13 July 2006

When it comes to Global Warming are we focusing on the wrong thing?

I'm starting to see the problems of the two sides of the global warming issue. I'm not talking about the technical issues per se, but the human issues. As I have looked at it, I'm not a firm believer in human beings cause global warming, but I'm not a firm believer that we don't cause it. I still maintain that we do a poor job at taking care of this planet that God put us on and that it is our stewardship of this planet and the inherently sinful (i.e. we are separated from God) nature that leads us into being blinded by our own ambitions. I read a few blogs recently and came upon these two groups:


  1. Dr. William Gray, who developed the seasonal forecasting technique for hurricanes, that NOAA uses. An interesting fact that since he was a global warming skeptical and decidedly old school (observationally and conceptually model driven)
  2. Real Climate scientists - This is a group of climate change scientists who have studied this in depth, using computer models that emulate the atmosphere.

Both think they are right. I think both are blinded by ego. They won't admit the flaws in their arguments to actually get at the truth, and if you add the other skeptics of global warming, you can see the consumerism rears it ugly head. Consumerism is easy to see on the Skeptic side with the money that the oil companies have poured into funding research about how fossil fuels don't contribute to global warming. It is a little harder to see on the pro-anthropogenic side, but people and institutions get paid to do their research and if something is the "thing" to study the money will flow. I've seen this happen while working as a contractor for the government years ago.

The flaws on both sides are these:


  1. Dr. Gray’s observationally and conceptual ideas may be right, but if he ignores the some of the data that the modeling groups have been doing then he runs the risk of being wrong due to the help and guidance that models can give.
  2. The Real Climate scientists seem to rely so heavily on the models that they have forgotten the thing that I deal with day in and day out in operational meteorology, the farther out in time that you are prognosticating into the future the more that the model succumbs to chaos (more about chaos here) and the inherent low confidence of predictability.

Either side could be right, but like I said, we are focusing on the wrong thing. To me, global warming is immaterial. It’s the fact that we are to take care of the planet. We know that too much of one thing can be bad. Addictions take all sorts of forms, and when President Bush said in his state of the union address that America is addicted to oil wasn’t off the mark. Most of the world’s economy is based on petroleum, but should it be? With most of the oil in politically unstable areas of the world, and there is only a finite amount of oil there has to be cleaner fuels, and energy sources that we can use to develop economically.

Again, it’s a consumer mentality that most of the world has. I get tired of hearing from conservatives that it will cost too much to convert to something else. I ask why should it or so what? When new technologies come out to help out the situation we need to share it with the developing nations. To me that’s why Kyoto was doomed to fail. The developed countries that need to cut back wouldn’t because the undeveloped countries got a free ride to use. How was that to help the environment? As Christians, we are taught to meet each other’s need no matter who the person is, so why not in trying to take care of the planet?
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