I’m walking through the airport at Johannesburg South Africa in early January and see these giant posters welcoming the participants of the Durban Climate Change Conference in the SA city of Durbin along the Indian Ocean coast.
As in the Kyoto Japan conference in years past, the blame for global warming has been placed at the feet of us humans and our progress since the Industrial Revolution.
Well, I’m looking at these posters and images of the African continent come to mind, and I say to myself “of all the dumb places to have a ‘me caused’ warming conference, why oh why pick Africa?” Images of Yosemite and the fjords of Norway also come to mind where massive canyons were carved by massive ice sheets that are no longer there.
But back to Africa. Much of northern Africa is desert as are large portions of southern Africa such as the Kalahari desert in Botswana, and much of the area along the horn of Africa.
If I am to believe the”man caused” global warming folks, then I have to wonder about these large expanses of desert throughout the world as well as the geographic features resulting from the retreat (warming) of the ice sheets in places like Norway, Switzerland, Chili and Yosemite. Were they formed recently because of my smoking Jeep Liberty? Were they formed recently because of farmers in the mid-west harvesting vast fields of wheat with their smoky John Deere combines? Were these deserts extant in Biblical times though perhaps not as large?
I don’t have an advanced degree in global climatology, but I do have eyes, a brain and hopefully a bit of common sense. What am I to believe, the PhD’s of the warming crowd, or my lying eyes. Of course the earth is warming and has been warming at least since the ice age, but has my Jeep caused the deserts? I think not.
This is not just an academic pissing contest among the egg heads. With proposals such as Cap and Trade being bandied about across the capitals of the world, serious economic catastrophes will occur, probably resulting in large scale famines as food production necessarily shrinks.
I’ve just read a timely article in the Wall Street Journal this morning just after posting my essay.
What say you?
Posted by The Real Don Johnson on Sunday, February 22, 2009 6:14:49 PM
Before we all panic about global warming, perhaps we need to do a little investigation into Mr. Al Gore.
It seems to me that we have had global warming since the ice age. This post from the Wall Street Journal hopefully will tickle your interest.
Will Al Gore Melt?
If not, why did he chicken out on an interview?
BY FLEMMING ROSE AND BJORN LOMBORG
Sunday, January 21, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST
Al Gore is traveling around the world telling us how we must fundamentally change our civilization due to the threat of global warming. Last week he was in Denmark to disseminate this message. But if we are to embark on the costliest political project ever, maybe we should make sure it rests on solid ground. It should be based on the best facts, not just the convenient ones. This was the background for the biggest Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, to set up an investigative interview with Mr. Gore. And for this, the paper thought it would be obvious to team up with Bjorn Lomborg, author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” who has provided one of the clearest counterpoints to Mr. Gore’s tune.
The interview had been scheduled for months. The day before the interview Mr. Gore’s agent thought Gore-meets-Lomborg would be great. Yet an hour later, he came back to tell us that Bjorn Lomborg should be excluded from the interview because he’s been very critical of Mr. Gore’s message about global warming and has questioned Mr. Gore’s evenhandedness. According to the agent, Mr. Gore only wanted to have questions about his book and documentary, and only asked by a reporter. These conditions were immediately accepted by Jyllands-Posten. Yet an hour later we received an email from the agent saying that the interview was now cancelled. What happened?
One can only speculate. But if we are to follow Mr. Gore’s suggestions of radically changing our way of life, the costs are not trivial. If we slowly change our greenhouse gas emissions over the coming century, the U.N. actually estimates that we will live in a warmer but immensely richer world. However, the U.N. Climate Panel suggests that if we follow Al Gore’s path down toward an environmentally obsessed society, it will have big consequences for the world, not least its poor. In the year 2100, Mr. Gore will have left the average person 30% poorer, and thus less able to handle many of the problems we will face, climate change or no climate change.
Clearly we need to ask hard questions. Is Mr. Gore’s world a worthwhile sacrifice? But it seems that critical questions are out of the question. It would have been great to ask him why he only talks about a sea-level rise of 20 feet. In his movie he shows scary sequences of 20-feet flooding Florida, San Francisco, New York, Holland, Calcutta, Beijing and Shanghai. But were realistic levels not dramatic enough? The U.N. climate panel expects only a foot of sea-level rise over this century. Moreover, sea levels actually climbed that much over the past 150 years. Does Mr. Gore find it balanced to exaggerate the best scientific knowledge available by a factor of 20?
Mr. Gore says that global warming will increase malaria and highlights Nairobi as his key case. According to him, Nairobi was founded right where it was too cold for malaria to occur. However, with global warming advancing, he tells us that malaria is now appearing in the city. Yet this is quite contrary to the World Health Organization’s finding. Today Nairobi is considered free of malaria, but in the 1920s and ’30s, when temperatures were lower than today, malaria epidemics occurred regularly. Mr. Gore’s is a convenient story, but isn’t it against the facts?
He considers Antarctica the canary in the mine, but again doesn’t tell the full story. He presents pictures from the 2% of Antarctica that is dramatically warming and ignores the 98% that has largely cooled over the past 35 years. The U.N. panel estimates that Antarctica will actually increase its snow mass this century. Similarly, Mr. Gore points to shrinking sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere, but don’t mention that sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere is increasing. Shouldn’t we hear those facts? Mr. Gore talks about how the higher temperatures of global warming kill people. He specifically mentions how the European heat wave of 2003 killed 35,000. But he entirely leaves out how global warming also means less cold and saves lives. Moreover, the avoided cold deaths far outweigh the number of heat deaths. For the U.K. it is estimated that 2,000 more will die from global warming. But at the same time 20,000 fewer will die of cold. Why does Mr. Gore tell only one side of the story?
Al Gore is on a mission. If he has his way, we could end up choosing a future, based on dubious claims, that could cost us, according to a U.N. estimate, $553 trillion over this century. Getting answers to hard questions is not an unreasonable expectation before we take his project seriously. It is crucial that we make the right decisions posed by the challenge of global warming. These are best achieved through open debate, and we invite him to take the time to answer our questions: We are ready to interview you any time, Mr. Gore–and anywhere.
Mr. Rose is culture editor of Jyllands-Posten, in Copenhagen. Mr. Lomborg is a professor at the Copenhagen Business School.