Global Warming and Real Science

The science is settled, the debate is over!  So say some prominent politicians, government bureaucrats, and a handful of so-called scientists who push the notion of a global climate that is warming rapidly and uncontrollably with time.  The problem according to the “warmers” (those who espouse this idea) is the increased concentration in the atmosphere of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases that are produced by the burning of fossil fuels, namely oil, natural gas, and coal.  And they further assert that the temperature increases are certain to do irreparable harm to the planet and all of its inhabitants human and otherwise going so far as to call the imagined problem a “weapon of mass destruction.”  Because of its alleged seriousness, the “warmers” claim the problem must be countered by all means at our disposal.  And it must be done – now – through the application of draconian measures to control or even eliminate use of the offending compounds.  And it must be done even if that means putting perhaps the greatest economy in the world at serious risk – maybe even in jeopardy of failure while totally ignoring the contributions of the greatest climate offender, China.

The “warmers” purport to show that the observed small increase of global temperatures during much of the second half of the 20th century, a period during which fossil fuel exploitation was intense, is highly correlated with a contemporaneous increase in the concentration of atmospheric CO2.  They apparently draw from the CO2/temperature correlation a cause-effect relationship, which is that the increased temperature is a direct result of increased CO2 concentration.  But any credible scientist knows that while there certainly is a probability that such a relationship may exist, the level of probability that can be deduced from the existing data definitely is far from perfect, i.e. the data do not establish the relationship unequivocally.  A further complication to the “warmer’s” problem is that for the last one and one-half decades, global temperatures have been relatively steady, that is unchanging, while atmospheric concentration of CO2 has continued to rise at a more or less constant rate.  The failure of atmospheric temperature to rise despite a continuing increase of CO2 during that most recent time period indicates that other bio-physical factors in addition to CO2 concentration can also influence global temperature and indeed may be the primary driver of any perceived temperature changes.  An additional critical factor that comes immediately to mind is the cyclicity of solar activity and the many obvious ways that the Sun’s variability affects the Earth’s atmosphere.  Unfortunately additional factors have not yet been addressed in any meaningful way by the “warmers” – and probably never will be as to do so would be an implicit rejection of the notion of a settled science.  The failure of the “warmers” to establish a quantifiable and irrefutable cause/effect relationship between CO2 concentration and global temperature increases plus the leveling off of the temperature curve during the past fifteen or so years are indications that man-forced warming of the planet is far from unequivocal and the science that controls the perceived problem is far from settled.  And if further convincing is needed you might want to consider the opinions of more than 30,000 scientists, approximately 30 percent of whom have Ph.Ds, who have signed on to the Global Warming Petition Project in which they attest to the following:    

 “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.  Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

 From these few simple but straightforward facts it is clear that with the man-caused global warming controversy as with other contentious complex natural phenomena amenable to description by science principles, the debate is far from over.  In fact it is just beginning.

Charles E. Adams, Jr., Ph.D.

Assault on a Culture – Summary

Assault on a Culture is a chronicle of Native American presence in North America since first entry to North America approximately 12,000 years before the present to the late 19th century. The provenance of those first Americans, the proto-Anishinaabeg, and the pathways they took to get to the area of the Great Lakes is traced through an exposition of archaeology and genetics. During the first ten millennia of their residence on the continent, cultural evolution was driven mainly by the environment and natural- and anthropogenic-driven changes to the environment. Following first contact with European explorers and missionaries, European-Indian social and economic interactions, i.e. intermarriage, exposure to alien worldviews, and adoption of European trade goods (guns in particular)became dominant forces in Anishinaabe (Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi) culture change. The first foreign entity to exert a strong influence over the Anishinaabeg was the Wemitigoozhi (French). They never sought to dominate the Indians but were content to co-exist with them, adopting many Indian cultural practices as their own. Wemitigoozhi dominance prevailed for over two hundred years but eventually was replaced by the Zagonaash (British) who attempted, with harsh methods but only limited success, to subjugate the Anishinaabeg. The Zagonaash preeminence was short-lived. After only two decades of control, they were supplanted by British separatists, the Gitchi-Mookomaan, now Americans, who fought a war for independence near the end of the 18th century. The British reluctantly retired from the contested area to what is now Canada but continued a robust association with their former Indian collaborators. The American image of the continent was of a country extending from “Sea to shining sea”. Manifest destiny, as the American vision has been characterized, required that the Indians be divested of their extensive land holdings. And land was a defining measure of Anishinaabeg culture. A series of military conflicts between Indian forces, augmented by their British friends, and the Americans, a long sequence of one-sided treaties that favored American interests, and a failed effort to civilize the Indians, i.e. make farmers of them, led to the creation of an Indian population with little or no land to call their own and minimal talents that would be needed to survive without the land. The treaties between the United States and the Anishinaabeg in 1821 (Chicago), 1836 (Washington), and 1855 (Detroit) effectively rendered the Anishinaabeg landless and, in so doing, put their culture in extreme crisis. The land wrested from them in those treaties would represent more than half of the area of the future State of Michigan, which was admitted to the Union in 1837.
The Anishinaabeg existed in a landless and loosely structured social limbo for five decades at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. In 1934 the United States government enacted the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). The IRA, among other things, validated the communal holding of land by organized tribes. For recognized bands and tribes, it also facilitated a return to local self-government and the concomitant management of physical assets that would allow them to create a sound economic foundation for tribal members who long had been deprived of any of the rights that had been explicitly guaranteed by treaty. Notwithstanding the imposed barriers to advancement, enterprising Anishinaabeg leaders would use the IRA to establish viable and productive tribal organizations that would flourish in the late 20th century.

The following critique was offered by a reader: "The book was well written,authoritative, and well documented.  For any student of Native American history, its a must read."

The book is available in digital, paper back, and hard cover formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and this site.

 

Charles E. Adams, Jr.