By Rep. Carl Gatto
March 17, 2009
The message from 700 of our best and brightest scientists who studied this issue, based on science and observation, was very different from Al Gore's message and President Obama's message. Gore claims that there is a crisis in our atmosphere, that a calamity is occurring, and in ten years the atmosphere may suffer irreversible harm. Gore and Obama offer their solution: cap the production of energy from fossil fuels, tax carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, create a "cap and tax" bureaucracy, make most forms of energy very expensive, and transfer our personal wealth to government wealth all to perform an absolutely worthless and unnecessary task.
The Gore-Obama plan is to collect CO2 from the atmosphere and store it underground forever, spending trillions of dollars doing it. In return, we get nothing, unless you count the $645 billion in additional taxes, something that all Americans will pay every time they buy a product or fill up the tank of their car or truck.
Global warming alarmists want us to believe that the temperature of Earth would stay the same year after year, century after century, if not for "the human presence." This is scientifically false. Huge climate changes have occurred before humans could possibly have played a role. More recently, global temperatures rose from 1900 to 1940 (1934 was the century's warmest year), fell from 1940 to 1975, rose again from 1975 to 1998, and declined from 1998 to 2008. How does "the human presence" account for this variation? It can't.
Most people have noticed the recent cooling that is taking place: extended cold snaps, snow accumulations, snow falling in southern states where "it does not belong" and staying around way too long. Satellite data confirms that the Earth has been cooling since at least 2001, and probably earlier.
Al Gore says "soaring global temperatures will bring human civilization to a screeching halt." "Global warmers" also predict no more agriculture in California, and in ten years the oceans will be toxic and all life could die. And yet, we're halfway to the much-feared "doubling of CO2" in the atmosphere, and none of these disasters has even begun to appear.
Global warming's true believers say trains carrying coal and other fuel to cities are really death trains carrying poisonous fuel to "coal-fired factories of death." Whew, Hollywood horror films could not top this stuff. But there is more: hurricanes, melting polar ice caps, polar bear extinctions, dust bowls, and anything else about the weather than you can imagine.
Let's look at the facts.
Nearly 85% of US energy consumption is carbon-based, and reducing that figure by using wind, solar, and other renewable sources will take a long time, be very expensive, and may not even be technically possible. Scientists (and farmers) know carbon dioxide is not a "pollutant." The vast majority of it is produced from natural sources, not human activities, and plants and forests use CO2 to grow and produce oxygen for all living things.
Ordinary air contains roughly 78.08% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, and a paltry 0.038% carbon dioxide. Scientists - including several who presented at the New York conference - are quite unsure that a tiny increase in that tiny amount of CO2 is having any effect on climate. Many scientists believe negative feedbacks more than offset whatever warming the CO2 might be capable of causing.
Our whole solar system is showing signs of climate change, including Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, and even lonely Pluto. There aren't any SUVs on those planets. What all the planets have in common, though, is that they receive heat from the sun and they are affected by cosmic rays and other galaxy-wide processes. Nothing we do can compare to changes in sun spot activity and brightness when it comes to changing our climate.
Our climate appears to be once again reversing course and cooling, repeating a cycle that has repeated itself thousands of times in the past. Glaciers advance when the Earth cools, then make up for all that work by retreating when the Earth re-warms. Human activities may have a little impact, but is it good or bad? Worth preventing? No one knows.
So for the time being, let's accept that the Earth's climate has been wide-ranging for five billion years. That's our planet's history, and we are here in spite of (or maybe because of) all those changes.
Thank God for that.
About: Carl Gatto represents the 13th District in Alaska's state legislature, and resides in Palmer. He can be reached at Representative_Carl_Gatto@legis.state.ak.us.
Received March 17, 2009 - Published March 17, 2009
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