I watched on Sunday evening the Discovery channel’s presentation of Dan Rather on Global Warming. The ads were interesting. It made it sound like you would get some real, hard facts and evidence, or at least an interesting debate.
In the end, there was neither.
The scientists asked to participate were uniformly behind global warming. In fact, even though Dan Rather said a “majority” of scientists believe in Global Warming, he didn’t invite a single one of the minority opinion to voice their concerns.
I had a chance to listen closely to the arguments made. I saw past the melodrama and exaggerations and tried to feel for the actual facts they cited.
They did mention that water and other common chemicals were contributors to the greenhouse effect. They did admit that without any greenhouse gases we would be living on a giant iceball. So greenhouse gasses aren’t bad. At least they were able to share that bit of truth. But beyond that, there wasn’t much else they cited as fact.
They mentioned that glaciers are melting across the world. (Interestingly, they didn’t mention Europe, where glaciers are growing.) Of course, living next door to a mountain covered with glaciers, I am not frightened by melting glaciers. That’s what they do in the summer. They melt.
I am not even worried that glaciers are getting smaller. I understand that retreating glaciers leave fertile soil behind. That’s why Washington State is so fertile compared to, say, Arizona. (Yes, rainfall has an effect, although in both Eastern Washington and Arizona irrigation is the major source of water.)
They tried to claim that a giant chunk of ice breaking off of Antarctica was caused by global warming. Doubtful. Glaciers move, slowly of course, but the move and eventually break off into icebergs or melt. That’s what they do.
They tried to claim that the melting polar icecaps would cause the sealevels to rise. Yes, this is probably true. However, they didn’t mention how HIGH the sea levels would rise. In the pictures, though, they showed New York buried under hundreds and hundreds of feet of water. Sorry, you lose. Melting ice caps wouldn’t cause nearly that much water.
They presented an island in the Pacific that floods every year due to high tides. They claimed that the flooding was getting worse and occurring more frequently during the year. They failed to explain why, however. At least they didn’t claim it was global warming (although they certainly wanted us to believe so.) There are many reasons why an island can “sink” beneath the ocean. It happens all the time. One of those reasons is that the island can literally get shorter. Mountains and islands go up and down due to activity under the ground.
They claimed that global warming could destroy the Amazon rainforest. I was actually surprised by this claim. A researcher discovered that drought had NO effect on the jungle there. Apparently, the roots of the trees extended much further than they originally thought. Global warming has had 0 effect on the rain forest, and will probably have zero effect, at least according to what I heard. But they claimed it would turn the Amazon into a giant desert. I know that the Sahara desert used to be a jungle. As the earth changes, the rainfall patterns change. What was once a desert becomes a jungle and jungle becomes desert.
They tried to make me feel sympathetic for the polar bears. Apparently thy are counting about 15% less bears since they started counting. This is probably because the ice is melting faster and so they can’t get enough food in the spring. It could also be because the scientists are chasing the polar bears halfway around the arctic to shoot them with tranquilizers. Who knows? Regardless, what good are polar bears to me? If you wanted to save them, you would find a good use for their fur or meat. We know that cows will never go extinct, as long as we drink milk and eat steak. Perhaps the same could work for the polar bears. (Besides, who wants a polar bear in your backyard?)
They tried to claim that Global Warming causes famine and population displacement and wars. Hey, as if that’s a completely new phenomena. Why don’t people learn to irrigate or live where they can grow food? And what about Global Warming would cause wars? As near as I can tell it if greediness and evil that causes wars.
They tried to claim that hurricanes are caused by global warming. Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans because of Global Warming. Apparently, the broken levies had nothing to do with it. President Bush, call the White House. Of course, they failed to mention that big hurricane bearing down on Florida earlier this year that was snuffed out by a blast of (get this) warm, dry air. So maybe Global Warming is a nice guy after all? And they also failed to mention that with the polar ice caps melted, there would be no cold air to make hurricanes in the first place.
They brought on the scientist with the fancy computer that can actually predict the weather. Well, not exactly, they admit. But they got some things right, so it must all be right, right? Since the scientist believes in global warming, it must be true, right? I found this argument to be the weakest of all. It went something like this. Computers are really cool and fancy thingamajigs. This scientist programmed a computer to predict the weather. It didn’t work. But it predicts global warming. So it must be true, right?
I forced myself to watch the last bit of the show, where they tried to add up how much carbon dioxide the typical family emits. They didn’t count how much carbon dioxide Dan Rather emitted in making the film, nor how much carbon dioxide is emitted by scientists breathing hellfire and damnation about Global Warming. They summed up all the carbon dioxide and showed it as a big black cloud over the city. At about this point I had to laugh. They didn’t count the carbon dioxide consumed by any of the plants or grass or fields used to grow food for that city. They focused solely on production. It seemed like they were suggesting we stop doing everything we normally do because it produces carbon dioxide. This was simply laughable.
I could no longer bear it after that point. What could have been informative and insightful was merely a propaganda piece for the communist party. America is evil, so throw away your materialism and join the commune where we worry about things we can do nothing about and only think the worst is going to happen.
As for me, I refuse to drink the KoolAid. If global warming is real, I will listen to the scientific research. I will criticize what I think they did wrong. I will propose counter-arguments. I will say things like, “correlation does not imply causation” and wag my finger when the scientists propose policy rather than sticking to facts and research. I will mock you when you say, “I believe, so it must be true.” I am, after all, a real scientist. I don’t drink KoolAid until it has been proven that it is the only thing there is to drink.