|We realize that many of those who visit
VitoSpace take very seriously the incessant flood of predictions about anthropogenic (human-induced)
global warming (AGW).
Still others find the prevalent hysteria about global warming at least as amusing as similar past episodes in which nuclear winter, overpopulation, and assorted other catastrophic boogeyman predictions were the favorite Chicken-Littlesque fantasies in fashion. And we must admit that there is a certain amount of entertainment value in watching people who impress themselves with their own pseudo-scientific erudition make fools of themselves.
The principal global warming hypothesis holds that "Humans are doing this and that, and at the same time we can see that there are these corresponding temperature trends that look like they might represent a long-term increase...so obviously we're destroying the planet!"
It makes for a great mass hysteria campaign—one that plays especially well to those individuals who already are inclined to believe in the "us vs. them" approach to solving problems in human interaction. Of course, when they say that "we" are destroying the planet, they don't mean that they are destroying the planet. They mean everyone else is. They are the good guys—the self-appointed Saviors of Mother Earth—and everyone else who is doing whatever the saviors think they shouldn't be doing...well, they're the bad guys, you see.
It's a simple formula—one that fear mongers and bullies have been using for generations: us vs. them. Hey, it works like gangbusters in every political election campaign. It was a real winner in Germany between 1933 and 1945! But let's not muddy up the waters with annoying historical parallels. They're so...uh, inconvenient.
And let's not quibble with success either—and boy, we're talking major success here. The folks who promote the AGW hypothesis have managed to create the mass consciousness that global warming is a consequence of all sorts of human activities (pick your favorite presumed evil) that no one has ever proven—or can prove—are causing it. That's got to be one of the most successful mass marketing campaigns in history.
There are a couple of problems with the whole AGW business, though, and those who haven't yet adopted the AGW hypothesis as a "fact" upon which to base an unshakable faith in the current enviro-religion might consider the following factors in their efforts to separate the tsunami of misinformation from actual truth.
Correlation Does Not Establish Causality
Even assuming that there were a precise correlation between elevated global temperatures and increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (there isn't; more on that below), that would not ipso facto be sufficient to establish a causal connection between the two.
Here's an example to illustrate the point. Let's say that some guy named Foovney was new to life on planet Earth. He led a sheltered existence, or lived underground, or something. Anyhow, let's say Foovney suddenly surfaces in a nicely forested region and for the first time in his life he experiences the phenomenon called wind. Then he notices that every time the wind blows, the trees move. The stronger the wind, the more the trees move. There's a 100% correlation between the occurrence of wind and the motion of the trees. He concludes that trees cause wind.
If you were unkind, you'd call him a dumb-ass. But do you call the global warmies dumb-asses? Prolly not. Why? Well, because they have all this "robust data" correlating elevated temperatures with increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. I mean, it's so scientific.
No it's not. It's not science at all. Correlation does not establish causality. Causality requires a direct cause-and-effect link between the subject phenomena—a link that can be demonstrated by multiple independent observers—consistently, reliably, and predictably, with no exceptions. That has never been done with the carbon dioxide resulting from human activity and any observed temperature increase. Never.
Oops...Not Even Correlation
There's a much deeper problem with the use of correlation as evidence of a causal connection between human activity and global warming—namely, there isn't even a good correlation in the first place.
The single largest source of atmospheric carbon dioxide on planet Earth is not the relatively piddling amounts pooted out by the human species. Rather, it's the oceans. Carbon dioxide is dissolved in sea water in vast quantities. Like any gas in aqueous solution, the solubility of carbon dioxide in water is temperature-dependent. Cold water can hold more carbon dioxide in solution than the same volume of warmer water.
Wait...let me back up. It's not precisely true to say that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide doesn't correlate well with elevated temperatures. It actually correlates exceedingly well, except that it's not the kind of correlation that does the AGW hypothesis much good. In fact, any increase in the temperature of the oceans raises the vapor pressure of the carbon dioxide dissolved therein, with the result that it comes out of solution and is liberated into the atmosphere as gaseous CO2.
Yup, the data show that elevated oceanic temperature increases actually lead the atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide. Stated alternatively, the observed increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide actually lag the warming of the Earth's oceans. So there is, in fact, a very precise correlation between global warming and atmospheric carbon dioxide. But if you want to make the correlation argument, let's be precise about it. The temporal correlation suggests that, if anything, global warming causes increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, not the other way around.
Oops...that's exactly the reverse of what the global warmies are saying. That's great news for people who are looking for actual truth, but not such great news for people who have a vested interest in scaring the hell out of everyone who simply buys their story lock, stock, and barrel.
So, Is Global Warming A Myth?
Of course not. The data don't lie. We really do observe localized periods of time—sometimes decades long—during which the average global temperatures increase. So what? That has been happening as long as the human species has been keeping temperature records. What's more, we have plenty of data from periods before such records were kept that clearly establish the fact that global temperatures fluctuate. In fact, the data show conclusively that over the past 10,000 years, the temperature of the Earth has gradually increased.
Yes folks, it's true! For those of you who are so heavily invested in the belief that global warming is really happening that you just can't bring yourselves to believe that you've been snookered by a hoax, fear not—there's good news: Global warming really is happening...honest!
Don't get us wrong—you've still been snookered. Global warming is not happening because of anything that the human species is doing—at least, there are no data that clearly establish a causal connection between human activity and temperature increase. Sorry, but we just don't have that much power.
But global warming really is happening. It's a fact. It has been happening since the last ice age. It will continue to happen until it peaks, after which we will experience a long, gradual global cooling as we approach the next ice age.
True, the planet has been undergoing those long-term temperature swings for only the last few million years, so maybe we should wait to see what happens. Go ahead and wait. We'll publish your report when you're ready. Here in VitoSpace, we exist but to serve.
In the meantime, stay out of the sun. We're going to get on with life as though everything is just fine. Because as far as any reasonable interpretation of the available data suggests, everything really is just fine.
How's that for an inconvenient truth?