Monday, December 7, 2009

Climate Change: Manmade or Mother Nature??

Today marks the start of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. In recent weeks news has come out about the reporting being done by those who tout that Carbon Dioxide is pushing Earth to the breaking point. Hackers exposed a mass amount of emails from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that lead speculation and challenged the creditability of the data being reported. Since that time Phil Jones has stepped down from his leadership role at the lab but will remain on staff to continue research. In a statement Jones said, "What is most important is that [Climate Research Lab] continues its world leading research with as little interruption and diversion as possible. After a good deal of consideration I have decided that the best way to achieve this is by stepping aside from the Director's role during the course of the independent review." Just a side note, I attempted to link to the statement but it has been taken off the website where it was originally posted.

I recall from my elementary education that plants need Carbon Dioxide to survive and the biggest producer of Carbon Dioxide; you and I. Human beings by their very nature contribute more to the levels of Carbon Dioxide than any coal plant, SUV or other manufacturing plants. It has been interesting since the hacking of documents that our major news outlets have done nothing to investigate the emails; rather they are busy reporting on Tiger Woods. Why is this? UN Environment Program Director Achim Steiner lays claim to the hacked material is, "not climategate, its hackersgate. Let's not forget the word 'gate' refers to a place where data was stolen by people who were paid to do so. So the media should direct its investigations into that" (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/climate-email-theft-likened-to-watergate-break-in/story-e6frg6xf-1225807887910).

Why hasn't there been a debate on the science surrounding the issue of manmade climate change? When Al Gore speaks he does not take questions very often and the media is not allowed in either. Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, lost a huge court case in the United Kingdom earlier this year due to a number of inaccurate claims made by the movie. Researchers at the University of Minnesota-Morris and Wisconsin found that aspen trees are responding positively due to the excess Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. "What this means is our beloved forests are recognizing change. There was a 'what if' question that frequented the study…Its results concluded that aspen responded well to carbon dioxide, which is fascinating," said Rick Lindroth about the research he co-authored (http://www.mndaily.com/2009/12/06/trees-benefit-carbon-dioxide).

While no one will argue that air quality is important and combating smog in our major cities is needed. The trouble is the debate is not being done on the science for the most part; rather it is being debated on emotion. When the science is used by those pushing the notion of "manmade" climate change, it appears they may have cooked the books or the data. But we may never really know because very few people are asking the tough questions or investigating the data manipulation taking place. How do we discuss climate change going forward? President Obama has delayed his trip to Copenhagen until later in the conference when nearly all other world leaders will be there. Why will Al Gore, or others like him, debate those that do not buy in to the "manmade" angle to climate change?