Getting Burned by Bad Science: Environmental Alarmists Claim That Human Activity Is Causing Global Warming. but When These Claims Are Put under the Magnifying Glass of Reason, They Go Up in Smoke

By Behreandt, Dennis | The New American, November 14, 2005 | Go to article overview

Getting Burned by Bad Science: Environmental Alarmists Claim That Human Activity Is Causing Global Warming. but When These Claims Are Put under the Magnifying Glass of Reason, They Go Up in Smoke


Behreandt, Dennis, The New American


The perceived consensus is that global warming is real and is a clear and present danger to human civilization and the planet as a whole. According to environmental alarmists, the planet is warmer now than ever before. The leading theory holds that human industrial activity is causing carbon dioxide (C[O.sub.2]) and other greenhouse gases to be pumped into the atmosphere causing abnormal, runaway warming. The result, alarmists say, will be more drought, famine, pestilence, species extinction, and extreme weather events of unprecedented violence. Are these predictions true? An examination of the science behind global warming paints a very different picture.

QUESTION: Is the planet warmer now than in the past?

ANSWER: The planet is either warmer or cooler now than in the past, depending on what time in the past is being referred to, for the simple reason that the temperature fluctuates. Nearly everyone is familiar with the idea that most of the Northern Hemisphere was once covered with ice. The vast ice sheets of the Ice Age reached as far south as Wisconsin. They melted when the climate warmed substantially. According to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Environmental Sciences Division, at the end of the Ice Age, "Forests quickly regained the ground that they had lost to cold.... Ice sheets ... began melting.... The Earth entered several thousand years of conditions warmer and moister than today." In fact, those warmer, moister conditions coincided with the rise of agriculture and the increase in food production that made city life possible. Simply put, human civilization was made possible by a warmer climate.

Q: Yes, but we've had more warming recently. Doesn't this point to human influence?

A: Since the end of the Ice Age, the planet has been in a long-term, several-thousand-year period of relative warmth. Within that long-term period, there have been shorter periods in which the temperature has fluctuated from the average. Scientists and historians, using both historical records and data from ice cores and tree rings, have pinpointed two such deviations within the last 1,000 or so years. The first is the Medieval Warm Period, a time of warmer than average temperatures. According to Dr. Philip Stott, professor emeritus of bio-geography at the University of London, "During the Medieval Warm Period, the world was warmer even than today, and history shows that it was a wonderful period of plenty for everyone." It was during this time that the Vikings were able to take their remarkable journeys to North America, which they called Vinland, and Greenland. The slightly warmer climate made normally icy Greenland a place where, for a time, Viking colonies were able to thrive.

The Medieval Warm Period was followed by the Little Ice Age, when the climate cooled to temperatures that were not only lower than those of the preceding Medieval Warm Period but that were also somewhat cooler than the average for the longer, several-thousand-year period. In short, there have been times both when the climate was warmer than today and when it was cooler than today. In all such instances, the climate changed independently of human activity.

Q: Still, land-based temperature readings tend to show an increase in temperatures since the beginning of the industrial era. Surely this points to a human-induced warming?

A: In a sense, it does, because weather stations where temperatures are monitored are typically located in and around cities. The growing concrete and asphalt jungles of today's big cities warm faster, hold the heat of the day, and release it in the evening, raising temperatures. Moreover, "Cities tend to grow up around their weather stations," notes climate scientist Patrick J. Michaels in his recent book Meltdown. "Bricks and concrete retain the heat of the day and are especially adept at warding off late spring and early fall chilis." This accounts for the perceived lengthening of the growing season in metropolitan areas.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Getting Burned by Bad Science: Environmental Alarmists Claim That Human Activity Is Causing Global Warming. but When These Claims Are Put under the Magnifying Glass of Reason, They Go Up in Smoke
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.