Friday, November 20, 2009

Climate change is a circumstance; is not known to be a problem

neoneocon, in looking at an assertion that hacked emails show climate change activists have been, for years, lying about climate change (see Richard Fernandez, A.J. Strata, Shrinkwrapped) writes what I suspect is a reflexive throw away line: "both sides of the AGW controversy are very politicized".

I have difficulty characterizing the issue succinctly.

Climate change cannot accurately be characterized as a “problem”. Climate change is a “circumstance”. No one knows if the circumstance represents a problem.

AGW exists as a teensy proportion* of the overall circumstance of climate change.

Lets say someone does, someday, discover that climate change is a problem. Efforts by man could - at humongous expense - make a teensy reduction in the teensy proportion of AGW which does exist as a part of overall climate change. Would the reduction be significant? No one knows. My gut says no. But no one knows.

Until someone knows whether or not climate change is a “problem”; until someone knows whether or not a teensy reduction in an already teensy AGW portion of climate change would be significant: we are fools to expend resources on a chimera.

Now, how to succinctly communicate the above? If I say: "AGW is manure!", then I am, technically, mischaracterizing things. AGW does exist as a teensy proportion of the circumstance we call “climate change.” If I say “Climate change is natural; is a circumstance but not necessarily a problem; and man’s effect on it is minuscule and probably insignificant,”(especially when considered next to the huge effect sunspots have on the Earth's atmosphere; and when considered next to the huge effect vegetation and living organisms have on the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) would anyone read through to the end of the sentence? I suspect few would.

Back to neo: “both sides of the AGW controversy are very politicized”

Is there an organized anti AGW movement? I’m aware of the courageous long term actions and statements of Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma. However, he seems more interested in truth, and he doesn’t seem to have attracted an organized group of confederates.

Can a smattering of individuals - regarding this issue - be “highly politicized”? They could be, but I don’t see that they currently are.

Instead, I see a scattered group of skeptics who - like me - have a difficult time succinctly communicating the issue. We resort to a technically untrue description: “AGW is manure!”, which technically untrue description might be read as if we are acting out of politicized motive. Yet, I assert, we are, largely, acting of out desire to discover truth; and we are stymied by our inability to succinctly communicate about the issue.


Also, as an aside: I am sensitive to any assertion that "both sides" do it. The left claims this all the time, and very often in error. Well intentioned persons on the right knee jerk into agreement with the left's often false meme.


*What does "teensy" mean?

Climate change advocates focus on carbon dioxide. Approx 3% of Earth's atmosphere is carbon dioxide. Of all carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere, human technological activity accounts for maybe 3%, i.e. .0009 of everything in the Earth's atmosphere. However, man is not going to eliminate all technological activity. What part, of the .0009 that man accounts for, could man realistically affect? If every nation adopted every standard recommended in the Kyoto Protocol, man would reduce his impact on the atmosphere by approx. 3%. Therefore, if the entire Earth does everything Kyoto proposes, then .000027 of the Earth's atmosphere would be relieved of the existing man produced carbon dioxide which resides there. Stated another way: 27 millionths of the Earth's atmosphere would be relieved of the carbon dioxide which now resides there. The economic cost, in terms of effort and assets expended, would be incalculable; as would be the additional human suffering and misery which would result from directing wealth into an effort to clean up 27 millionths of the Earth's atmosphere.

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