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Generic Confusion

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

A cynical look at global warming

Locally, we had the 10th coolest summer on record. Not once did we hit 90°F (32.2°C). And talk of global warming was way down. I mean, only a total idiot would talk about global warming when it's cold out!

I first recall global warming being a hot topic (no pun intended) in 1988, a year when San Francisco was seeing 100°F (37.8°C) or higher summer temperatures (and that never happens). There was quite a bit of discussion of global warming that summer. Then, 1989 was an unusually cool summer, and there was a lot less discussion of global warming. Thus, my cynical outlook on the subject.

I'll outline my main questions for all sides in the global warming debate:
  1. First, why did environmentalists assume, circa the early 70's, that we were looking at another ice age? I thought their conventional wisdom is that man-made CO2 emissions over the whole century were causing global warming?
  2. Second, what is the effect of cloud cover? Does it contribute to global warming, as it traps infrared radiation, or does it contribute to global cooling, as it reflects the sun's rays?
  3. In the period known as the Medieval Climate Optimum, temperatures were certainly higher than today. Why didn't the world end? And how did that happen, as humans weren't producing our current level of CO2 emissions?
  4. What role does the sun's activity play in global temperatures?
  5. Studies revolving around the Kyoto plan says it would delay global warming by 6 years. Is that worthwhile?
  6. Is there something better we can be spending our money on, to help the poor people of the world?

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