Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Global Warming? Not So Much

President Bush is said to be unveiling a plan to address global warming during his annual State of the Union Address. The controversy isn't that he's addressing it, but that some people think he's changing course on his position on global warming.

This is as good a time as any for me to address global warming. I don't discount the notion that man has some impact on the world. Having said that, I don't think it's as great as some would have us believe. There are many factors that can explain the relatively small increases to global temperatures, not the least of which being our big buddy in the sky, the Sun. Seems there's been increased solar activity over the past few years, and what does the Sun do, boys and girls? Among other things, it heats our planet.

Of course, you'll find people who will follow the Al Gore line of thought that we're on the verge of a global crisis, if not already in it. His film "An Inconvenient Truth" and companion book of the same name lays out a bleak future unless we change course on global climate change. There are a lot of people who see Gore as a scientist trapped in a former politician's body, and they're welcome to do it. The thing is Al Gore is the Kevin Federline of environmental science. Having watched Gore operate since the early 90s, I can tell you he's no scientist. He crams before big events so he sounds intelligent. But quoting facts doesn't make you intelligent in and of itself. It's in the application of those facts that intelligence comes through.

And so far, Gore hasn't shown me that he's able to apply the facts he quotes. Unfortunately, neither have the people who follow Gore's line of thinking.

The entire global warming debate within the scientific community is interesting to watch because you get to see how much politics has infiltrated the scientific realm. Those who don't follow a certain line (namely, that man is responsible for global warming) are threatened or maligned as being bought and paid for by Big Business. Granted, there probably are because the suggestions being made as to possible ways to combat global warming would negatively impact their sales. But I'm also sure there are scientists on the "global warming is manmade" side who are bought and paid for by similar interests.

The thing about global warming that gets lost in all of this is that science does allow for disagreement...or it did before global warming. Now, we're seeing the scientific community at odds with one another over something that, if it's happening, has truly global implications. The more we squabble, the less we get done.

But perhaps that's the most convincing evidence that global warming isn't as serious a problem as some would lead us to believe.

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