March 31, 2008
By Timothy Birdnow
Roger A. Pielke Sr. believes that human activity is causing climate change, but does not agree with the idea that an increase in atmospheric CO2 constitutes a ``planetary emergency`` as Al Gore so doltishly declared. Quite the contrary, he believes that other human influences are much more important than global radiative forcing of carbon dioxide. Because he is tired of being mischaracterized, Pielke Sr. has written an explanation of his viewpoint. Go here to read the piece.
Here is the money quote:
Policies that focus on CO2 by itself are ignoring definitive research results (such as reported in the 2005 National Research Council report) that humans have a much broader influence on the climate system than was communicated in the 2007 IPCC report. To neglect these other climate forcings represents a failure by policymakers (and the media) to utilize this scientifically robust information.
The neglect of including the diversity of human climate forcings indicates that the real objective of those promoting the radiative effect of the addition of atmospheric CO2 as the dominate human climate forcing is to promote energy and lifestyle changes. Their actual goal is not to develop effective climate policies.
So, Dr. Pielke understands the political ambitions of the GW crowd. Science is taking a back seat to a scheme to radically alter our energy usage and lifestyle.
Lest anyone twist my point, here is what Dr. Pielke Sr. says about the broader picture:
1. Atmosphere and ocean circulations respond to regional forcings not a global average (e.g. see and see)
2. The other human climate forcings include
the diverse influence of human-caused aerosols on regional (and global) radiative heating (e.g. see).
the effect of aerosols on cloud and precipitation processes (e.g. see)
the influence of aerosol deposition on climate (e.g. see and see)
the effect of land cover/ land use on climate (e.g. see and see)
the biogeochemical effect of added atmosopheric CO2 has a greater effect on the climate system than the radiative effect of added CO2 (e.g. see).
Much of this could be solved with advances in technology or technique. The need to radically reduce emissions-meaning a radical reduction in energy usage, meaning a radical reduction in our lifestyles-is unnecessary except where carbon dioxide emissions are involved.
Here is an analogy; on St. Patrick`s Day I went downtown to the parade, and it was crowded with beer-guzzling revelers. The organizers, realizing that they needed to control alcohol consumption, thoughtfully provided an inadequate number of johnnie-on-the-spots, forcing the drinkers to wait in very long lines to emit waste. The difficulty in relieving themselves naturally led to a reduction in consumption, since the parade-goers were not happy about waiting a half-hour to use the ``convenience``.
Control of waste means control of energy usage, which means control of the individual. People need energy, and are going to find a way of obtaining sufficient quantities. If emissions are strictly controlled, people will have to make do with less-which has been the goal of the environmentalist movement for decades. Since we are a carbon based lifeform, our very existence affects the carbon balance in the atmosphere, thus CO2 emissions can be used to justify regulating population growth.
Such strict control ``to save the planet`` hands to governments-and international bodies, a point not to be taken lightly-despotic power. Government then has the authority to regulate industry in draconian ways, to regulate how energy is used. Is anyone surprised when California tries to control thermostats, forcing people to accept their decisions on their home environment? Of course not; this was the goal of Anthropogenic Global Warming advocates all along! Government will be able to control your movement by forcing you to drive sub-par vehicles and perhaps demand the use of public transportation. (I drive all day for a living, and the price of gas may force me to look for other employment. That price is artificially high, a result of environmental policies by our government.) Government can justify just about anything if people can be held in a high enough state of fear. I find it interesting that many of those who are in a panic about global warming-a scientifically unsettled issue-are also bitterly opposed to the war on terror. The terrorists are definitely real, and have killed thousands of innocent people. The same cannot be said of global warming, which has never been verified to have killed anyone.
I also find it telling that most GW alarmists are bitterly opposed to the use of nuclear power. Nuclear is the only high energy generation technique that does not contribute carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. (Granted, neither does their pet favorite, solar, but solar is a low energy system, currently unsuited to maintaining our current lifestyle. If we adopt solar we will be showering in 69* water, shivering in the winter, sweltering in the summer, and driving around like the little old lady with too many children in a shoe.
William Tucker makes an eloquent case for nuclear energy in Imprimis, a publication I would recommend everyone receive (it`s free). There have been sweeping advances in nuclear energy, and the dangers of a meltdown of a reactor have been greatly reduced. The Chinese have developed a system using small balls of nuclear material rather than large fuel rods, reducing the dangers of a meltdown. The other fear-nuclear waste-is overblown, in my opinion.
A nuclear/hydrogen economy would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, yet the environmentalists are dead set against it. Why? Because the whole isssue is about changing our lifestyles and empowering government, not about protecting the Earth.
What is needed, from their perspective, is a ``planetary emergency``, something so dire that a frightened public will voluntarily place the yoke of enviro-fascism around their cringing necks. Those other human factors are inconsequential; the regulation of CO2 emissions is the whole program to environmentalists these days.
As I have argued in the past, theirs is a creed which appeals to primitivism; they believe in the purity of nature. Nature was, to their way of thinking, idyllic, and Man`s creation of technology and civilization put Man out of balance with the natural world. This vision of Eden is the driving force to the environmentalist crowd, and the only solution is to dismantle technological civilization. That the blessings of technology were bestowed by the cruelty of said natural world is poorly understood by them, as is the great need humanity had for civilization. Suffering and barbarism is the lot of those ``in harmony with nature``. The environmentalist believes that some dark conspiratorial power-big oil, big government, the military-industrial complex, etc. is plotting to keep the technology which would free man from the grind of industrialism, and they have hatched up this current plan to break that bond and free humanity to live in small, isolated pockets, producing all of their own needs and living comfortably. This is utopianism, plain and simple; many things require a large industrial base to accomplish. Where will those solar cells, those computers and semiconducters and other such systems come from? Without a large industrial base it is quite difficult to produce these things. Many enviromentalists believe that they will have these things, but will be able to produce them for themselves. Good luck with that!
So, if the alarmists were true to their principles, they would demand nuclear power, would work piecemeal on ameliorating the environmental impact made by humans through technology, not regulation and oppression. The desperate clinging to CO2-driven warming speaks volumes.
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