The JReality of Global Warming

Is global warming a pending crisis, or a hoax?

The JReality is that it is both and, even more ironically, the hoax is serving to exacerbate the pending crisis!

The Pending Crisis: Global Warming Is Real

We are coming out of an ice age, which ended about 12,000 years ago. So, yes, the planet is warming as it always does coming out of an ice age. It will continue to warm until it hits the peak of the cycle and then starts to cool again prior to entering the next ice age. These ice age warming-cooling cycles are nothing new; they have been occurring for millions of years.

An excellent graphical depiction of the ice age cycles can be found on the website of Fettes College in Scotland. The graph is called Middle Pleistocene, and is credible precisely because it was not posted to buttress a case for or against global warming, but to help explain the formation of the Cairngorm landscapes of Scotland. In the graph, our modern era is barely visible as a sliver-like rise at the very top, with temperatures just having re-entered the warm (red) zone. Note the time scale of the graph is a range of 2.5 million years. Clearly, ice ages have been occurring for a long time and, clearly, the earth is currently in the warming part of a cycle.

What causes the ice age cycles? The best available evidence indicates ice age cycles are due to an interplay of astrophysical phenomenon such as variations in the earth's orbit around the sun and precession in the earth's axis of rotation, and changes in ocean currents. For more information, see Ice Age Terminations: Orbital Cycles, Ocean Circulation and Shifting Monsoons and What causes ice ages?, among others. Most responsible scientists agree that the cause is not atmospheric greenhouse gases such as those produced by industrial activity -- the atmosphere simply does not have sufficient heat capacity to drive ice age cycles, whereas the oceans, which have a heat capacity 1000 times that of the atmosphere, do. Hence, atmospheric gasses, man-made or otherwise, cannot be a primary cause of the ice ages.

The Hoax: Global Warming Is Man-Made

Evidence that man is the cause of global warming stems from an apparent correlation of increasing temperature with man's industrial activity. The temperature increase in question can be seen in Medieval and Little Ice Age Temperature Graph which shows temperatures from 0 AD to 2000 AD. This graph, often called the "hockey stick" graph, shows that, for all but the most recent of the past 2000 years, temperatures have been below the norm and have only recently risen above the norm. The rapid rate of increase in the last 200 years coincides with the Industrial Revolution, leading some to infer a cause-effect relationship. Attempts to prove this by modeling climate change using computers are rife with errors and uncertainty due to the technical difficulties involved with computer modeling and are thus inconclusive as to any cause-effect relationship. Given we are about 12,000 years into the warming period following an ice age, and given that atmospheric gasses are incapable of driving ice age cycles, the temperature spike seen in the climate graph must be natural, and any relation to industrial activity is simply co-incidental. (Note: since original posting of this page, the "hockey stick" graph has become disreputable in the scientific community and has been pulled from the above reference.)

In addition, the multi-million year history of ice age warming-cooling cycles makes it obvious that human activity in general (tens of thousands of years in duration), and industrialized human activity in particular (about 200 years duration), is not -- and cannot be -- responsible for these cycles. These cycles are far longer than modern human existence, and would be occurring even if the human race never evolved. This means we could stop all our activity, both industrial (factories, cars, etc) and non-industrial (breathing, eating, etc) instantly and it would not stop global warming for the simple reason that we are not the cause. Moreover, given the cause is astrophysical and oceanic in nature, man is powerless to affect global warming in any significant way, i.e., we cannot change the orbit of planets or the flow of ocean currents.

Those who claim human activity is responsible for global warming are either seriously mis-informed, have their own agenda for disseminating mis-information, or both. In particular, politicians world-wide are using the perceived, but co-incidental, relationship between global warming and industrial activity to scare the world's population into surrendering ever more control to the said politicians. In the words of Rahm Emanuel: "Never let a serious crisis go to waste." Global warming does in fact constitute a pending crisis, but by pretending it is man-made (and therefore implicitly man-controllable) politicians are putting their own spin on global warming for their own purposes rather than addressing the crisis honestly and responsibly. The mantra of man-made global warming is a political hoax being fostered on the world by politicians and other disreputable individuals and organizations for their own political and personal gain.

In the process, many well-meaning individuals are being swept up by the propaganda. These people believe the rhetoric about man-made global warming, and are ardently working to "save the planet" from ourselves. If you are one of these -- wake up! Become informed as to the scientific facts and stop being misled. Your efforts and advocacy are not simply misguided, but dangerously counterproductive. By continuing to aid the hoaxers your efforts are potentially highly destructive of the inhabitants of the planet you are committed to "save." More on this in a moment, after we examine one more angle on the global warming picture -- that of well-intentioned mis-information.

The Well-Intentioned Counter: The Earth is Cooling

There are those who are aware that man-made global warming is a hoax and, in their enthusiasm to discredit it, instead add to the mis-information. This most often takes the form of citing recent anomalously-cold weather events from the "Little Ice Age" of the 1500's up through record snow falls of the past few years. The conclusions drawn include everything from "the earth is cooling, not warming" up through "we are on the verge of the next ice age." The same paucity of scientific knowledge that makes it difficult to prove man's effect on climate also makes it difficult to prove assertions that the earth is cooling. Too often, both sides of the controversy error in the same way -- by relying on temperature graphs with too-short time scales.

The Ubiquitous Error: Time Scales

A good explanation of how both sides delude both themselves and their audiences by poor choice of time scales can be found at the NASA web site Global Climate Change. Scroll down slightly to find the heart of this NASA discussion -- a chart showing temperatures from 1975 to 2005. The chart illustrates how temperatures can appear to be going down when they are actually going up, or vise-versa. It all depends on the time range one chooses to snapshot.

Unfortunately, the NASA article (which advocates man-made global warming) errors by committing the mistake it itself warns against, namely, choosing a time frame of about 100 years, which is much too small. The article thus serves as both explanation and example of this erroneous technique and, further, demonstrates that the political mantra of man-made global warming has spread far enough to infect organizations that historically had an unimpeachable reputation for scientific accuracy. The one valid point the article makes is that the time scales of evidentiary temperature graphs must be chosen properly.

The proper choice of time scale for the global warming phenomenon is the time scale of ice age cycles, which is a span of 10's of thousands of years. Any temperature graph depicting a shorter time scale cannot adequately illustrate the topic and is prone to be misleading. By depicting a span of 2.5 million years of temperature change, the graph meets the time scale criteria.

As mentioned previously, this graph makes it clear that ice ages have been occurring for a long time, and the earth is currently in the warming part of a cycle. What cannot be determined from this graph is how much longer the warming trend will last. It may go on for hundreds, or thousands, of years or the warming may be about over and the earth may be about to enter the cooling side of the cycle, as some claim. We simply do not know.

The Pending Crisis: Effects of Global Warming

While we do not know when in the future the warming trend will finally reverse itself, observations of the earth are telling us much about the effects of global warming at present.

There are many potentially disruptive effects of global warming. Fertile farmland can become deserts, and deserts grasslands, as rainfall patterns shift, disrupting agriculture and food supplies. Lakes, rivers, and ground water can dry up or shift, depleting local water supplies. But perhaps the most potentially devastating effect of global warming is the melting of glacial ice. Sea levels have risen 200-400 ft since the end of the last ice age due to the melting of continental ice sheets (see What Really Causes Climate Change?) They are likely to rise further due to melting of remaining glaciers in Greenland and, especially, Antarctica.

Sea level rise due to melting in Antarctica is a two stage process. The huge land-based Antarctic glaciers are locked in place by friction with the underlying ground, and by the buttressing effect of coastal ice shelves. In the first stage, the coastal ice shelves melt and break away, eliminating their buttressing effect, while melting at the base of the land-based glaciers creates under-ice streams that weaken the friction at ground level. With their holding forces depleted, the second stage commences as the large land-based glaciers begin sliding into the sea, causing a rapid and dramatic increase in sea level. Some of the glaciers could be expected to slide very rapidly, resulting in huge tidal waves in addition to a rise in sea level. The effect on populous coastal cities across the globe would be devastating.

This is scary stuff but, unlike the scare tactic of man-made global warming, the threat of melting glaciers and rising sea levels is quite real. The onset of phase 1, the melting of the Antarctic coastal ice shelves, is ongoing and well-documented. The following are just a few representative references:

Is Antarctica melting? (NASA)

Ice shelf breakup challenges researchers

West Antarctic ice sheet could melt - again

Antarctic Glaciers Melting Faster

With the melting of the Antarctic coastal ice sheets well underway, it is only a matter of time before large land-based Antarctic ice masses start crashing into the sea, causing coastal cities around the globe to experience the sudden onrush of sea water over their streets. We don't know if this will happen in 100 years or 1,000, but happen it will. It is inevitable. More ice will melt before the current warming cycle finally reverses. Even if we are near the end of the warming cycle, as some claim, the earth's climate, like any gigantic physical system, has huge inertia. It cannot reverse on a dime. There will be more melting of ice and sea level rise before glaciers again begin to grow and sea levels begin to drop.

And therein lies the real tragedy of the hoax of man-made global warming. By giving the impression that man can control global warming by reducing carbon emissions, politicians and their accomplice hoaxers are diverting both attention and enormous resources from the activities we should be engaged in to properly respond to global warming. Perpetration of the hoax of man-made global warming diverts scarce resources essential to respond to the global warming in a responsible manner. If we do not address the pending crisis appropriately and responsibly, millions of people will likely die who otherwise need not have.

The Solution: Get Out of the Way!

If man, being helpless to shift the orbit of the earth or the path of ocean currents, is powerless to stop global warming, what can we do?

Well, if a train is coming straight at you, and you know you cannot stop it, what does an intelligent person do? Get out of the way, of course!

How do we "get out of the way" of global warming? There are many things that can be done, but since the most grave threat is likely to be sea level rise, let us focus on that one issue.

There are two ways to get out of the way of sea level rise -- either dike the world's coastal cities, like the Dutch, or if that is not feasible, then move the cities to higher ground. Moving seacoast cities that are in the path of rising sea levels to higher ground means not rebuilding in-situ cities like Galveston and New Orleans, for example, as they are wiped out by natural disasters. Instead, rebuild them on higher ground. The land they are on should be converted back to wetlands, with human use relegated to low-financial-investment recreational use such parks and campgrounds. Thus, when this land inevitably and permanently floods due to rising sea levels, the loss in financial and human terms will be minimal. The funds used to move the cities can come from the economic resources not lost to futile carbon control ideas such as "Cap and Trade," plus the funds that would have gone into rebuilding the cities on their current sites multiple times until the final irreversible flood occurs. (Note that we are currently rebuilding Galveston in-situ for the second time in 100 years -- a total waste of money!) Such funds may rationally be spent to rebuild, just once, on higher, safer ground.

The management mechanism used to achieve the appropriate response to the threats of global warming should not be government edict, but free market forces such as insurance rates based on a proper evaluation of the risk of rebuilding in the current location in an era of rising sea levels. That is, free market forces left undistorted by excessive government intervention will achieve the correct result as a natural consequence of the risks involved. Extensive government intervention is neither required, nor desirable.

The key to the entire global warming issue is to look at the problem realistically from a proper long-range perspective, and draw the inevitable conclusions: We did not cause it, we cannot stop it, so we better darn well get out of the way!


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