]]]]]]]]]]]]]]       KEEP COOL ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING       [[[[[[[[[[[[
                      by Natalie and Gerald Sirkin,       (11/25/1989)
                     for publication in "Citizen News"
            (New Fairfield, Connecticut) of November 22, 1989

              [Kindly uploaded by Freeman 06784LOEB]

     Why do so many people believe in the dire forecasts?  Perhaps the 
     historian Hans Morgenthau was right when he wrote in 1946, "The 
     intellectual and moral history of mankind is the story of insecur- 
     ity, of the anticipation of impending doom, of metaphysical anxie- 
                               Dixie Lee Ray, Policy Review, Summer, 
                               1989, "The Greenhouse Blues," p. 72

     If you have been losing sleep over global warming and the "green- 
house effect," and wondering what to do with your winter woolies, you can 
relax and hold onto them.  The greenhouse hubbub is much ado about noth- 

     Since 1880, the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere--chiefly carbon 
dioxide (CO2) and methane--have increased 42 percent.  But the global 
temperature has risen by less than one-half degree (0.47) centigrade. 

     Curiously, most of that 0.47-degree increase occurred from 1880 to 
1938, when the increase of greenhouse gasses was small.  During the
half-century since 1938, when the bulk of the increase in greenhouse gas- 
ses occurred, the global temperature increased only 1/8 of one degree 
centigrade.  If (as it appears) the rate of increase of temperature is 
inversely related to the rate of increase of greenhouse gasses, strong 
skepticism about the greenhouse theory is warranted.

     It is doubtful that even that tiny increase in average temperature 
occurred.  Greenhouse theorists like to use 1880 as the base to make 
their case stronger:  1880 was the low point of a twenty-year fall in av- 
erage temperature.  If instead we use the 1860s as a base, the data show 
no increase at all in average temperature.

                          The Historical Record

     Those who reach conclusions about global warming from one or two hot 
summers are on weak ground.  The long and often mysterious history of the 
earth's weather is more likely to contradict the greenhouse theory than 
support it.

     An extended period of subnormal weather in the 17th century, known 
as the "Little Ice Age," happened when the atmosphere was certainly not 
getting any cleaner.  Below-average temperatures from 1950 to 1970, which 
set alarmists worrying about a new Ice Age, were contrary to the green- 
house theory since greenhouse gasses were increasing. 

     Ice-core drillings and marine sediments give a picture of atmospher- 
ic conditions and temperatures going back 16,000 years.  In those samples 
we find periods of high CO2 levels, which were obviously unrelated to the 
activities of man.  And we find that the cycles of temperature are not 
correlated with the variations of carbon dioxide.

     Clearly, nature produces changes in atmosphere and temperature that 
dwarf the effects of man.
                               Sources of Greenhouse Gasses

     Natural processes generate carbon dioxide and methane on a gigantic 
scale.  Volcanoes release great quantities of greenhouse gasses.  So do 
swamps, rice paddies, and decaying vegetation.

     Some surprising sources are of major significance.  Who would ever 
think of termites?  And yet the digestive process of termites releases 
carbon dioxide at a rate estimated to be ten times that of burning fossil 

     The methane produced by the digestive process of cattle and other 
cud-chewing animals is estimated to be about the same as the amount pro- 
duced by burning fossil fuels.

     As Dr. Petr Beckmann states, "[I]t seems unlikely that ANY man-made 
activity could be significant in comparison with the vast quantities of 
CO2 and methane released by volcanoes, swamps, animals and other members 
of pristine nature."

                          Earth's Equilibration

     Why haven't the greenhouse gasses that have been produced over thou- 
sands of years raised global temperature?  Because the earth has 
counter-processes that tend to keep temperature around an equilibrium.

     Trees by photosynthesis inhale carbon dioxide which they convert 
into oxygen which they exhale.  In this way forests dispose of vast quan- 
tities of carbon dioxide.  

     While parts of the world have been undergoing extensive deforesta- 
tion, the United States has as many trees now as in Colonial times.  It 
pays timber companies to plant as many trees as they harvest or more.  
Cutting and replanting further reduce carbon dioxide, because the princi- 
pal removers of carbon dioxide are young trees; mature trees remove rela- 
tively little.  The faster the timbering and replanting go, the greater 
will be the reduction of carbon dioxide.

     A second equilibrating process is radiation.  The earth radiates 
(reflects back into space) some of the heat from the sun.  The more heat 
that is radiated from the earth (and so the less that is absorbed into 
the earth), the lower the earth's temperature.  A rise in temperature in- 
creases water vapor, which increases the cloud cover, which reflects more 
heat away from the earth, which tends to bring temperature down again.

                          The Frenzied Prophets

     There is always a market for prophecies of disaster; frenzied proph- 
ets are always on hand to make them.  In 1968, a biologist, Paul Ehrlich, 
was predicting that limits on food-production would create famine that by 
1985 would kill milions to bring population into balance with the food 
supply.  But food production, food surpluses, and population grew.  Today 
Ehrlich is predicting that global warming will produce massive extinction 
by raising the level of the seas, which will flood vast areas.

     Discredited prophets like Ehrlich somehow manage to survive, but 
more attention has lately been attracted by Dr. James Hansen, a scientist 
at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  In testimony to 
Congress he has predicted, citing the hot summer of 1988 as an early in- 
dicator, that in the coming decades, carbon dioxide will cause large 
        increases in global temperature.  Relying on his testimony, Senator 
Albert Gore is trying to ignite his next presidential campaign with warn- 
ings that drastic policies must be pursued to avoid that disaster.

     Meteorologist Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology sums it up:  "Unfortunately, scientists like Hansen (and poli- 
ticians like Gore) are always tempted to play God, to act as if they know 
what lies ahead.  Less than 20 years ago, many of these same people were 
openly forecasting a new ice age--using the same premises as for global 
warming.  It's all so idiotic."

                       The High Cost of Bad Science

     Congressmen are calling for a reduction of carbon dioxide emis- 
sions.  Global leaders held a meeting for the same purpose.

     Naturally, these alarmists are not proposing expansion of nuclear 
power to cut emissions.  They prefer policies with the highest costs and 
greatest sacrifices to our standard of living.  They urge higher stan- 
dards of miles-per-gallon for automobiles, even though carbon dioxide e- 
missions would be cut by only one-tenth of one percent.  They are urging 
the most costly method of cutting emissions from electric power plants.  
They are demanding that we cut back on our use of energy.

     All these sacrifices are to be made to prevent something that isn't 
happening, based on a crude theory that doesn't work.

           Copyright, N & G Sirkin, Sherman, Connecticut, 1989.
                                 *       *       *

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