Global Warming: The Missing Science

I have a terrible habit of going into battle underprepared. For example, somebody will be prattling on about Global Warming and I can’t resist stepping in to rip their precious environmental fundamentalism to bits. Junk science doesn’t help real people with real problems. Thing is, my thing is land use and economic development. I’m not a scientist and I don’t play one on TV.

Australian Dr. Ian Plimer, a professor of geology, has stepped boldly onto the Climate Change battleground on the side of fact-based science with a new book titled Heaven & Earth—Global Warming: The Missing Science. Monday the Sidney Morning Herald carried an op/ed review ahead of the Australian release.

Much of what we have read about climate change, [Plimer] argues, is rubbish, especially the computer modelling on which much current scientific opinion is based, which he describes as “primitive”. Errors and distortions in computer modelling will be exposed in time. (As if on cue, the United Nations’ peak scientific body on climate change was obliged to make an embarrassing admission last week that some of its computers models were wrong.)

Plimer does not dispute the dramatic flux of climate change… but he fundamentally disputes most of the assumptions and projections being made about the current causes, mostly led by atmospheric scientists, who have a different perspective on time. “It is little wonder that catastrophist views of the future of the planet fall on fertile pastures. The history of time shows us that depopulation, social disruption, extinctions, disease and catastrophic droughts take place in cold times … and life blossoms and economies boom in warm times. Planet Earth is dynamic. It always changes and evolves. It is currently in an ice age.”

If we look at the last 6 million years, the Earth was warmer than it is now for 3 million years. The ice caps of the Arctic, Antarctica and Greenland are geologically unusual. Polar ice has only been present for less than 20 per cent of geological time. What follows is an intense compression of the book’s 500 pages and all their provocative arguments and conclusions:

Is dangerous warming occurring? No.

Is the temperature range observed in the 20th century outside the range of normal variability? No.

Plimer’s “thing” is the perspective of time. He deals in geologic time. The reaaaaaaly long view. Temperature goes up. Temperature goes down. Our ability to measure that change isn’t necessarily as advanced as we would like to believe.

“To reduce modern climate change to one variable, CO2, or a small proportion of one variable – human-induced CO2 – is not science. To try to predict the future based on just one variable (CO2) in extraordinarily complex natural systems is folly. Yet when astronomers have the temerity to show that climate is driven by solar activities rather than CO2 emissions, they are dismissed as dinosaurs undertaking the methods of old-fashioned science.”

Over time, the history of CO2 content in the atmosphere has been far higher than at present for most of time. Atmospheric CO2 follows temperature rise. It does not create a temperature rise. CO2 is not a pollutant. Global warming and a high CO2 content bring prosperity and longer life.

The hypothesis that human activity can create global warming is extraordinary because it is contrary to validated knowledge from solar physics, astronomy, history, archaeology and geology. “But evidence no longer matters. And any contrary work published in peer-reviewed journals is just ignored. We are told that the science on human-induced global warming is settled. Yet the claim by some scientists that the threat of human-induced global warming is 90 per cent certain (or even 99 per cent) is a figure of speech. It has no mathematical or evidential basis.”

Observations in nature differ markedly from the results generated by nearly two dozen computer-generated climate models. These climate models exaggerate the effects of human CO2 emissions into the atmosphere because few of the natural variables are considered. Natural systems are far more complex than computer models.

Garbage in, garbage out. Amazon.com lists a late May 2009 release date.

It is important to conserve natural resources and prevent harm to the environment. However, we have to use sound facts if we want to make rational choices. I know there are a number of other respected scientists who are standing up to debunk the Chicken Little crowd and their junk science. I hope they continue to give us lay climate change skeptics fact-based ammo to continue the good fight.

(Cross-posted from JCShepard.com. I’ll be cross-posting some more entries while we work out the transition. Patience. I must learn patience.)

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Linking Ag and Human Health Bioscience

Interesting first day of the 5th annual Bioscience Conference at Worthington Thursday.  Dale Wahlstrom of the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota opened the session, discussing the Alliance’s vision for the Life Sciencs industry in Minnesota, developed with Deloitte Consulting.  The vision focuses on five general industries in Minnesota:

  • Medical Devices
  • Biologics/Biopharma
  • Animal Health
  • Food
  • Renewable Energy

This year’s Bioscience Conference highlighted Animal Health and Renewable Energy.  There was great coverage on the front page of the local daily newspaper of the afternoon sessions on animal health:

Use of antibiotics in livestock debated at Bioscience Conference

WORTHINGTON — Scrutiny over antibiotic use in the livestock industry continues to make headlines across the United States and around the world, making it a timely topic at the 2009 Bioscience Conference Thursday afternoon in Worthington.

 The animal health track at the conference gave visitors five perspectives on the use of antibiotics, from the impact it has on animals and humans, to food safety and the environment….

A couple of the presenters spoke of the time and money it takes to get an antibiotic approved for use in the livestock industry. Often, a decade or more of research is needed and tens of millions of dollars are spent before an antibiotic ends up on the market….

Worthington (MN) Daily Globe 3 April 2009

Couple of interesting points here regarding opportunities and challenges.  I’ve worked with a number of counties on local water management planning, and the issue of nutrient management always comes up.  Satish Gupta, professor of soil, water and climate at UMN, has conducted research at Lamberton Ag Experiment station in Southwest Minnesota.  The Globe reports:

Increased concentration of soil-applied manure…shows an increased uptake of antibiotics by the plants. Gupta said while antibiotic levels in plants appears minimal, there are some implications on organic vegetable growers who use manure as fertilizer.

In addition to the concerns of antibiotic levels in plants, Gupta said producers will need to be mindful of applying manure on erodible soils.

“If you have erosion of the soil, you’re going to want to control it because the soil can be carrying antibiotics,” he said.

Dr. Robert Elde, Dean of the UMN College of Biological Sciences finished up the first day with details of projects supported by the U’s Initiative for Renewable Energy & the Environment

I attended the second track on renewable energy, with sessions on wind & solar power, ethanol & biodiesel, and future biomass feedstocks.  Today the conference wrap-up aimed to bring the two tracks together.  More on that later.

(Cross-posted at jcshepard.com).