Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A letter to a liberal friend

11-08-2010. Updated to include some links requested by a reader.

Here is a letter I wrote to a friend. I could have sent it to several of my Liberal friends. I have tried to edit out any personal references. Someone might recognize themselves, but hopefully no one else will know.

What's going on? I have always thought of you as one of my closest friends, yet I seem to bring out a great deal of anger in you. Why do you think?

Life is a wonderful gift. Look at how lucky you are. You are better off than most people on the planet. The world is a better place with you in it. Be happy that you have such a comfortable place on this planet. I love and care for you, and hate to see you in pain. It might help to talk about it. I hope you do me the courtesy of actually reading all of this, warts and all.

My idea of friendship means that when you essentially ridicule and disparage everything I am about, I just let it slide. Think about it, you even slept with, and wreaked my relationship with a certain woman. She cried a lot when she told me what happened. I mean really, what was the point? Everybody lost. But you will have to work a lot harder for me to not welcome you into my life or my home. I would do nearly anything in my power to help you if you needed me, and you are always welcome where ever I am.

When you say that no rational person could be a Republican, what does that say about what you think of me? Or the fact that fewer people believe in man caused global warming shows just how easily the stupid masses are to manipulate, or when you say the cable news network I watch tells nothing but lies, and people are idiots because they watch it, what do all those statements say about me? When I challenge those assumptions, and ask how someone can have a valid opinion about the accuracy of a newscast without watching it, the response is just anger.

Yet, I don't let your routine disparagement of basically everything I believe in get to me on a personal level. I believe that friends should be able to debate issues even when they strongly disagree with each other. It's a better world when people with opposing beliefs can converse about them. Intolerance does not make us happier, just angrier. I recommend less anger and more happiness.

I wanted you to tell the story of our adventures in writing for my kids. I want to tell the boys my story, and part of that includes you. I apparently can not comprehend your desire to erase any knowledge of your existence from the rest of the world when I am trying to preserve my memory for my kids.

It seems that I can't have a rational debate with most liberals on topics where we disagree, so don't feel singled out. Their typical reactions to my beliefs are to say I am either an idiot, or evil, or a mix of the two. Your response to my question that you never discuss topics with folks that disagree with you was telling to me. It's seems to be the universal response lately.

I have literally been told that I want to destroy the world for my kids. No kidding. What I never get is the rational explanation of why I am mistaken. I get the feeling that liberals think that my opinions make me a bad person. If I don't like Obama, it is because of a personal failure as a human on my part, not because I have a legitimate concern for what his policies mean for this country.

Same with my belief that CO2 does not have any measurable affect on global temperatures. Bad man.

I have the audacity to question two key tenets of the "progressive" wisdom about global warming; 1. I am skeptical of the idea that we are facing the apocalypse (I also think warm is better), and I don’t accept that the only solution even if the premise of AGW is true, is to mandate drastic cuts in carbon emissions (I actually believe that more carbon is better).

Even if I assume worst case scenario re: global warming, I believe that mankind's best answer comes through wealth. In other words, deal with the change in temperature through wealth, instead of by trying to control the weather. Air conditioners vs. open windows (=poverty)

The way it is with heresy is that there is no middle ground. Either you believe global warming is the worst problem mankind has ever faced and that cutting carbon is the only solution, or you are an anti-scientific ignoramus who probably thinks the Earth is flat.

Why is that? I am happy to listen to anyone's rationale about anything they want to talk about, from political viewpoints (conservative) to environmentalism (I think oil gave us the ability to advance from a non technological civilization (cook over a fire in the living room fireplace) to the one that allows me to write this blog) .

The problem is, is that most people don’t really have a reasoned opinion about a subject, but a sacred belief in that subject, and when challenged, they just get angry because they don't know how to argue the point except to call the other person an idiot.

Example. A million and a half people die every year of respiratory disease because they burn wood or other things like cow pies indoors to cook and heat. Providing these people with electric power with the heaviest CO2 emitting source there is will save more lives than any CO2 reduction up to and including a reduction to zero emissions.

Same with Vitamin A rice. It will also save a million and a half folks a year from blindness then death, but the irrational (my opinion) worries about "Franken Foods" seem to outweigh the actual benefits. So, in reality it is not about saving lives.

I have a degree in geology, and a near genius level IQ. I am not a moron easily swayed by Fox news or anyone else. I actually research issues I care about before making up my mind.

A close woman friend and her husband are such global warming believers that they bought a house farther from the beach than they wanted because they are concerned with the ocean's rise. (If the sea level was rising, don't you think someone would have noticed by now?)

The husband who is a professor at a northern university told me that he saw the data put together showing the sudden rise in global temperature. Yet, when I mentioned that Phil Jones had just admitted in a BBC interview that the Medieval Warming Period was warmer than today, and that there has not been a statistical rise in temperature in the last decade, had no idea who Phil Jones or the CRU was. Mr. Jones is the head of the Climate Research Unit (CRU), whose data was the basis for the hockey stick graph created by Michael Mann, which we were discussing. (which data was "lost" according to Mr. Jones when it was requested via a 'freedom of information request', which means my brother in law could never have seen it, but I didn’t bring this up).

In other words, both this friend who is also a professor and her husband hold themselves out to be scientists, but have never actually examined the science. He actually told me he worked as a scientist and my opinion was meaningless. I would contend my Geology degree is about as relevant as it gets.

When I mentioned that The Maldives Islands have actually grown since the WWII aerial photographs taken in the 40s, and are not on the brink of being submerged in a rising ocean like has been reported, she told me that she did not want to hear my bullshit. To these folks (and a LOT of other friends of mine), it is a religion that brooks no heresy.

Let me walk you through my Global Warming evolution. If you are actually open to a rational explanation of my viewpoint, and why I believe my position has merit, keep reading. I gladly listen to others viewpoints. I do not want to get stuck in my own group-think, so I need to hear opposing views. If I can rationally counter other arguments to my own satisfaction, I stick with my opinion. But, that requires hearing the other arguments in detail, not just a general "CO2 is bad" kind of way. I even try to go back to the motivation of the person. i.e., just keeping the temperature stable is not enough. What is the reason for that? Not always saving lives as I demonstrated.

When I first heard the AGW theory, it made sense to me.

I didn't start to suspect the “world is going to end claims” until I saw the Hockey Stick graph that was the cover of the 2001 IPCC (the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report. If you saw Al Gores movie, it played a predominant part.

I have a BS in Geology. Having actually studied anthropology, archeology, paleoclimatology, and paleontology, I wondered why the Medieval Warming Period which lasted from 900-1300 AD ish, and was up to 4 deg C warmer than today, did not show up on the chart. So, I started researching on my own. In short, I found;

1. For Small CO2 changes (100-200 ppm). There actually is an 800 year lag between temperature and minor CO2 changes. In the time period shown in both Antarctic and the Greenland ice cores, (meaning not a local northern hemisphere phenomena), CO2 rises slightly about 800 years after temperature rises. Vikings still farmed in Greenland in 1200 AD, which means we would expect a rise in CO2 today based on ice core history.

2. For Large CO2 changes (300-7000 ppm). There is no relation between large swings in CO2 and temp in the history of the planet. i.e., high levels of CO2 during ice ages, and low levels when really hot, and visa versa. I think there is a chart in an earlier posting. Any graph over geologic time shows no relationship. So I ask myself, what physical process would suddenly make a causal relationship between CO2 and temperature where none previously existed? (where CO2 indicates temperature)

3. The computer programs that predict the changes in temp due to CO2, and are the basis for all the alarm, do not even come close in predicting the past, so their predictions about the future don't make sense. i.e., if we plug in past data, the programs don't even come close in predicting what actually happened. Was this (2010) the hottest summer you can remember? I'll believe the computer predictions when they are able to model what we know actually happened.

Read Kevin Trenberth's emails where he even says that the data has to be wrong because the earth has not warmed like the computer models predicted. He said, writing from Boulder, Colorado, “where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record,” and worried that “we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” He pointed out that a set of data from 2008 “shows there should be even more warming.” But he concludes: “The data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.” Good Link here.

4. The global temp pretty accurately follows sunspot activity combined with cyclical ocean currents. The Chinese recorded sunspot activity thousands of years ago, and the more sunspots, the more heat output of the sun. The temp goes up when the sun gets hotter. Duh! Sunspot activity is way down lately, which is why Phil Jones acknowledged that there has not been any warming since 1998 (more on this later when I talk about how "global" temperature is calculated)

5. Decadal ocean currents make a big difference. The PDO Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Atlantic's MDO Multi Decadal Oscillation both just switched to their cooling mode btw. Again, how was the summer?

The recent release (by either a hacker or whistle-blower depending on your bent) of emails between Jones and Mann show that the MWP was intentionally suppressed to demonstrate that the recent rise in temp was unprecedented. There would not be a controversy if the headline was that the temp was going to return to Viking era temperatures. It’s all about funding. No funds for studying squirrels, unless you make the study about the squirrels change in behavior due to Global Warming. And, let’s at least acknowledge that it is about warming and not “change”. ALL “solutions” that have anything to do with CO2 are to “prevent” warming, not to combat cooling.

The only accurate temp record of recent years is the satellite data (3 different sets).
The MET (England govt. weather) just said that 2010 was the coolest summer in 17 years in England while NASA said 2010 was the warmest on record. No wonder folks stopped listening. Was it the coldest in 17 years or the hottest ever? How about the Seattle summer of 2010? Here in LA? I didn't have to sleep on any wet towels this summer like a couple years ago. WSU had "snow days" for the first time in decades the last couple winters.

I believe man does better when warmer. So, even if we are making it warmer, it is a good thing based on history.

Extra Cold. The laurentide ice sheet retreats about 8000 years ago. Life sucked. Cavemen in furs type of lifestyle. Google "Japanese pyramids" These structures are 60-100 feet underwater and 8,000-12,000 years old. As a geologist, we know that straight lnes like these are never seen in nature, so the presumption that they were man made is pretty strong. This gives one an idea how much the sea level can change due to natural climate changes. They were above sea-level when the laurentide ice sheet covered Europe.

Warm. The rise of the Roman Empire coincides with a warming period up to 4C warmer than today. (Google “Roman Warming Period” and "bivalves")

Cold again. The Roman Empire and the Roman Warming Period both ended (500AD ish) when it cooled, driving the Mongols south, creating the onset of the dark ages, known for famines due to the cold and severe winters killing crops.

Warm again. The Renaissance came with the Medieval Warming Period (900-1400AD ish) We get such things as the great cathedrals being built all over Europe.

Cold again. Brutal winters, famines, cold makes the Vikings abandon Greenland about the same time Columbus came to America. Starting around 1450 ish the Little Ice Age ended around 1850 when we see a general warming trend with 30 year minor warming/cooling cycles incorporated. (The MWP was seen in both Greenland and Antarctic ice cores which means it was a global climate event in extent and not local to Europe as those that dispute it's existence in order to make today's warm weather a unique event, contend.)

Minor warm/cool fluctuations. The 20 century sees warming in the 40’s, cooling until the 70’s, warming until about 1998, then a slight cooling until today (Google Phil Jones BBC interview) End of mini ice age = warming. Duh! That's why it it is important for those with an agenda to eliminate the MWP. Ice ages either mini or maxi end because the earth warms. Want to see photos of nuclear subs surfaced at the North Pole in winter in the 50's, with no ice in sight?

USS Skate. North Pole, March 17, 1954 http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08578.htm

On a geologic level, the earth is in an unusually cold period. This has happened for 2 very short periods (geologically) in the past. It occurs when continental drift arranges the land masses so land stretches from pole to pole like we see today. This blocks global ocean currents. Nothing for us to worry about, since the continents move about 6 cm/year.

Roman Warm Period (250 BC-450 AD),
(450-950 AD), the Dark Ages
Medieval Warm Period (950-1400 AD)
the Little Ice Age (1400-1850 AD)
recent warming (1850 AD to the present)

Basically, I believe that life is short and brutal without cheap energy. I am for fracking. If it needs cleaning up, clean it up. There is no controversy to me. According to the New York Times, It has been used in more than 90 percent of 450,000 operating natural gas wells, mostly without incident. There may be issues, but with over 400,000 wells using fracturing, it does not seem to be a big problem. Analogous to Toyota’s sticky gas pedal problem I think. Cars used to be big polluters. We didn't stop using cars to fight pollution, we just made them cleaner. Dollars to doughnuts, a 2011 Ford Explorer SUV is cleaner to drive than your car.

I believe the world is a better place with a strong BP (oil company). They used to contribute a huge proportion (17%) to British pensioners, which is why I believe they will start paying the dividends again soon.

I believe that cheap energy in the form of hydrocarbons is the reason we have the high quality of life we see today, and that is good. Places without abundant cheap energy are bad places to live with high mortality.

I believe in supply side economics. California collects 77 billion a year in sales, use, and income taxes. It collects 10 billion in corporate taxes. I agree with the State Commission that recommended eliminating corporate taxes. I believe the growth in the economy here for all business should more than offset the loss. Roughly an additional $270 per person in additional sales and income taxes is needed to offset the corporate tax loss. Pop 37 mil. Democrats would have nothing to do with it.

But back to us. Why so much hostility? Why can't we act like friends? I think if we act with kindness we will be happier. Why do we need to tiptoe around one another? Who can we discuss controversial subjects with? Limiting ones conversations to those that agree with us is the definition of “group think”. I am on the right side of the political spectrum but I read many left wing publications so I can know what they think, and to understand their viewpoint.

I doubt that I will ever get you to agree with me on global warming, most likely because we never hear the counter arguments in the mainstream media. But, I would like folks like you (progressives and many liberals) to acknowledge that I have a legitimate basis for my beliefs, and am working from a place of knowledge, not ignorance or meanness or evil. Go to petitionproject.org sometime to see a list of scientists like Edmund Teller (Atomic Bomb) who agree with me. We are not all idiots.

Take my thoughts on guns as another example. According to the FBI, the higher the concentration of legally carried firearms in a community, the lower the violent crime rate. Folks just don't care. Firearms = bad. We never saw the headlines "Violent crimes rise in DC after handgun ban ruled un-constitutional". Note that ALL gun massacres (in the USA) happen in "gun free zones" including Fort Hood, since Clinton banned the carrying of firearms on military bases by all personnel except the Military Police and at the gun range during training exercises.

I am of the A.E Van Vogt philosophy. “The right to buy weapons is the right to be free”

That’s sort of a high point’s description of my political beliefs. I would just like folks to acknowledge I have valid reasons and am not an idiot. I respect others beliefs whom I disagree with, and would like them to respect mine. And, don't be offended when I defend my beliefs.

AND, I would live to be able to sit down and have a rational conversation about these things.

The explanation of why reported temperature is skewed artificially high is simple. All “cold” weather stations are gone (high altitude and high latitude, etc). Yet, the original temps that took into account mountain top temperature readings have not been corrected to use the same weather stations that they use today. From a peak of 1,850 thermometer stations in 1968, there now exists a paltry 136 surviving American stations as of December 2009. (GISS/NOAA data sets)

There is also a lot of urban island heat affect (thermometer over asphalt at an airport) which required "adjusting", so the temps can be "adjusted" with an outcome in mind.

In the 1970s, nearly 600 Canadian weather stations fed surface temperature readings into a global database assembled by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Today, NOAA / GISS only collects data from 35 stations across . Only one station -- at EurekaArctic Circle, ccording to Environment Canada. All easy to check.

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