Thursday, February 1, 2007

Coming Attractions - As frequent readers of this page will attest, this weblog covers a wide swath of political, social and cultural happenings. To say that this is a full-service blog may be a stretch, but we have been the bull running through a lot of liberal china shops. But most of the attention that this blog receives - both positive and otherwise - comes from our regrettably infrequent discussions of global warming. Sadly, we have not given the topic of climate change its due as of late, especially in light of what has happened in recent days and what will be coming in the days ahead.

The one saving grace is that I am hardly alone in covering the topic from a conservative perspective. Several well-written and persuasive blogs have come to my attention recently, two of which will be added to the blogroll forthwith. I am pleased to commend to your attention the work of The Purple Scorpion (the name has a sort of superhero ring to it) and Pali Gap at A Cool Look At Global Warming. Both of these blogs have the added benefit of providing an ex-U.S. perspective on climate change. Even as the hoax that is man-made climate change is global in nature, so is the resistance.

In the way of coming features, all of us "contrarians" (or worse yet, "deniers") should be aware of the arrival of the fourth installment of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report. With only slightly less fanfare than that which proceeded the launch of Microsoft's Vista operating system, tomorrow will mark the launch of the first volume of the new report. Pre-release reportage from the January 20, 2007 New York Times suggests that the IPCC believes that "it is more than 90 percent likely that global warming since 1950 has been driven by the buildup of carbon dioxide." The story goes on to note that previous assessment reports concluded that there was a "66 to 90 percent" chance that man-made CO2 was driving global warming.

The Times story also states that drafts of the study "project a most likely warming of 4 to 8 degrees" if CO2 levels rise to approximately 560 ppm. But it appears that not all of the report's findings will be discouraging. A story from the January 29, 2007 Toronto Star notes that the report foresees "smaller sea rises than previously predicted." But this finding may not pass muster with many of the scientists involved in developing the study; many scientists contend that the new figures on rising sea levels do not factor in the melting of ice sheets off the coasts of Greenland and Antarctica.
(This speaks to a fundamental failing of the IPCC, which seems to consist of scientists more interested in listening to each other's subjective opinions than to objectively observing the available data.)

None of the foregoing suggests that this new assessment will overcome the fundamental weaknesses of the global warming advocacy. Despite the Left's "denier" nomenclature applied to us skeptics, no one denies that the earth's atmosphere is getting warmer, or that atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing. What this report in particular - and the climate change movement more generally - will need to establish, is whether CO2 is a dependent or independent variable in the rise in global temperatures. As noted elsewhere, this is yet an open question.

So too is the question of whether human activity (or more precisely, the cessation of CO2-generating human activity) will be sufficient to produce a meaningful reduction in the amount of atmospheric CO2. As we have discussed elsewhere, global compacts such as Kyoto will be largely inadequate to manifest a significant impact on climate. And as noted by our friends at A Cool Look At Global Warming, human activity may well be among the least of the factors that contribute to atmospheric CO2.

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