Archive for the Environmentalism Category

This irritates me:

A Canadian astronaut on a six-month stay aboard the international space station said on Sunday it looks like Earth’s ice caps have melted a bit since he was last in orbit 12 years ago.

Bob Thirsk said that there is a “very thin veil of atmosphere around the Earth that keeps us alive … Most of the time when I look out the window I’m in awe. But there are some effects of the human destruction of the Earth as well,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

“This is probably just a perception, but I just have the feeling that the glaciers are melting, the snow capping the mountains is less than it was 12 years ago when I saw it last time,” Thrisk was quoted as saying. “That saddens me a little bit.”

It’s “probably just a perception” and he “has a feeling”, eh?  Oh that’s solid scientific evidence right there.  He actually used instruments from space to somehow measure the amount of ice on the surface of the earth?  No?  Yeah that’s what I thought.

Why is this bullshit even reported?  Why is an astronaut, supposedly a highly trained, intelligent, scientifically-minded individual, offering a totally subjective opinion about something that he is in no position (figuratively or literally) to have information about?  His education is in mechanical engineering and medicine (he’s an MD).  What the hell does he know about polar ice?

Naturally, we can expect the viros to latch onto this throwaway opinion as “evidence” of global warming or some shit.

Interestingly, we don’t really need that evidence.  It is true that the data show a general warming trend over the past 100 years or so.  It is also true that polar ice volumes are changing, apparently getting smaller, and that glaciers are moving and losing volume.

What is NOT clear, however, is the cause.  The link between global CO2 levels and global temperatures is actually reversed from what is commonly believed.  That is, the temperature went up, and THEN the CO2 levels increased.  CO2 increase is not causal.  And yes, I am aware of the so-called refutations of this conclusion:

The reason has to do with the fact that the warmings take about 5000 years to be complete. The lag is only 800 years. All that the lag shows is that CO2 did not cause the first 800 years of warming, out of the 5000 year trend. The other 4200 years of warming could in fact have been caused by CO2, as far as we can tell from this ice core data. 

So basically, this guy is saying that a warming cycle takes 5000 years to complete, and yet we have somehow concluded that the earth is warming up because of human activity just within the past 100 years?  That makes no sense.  Also, the assertion that warming “could” have been caused by CO2, is dishonest, because it is speculation with no data to support it.  I’m not a geoscientist, but the article in question seems intentionally circuitous and misleading.  If anyone cares to explain more clearly the position being advocated, I’m interested.

Then there’s the famous “hockey stick graph” that supposedly shows a dramatic increase in global temperatures over the past thousand years.  It is highly flawed, one might even conclude intentionally so, and is no longer considered valid.

So what exactly is my point here?  My point is, the data we have indicate that we are in the early stages of a trend that is normal for this planet over many past millennia.  Whether or not human activity is contributing is something we are not able to discern.  Astronaut Thirsk is showing an unscientific and unsupportable bias in his statements that serves no purpose other than to be inflammatory and perpetuate an irrational belief about human civilization and the planet we live on.  It is beneath him as a scientist and a human being to speak this way, given his highly public occupation.