Here Comes the Sun: Global Warming and the Perversion of Science
As the hypothesis of man-caused global warming is trundled off to the Morgue for Scientific Hoaxes, let's anticipate the autopsy's preliminary findings: the subject expired after choking on its own premises.
In denial, warmists continue to hawk recently discredited tenets: mankind's (read: America's) profligate use of fossil fuels pumps enormous quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere; naturally, Earth's temperature rises, exacerbating the so-called "greenhouse effect"; in time, our planet becomes a most inhospitable place. "Settled science." Until it wasn't.
These postulates were meant to frighten the naive and misinformed into supporting a radical correction that would (surprise!) hit the U.S. hardest. Now that the warmists' case has come undone, we can see it for what it is: a perversion of science and the scientific method. The greenhouse effect is not a law of nature, but a warmist paradigm consisting of fudged data, tortured logic, and half-truths. Short of World War III, there is nothing humans can do to produce climate change.
Warmists didn't get everything wrong: CO2 levels are indeed greater than they were just a few decades ago, thanks to China's industrialization. Yet global temperatures have not increased in 17 years; actually, they are trending down, undercutting the warmists' key argument. The seeming contradiction can be explained by, well, looking up.
Orbiting the sun 150 million kilometers (93 million miles) out, Earth receives less than five ten-billionths of the star's radiation. Even so, variations in the star's output may cause -- have caused -- major climatological events, a fact warmists choose to ignore.
Waves of stellar activity called "sunspots" have been observed and recorded since the days of Galileo in the early 1600s. Sunspot "cycles" occur every 11 years or so, and they are not all alike. Neutral observers confirm correlations between historical records of solar activity and concurrent weather anomalies.
Sunspot activity has increased over the last 200 years, with each solar cycle gaining in magnitude. "Epic" describes the sun's outbursts in recent decades, with Cycle 19 (c. 1960) notable as the most intense in recorded history.
The sun is now at the peak of solar cycle 24, which was slow to begin and is relatively weak compared to its predecessors. This cycle is similar to Number 5, which ran from the late 1790s into the 1800s, a time known as the Dalton Minimum. That period featured unusually cold temperatures worldwide.
Understandably, warmists don't want to hear speculation about dropping temperatures. They'd rather focus on computer-generated feedback loops "proving" that increased levels of atmospheric CO2 are accelerating global warming. In fact, CO2 in the atmosphere in any concentration is not the cause of climate change.
What drives Earth's thermal budget and weather in the short and long terms is stored solar heat, heat most efficiently conveyed by water. (In its liquid state, water is an energy storehouse.) For most of Earth's 4.5-billion-year history, climate change has been the norm. The engine of change? H2O. The source of all the energy found in water? Our sun.
Climatology is not an exact science. Competing theories and enigmas abound. Oceans are warmer now than in centuries past, polar atmospheres colder (likely because of a decline in solar output). New weather patterns may emerge at any time. But this much is gospel: humans cannot be at fault for climate change if climate change is a function of solar activity. No matter: whenever extreme weather-related events occur -- hurricanes, tornadoes, episodes of El Niño and La Niña -- die-hard warmists will attempt to resurrect their creed and blame humanity.
To that I say, never again. Weather phenomena and climate change are unrelated to atmospheric CO2. They are manifestations of natural processes predating mankind by billions of years. This is the "inconvenient truth" Al Gore and his disciples would rather you not know.
The worst of the warmists are scientific opportunists. What matters to them is not being right, but roiling the waters, questioning orthodoxy, getting grants, and gaining influence. As a wag among them, in an honest moment, might put it in verse:
We'll cool the planet, save the whales,
Tell our kids tall climate tales.
And when we're through and temps are pleasing,
We'll warm to threats of global freezing.
Jim Heilman is a retired Earth science teacher and planetarium director.