Thinking about man-made global warming

© 2013 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. Albert Einstein changed our world without getting into data. He used a notebook and pencil to think his way through issues of theoretical physics. He sat thoughtfully dreaming questions. Early in life Einstein imagined chasing after a beam of light. That physical question brought about his theory of relativity.
      Others before and after Einstein were data-centric researchers trying to make data answer questions. They thought mathematically while he thought physically. We can all learn from Einstein’s approach.
     For the last forty years we have been pummeled by doomsayers about man’s role in the climate of our planet. First, in the 1970s it was man-made global cooling that was set to kill us all. Then in the 1980s it suddenly shifted to man-made global-warming. Now we are menaced by man-made global climate change.
     Throughout 45 years the data has remained stable while the arguments have been all over the place. We Americans were all supposed to be dead by the year 1980; then 1990; then 2000; then 2010. Now we are told we have just ten years and then worldwide catastrophe. ...what we are really asking is: what is the correct temperature for our world? If we are intervening based on temperature it must be wrong, but what is right?
If slabs of ice descend over North America it will cancel the running of the Indianapolis 500. Still, if the new danger is global-warming, Canada becomes the garden spot of North America instead of the icebox.
In the 1980s when man-made global warming was going to kill everyone on the planet by the year 2000, my question about attempting to reverse it was: how will you know when you have gone too far reversing the ravages of man-made global-warming? There was never an answer to that question.
This leads to the question: what is the best overall temperature for Earth? Would the seven billion people be better off if the temperature was a smidge hotter or colder? How could we make that determination? If the temperature of the Earth goes up or down, which regions of Earth win or lose. If the Earth cools, the Russians and Northern Europeans are in the frozen hurt locker. If it goes up, they will dance in the streets.
With a perspective of four decades man-made global change seems a political belief system providing financial and political advantage to the proponents. I do not need data to know that the essential questions of an intervention were and are never addressed. Read full column


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