Global Warming Follies

Common Sense from Irving C. Sheldon Jr.

Posted in Common Sense by tjgavin on January 3, 2008

This is the best article I’ve read in a while. It outlines a talk given by Prof. Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that challenges, very methodically, the claims of global warming politicizors. He calls for truly scientific analysis and for the media to put it all in the proper perspective.

To conclude, he took his students through an exercise. The Kyoto Accords aim to remove some hundreds of thousands of megatons of carbon from the atmosphere, which sounds like a lot. Starting from the fact that the atmosphere weighs about 15 pounds per square inch, multiplied by the square inches of the earth’s surface, the St. Mark’s students, at least those who had brought calculators, came up with a number for the megaton mass of the atmosphere that had some 18 zeros, or to the 18th power, as physicists put it. Against that number, the half-dozen zeros of Kyoto — even if they could be realized, even if the treaty were to include China and India — were pretty puny.

That is a pretty good lesson in simple mathematics and scale that people don’t often realize. The professor also does a fantastic job of systematically picking apart the claims of Al Gore’s rhetoric-riddled “film.”

A lot is not as it appears in Gore’s movie and book of the same name. For example, Lindzen displayed a chart from the book tracking the correlation of temperature and CO{-2} over hundreds of thousands of years, derived from samples of ice cores in the Antarctic, pointing out that it actually showed a pattern of temperature rise preceding rises in atmospheric CO{-2}. Gore presents it as showing the opposite. But Lindzen’s larger point was that the whole exercise is suspect, because the dating of ice cores is too complex and uncertain to be used dogmatically, as Gore uses the data — unless, of course, one is trying to sway children.

I think everyone who sees “An Inconvenient Truth” should be forced to read this article.



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