Global Warming And The Balance of Nature

Have you heard of the Oregon Petition?

31,478 prominent scientists have petitioned the US government to reject any policy related to concerns over global warming. Over 9,000 of them hold a PhD in their field. Truly persuasive!

Not so much. Consider that 2,169 of them are electrical engineering specialists. Another 3,069 are trained in medicine. To the best of my knowledge, climate science is not dealt with in either course of study.

This petition seems to be a more recent version of one done earlier that wanted action on the dangers of global warming. It featured prominent people too. It included Nobel prize winners, authors and artists.

By way of fair disclosure, I know next to nothing about climate science. Nonetheless, I generally know how to think about things. Some things I think to be true.

  • In respect to surveys, I think you need to notice that an expert, Nobel prize winner or PhD, is just as dumb as the rest of us when they are outside their area of expertise.
  • With respect to global warming, theories should explain all the data, not just the data you want to look at.
  • Data should be objectively normalized before you use it. The temperature readings in a built up area today, are not really the same thing as the temperature readings at the same place 100 years ago.
  • I don’t think scientific truth is discovered by a show of hands.
  • Scientific ideas are like movies. If you need to promote them heavily, they probably aren’t very good.

I don’t know how global warming will play out. I could be convinced that the average temperature is either increasing or decreasing. You would have more difficulty convincing me that an increase is man-made.

Even if you convinced me it was man-made, I might want to know why that was a bad thing.

500 million years ago the concentration of C02 was about 7,000 parts per million. (Higher than the 370 or so now.) What happened? Plants came along and began to change the C02 into oxygen and carbon. The carbon ended up buried in the ground as the plants died and decayed. We don’t know why the plants stored up carbon as oil, coal and natural gas, but they did. We also know that nature always works towards balance.

Maybe our job in the balance of nature is to dig up all the carbon the evil plants stored away and put it back in the atmosphere where it belongs.

Over to you.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.

One Comment on “Global Warming And The Balance of Nature

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