Are Volcanoes Subject to Cap-and-Trade?
As the Senate gears up to introduce its version of the House’s cap-and-trade global warming legislation next week, it’s instructive to consider the impact of myriad geological, meteorological, and astronomic effects on climate change, as exhaustively chronicled in Australian scientist Ian Plimer’s essential new book Heaven and Earth: Global Warming: The Missing Science.
Plimer’s book, published last year, boasts 2,000 footnotes from an array of sources including top peer-reviewed journals such as Nature, Science, and Geophysical Research Letters; journals on solar physics, hydrological science, and glaciology; books on climate change, environmentalism, and the history of science; and research by dozens of climate change skeptics. Plimer also dissects the various contradictory iterations of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s reports.
His evaluation of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis? Pure, unadulterated waffle.
If “agnostic” is to “atheist” what “skeptic” is to “denier,” then Plimer would happily plant himself in the denier camp.
Plimer demolishes AGW by broadening the scientific timeline under consideration to incorporate thousands, at times millions, of years to show how climate has been changing through hot and cold swings much wider than anything we’ve seen in recent centuries, and all in the absence of disposable Starbucks cups.
In graph after graph, Plimer depicts the cyclical effects of sunspots, glaciation, tilts in the earth’s orbit, ocean currents, CO2 reabsorption by the oceans, plate tectonics, clouds, and volcanic eruptions on global temperature. He covers the Medieval Warming period from 900 to 1300 AD, which was warmer than today, and points out the vastly higher concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere during previous Ice Ages. He details the beneficial effects that warmer periods historically have had on crop growth, species survival, and human longevity. He documents the inadequacy and inconsistency of land temperature measurements, relative to satellite measurements, the latter of which show global cooling. He notes the utter failure of any global warming model to correctly predict that the earth would start cooling in 1998.
Plimer mentions Al Gore’s camp classic An Inconvenient Truth, and cites a British court’s 2007 ruling that there are nine major factual errors in the movie, and that in order to be shown in public classrooms the film has to be accompanied by a written manual and teacher instruction to correct all of the alarmist falsehoods. One of the nine gaffes is the movie’s failure to note that CO2 emissions have not been shown to cause temperature increases, but rather have historically lagged behind temperature increases. That’s right—a British court actually ruled that there is no evidence that carbon dioxide emissions, human or otherwise, cause or even precede temperature increases—only that they lag slightly behind.
And Plimer’s book was published before last November’s Climategate, in which a whistleblower in the UK publicly exposed researchers from one of the three leading climate data collection centers in the world as having evaded Freedom of Information requests, colluded to keep skeptics’ research from being published, and failed to be able to reconstruct tortuous data manipulations they had applied in order to generate the conclusions they wanted.
Lest closed-minded warmists dismiss Plimer as a religious, right-wing knuckle-dragger, Plimer has also authored books deconstructing the scientific case for creationism, and has received criticism from conservatives for this line of work.
Plimer’s thesis also happens to be perfectly embodied by last week’s historic volcano eruption in Iceland. The eruption at Eyjafjallajökull, whose name is almost as long and complicated as the House’s cap-and-trade bill, left Europe covered in clouds of dark ash and shut down virtually all air transportation across the continent.
In his book, Plimer delineates the historic effects of volcanic activity on climate. For example, in just a few days, a major volcano can spew more CO2, dust, and sulfuric acid into the atmosphere than humans can in a year. Yet significant volcanic eruptions typically lead to years-long drops in temperature, due to the extra cloud cover and solar reflection they create, which means that skiing in St. Moritz should be lovely this winter.
Last year the Australian parliament considered and, in large part thanks to the efforts of Plimer and other skeptics, narrowly rejected a cap-and-trade scheme that would have crippled the continent’s energy production systems.
Due to U.S. Congressional Democrats’ politically suicidal stubbornness, cap-and-trade is evidently going to be this year’s health care reform.
To reiterate the point crystallized in Plimer’s book: if there’s so much uncertainty regarding whether human carbon dioxide emissions have any measurable influence on temperature increases, and a greater probability that temperature increases are beneficial than harmful, why are we rushing to shoot the world’s greatest economies in the foot?
Molecular biologist Henry Miller wrote in Forbes last week, “Every schoolchild these days seems to be a devoted environmentalist, able to spell ‘sustainable’ before ‘dog.’ However, much of the indoctrination about environmentalism—especially in schools—is of the passion-is-more-important-than-fact variety… Too often the objective of student projects seems to be ‘empowering’ the kids and giving them a feeling of accomplishment instead of getting the right answer and learning scientific principles.” In other words, the first step to “empowerment” in the natural world is learning what you can and can’t change through being empowered. It seems many adults have yet to learn that lesson.
Though I regret the disruption caused by Eyjafjallajökull to Western Europe’s economies (such as they are), I have to chuckle at the fact that terrible, wasteful, carbon dioxide-emitting air travel has been suspended throughout the sacred Continent of the Greens—and during the same week as Earth Day, at that. I only wish it had happened right before the Copenhagen summit.