Monday, December 07, 2009

Unsettled Science

Waking to a cold house, I suffered a brief pang of guilt before I turned on the furnace. Burning natural gas to stop my shivering seemed so self-indulgent, but then I thought of the 1,200 limos ordered for the Copenhagen climate summit and decided that if our leaders can spew tons of CO2 going to a meeting, surely the atmosphere can tolerate a few more pounds from me.

Temperatures are near-freezing outside, and snow is dusting the hilltops. Yahoo's Weather Watches and Warnings breathlessly advises:
The National Weather Service San Francisco Bay Area has issued a frost advisory…which is in effect from midnight tonight to 9 a.m. PST Tuesday for coastal sections of the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas.
More often than not, the Bay Area doesn't see any frost or snow throughout the year. But the frost is not a terrible inconvenience. We don't have to shovel snow as do poor souls in other parts of the country.

Speaking of shoveling, the Environmental Protection Agency is readying a raft of new regulations because carbon dioxide has been declared a dangerous pollutant. Such a conclusion to these concededly inexpert eyes is a gross and premature overreach. Much of the "science" has been discredited in recent weeks by the discovery that data had been massaged, destroyed, and cherry-picked. Computer models were coded to force certain results. Channeling Donald Rumsfeld, the rot is so widespread that we don't even know what we know and don't know.

So disgraceful has been the behavior of some global warming advocates that one is tempted to swing to the opposite extreme and claim that anthropogenic global warming doesn't exist or, at least, is unimportant. But everyone should resist seizing conclusions based upon an emotional response.

There are still credible arguments in favor of AGW, just as there are criticisms that have not been convincingly refuted. Today's WSJ has an excellent summary.

What is clear is that we shouldn't be passing laws when our knowledge is in such a state of flux. Great harm can come to our economy from some of the government actions being proposed. And no credible case has been made that inaction puts us in immediate danger, not with frost covering our lawn this morning in balmy California. © 2009 Stephen Yuen
CBS5 video: "We're in for a hard freeze tonight."

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