Friday, May 22, 2009

A Global Warming update...

I ordered these two books from Amazon having become fascinated with the scientific side of the climate change debate after reading Ian Plimer's wonderfully invigorating Heaven+Earth.

Amazon is so good because of its readers' reviews which guide selections from the hundreds of competing tomes on a particular subject. These two books universally got five stars, and I can see why.

The Solomon book is simply outstanding, and I heartily recommend it to anyone who, like me, is getting quite fed up with the repetitive, apocalyptic, 'we'll all be rooned' visions of doomsayers who simply accept the orthodox, consensus, scientific view absolutely uncritically. (Here's what I want on my gravestone: 'He never accepted the party line'!)

There are far more rational perspectives from far more credible scientists around the world, and they are refreshing, optimistic and sane. Solomon reviews the writings and opinions of thirty of them.

For instance, the world renowned Russian scientist Dr Habibullo Abdussamatov says this: 'If the temperature of the ocean rises even a little [due to increased solar activity], gigantic amounts of CO2 are released into the atmosphere through the evaporation of water. It is no secret that increased solar irradiance warms Earth's oceans, which then triggers the emission of large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. So the common view that man's industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect relations'.

'Furthermore....this recent global warming will be short-lived and we are actually on the brink of a global cooling, likely a severe one....The Earth has hit its temperature ceiling, demonstrated by cooling that is occurring on the upper levels of the world's oceans. Solar irradiance has begun to fall, ushering in a protracted cooling period beginning in 2012-2015. The depth of the decline...will occur around 2041...and will inevitably lead to a deep freeze around 2055-60, lasting some 50 years, after which temperatures will go up again. We continue to bask in the remains of heat that the planet accumulated over the 20th century'.

Great stuff eh?

Antonio Zichichi is Italy's most renowned scientist and an outspoken critic of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He argues 'that models used by the IPCC are incoherent and invalid from a scientific point of view....On the basis of actual scientific fact it is not possible to exclude the idea that climate changes can be due to natural causes, and that it is plausible that man is not to blame'.

The problem is that scientists with these sorts of views get very quickly ostracised from the mainstream scientific community whose members universally believe the 'science is settled'. Here's how Al Gore described the sceptics: 'they get together on a Saturday night and party with people who believe the earth is flat and that the moon landing was staged on a movie lot'!

Funny, but sadly, tragically,wrong.

The big question for me is why is there this divide? What psychological and group dynamics are at play? Are we seeing just another example of groupthink, the well documented process of individuals identifying with a group being captured by its leadership and authority and seemingly losing any ability to think independently and critically?


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