Tag Archives: Bush

Like it or Not Global Warming Is Here

I shudder when I hear “professors” Rush Limbaugh, George Bush, the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley and their friends spout off that there is no man-assisted global warming in the works. Rapidly rising CO2 in the atmosphere is just fine. The resulting ocean acidification is just fine too. On their off-days, they may admit the climate is changing ever so slightly due to some other natural factors such as sunspots or cosmic radiation, but not enough to need our attention.

Just what rock have they been living under? One of the incontrovertible facts is that the global average temperature has risen by about 0.7 degrees Celsius over the last 150 years, pretty much in lockstep with the growth of industry and CO2 emissions. While weather changes hourly, climate change is measured over decades and centuries. So the last local hot or cold year or even several years have no major effect on the average global temperature calculated over a century.

Is 0.7 degrees significant? Absolutely. If the trend continues – meaning if we do nothing to slow it down – we will see a temperature rise of up to 7 degrees over the next 100 years or so. And that would spell disaster. Al Gore made a number of mistakes in his film, but his main theme that we are in a severe warming trend is essentially correct. We may not be able to stop it, but we can learn to adapt to it.

So if the deniers are so wrong, why do I bother reacting to them? I usually ignore fools. Because this crowd of climate change deniers is either knowingly misrepresenting science and the scientific method or simply playing with a short deck. Or maybe both.

They’re somewhat like the earlier deniers of a link between smoking and cancer when it was pretty obvious to any thinking person that tobacco’s link to adverse health effects is undeniable. Some were on tobacco’s payroll, some wanted publicity and others may have been delusional for all I know. Whatever the reason, they were wrong, just as the climate change deniers are today.

The deniers say “but what about the studies which show that climate change is not occurring?” Or if it is then at a much slower rate than the vast majority of the scientific community says it is.

So they haul out one or two studies which, when severely stretched, may support the denier’s position. They choose to ignore the overwhelming majority that say the opposite. And, dare I say “oddly”, some of the denier studies have been funded by the oil industry… A coincidence?

They imply that there is a conspiracy of scientists who for some reason promote the mantra of global warming just to be one of the like-thinking bunch. They forget that scientific fame comes from not being one of a crowd but proving everyone else wrong. The key word is “proving”. Galileo, Copernicus, Einstein come to mind. Somehow, I don’t see Limbaugh, Bush or their ilk even close to that league.

Apart from the huge preponderance of studies supporting global warming and the fact that climate models don’t predict anything very well if CO2 emissions are ignored but work great when they are included, the simplest argument I know on the side of man assisted global warming is a very simple mathematical one.

Here’s a quote from Stephen Schneider, a senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. He said this during a panel discussion on climate change sponsored, among others, by “Discover Magazine”:

“If you were a cynic and you asked about the probability of the ice sheet in the north going up, it’s 50 percent. Going down? Fifty percent. And the South Pole going up? Fifty percent. Going down? Fifty percent. Probability they are both going together? Twenty-five percent. What’s the probability of the stratosphere cooling while the earth gets warmer? Again, assuming we knew nothing, 50 percent. Troposphere warming? Fifty. The probability that one will go up while the other goes down? Twenty-five percent. Same thing for other patterns, like the way high-latitude continents are warming more than low-latitude ones are. With any single line of evidence, you can say, “Oh, well, there’s still a 25 percent chance it’s random,” but what happens when you put all these events together? The probability of all these events’ lining up the same way is pretty darn low unless we are dealing with global warming.”

So, again, why do I bother with the Limbaughs and Moncktons? Because they have influence, even while they spout garbage. They are ego-thumping stumbling blocks to an orderly adaptation to climate change which will have to happen or we will really be in trouble.

Monckton was on one of a local radio station’s (CKNW) talk shows. The host, Roy Green, is stubbornly against any suggestion of global warming. So at the end of the show he invited anyone on the pro side to debate Monckton on his show. He says that is an offer he has been repeating on the air from time to time without any takers. So he asks why is everybody afraid to debate Monckton? Honestly now, would you want to debate someone who could pass for the village idiot when it comes to climate science?

You will say, of course, that polls show that North Americans are split close to 50/50 when it comes to believing that global warming is really taking place. Can so many people be wrong? So let me remind you that at one time, had a poll been taken, the majority of the earth’s inhabitants would have said the sun revolves around the earth. The poll would not have made it so.

If you’re interested in backup to what I’ve said, here are two excellent websites on the subject. The first one also includes a “contrarian” link: http://climatechange.net/ and http://realclimate.org/


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The Story of George Jr. and Benedict – Should We Trust and Respect Them?

There is an organization I know that considers their leaders to be “trusted servants”. Quaint? Idealistic? A little “churchy”? OK for the fringe but not for the mainstream? If that’s what you thought, you’re wrong: actually this is a very large and growing group spanning the continents, where the concept of a trusted servant in charge works exceptionally well. Don’t you wish that this were true of the governments and many organizations that purport to serve us?

So here are just a couple of the many questions that could be posed: how many “trusted servants” do you know in politics? In organized religions? And specifically, can you point out a few near the top of the pyramid?

True, there have been leaders over the years that demand respect. Most had faults but they all did what they thought was best for the society they were in and changed that society for the better: Gandhi, Mandela, Churchill, Lincoln and more.

Unfortunately there are many more on the opposite side of the divide. Most are somewhere in between – dogmatic and with personal axes to grind and their leadership often results in unnecessary pain and suffering. Pope Benedict XVI and the misspoken George Bush Jr. fit well into this crowd. Their influence has been huge and, if only for that reason, they stand near the top of my list of leaders undeserving of anything close to unreserved respect. President Ahmadinejad of Syria is, of course, another, but he lacks the huge audience and therefore influence of the other two. I shudder to think of the embarrassment if any one of them were a relative and asked to stay over at my house.

Now for a little digression where I want to draw a very unfair comparison – unfair to the dogs who have lived with us for many, many years. Our dogs have not only been always welcome in our house but they are family and sleep right in our bedroom. I respect their intelligence, their ability to learn, their communication skills, the fact that they have no bone to pick (lousy pun, I know) and do not have any ideologies or hidden agendas to shove down my throat. So yes, I value our dogs the way I value other family members. The Pope and George Jr. take a very distant back seat.

The reason I chose to pick on the current Pope and the recently ex-president is because these two were elected to two of the highest offices in the world, each with the power to affect the welfare of millions.
George, easily influenced by people like his daddy, Cheney and a motley crew of oil and arms related businessmen and politicians who depend on them, decided to show Saddam Hussein that George’s toys are bigger and better than Saddam’s. As a result the U.S. has sustained huge casualties, has legions of severely mutilated and damaged ex-military people in the population and has lost the respect of many nations and people of the world. Deficits soared under his regime, the economy got shoved aside, doubtful banking practices and even more doubtful securities proliferated under his watch and were probably the major reason for the economic collapse which all of us are now experiencing. Yea, George W.! What a guy! Really looked after everyone, didn’t he.

And Benedict? Actually there is one topic on which the Pope and George W. have both expressed public opinions – on opposite sides – AIDS.  And George was actually the good guy!

George W. was instrumental in starting the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a plan which has resulted in millions of Africans receiving treatment and prevention from the disease. Definitely an unusual “A” for George.

What has the Pope done or said, referring to AIDS and the spread of HIV? I quote: “You can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem.” Go figure this comment by a “trusted” servant of humanity.

And then there was the case of the 9-year-old girl in Brazil who was abused and raped by her stepfather and became pregnant. The Church under Benedict XVI excommunicated the girl’s mother and the doctors who performed a life-saving abortion, all according to Brazil’s law. Not good enough for the Catholic Church, though, where dogma must rule.

But that’s not all, folks: on the very next day, on March 8—International Women’s Day—Pope Benedict stated, “Today’s date invites us to reflect on … our commitment that always and everywhere every woman can live and fully manifest her particular abilities, obtaining complete respect for her dignity.” There’s a word for that: hypocrisy and lip-service. To me it’s also very insulting to my intelligence, coming right after the excommunications.

Both probably think they are great men, but I look at them and see the Peter Principle in action. Both have risen way beyond their abilities. Both have shown abysmal judgment and lack of humanity in their words and actions.

How do you feel about our trusted servants now? Can you think of others? I can.

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