Global Warming and Other Questions
An Essay by James A Graves, Jr.
Researching this issue is not easy. We’re bombarded with doomsday warnings from the media about how humans are the cause of global warming, but information from the other side of the argument is hard to find.
Articles opposing man-caused global warming typically go unpublished by the mainstream media, often buried in databases and other obscure places that must be searched out. Most people are not going to do that because they trust the mainstream media to tell the truth.
The mainstream media tells us that all we have to do to save our planet is stop driving fossil fueled vehicles and switch to solar powered homes. But I tend to be a skeptic, or at least a realist, and consequently I’m compelled to question almost everything. The skeptic in me kept bringing up that old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” and the Save-the-Planet scenario sounds a bit utopian to me.
I wondered how much CO2 was dumped into the atmosphere from wildfires before civilized man came along to put them out. History tells of prairie fires on the Great Plains that burned for weeks. It is logical to assume that in the centuries before man discovered carpentry, farming and fire extinguishers forest fires and prairie fires would have burned almost continuously around the globe, releasing tons of hydrocarbons and CO2 into the atmosphere.
Why does present industrial CO2 output contribute so much to greenhouse gases but not past forest fires?
Those pre-civilized man wildfires allowed the natural process of old-growth forests by burning out undergrowth and killing all but the strongest trees. That’s why all of the world’s old-growth forests predate modern man. Civilized mankind has been unable to plant and grow a forest that rivals a natural old-growth forest because we apparently can’t seem to allow a wildfire to do its job, we must put it out. Consequently, the undergrowth is allowed to flourish and grow to the point that when a wildfire occurs, the undergrowth fuels it into a raging inferno that destroys the forest entirely.
By stopping the process of natural wildfires, mankind has destroyed as much old-growth forests as we have by cutting them down. Keep in mind that if old-growth forests harvested 200 years ago had been replanted and left alone to grow naturally, today those forests would be considered old-growth forests.
I also wondered; if we’re currently dumping so much greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that it is causing global warming, why did the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo (which was ten times larger than Mt. Saint Helens in 1980) have such a short-term effect on the global climate?
Why are the global effects of volcanic greenhouse gases temporary but yet industrial greenhouse gases supposedly permanent?
According to the scientific report, The Atmospheric Impact of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo Eruption,**
“The aerosol cloud (from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption) spread rapidly around the Earth in about 3 weeks and attained global coverage by about 1 year after the eruption. The large aerosol cloud caused dramatic decreases in the amount of net radiation reaching the Earth's surface, producing a climate forcing that was two times stronger than the aerosols of El Chichón in 1982. Effects on climate were an observed surface cooling in the Northern Hemisphere of up to 0.5 to 0.6°C, equivalent to a hemispheric-wide reduction in net radiation of 4 watts per square meter and a cooling of perhaps as large as -0.4°C over large parts of the Earth in 1992-93.
The 1982 El Chichón eruption was followed by several tenths of a degree cooling, as was the effect after Mt. Agung in 1963 and Mt. Krakatoa in the Victorian period.
All of these eruptions affected the global climate for months or years, yet the effects were temporary despite the fact that billions of tons of greenhouse gases and particulate matter were ejected into the atmosphere.”
**Stephen Self,^1 Jing-Xia Zhao,^2 Rick E. Holasek,^1 3 Ronnie C.
Torres,^1 4 and Alan J. King^1
^1 Hawaii Center for Volcanology and Department of Geology and
Geophysics, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.
^2 Department of Meteorology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and
Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.
^3 Now at SETS Technology, Inc., 30 Kalehu Ave. #10, Miliani, HI 96789.
^4 Also at Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Quezon
Did you know that there was a period in recent history when global temperatures were much warmer than they are today? You certainly won’t hear anything about it from the environmentalists.
The Medieval Climate Optimum (900-1300AD) occurred before the industrial age, when the earth's population was only 240 million. During this period, Greenland was actually green, the Vikings established settlements in North America, and Northern Europe produced more wine than Southern Europe - and it reportedly tasted better, too. Today’s climate is too cold to grow grapes in Northern Europe.
This warm spell lasted for approximately five centuries. Despite present doomsday forecasts of how disastrous a warmer climate will be, history shows that the inhabitants of North America and Europe thrived during this period.
I researched both sides of the global warming issue and came to the conclusion that global warming is not man-caused and not necessarily a bad thing. However, getting all of the information to others so they can make an informed decision was next to impossible, at least it was for me.
Finally, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has published a report that will help to counter some of the misinformation that the mainstream media has been spouting about man-caused global warming.
U. S. Senate Minority Report:
More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims Scientists Continue to Debunk “Consensus” in 2008 & 2009
I also have other questions, which seem to have more elusive answers...
Why did we need another security agency (Department of Homeland Security) to provide ‘security’ for US citizens when we already had the FBI, CIA, NSA, NRO, INS, US Customs, Border Patrol, DEA, BATF, and a myriad of lesser organizations –not to mention the five branches of the military- all tasked with the job of securing our ‘homeland‘?
How can we say that we're running out of oil & natural gas when we're not even sure how much is down there?
How can we say we're running out of fresh water when we continue to irrigate over 16,000 US golf courses as well as irrigating the landscaped medians of hundreds of miles of US city streets?
And since evaporated water doesn't escape into space, but falls to earth as rain, how could we ever run out of fresh water?
Since whales and elephants have larger brains than humans, how do we know for certain that they're not actually smarter than we are?
Perhaps whales and elephants choose to live the way they do because they are happy being what they are. The next time you see an elephant or a whale, imagine them, existing in perfect bliss, looking at us and thinking how inferior and ignorant we humans are.
If the Alaskan Pipeline was supposed to be so detrimental to the caribou population, why has the caribou population thrived since the pipeline went operational?
If off-shore oil drilling is so harmful to the environment, why is it that the coasts of Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas (with over three thousand oil rigs just offshore) provide some of the best fishing on the Gulf Coast?
And why are Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas beaches so popular with tourists if they're so polluted with oil?
Switchgrass is a native North American prairie grass. It can also be used to produce ethanol fuel. According to Scientific American, switchgrass ethanol delivers 540 percent of the energy used to produce it, compared with just roughly 25 percent more energy returned by corn-based ethanol according to the most optimistic studies.
So, why are we growing corn to produce ethanol fuel when switchgrass is easier to grow (after all, it grows wild) and produces more energy than corn?
The 1978 Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel 5-speed reportedly got 48 mpg city and 56 mpg highway.
Automotive technology has increased exponentially in the past 30 years, yet there are very few vehicles manufactured today that match the 1978 VW Rabbit’s MPG ratings, and even fewer that exceed it. Why?
Diesel engines are far more compatible with bio-fuels (the first diesel engine burned vegetable oil).
So, why isn’t bio-diesel as readily available as fossil-diesel?
Hydrogen gas is easily extracted from water and also from hydrocarbons.
When burned in an internal combustion engine, hydrogen produces only water as a byproduct.
So, why isn’t hydrogen gas and hydrogen fuel systems for internal combustion engines being mass produced?
There is a lot of hype surrounding hybrids and battery powered cars these days.
While I believe there is a legitimate need for those vehicles despite their limited capabilities, there is a better solution and it has been right in front of us for years… train locomotives.
These massive machines are electric powered. Diesel engines power electric generators which run electric motors which move the train. Any vehicle could be powered this way. And when the automotive manufacturers pull their collective heads out and design a hydrogen-fueled vehicle with an engine-generator powering electric motors driving each wheel, then they'll have something; vehicles from trains and semi-trucks to buses, pickup trucks and passenger cars with zero pollution, instantaneous all-wheel drive torque and braking, with plenty of power to run all of the bells and whistles. This design would also provide unprecedented reliability - just one of the drive motors could be enough to make the thing go.
We have the technology, all we need is the intelligence to use it.
©2008 James A Graves, Jr.