Crosstalk: August 17, 2017
No matter how much evidence comes forth, no matter what the facts show, hysteria over climate change continues to dominate the major media throughout America. Recent reports warn of 2016 being the hottest year on record, that ocean levels are rising, that polar ice is shrinking and all of this means doom for the planet. Former Vice-President Al Gore has released another film in which he seeks to prove that he's right and unless we act quickly, we face some pretty dire circumstances.
So what's the truth in all of this?
Joining Jim to help answer that question was Dr. E. Calvin Beisner. Dr. Beisner is the founder and national spokesman for The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. He's taught theology, apologetics, ethics, church history, economics, and other disciplines. He's written four books on population, resources, economics, and the environment, along with eight other books, contributions to over 30 books, and hundreds of articles. He's testified as an expert witness on the ethics and economics of climate policy before congressional committees and lectured for churches, schools, colleges, seminaries, and conferences around North America Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Dr. Beisner began by commenting on the astounding claim by some that 2016 was the hottest year on record. The facts? 2016 was 2 hundredths (.02) of a degree warmer on average through the year than was 1998, the second hottest year on record.
How do they come up with the hype? Are they manipulating the data? Dr. Beisner believes no one can or should depend solely upon raw data because there are different measuring instruments and different ways of using these instruments. So what one must do is use 'data homogenization'. This is the gathering of measurements using one instrument comparable with measurements obtained using another instrument in various locations. One might be in a big city, while another might be in a rain forest, while still another might be over the ocean.
What happens is that when the same old raw data is re-homogenized, earlier temperature records can get pushed down, and later temperature records can get pushed up. If the mistakes in the data were random and completely unpredictable at any given time and place, the corrections of that data (upward and downward) should be roughly equal. Instead, the corrections are constantly pushing temperatures long ago downward and more recent temperatures upward. That indicates that the homogenization process is not unbiased. As Dr. Beisner noted, 'The result is to increase the appearance of the rapidity and magnitude of warming, when in fact, it's quite likely that the warming has not been as rapid or as great as is claimed.'
On the issue of sea level, Dr. Beisner made it clear that it has been rising since the end of the ice age. Depending upon what theory of geology and age of the earth one embraces, that might be from 6,000 to about 18-20,000 years ago. Long term, it has averaged about 3 millimeters per year. We also know that the rate of rise can go as high as 14-17 millimeters per year or it can go down below zero meaning sea level can decline for a period of time. Over the long-haul, a 3 millimeter rise is about average. We also know there has been no acceleration in the long-term rate of sea level increase over the period of allegedly man-made global warming. This basically takes way the rational for saying that human activity is driving global warming that in turn is driving more rapid sea level increases.
There's also the problem that if global warming would be causing more rapid increases in sea level, that by itself wouldn't prove that global warming was man-made. If the earth warms more rapidly than it has been, then we should expect some continental ice to melt and raise the sea level. That will happen regardless of what causes the warming.
As this Crosstalk moved along, Dr. Beisner commented on much more including:
--Recent New York Times and Boston Globe articles involving everything from fear of climate change information suppression from the Trump administration; the comparison of climate change effects vs. the threat of North Korea for the island of Guam; the threat of higher temperatures and sea levels for the Northeastern U.S.
--We're told that 97% of climate scientists agree about global warming. Can we take that figure at face value?
--According to the predictions of former Vice President Al Gore, shouldn't Dr. Beisner be living on beach-front property by now?
--Does fixing the climate crisis require fixing democracy?
--Where do we currently stand on the Paris Climate Accord?
--The announcement by President Trump that he will rescind an Obama-era policy that requires government agencies to take into account global warming induced flooding and sea level rise for federally funded projects.
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