Saturday, February 27, 2010

An Open Letter To Global Warming Activists

Dearest Global Warming Activists,
There are some things we need to discuss.  I don't think you've been going about everything the right way.  I know you don't like to listen to dissenting view points; so in an effort to bribe you to hear what I have to say, I'm going to let you know something.  I'm on your team...kind of.

Does that entice you enough to hear me out?  I'll get to why I'm kind of on your team in a minute.  But first we need to talk about the issues I have.  Here they are:  you aren't that into science, your leadership is questionable, you distract people from less controversial (and arguably more important) issues, you want to destroy the economy.

You aren't that into science
I know this one is going to get you real riled up.  That's why I'll explain it first.  You see, climate change believers like to tell the rest of us that we're stupid and that we hate science and all sorts of other ridiculous things.  That kind of gets my knickers in a bunch because I am a big believer in science.  I don't have anything against scientists.  I know that polls show that the majority of scientists believe in global warming.  But those polls try to imply that those scientists all believe in Al Gore's version of global warming.  You see, the data says that since 1995 the earth has been warming at a rate of 0.12C per decade.  Phil Jones, climate scientist, says that is not statistically significant.  His data also says that from the years 1860-1880 the warming was a rate of 0.163C per decade.  This means that global warming was worse from 1860-1880 than it was from 1995 to 2009.

I'm no climate scientist, but I am a thinker.  If there was more global warming before we filled the world with cars and airplanes and other carbon emitting machines, doesn't that say something about the correlation between the two?  Phil Jones does say that even though he doesn't have the data to prove it, he still believes that Anthropogenic (man-made) global warming is real.  I don't have a problem with that.  In science that is called a hypothesis.  The purpose of science is to prove or disprove a hypothesis.  He doesn't have enough data to prove it or disprove it at this point and that is fine with me.  As a bystander, I feel the data points a different way.
I will glady believe in AGW (Anthropogenic global warming) when there is more data to show it.  So when all the believers out there start telling me that they know that AGW is a fact.  Well, how can they know that when the scientists don't?  I understand they have faith in Phil Jones and other scientists.  But saying that you know it to be true based on your faith in what Phil Jones says is no longer science.  Now we are talking about religion.  Science is about empirical evidence.  Religion is about faith.  I'm not going to bash your religion, feel free to believe whatever feels right to you.  But let's call a spade a spade so we're all on the same page.

Your leadership is questionable
Al Gore seems to be the most outspoken AGW believer.  However, his claims just don't seem to jive with what scientists are saying.  A few months ago at the Climate Summit in Copenhagen, Al Gore made a claim that all polar ice caps will be completely melted by the summer of 2014.  He cited Dr Wieslav Maslowski as the source of that information.  That evening Dr. Maslowski told The Times: “It’s unclear to me how this figure was arrived at.  I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this.”

In his movie, Al Gore shows Florida being engulfed by the ocean, up to 100 miles from the current beaches.  The maps he put together would be what would happen if the ocean were to rise 20 feet.  That is a scary future, but scientists don't believe that will happen at all. The United Nations International Panel on Climate Control issued a report in 2007 saying that the ocean could rise up to 15 inches.  That's a little bit less than the scary 20 feet Al Gore predicts. I don't know if Al Gore is deliberately deceiving his audience, or if he just doesn't know how to do research.  I'm also not sure which is worse; but either way, is he someone you want to be following?

You distract people from other issues
A few months ago, there was a horrible inversion in Utah Valley.  Robyn started coughing horribly all the time.  We couldn't see the mountains and there was a yucky smell that wouldn't go away.  To me, that was an important issue.  That was definitely a day I wanted to reduce carbon emissions.  When I think about all those that aren't buying the AGW story.  I think, "why can't we all just agree that smog is stinky?"  If we work to reduce smog, we can be on the same team.

There are other issues that are important to me such as reducing our dependence on foreign oil.  Middle eastern countries aren't generally very friendly to us.  Even if every country we imported oil from were friendly, it would still be better for us to be buying from ourselves.  Can we work together on that issue?

What about deforestation?  Forests across the world turn dangerous Co2 into O2 which is our friend.  I'm not so concerned about Co2 but I would like to preserve habitats of life in the rainforest.  That's right, as much as I am a conservative and a capitalist I still think animals are important.  As a small child I made my family cut up the rings that come around six packs of pop because I saw a picture of a seagull with one of them stuck around his neck.  I've always felt that preserving our natural world was an important thing to do.

As you can see, there are things I believe in that happen to line up with your agenda.  Can we work together?

You want to destroy the economy
This is the main beef I have with your movement.  We agree on a few issues but we disagree with tactics of how to solve it.  One of the main strategies that has been discussed is a cap and trade program that would allow organizations to "trade" in the right to emit carbon.  The idea is that making pollution more expensive will reduce it.  President Obama said, "Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."  So your and my bills would "skyrocket" as the President said.  First of all, in a strained economy this one thing could tip some businesses and individuals over the edge into bankruptcy.  The second thing is that if people can't afford to heat their homes, they are going to do something.  There will be alot more fireplaces burning wood.  These won't be coal plants that have spent money maximizing efficiency.  No, these will be average people in average fireplaces who will inefficiently burn that wood and maximize carbon emissions.

I won't get into all the plans that have been proposed that will hurt our economy.  That happens to be the worst one so I'll stop there.

So we've agreed we have some common goals.  But we have some differing priorities as well.  How about we make an agreement?  I'll do what I can to help the environment if you do what you can to preserve our economy and our freedom?  Deal?

There's some things we can do to work on this together.  Here are a few of my thoughts.
Start with yourself - This may sound too simple, but how about doing things in your own home?  Robyn and I put in new insulation and better windows this year in our home.  That increases the efficiency of our home and lowers our carbon output (as well as our bills)  You could do something simple like replace your light bulbs with fluorescent ones.  The U.S. Energy Star Program says that if every American household replaced just one lightbulb with a fluorescent one, it would be the equivalent of removing 800,000 cars from the road.  It's a small drop in the bucket, but it's a start.

Government tax incentives - Robyn and I got a nice tax credit for the home improvements we did.  It was great!  In addition, President Obama actually did something I agree with recently when he proposed a tax credit for buying more fuel efficient cars.  Tax incentives along this line allow the free market to still work while just giving it a little nudge.  (It's debatable whether my favorite economist, F.A. Hayek, would support that kind of incentive, but I'm willing to give a little on this one.)

Invest in new technologies - Bill Gates is funding a company that will be able to create nuclear reactors that run on the waste from existing nuclear plants.  This means he could eliminate the problem of where to put nuclear waste while also making cleaner, cheaper energy.

This brings me to my final idea.
Let the free market work - Why can Bill Gates fund this?  Because the free market allowed him to become a billionaire.  Clean energy means cheap energy.  If we get out of the way of the economy so that the recession can end, there will be people willing to invest in cleaner energy sources.  Nuclear energy is just one idea.  It's amazing the genius that a profit motive can create.  If government gets out of the way, someone will make a lot of money finding a way to help the poorest among us be able to have infinite energy.  In so doing, carbon will decrease and there will be no more stinky smog.  We can all win.  Is that something we can agree on?


  1. Amen.

    Maybe you should send this to a newspaper editorial thingamjig...

  2. I agree with Nat.

    Good stuff!!

  3. Great writing my love! I think that preserving our environment and economy can be done, it will just take everyone working together.

  4. Nice editorial, Jeff. A bit dense, but I like things that make me think. I agree with the send it to a newspaper idea. This is good persuasion. I should show it to my students. :)

  5. You can handle all the political, dinosaur, zombie, and now global warming issues for me. Just tell me what I need to do.

  6. thanks for putting into words everything that I've felt but wasn't sure how to say!

  7. I want the markets set free. I also like to have a clean environment. I fully support both of them. I think that we should do both...

  8. ps. you really should un-bunch your knickers. That can't be very comfortable.

  9. Good post. From his comments, I think Bill Gates is an AGW. Since he also agrees that "Smog stinks" that leaves the door open for some very helpful discussions.

  10. Great thought provoking editorial. I agree you need to enlarge your readership. Something to think about.

  11. I think you have some good ideas in here. Please send to a few important people in publishing and see what happens!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...