Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"A $1 a Day to Cool the Earth"

That headline is all over the internet tonight. For example, here and here, along with numerous other locations.

It's nonsense.

China and other nations are building new fossil fuel power plants that will emit greenhouse gasses at a far faster rate than the U.S.'s greenhouse gasses will decrease. So, even if global warming proponents' theory that CO2 is the driving force in climate is correct (a dubious proposition*), since the net concentration of greenhouse gasses will continue to rise the earth will not cool as a result of their bill if it becomes law.

More importantly, solar and terrestrial conditions point toward cooling -- perhaps significant cooling -- over the next five years even if we do nothing. The very low level of sunspots, the very long solar cycle, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation entering its cold phase and El Nino flipping to La Nina all indicate we are in for major cooling. As I have said and written a number of times, if, by 2013-2015, significant cooling has not occurred, then the global warming advocates are correct and we need to take major corrective action.  But there is no reason it has to be done now. Both ocean heat content and atmospheric temperatures have been flat the last ten years.

* I want to state my position again: Yes, adding CO2 traps more long wave radiation, meaning warmer weather (especially at night) other factors equal. However, other factors are not equal and it is not clear whether the CO2 concentration affects temperature in a linear (a serious problem) or logarithmic (a minor problem) fashion. To me, the main reason to move to other energy sources is that we are running an experiment by cranking up CO2 levels that might have negative effects beyond temperature. So, more nuclear, more natural gas (cleaner than coal), more solar all make sense on their own merits. 

But, there is no current emergency that justifies draconian action.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.