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Dash of Pepper

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Warming, shwarming
The Gazette Staff
No issue of universal importance has been so poorly reported as the controversy over global warming.
I have not seen any account that actually lays out the scientific thought on both sides of the issue. Over the past couple of weeks, the mainstream press has been singing from the same songbook and is terming the existence of global warming as "settled science." When the mainstream press reporters get together on anything, I become uneasy, especially since I suspect most of them don't have much knowledge of any science, settled or otherwise.
For the average onlooker (including me) this is a very confusing issue. My favorite columnist, Mark Steyn, actually looked into it, and found two scientists, one in The Netherlands and one in Finland who have been investigating the issue for years. Apparently they have been testing two current theories on the dependence of climate change on solar energy. One is that variances in climate temperature can be attributed directly to changes in solar radiance. The other hypothesis is that fluctuations in cosmic rays affect our climate via cloud formation (Remember the Ozone Hole?) Both the Dutch scientist and the Finn have concluded that the first theory is most likely.
So the scientific community is not a solid front, although a paper presented to the United Nations in New York recently, with great hoopla, made it seem to be so. However, the paper was political in tone and, importantly, was not accompanied by any hard science.
As the report was being presented, the people of Oswego County, New York, were being warned of a snowfall possibly totaling 100 inches.
As I write, the folks in Oswego County are still digging out.
France wants us to sign the Kyoto accord, but they are not in compliance. The president of France says if we don't sign up, he'll deprive us of French products. I haven't bought any French cheese or wine over the past few years. Both are very expensive and the Aussies make wonderful wines at a decent price. But many Americans like French products. Seems to me the French producers will be hurt by their own government.
Canada signed, of course, but no one cared.
The U.S. and Australia are holding out, citing damage to their respective economies if the treaty's stringent requirements were fulfilled. The two greatest polluters, India and China, are EXEMPT. Why? Well, it seems the infrastructure of these two nations is still somewhere south of the Dark Ages and could not catch up in any reasonable period of time. The whole thing seems like a charade.
The entire record on climate change seems spotty, at best. In 1924, newspaper readers were told there were signs of a new ice age. In 1933, readers were informed that the nation was going through its longest hot spell since 1776. But in 1975, we were again warned about a period of major cooling. Go figure.
This cosmic debate also has its share of comic moments. Remember the reports about cattle flatulence? Cows apparently release methane into the air when they, well, pass gas. I recall driving up Highway 80 as I heard this. There was a smelly old pickup in front of me and a large 18-wheeler in my rear view mirror. On either side of the highway, cattle grazed peacefully and looked quite innocent. Were they silently and aromatically sending bigger clouds of methane into the Wood County atmosphere at a greater level than the old pickup and the big trailer? Will we all be called to become vegans in order to save the planet?
I'll have the steak, please. Medium rare.
Last Updated on Friday, 12 June 2009 16:13  

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