Al Gore. DVD. Amazon. 2006. Lindzen, Richard. "Free Inquiry Climate of Fear." Opinion Journal from the Wall Street Journal. April 12, 2006. October 2, 2007. < http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008220>;. Solomon, Lawrence. "Limited Role for CO2; The Deniers--Part X." Financial Post. February 2, 2007. October 3, 2007. <http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/story.html?id=069cb5b2-7d81-4a8e-825d-56e0f112aeb5&k=0>; Copyright 2007 by Kirk

About the author 

Mairi Kirk is a journalist with the belief that knowledge is power. It is her desire to research and be educated and in turn take what she has learned to help empower others. The purpose of her website is to help change the world one word at a time.