Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Scientist Speaks Sense

And he's even from Canada:

In some fields the science is indeed "settled." For example, plate tectonics, once highly controversial, is now so well-established that we rarely see papers on the subject at all. But the science of global climate change is still in its infancy, with many thousands of papers published every year. In a 2003 poll conducted by German environmental researchers Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, two-thirds of more than 530 climate scientists from 27 countries surveyed did not believe that "the current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases." About half of those polled stated that the science of climate change was not sufficiently settled to pass the issue over to policymakers at all.

Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada. As a country at the northern limit to agriculture in the world, it would take very little cooling to destroy much of our food crops, while a warming would only require that we adopt farming techniques practiced to the south of us.

Meantime, we need to continue research into this, the most complex field of science ever tackled, and immediately halt wasted expenditures on the King Canute-like task of "stopping climate change."

As a libertarian, my solution to the "problem" is to do nothing. This has nothing to do with faith in the market; the market is especially ill-suited to longterm planning, or so it would seem. But governmental regulation will, live all other such attempts, fail in its design. Moreover, to protect ourselves from "climate change", as inevitable and inextricable as terrorism, we will no doubt be made to forfeit liberties, all for a dubious end.

And while it is unfortunate to think of the prospect of cooling from my domain in the upper Midwest, it will be enjoyable seeing the global-warming crowd change their tune in so short a timespan. Gore's little film may have done very well in his day, but I rather doubt that people will be watching an Inconvenient Truth when the cooling begins. I seem to remember a certain Thomas Malthus, whose pessimistic predictions of over-population and stagnation in food supply have proved less than accurate, judging from the falling birth rates throughout the western world.

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