Looking for Balance in the Climate Change Debate

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What are the facts about climate change or global warming, and more especially the human impact on these trends? In reviewing the available scientific information, it soon becomes clear that there are very few facts. There are plenty of opinions and a number of very sophisticated computer models, but very few specific facts to make the case.

Current conventional wisdom, supported by an almost total media sign on, has man responsible for projected global warming that will devastate the planet at some point in the future. Any differing opinions from the scientific community, and there are plenty, are ignored. Why is this? Just as politics has become totally polarized with little or no common ground, so the climate change debate seems to have no area of sensible discussion of opposing positions. It would appear that scientific opinions that support man-made global warming are accepted based on opinions, projections and computer modeling, while ongoing facts about the actual performance of the earth's eco-system are dismissed out of hand. So why do we accept these computer projections as gospel when, after decades of study with specific performance data to work with, we are still unable to accurately predict the future performance of the El Nino effect off the coast of California.

Incomplete and erroneous information compounds the difficulty in getting a true picture:

* When the news was released that Arctic ice was at a 30 year low in 2007, the same source also reported that Antarctic ice was at a record high. Only the news about the Arctic ice made the majority on the media reports.
* There is significant scientific research that suggests the sun's activity has a far greater effect on the overall temperature of the earth than CO2, but this is largely ignored in the climate models. Current solar monitoring indicates that solar activity has decreased in recent years and this could result in a DROP of around 1.5 degrees C by 2020. It is also a fact that colder temperatures result in many more deaths than warmer temperatures. Many scientists consider the potential of the future cooling of the earth to be more of a concern than warming, and there is ongoing debate as to whether increasing CO2 causes warming; or warming causes increased CO2! Unfortunately these positions, and many others like them, are not included in any balanced presentation of future trends.

* The computer models predicted that the earth could experience a significant rise in sea levels, which was then heavily publicized and circulated as a major case to support the concerns about global warming. However, a noted expert on sea level changes and coastal evolution has questioned the models and exposed that they had been "manipulated" to create the trend increase. An "adjustment" admitted by the authors of the model. This information was not widely reported and the potentially misleading rising sea level projection is still used as a major component of the global warming scenario.

So how should we respond to the threat of climate change? Whether signing up to the worse case scenarios or remaining skeptical of the media and political hype, there is no reason not to respond sensibly to the many opportunities available to live a more energy efficient and sustainable lifestyle. Individually we can all reduce our energy consumption by effective use of more efficient lighting and appliances, reduce water usage by capturing rain water in rain barrels to irrigate the garden, utilize energy saving showerheads and shorter showers and reduce waste to landfills by composting garden and kitchen waste and following local recycling guidelines. Solar and wind power are becoming more efficient, financially viable and readily available as their science develops and government programs offer greater incentives to bring these clean, renewable sources of power into the mainstream of American life.

What we should not do, is make major policy decisions for our country and the rest of the world based on half of the available information. All sides need to be heard and a prudent response developed. Why should we listen to an ex politician, with an individual carbon footprint bigger than some small towns, lecturing us on saving the planet? Letting politics and incomplete information drive our decisions can only result in wasteful spending and ultimately the wrong result.

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Occupation: Owner of It's Eco Tiime.com
Peter O’Grady is the owner of It’s Eco Time.com and writes on a variety of subjects involving our impact on the environment and the options available for living a healthy and sustainable green lifestyle. Visit http://itsecotime.com and share your comments and questions.

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