Letter: Party Line on Global Warming
To the Editor:
Recently, I learned that the Earth’s temperature has remained basically unchanged since 1997. I theorized that this was bogus information from hysterical anti-global-warming extremists, but the figures came from the same sources used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to develop its models, which drive efforts around the world to reduce greenhouse gases.
In your Sept. 28 article about IPCC’s report, we read that the panel believes anthropogenic global warming is “extremely likely,” upgraded from “very likely” in its 2007 report. That’s odd — if their own data show temperatures flat despite the steady increase in greenhouse gases, why are they even more confident that their data are correct?
In reality, the true impact of human-activity on Earth’s temperature can only be guessed at. There is simply not enough long-term data to measure, since our fossil-fuel use is relatively new. Scientists disagree over how sensitive the atmosphere is to greenhouse gases. Is the effect significant enough that we should curtail emissions? Skeptics believe the atmosphere is more tolerant than theorized, and perhaps this temperature slowdown suggests that they are right. Is it possible that we’re needlessly spending billions that could be spent elsewhere? Are we being sold a bill of goods to keep the grant dollars flowing?
Many prominent U.S. scientists have publicly refuted the IPCC’s science, and some have resigned from the American Physical Society over the issue, including Nobel laureate Ivar Giaever. These events make fleeting headlines, and almost everyone I know believes there’s an overwhelming consensus among scientists about anthropogenic global warming. Personally, I no longer believe this.
Skeptical scientists are looking for answers, and some feel they’ve found one — the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which many scientists believe exerts far more influence on the Earth’s temperature than man’s activities. There’s a lot of solid scientific data supporting this theory, yet it gets no traction at the IPCC or in the media.
Are we being fed the party line? How many of us would alter our views if we had more information? If the experts aren’t truly in agreement and the data aren’t behaving as expected, we should start asking questions.