As this is written, about a week has passed since the initial revelation of hacked e-mails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU). At first, the authenticity of such purloined correspondence was in serious doubt… that was until the University itself blurted out that they were, in fact, genuine.
Conservative media lunged into the fray. Meanwhile, the “lame” stream propaganda outlets have remained mostly mum… perhaps because they have been so heavily invested in the perpetuation of such a shabby and dangerous hoax.
A brief history: Back in the 1970s an unmanned space probe entered the atmosphere of Venus. Zounds! Venus was a lot hotter than expected. How could this be? Other than its proximity to the Sun… its atmosphere is really dense. It must be the atmosphere. Could this be a portent of impending disaster for us Earthlings?
Reasoned speculations of climate future have always fluctuated between warming and cooling. Climate is never constant… it has to always be trending towards either warming or cooling. Precipitation also trends up and down… but more locally than globally.
When the Democrats took back both houses of Congress in 2006, the hysterical assault on global economic vitality was fast-tracked in the American political arena. Absurd and obnoxious schemes to micro manage individual behavior and completely subvert macroeconomic processes were given new credence and support.
Through geology and paleontology we have learned of pre-historic ice ages. Not currently being in an ice age means that we are in an interstitial warm period. Within this warm period there have been both cooling and warming trends. Why? There are inconstancies in the primary influences in climate. The Sun warms and cools. The Earth’s orbit goes through a 180,000 year cycle. Volcanoes create temporary disruptions in “normal” circumstances. Global climate and weather are the result of incredibly complex interactions that are still barely understood… if at all.
What about the heat trapping effects of “greenhouse” gasses? The atmosphere is a “soup” of different substances. Most are gasses, primarily nitrogen. Then oxygen and argon. Carbon dioxide is currently at 357 parts per million… that’s a whopping 0.04% of the atmosphere. The mechanics of heat trapping center around the “selective transparency” of different substances. Ultra violet radiation from the Sun passes through the atmosphere, hits the ground, heats the ground… which then re-radiates back up as infra red… which is trapped.
According to the hoaxers, this trapping effect is enhanced by the toxic byproducts of capitalism: CO2 and methane. Actually water vapor and clouds do the vast majority of trapping. Hoaxers contend that the Earth is in such delicate balance that the slightest alteration from the “natural” state can still be catastrophic.
Prosaic demonstrations of the impending doom associated with prosperity, typically by computer models (notorious for wide ranges of outcome resulting from miniscule changes in data input), tend to skip any detailed explanation of the actual physical and chemical goings on in the atmosphere. Hmmmmmm.
We are actually in the infancy of understanding climate trends in real time. We have some pretty neat toys such as satellites and computers. But we are dealing with the interaction of sunlight, wind, precipitation, ocean currents, dust, smoke, and (now wait for it) politics.
Such is extremely fertile ground for hoaxes.
Centuries ago an Italian proto-scientist named Bruno was put to death for deviating from established orthodoxy concerning the mechanics of what we now call the solar system. His colleague, Galileo, recanted and joined the orthodoxy… allowing him to enjoy his life for many more years. My presumption is that he knew what truth is. Unlike falsehoods, truth is immutable. It can be lost but is always rediscovered in exactly the same form.
As Copernicus, the first to develop the modern model of our solar system, lay dying, his sister burned his manuscripts in order to save his soul from eternal damnation. Yet, because of truth’s inherent durability, we still know that the Sun is the center of our world.