The Science is Unsettled

Last night, Joe Biden said of global warming, “I think it’s clearly man-made,” while his opponent, Sarah Palin, said that she believes that the evidence shows that both human and cyclical changes account for climate change.

So, which one is the scientist, and which is the religious fanatic?

But before I get into the question of climate change orthodoxy, the exchange between the two caused me to reflect on my observations of pollution in Europe.  It seems to me that many in this country think that Europe must lead the way in cleaning the planet, and the the US is lagging hopelessly behind.

Hardly.

Over There

I witnessed a lot of industrial pollution going on over there – a lot more than one sees in America.  Here in the USA, you see a lot of tailpipe pollution – a problem that needs to be solved – but almost never do you see smokestack pollution – a problem that seemed to abound in France, Spain, and Italy.  Europe also abounds with automobiles that couldn’t pass American emissions standards (much less California standards).

Qualitatively, I also saw quite a bit more waste pollution – trash and graffiti – in Europe than in almost any American city, specifically in France and Italy.  Several stops reminded me of Brooklyn circa 1988.

Of course, Europe is pristine compared to developing areas in Africa and the Pacific.  And, don’t get me wrong – I love Europe.  It’s beautiful.  But it ain’t perfect.  And it should remind us, when questioning why we didn’t sign the Kyoto protocol, that we don’t need to sign an agreement in order to clean up the planet.  We just need to do it.  Apparently, we are.

Climate Change

I’ve posted about this many times on CWSS.  The key article is Global Warming, which summarizes the five key points that must be addressed before we can agree to take action to combat climate change.  In addition are several other supporting articles:

Are Sea Levels Really Rising? discusses the fact that although experts “agree” that sea levels are rising, in fact, they are not rising worldwide, and the data require “adjustment” in order to show a trend.  The raw data do not show a rising trend.

More on Sea Level Change explains how a longer view of sea level shows that the Earth has periodically experienced far more radical changes in sea level than the current 30 year “trend” and asks the question: what are we going to do the next time the Earth goes on a cooling binge?

Climate Change: it Just Gets Better points out that the IPCC (the agency responsible for much of the current science on climate change) does not make predictions nor takes into account many obvious scenarios when it presents the doomsday what-if dramas that have made it famous.

Global Warming (on Mars) posits that the increase in surface temperature on Mars could only be caused by some kind of interspatial leakage of carbon emissions from Earth to Mars, since clearly, climate change is always man-made.  The article then goes on to discuss the climate change orthodoxy which resists debate.

The Science is Settled (or Not) links to an outstanding article listing some of the key detractors to the climate change orthodoxy.

Science vs. Orthodoxy

And that gets to the topic of orthodoxy.  Don’t get me wrong.  I think it’s quite conceivable that the Earth is warming.  I think it’s even plausible that there’s a human component.  But I don’t think the science is settled.  Not by a long shot.  Science is never settled.

Recalling last night’s debate, Palin gave a much more reasoned scientific answer to the climate change question than did Biden.  Where she demonstrated rationality, Biden demonstrated a knee-jerk towards the politically correct viewpoint that climate change is simply due to human carbon emission.

Political correctness.

Orthodoxy.

I’m cringing already, because people I know are going to read this article and know that (1) I don’t automatically think that Sarah Palin is a raving lunatic, and (2) I’m totally unconvinced of the theory of man-made climate change.

That’s a very unpopular pair of views in my crowd.  A crowd that prides itself on openmindedness, while at the same time rejecting out of hand any dispute on the views they hold dear.  The Science is Settled.  Nothing To See Here, Please Move Along.  I’M NOT LISTENING LA LA LA LA LA.

Orthodoxy: how to turn any science into a religion.  For more information on how to use orthodoxy to turn the science of the day into a religion, see Leviticus.

Orthodoxy: Good enough for Moses.  Good enough for Al Gore.  Good enough for you.