"Dr. Shariv, a prolific researcher who has made a name for himself assessing the movements of two-billion-year-old meteorites, no longer accepts this logic, or subscribes to these views. He has recanted: "Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming. But after carefully digging into the evidence, I realized that things are far more complicated than the story sold to us by many climate scientists or the stories regurgitated by the media.... Dr. Shariv's digging led him to the surprising discovery that there is no concrete evidence -- only speculation -- that man-made greenhouse gases cause global warming. "That last sentence is the good one. I've claimed it for years -- emphasis: *speculation*. I had the idea last year of setting up an experiment of sorts to prove that CO2 (or methane, or CFCs, pick your industrial flatulence) doesn't even cause warming, in high concentrations or otherwise. This is one of those great unproven assertions, after all. Right up there with the sky is falling. CO2 causes the sky to fall they say. Then they get to keep on saying it cause the climate models are too primitive -- that's their defense of them! So to be sure, we should shut down industrial civilization and turn the U.S. into a 9th century agrarian Club Med.
But here's how to prove the SOBs wrong: Putting aside the complexities of modeling the climate of the entire planet for the next 100 years to predict a 3 or 4 degree rise in temperature, attack the root idea: the idea that "heat-trapping" gases actually trap heat.
I strongly doubt it, based on putting some thought into how energy is absorbed and re-radiated from gases in the upper atmosphere. Seriously, I think it's nonsense. Let me put that more strongly: I think the fundamental premise of the man-made global warming crowd is flawed at root. I don't think gases like CO2 "heat trap".
But put aside objections you may have to my boldness -- we could prove me right or prove me wrong fairly easily. Build a simple computer model (don't groan) of *just* a simple column of atmosphere from ground level up to space. That is, a *one*-dimensional model, rather like a test-tube from ground level all the way up to outer space. Pick your gaseous species to put in this tube, place them in the right concentrations at each altitude. Model the solar spectrum and the ground temperature, and model the spectral absorption and emission characteristics of the gases in response to radiation from the sun, and from other molecules that re-radiate. For the non-technical, this sounds complicated. For the technical, it's not so much. All this information is easily available from reference books, and the one-dimensional nature of the model makes it calculatable in a finite time. Probably something like a couple hours on a home PC.
So you build this simulation up (I could probably do it in a few weeks using a tool like MATLAB, if I was so inclined) and you let the computer calculate whether there is a temperature rise as you increase the CO2 concentration (or whatever gas you want study). Throw in the nuances -- water density, whatever. Again, does the temperature rise? If it doesn't, the hypothesis of global warming is disproven, cause if the temperature rise won't occur for such a simple case, it can't occur for the complex cases. It's sort of like proving that can't fly in formation if they can't fly when shot out of a cannon. Sorry for the visual.
Why is it disproven? That is, why can I rely on a computer model in this simple case but not look like a hypocrite if I criticize the global warming advocates for the failures of their computer models in the more complex cases? Because this type of simulation evaluates the global warming hypothesis *on principle*, that is, in terms of the very premises on which it is asserted -- while leaving out all the non-essential factors which cloud the issue. A bit difficult to summarize in a short note (I'm still at work at 10:30PM on a Saturday night and I want out of here), but if the global warming people insist on reducing the issue to CO2 heat-trapping, then focus on just the properties of CO2 in an experiment that is essentialized to expose just that aspect. The computer is the only way to do it, cause of the height of the column involved, but as a simulation goes, it's really a rather simple one to construct, and because it essentializes the premises involved, I think it is epistemologically sound.
Okay, I *know* I'm going to get some flack from the scientific crowd, but I will leave it at that. Have to go.
(Even if I did prove CO2 heat-trapping didn't exist, the global warming crowd would be sure to morph to some other doomsday scenario anyway. It would probably rattle a lot of cages, turn some more honest scientists against global warming, but the core movement is fundamentally anti-industrial and politically driven by a lot of commies, anarchists and other such anti-U.S types [Euros and your average newspaper reporter or college professor] who wouldn't give a damn about the truth. I'm always reminded of an interview on the Tonight Show with the ditzy actress Marlo Thomas years and years ago. Carson asked her some question which I don't remember, but I do remember her answer almost verbatim, which completely encapsulates the mentality of the global warming types: "I don't think about the facts. The facts will kill you every time." Well, true enough. But now I'm outta here.)
The real deal?
Against the grain: Some scientists deny global warming exists
Lawrence Solomon, National Post
Published: Friday, February 02, 2007
Astrophysicist Nir Shariv, one of Israel's top young scientists, describes the logic that led him -- and most everyone else -- to conclude that SUVs, coal plants and other things man-made cause global warming.
Step One Scientists for decades have postulated that increases in carbon dioxide and other gases could lead to a greenhouse effect.
Step Two As if on cue, the temperature rose over the course of the 20th century while greenhouse gases proliferated due to human activities.
Step Three No other mechanism explains the warming. Without another candidate, greenhouses gases necessarily became the cause.
Dr. Shariv, a prolific researcher who has made a name for himself assessing the movements of two-billion-year-old meteorites, no longer accepts this logic, or subscribes to these views. He has recanted:
"Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming. But after carefully digging into the evidence, I realized that things are far more complicated than the story sold to us by many climate scientists or the stories regurgitated by the media.
"In fact, there is much more than meets the eye."
Dr. Shariv's digging led him to the surprising discovery that there is no concrete evidence -- only speculation -- that man-made greenhouse gases cause global warming. Even research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change-- the United Nations agency that heads the worldwide effort to combat global warming -- is bereft of anything here inspiring confidence. In fact, according to the IPCC's own findings, man's role is so uncertain that there is a strong possibility that we have been cooling, not warming, the Earth. Unfortunately, our tools are too crude to reveal what man's effect has been in the past, let alone predict how much warming or cooling we might cause in the future.
All we have on which to pin the blame on greenhouse gases, says Dr. Shaviv, is "incriminating circumstantial evidence," which explains why climate scientists speak in terms of finding "evidence of fingerprints." Circumstantial evidence might be a fine basis on which to justify reducing greenhouse gases, he adds, "without other 'suspects.' "
However, Dr. Shaviv not only believes there are credible "other suspects," he believes that at least one provides a superior explanation for the 20th century's warming.
"Solar activity can explain a large part of the 20th-century global warming," he states, particularly because of the evidence that has been accumulating over the past decade of the strong relationship that cosmic- ray flux has on our atmosphere. So much evidence has by now been amassed, in fact, that "it is unlikely that [the solar climate link] does not exist."
The sun's strong role indicates that greenhouse gases can't have much of an influence on the climate -- that C02 et al. don't dominate through some kind of leveraging effect that makes them especially potent drivers of climate change. The upshot of the Earth not being unduly sensitive to greenhouse gases is that neither increases nor cutbacks in future C02 emissions will matter much in terms of the climate.
Even doubling the amount of CO2 by 2100, for example, "will not dramatically increase the global temperature," Dr. Shaviv states. Put another way:
"Even if we halved the CO2 output, and the CO2 increase by 2100 would be, say, a 50% increase relative to today instead of a doubled amount, the expected reduction in the rise of global temperature would be less than 0.5C. This is not significant."
The evidence from astrophysicists and cosmologists in laboratories around the world, on the other hand, could well be significant. In his study of meteorites, published in the prestigious journal, Physical Review Letters,
Dr. Shaviv found that the meteorites that Earth collected during its passage through the arms of the Milky Way sustained up to 10% more cosmic ray damage than others. That kind of cosmic ray variation, Dr. Shaviv believes, could alter global temperatures by as much as 15% --sufficient to turn the ice ages on or off and evidence of the extent to which cosmic forces influence Earth's climate.
In another study, directly relevant to today's climate controversy, Dr. Shaviv reconstructed the temperature on Earth over the past 550 million years to find that cosmic ray flux variations explain more than two-thirds of Earth's temperature variance, making it the most dominant climate driver over geological time scales.
The study also found that an upper limit can be placed on the relative role of CO2 as a climate driver, meaning that a large fraction of the global warming witnessed over the past century could not be due to CO2 -- instead it is attributable to the increased solar activity.
CO2 does play a role in climate, Dr. Shaviv believes, but a secondary role, one too small to preoccupy policymakers. Yet Dr. Shaviv also believes fossil fuels should be controlled, not because of their adverse affects on climate but to curb pollution.
"I am therefore in favour of developing cheap alternatives such as solar power, wind, and of course fusion reactors (converting Deuterium into Helium), which we should have in a few decades, but this is an altogether different issue." His conclusion: "I am quite sure Kyoto is not the right way to go."