Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Global Warming Hoax?

Well, a couple of people have sent me the news stories about the hacker who broke into the computer files of the University of East Anglia's CRU (Climate Research Unit), making public lots of confidential e-mails that seem to show scientists being candid about the evidence for global warming not being there. They're calling this incident, "Climategate," and it's a story which, admittedly, has really grown legs.

So what do I think? Well, Darwin himself admitted rather candidly to some lack of fossil evidence for evolution. But that didn't prove evolution wrong, and the evidence later bore evolution out. Milton Friedman bluntly admitted to some shortcomings in his supply side economics model, but that didn't prove Hyak economics and free market strategies were wrong, either, and the evidence later bore him out. The disaster of the Columbine shootings did not prove the need for greater gun control. Piltdown Man being a hoax did not prove that evolution was made up. The fact that NASA did not follow proper quarantine procedures for the astronauts of Apollo 11 after they landed does not prove that the Moon landings were faked.

By the same token, these disclosed e-mails do not prove that global warming is a fraud.

There are other confirmations for global warming besides what the IPCC has shown. I visited with one of the scientists working on global warming at UWM just the other week to invite him to my students group and give a talk. He's been working for decades on the progression of plant cycles, noting that they've been blooming earlier in spring, and deciduating later in fall, as the years go by. I saw the data charts myself! His talk will be given sometime early next year. (For members of Freethinkers of UWM, I'll keep you posted.) And there are other more pragmatic indications. Last February and the February before that, we had extended periods where we had to go around wearing shorts. Meanwhile, it's Thanksgiving, and students at UWM are walking around campus wearing flip-flops! The glaciers are visibly disappearing as satellite photos clearly show. Glacier National Park is now virtually a misnomer. Just recently a man did a 2km swim across the very point of the north pole -- something that the permanent ice sheets would have been impossible only 10 years ago, even in summer. Ice sheets in Antarctica are disintegrating before our very eyes.

You know, we all say unguarded shit sometimes, and even scientists occasionally let their hair down, too. So what?

Look, I'm not saying that everyone who is skeptical of global warming needs to jump to the conclusion that global warming is real. But for heaven's sake, don't jump to the conclusion that global warming is false, either!

In only a couple of weeks, a global summit on climate change will be held in Copenhagen. Our President has recently announced that he will be there. It will be interesting to see how this story plays out at that meeting, if at all.


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