LETTER: Local Scientist Skeptical of Global Warming

Sun and EarthBy Jon Hartzler
Ph.D. and retired science professor, Hutchinson

Global warming is a hot topic. The liberal politicians and news media stir our emotions and try to make us panic. Al Gore won an Emmy for “An Inconvenient Truth.” It’s like a piranha feeding frenzy!

In the June 10 Leader, Glenn Gruenhagen challenged the global warming “theory” but mostly warned us of upcoming legislation that might hurt the U.S. economically. Then John Lofdahl bashed Gruenhagen claiming that science supports global warming. He didn’t address the main issue of Gruenhagen’s argument, the economic impact of the political legislation that the global warming enthusiasts want.

Global warming is a complicated issue. First, is warming really happening? If it is significant, is man causing it? Finally, can man intentionally alter the climate for the good by reducing carbon dioxide?

In science, proof of an effect requires a tight experiment, including large numbers of repetitions and rigid controls. Climate has far too many variables to lend itself to this requirement for proof. We are left with what we call correlations, like increasing carbon dioxide and increasing temperature. This is not proof, only suggestive in science.

Indeed the latest scientific report (Intercontinental Report on Global Climate Change 2007) stated we are 90 percent convinced. So even the much-heralded report contains an admitted element of uncertainty on the part of the scientists who wrote it. As Gruenhagen pointed out, many scientists are skeptical. Some dissenters include world-class names, like Prof. Richard Lintzen, former director of earth and planetary physics at Harvard University and present professor of meteorology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, arguably the best scientific institution on the planet.

Dr. Lintzen acknowledges that the earth has warmed a fraction of a degree. But he thinks carbon dioxide may or may not be the cause. Further he notes “we don’t understand the natural internal variability of climate change.” Climate has changed dramatically in the history of the earth and the present noted tiny temperature changes may only be natural phenomena. Science cannot prove it either way.

Read the rest of this piece at the Hutchinson Leader.

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