Is the Sky Falling?
Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and the subsequent ban on DDT led to the unnecessary death of millions of Africans and other third world peoples from Malaria, although this has not been widely reported in the media. How many of the world’s poor have died or been made to suffer because of white middle class urban America’ s hyper-environmental fads? Our earth worship and pseudo-spirituality may have killed more people then Adolph Hitler, though not by intention. And now it’s Carbon causing the sky to fall. Now is not the time to adopt a Chicken Little attitude; we need to be able to question academic fads, not embrace them without question.
Bear with me while I delve a little into ice core dating and the like, because this evidence played a large supporting role in the IPCC’s data and conclusions on the ever popular climate discussion. For example the reading of ice core data may be accurate for the last 2-3000 years but beyond that it can only be read “in principal”, and major adjustments can be made quite subjectively in order to accommodate a popular theory . Actual layers cannot be counted all the way through the ice cores because of the molecular diffusion of oxygen oscillations. The layers themselves are actually a record of precipitation melts and freezing, changes in oxygen 18 to 16 rates which are temperature related and don’t necessarily represent yearly layers. The correlation with sea cores and lake pollen are tied to the astronomical theory of the ice age that even if accurate does not provide adequate means to change weather patterns and are not independent verification. Scientists are very good at massaging the data to fit the accepted paradigm, or their pet theory.
Most people don’t realized that the same data used to support the theory of multiple ice ages over millions of years can also be used to support the idea of one ice age in the recent past. In fact there are many theories and ideas on the ice age for the simple reason that none of theories are without major problems. The original ice age may have taken place very quickly under catastrophic conditions, which cannot be understood in terms of the processes we are observing today. Just as Harold Bretz discovered that the scablands of Washington were formed by a lot of water and a little time, so the bottom part of the ice pack may have formed rapidly and then slowed to the growth we see today, a few thousand years ago. Harold Bretz was ostracized in the world of geology for years. This would render ice core interpretations from prior to 1000 B.C. unreliable, and anyone who reads the actual journals realize how plastic the data is that is used to support carbon caused warming and the idea of runaway climate change.
Politically speaking, an undiscerning acceptance of the global warming package could lead to legislation that would raise energy prices beyond the reach of the working poor and small business as well as those third world nations who need it the most. An example of this type of reaction took place in the 1960’s. Rachael Carson’s Silent Spring sparked an environmental reaction that led to the banning of DDT. This ban, according to the UN and the WHO, caused the unnecessary deaths of millions of African and other 3rd world people from malaria. It was one of those 60’s “Woodstock” moments that made everyone feel very spiritual but which resulted in disaster for a people far away and out of view. We are now seeing the same thing with a very rich and hip president who is willing to help save the planet, even it he is sending the working poor to the food stamp lines, or worse. Ten dollar a gallon gas would be no hardship for him.
The ban has since been lifted by world health groups, who have found DDT is the safest way to control mosquito populations and most of the original claims against DDT have been debunked. This episode and others like it, (i.e. the acid rain crises of the ‘90’s) suggest that whipping ourselves into a chicken little “the sky is falling” frenzy may actually hurt our ability to do good science.
It also has the potential of placing a tremendous amount of power in the hands of a very few, a situation which could lead to the abuse of power. William Pitt said something to the effect that ‘The plea of all tyrants is necessity’. What couldn’t be done in the name of ‘saving the planet’?