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In Science, Ignorance is not Bliss

Launch Magazine – July/August issue

Walter Cunningham is one of the astronauts of Apollo 7.  He writes about global warming in the latest issue of Launch Magazine and his comments bear considering.

Mr. Cunningham is important in this discussion because of his obvious intelligence and past leadership but also in his strong ability in analyzing scientific and political events and drawing conclusions.

What I find to be most compelling are:

  • his ridicule of climate models.
  • his discussions of correlation and causation.
  • the replacement of scientific discussion with emotional arguments.
  • the condemnation of Mr. Hansen – one of the early warning voices of global warming and an employee of NASA.

I am not going to reproduce all of Mr. Cunningham’s comments here.  Please follow the link below but here are some of the highlights.

For example, recently generated NASA data enabled scientists to finally understand the Gulf Stream warming mechanism and its effect on European weather. Such data will allow us to improve our models, resulting in better seasonal forecasts.

NASAs Aqua satellite is showing that water vapor, the dominant greenhouse gas, works to offset the effect of carbon dioxide (CO2). This information, contrary to the assumption used in all the warming models, is ignored by global warming alarmists.

Unfortunately, it is becoming just another agency caught up in the politics of global warming, or worse, politicized science. Advocacy is replacing objective evaluation of data, while scientific data is being ignored in favor of emotions and politics.

I believe in global climate change, but there is no way that humans can influence the temperature of our planet to any measurable degree with the tools currently at their disposal. Any human contribution to global temperature change is lost in the noise of terrestrial and cosmic factors.

Even though CO2 is a relatively minor constituent of greenhouse gases, alarmists have made it the whipping boy for global warming (probably because they know how fruitless it would be to propose controlling other principal constituents, H2O, CH4, and N2O). Since human activity does contribute a tiny portion of atmospheric CO2, they blame us for global warming.

Even though recent changes in our atmosphere are all within the bounds of the Earths natural variability, a growing number of people are willing to throw away trillions of dollars on fruitless solutions. Why do we allow emotional appeals and anecdotal data to shape our conclusions and influence our expenditures with the science and technology we have available at our fingertips?

It doesnt help that NASA scientist James Hansen was one of the early alarmists claiming humans caused global warming. Hansen is a political activist who spreads fear even when NASAs own data contradict him.

It is the true believers who, when they have no facts on their side, try to silence their critics. When former NASA mathematician Ferenc Miskolczi pointed out that greenhouse warming may be mathematically impossible, NASA would not allow him to publish his work. Miskolczi dared to question the simplifying assumption in the warming model that the atmosphere is infinitely thick. He pointed out that when you use the correct thicknessabout 65 milesthe greenhouse effect disappears! Ergo: no AGW. Miskolczi resigned in disgust and published his proof in the peer-reviewed Hungarian journal Weather.

The reality is that atmospheric CO2 has a minimal impact on greenhouse gases and world temperature. Water vapor is responsible for 95 percent of the greenhouse effect. CO2 contributes just 3.6 percent, with human activity responsible for only 3.2 percent of that. That is why some studies claim CO2 levels are largely irrelevant to global warming.

For a tiny fraction of the trillions of dollars a cap-and-trade system would eventually cost the United States, we could pay for development of clean coal, oil-shale recovery systems, and nuclear power, and have enough left over to pay for exploration of our solar system.

You can read the entire article here.  If you read the rather testy comments, you will see that Mr. Cunningham even chimes in to defend himself.

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3 Responses to “In Science, Ignorance is not Bliss”

  1. […] climate models with huge numbers of assumptions as tools to influence political conversations (as have others with better credentials than I have).  What we need are real measurements that can be scientifically validated – not algorithmic […]

  2. […] second chart tries to ridicule the IPCC projections which are based on computer models (I give little credence to most computer models as regular readers know).  However, did they bother to look at the major inconsistincies with the chart immediately […]

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