Thread: Happy Earth Day
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:42 AM   #36  
Winged Wheeler
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Originally Posted by N2264J View Post
When dealing with systems as huge as the global climate, you're working primarily with probabilities. You can't duplicate this stuff in a wind tunnel.

Look, we've been through all of this before. In the 50s, peer reviewed science started to link cigarette smoking with lung cancer. The tobacco industry hired medical doctors, celebraties and quack scientists to publically characterize those papers and studies as "junk science."

That worked for a while but today you'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't think cigarette smoking causes lung cancer.

We have to get this right because the consequences are global, not just some individual smokers dying of cancer.
You'll be amazed to discover that you've happened on a subject upon which we agree--we do have to get this right.

You are right on target when you say you can't duplicate this stuff in a wind tunnel. Solar weather, ocean temperatures, atmospheric convection, tropopause height, vulcanism, cloud coverage, precipitation patterns, terrestrial vegetation, and thousands of other factors--many of which I'm sure we haven't thought of yet. And yes, atmospheric carbon dioxide (all .0387% of it) counts too.

We can't build an adequate climate model so some scientists have gone with computer modeling. These models describe exactly what has already happened. They were pretty good at predicting the near future as long as the temperature was going up. As far as I know, not one computer model called the global temperature decline that began in 2003. I would not call this settled science.

So, we do have to get this right. And it is about probabilities: draconian environmental legislation will certainly curtail individual liberty and reduce general prosperity; the same legislation might have a little effect on the massive, incompletely understood, dynamic system that is our climate. Seems like a bad bet to me.

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