Global Warming

Patrick Foley patfoley at
Tue Jul 15 13:44:31 EDT 2003


We also know that since the industrial revolution , the Earth's 
atmosphere has increased its CO2 content by about 30%. (1850-1998 28% 
increase). Atmospheric greenhouse gases methane (118%) and NO2 (14%) 
also increased during that time.

We also know that CO2 absorbs infrared energy bouncing from the Earth's 
surface at a higher rate than N2 and O2, the major components of the 
atmosphere. As do methane and NO2 and other human released gases.

We also know that between 1861 and 1997 the Earth's mean surface 
temperature warmed by about 0.6 degrees C.

In fact, we know a great deal about atmospheric changes, about the 
physics of them, and about changes in global temperatures on the land 
and in the ocean.

We do not know everything. There are second order effects that could 
change everything towards greater warmth or greater cold. Once the ocean 
expands it changes the Earth's albedo, currents etc. As the oean warms, 
greater cloud cover and greater summer precipitation (especially in the 
Boreal areas) may have very tricky effects.

Scientists are busy modeling these second and third order effects. And 
arguing about them. But it is not a simple matter of two sides with 
equal interest and equal validity. There are people trying to find out 
what is happening and people trying to pretend that nothing important is 
happening. And the second group is being paid explicitly to make the 
case for the status quo. Who do you trust?

Patrick Foley
patfoley at

Mark Walker wrote:

>Stan wrote:
>>I do not think your statement holds much water, at least with respect to
>>university scientists. The small pot of money scientists use for research
>>is allocated by Congress and the executive branch, and the purpose to
>>which this money is to be used normally has strict guidelines. There is
>>generally no great monetary incentive for university scientists to lie
>>because of the small amount of money involved, and if they do lie (i.e.,
>>falsify results) it could negatively impact on their ability to get future
>>grants. This is in sharp contrast to executives in private industry.
>>Executives can realize a great profit (millions, maybe even billions, of
>>dollars in their bank accounts) by narrow mindedly opposing the research
>>results of scientists that humans are the cause of global warming. Who has
>>the greater incentive to lie with respect to global warming? It is obvious
>>executives in private industry do.
>It is obvious to me that both sides are being led more by their convictions
>than by fact.  Both personify the villains as nameless, greedy, self serving
>entities without providing specific information about any one liar or
>exploiter.  It would seem to me that the only thing we may "know" at this
>time is that the average temperatures over some relatively short period of
>time have been moving steadily in one direction (or not).  It would seem to
>me that any and all "explanations" for this phenomenon would be completely
>hypothetical at this stage, and that therefore it would be ludicrous to
>suggest that anyone is "lying" to anyone.  Do people have economic interests
>on either side?  Of course.  Are researchers trying to create false doomsday
>scenarios so they can put money in their institutions and stimulate the
>preservation of natural resources based on false pretense?  Probably not.
>Are wealthy industrial executives gathering around conference tables to spin
>lies that will cover up and enable their corporations role in slowly boiling
>the planet into oblivion?  Probably not.  In any case, I know of no specific
>allegations.  On either side, it probably better serves your position to
>refrain from making such blind accusations.
>But the dialogue that has been stimulated provides certain entertainment,
>for sure.  It's sort of like getting cable network news - without paying for
>cable (oh, my cable modem light is blinking to remind me otherwise).
>Mark Walker. 
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