I’ve followed the “global warming,” then the “climate change” controversy for a number of years and have a number of reservations about the terms being used, the focus on “greenhouse gases,” and the almost religious fervor “climate scientists” adopt when pushing their agenda.
I’m an amateur scientist, at best, a “life scientist,” who still believes observation is the best science there is. I can’t deny the environment is changing, becoming de-vitalized, and I also believe mankind plays a significant role. That and other transgressions against fellow man and nature have made me ashamed to be human. I look to my pets and nature to restore my belief that nature will survive, even if humans poison or nuke themselves out of existence. It may take awhile, and the earth may generate a variety of mutant life forms, but nature will win in the end. Best to make a friend of her.
While I am no scientist, I’ve taken more undergraduate and post graduate science courses than most Americans have. I’ve taken biology, botany, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, biochemistry, and a variety of medical science courses. I’ve done published research, too. The last showed me the limitations of the “scientific method,” which assumes cause and effect and must control for variables. The primary rule in Western scientific research is that you can have no more than one variable. You begin with a hypothesis that you want to prove or disprove. You “control” for variables, meaning you have a treatment group and a “control group.” In other words, you create artificial circumstances to suit your study design and outcome you want or expect.
Contrast this with the Oriental pattern-based approach, which embraces variables and looks for patterns among them. The presumption is nature is composed of interactive processes that enhance or mitigate each other. Everything is connected in a large, multi-dimensional web.
When it comes to the environment, it’s impossible to limit research to one variable and determine cause and effect. We know what came before, and we use computer models to predict what will come next. We want to attribute causes to “climate change,” and have focused on CO2 and other “greenhouse gases,” specifically methane/natural gas (CH4).
I contend this is too simplistic. First we are technically at the end of an ice age, so planetary warming is at least partly natural. Carbon is the basic building block of life, an element, that can combine with many other atoms to create a variety of molecules. The difference between inorganic and organic chemistry is based on whether the substance under study has carbon. Methane/natural gas is the simplest hydro-carbon there is. It is part of the life-cycle, and every decaying life form produces it. Cow farts (which have been blamed for adding to greenhouse gases) and human farts all contain methane, as do other life form farts. It rises from the marsh and from landfill.
Carbon dioxide, CO2, the demonized poster child of the “climate science” religion, is the chief nutrient of plant photosynthesis, the process that combines carbon from the air with light to create food for the plant, and thus for every creature that eats plants. Carbon dioxide comprises significantly less than one percent of the atmosphere. By comparison, oxygen makes up 21 percent. If carbon dioxide is the primary culprit in climate change, then overpopulation, with more people exhaling CO2 and farting methane, is a significant factor in the production of greenhouse gases CO2 and methane.
No one of the scientists has addressed the fact that burning one molecule of methane/natural gas (CH4) produces two molecules of water for every one of CO2. Apparently none of the computer models programmed to track carbon emissions and predict climate change factors in the enormous amount of water added to the environment with the burning of fossil fuels. Water vapor is another “greenhouse gas” in fact, as anyone who has ever visited a greenhouse knows. What is the effect of cloud cover on the earth below? What is the effect of all the mass of buildings, highways, and parking lots? These have replaced forests and fields, which played a role in keeping the earth cool and absorbing rainwater before it flooded. Has anyone accounted for the thermals (vortexes of hot air rising from cities) creating fronts that change weather patterns all around?
The Industrial Revolution begun with the cheap abundance of coal and is intricately intertwined with its advance. This closely followed major other changes in paradigms, specifically Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity, and the subsequent mechanistic view of the universe. The mechanistic paradigm brought “determinism,” which separated life (and god) from science. The idea that the universe functions like a machine, with everything governed by knowable physical laws, contradicted the Biblical presumption of free will.
We have made a quantum leap from Newtonian physics with Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. At the atomic and subatomic level, there is enormous variation and spontaneity within a larger order. All of a sudden, free will becomes scientifically valid again, the experimenter does influence the experiment by expectation or desire, and cause-and-effect paradigms begin to lose relevance.
I’m more concerned about the effects of environmental toxins than the buildup of greenhouse gases. The industrial revolution has led to unsustainable levels of toxic waste in air, water, and land, and we continue to dump poisons way worse than carbon dioxide into the world environment. We are poisoning ourselves along with the insects, but insects reproduce faster and develop immunity quicker than human beings do. Plastic, also containing hydrocarbon chains, release toxic chemicals, especially when heated, that Americans blithely drink in their bottled water. We’re increasingly afraid of tap water because of contaminants in pipes and groundwater that we’re only beginning to recognize.
Yes, we are devitalizing and perhaps even killing the earth, but we need to broaden our scope to look at multi-factorial contributors. It’s not a government problem to solve. We should look to ourselves as individuals, a nation of excess and waste. Don’t depend too much on salaried scientists, whose primary obligation is to their government, university, and corporate employers. They agree with each other in finding simple targets and ignoring the greater industrial pollution that continues as fast as it can generate profits on Wall Street.