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Maricopa County Libertarian Party

An Inconvenient Goof

December 6, 2009
 by Alberto Arredondo


Politicians exploit scraps of information that fall off the climate science table to shame the public into believing their behavior will devastate the planet. If we accept this premise, we'll find ourselves with less freedom and incessantly changing weather.

Have you ever looked out the window and thought, it’ll never rain today, I’ll leave my umbrella at home only to later find yourself running from awning to awning trying to stay out of the rain? Even with the help of our local weatherman, things don’t necessarily turn out the way you expect. The physics of weather is exceptionally complicated. Climate scientists make observations and build models to try to explain phenomena. The models are quite impressive in many respects but they are just models.

Very few things in science make it to the level of “law” like Newton’s laws. Laws (in science) are theories that are considered incontrovertible due to a combination of mathematics and empirical evidence. Newton’s laws hold for all large objects in the universe. Even still, they don’t hold for tiny objects like subatomic particles. Einstein’s theory of relativity hasn’t reached the stature of law yet even though some of its most stunning assertions have been shown to be true (for example that clocks run faster away from the earth). And then we have climate science.

The recent controversy triggered by a nefarious breach of university records and emails has lifted the smog that normally covers the back-and-forth battle between climate change proponents and “deniers”. This word is used as a pejorative for people outside the so-called global warming consensus, ironically exposing the whole idea as one propped up by faith and not by science.

The issues are of course quite complicated and the very little research I did on the recent controversy shows that there are questions whether tree ring measurements can be used as a definitive proxy for actual climate data among other things. But most disturbingly, we see disdain of dissension with hints at collusion to discredit publications that were open to skepticism which is essential for science.

There is a lot of dodgy science taking place all around us. Normally it’s not really a problem. But when dodgy science is embraced by the political class to hypnotize the public into accepting new taxes and disincentives designed to control our behavior for the “greater good”, then we must be extremely vigilant.

The details of the climate science studies and models (and their imperfections) are brushed aside and we are presented with lonely polar bears, coast lines that dramatically change and conjecture about wars as a result of the weather changing. What average temperature should we strive to maintain (assuming we could)? Should we bring things back to the way they were when the Yosemite valley was packed with ice? Should we vote on the temperature we like best? What do we do if we eliminate all possible man-made mechanisms for climate change (assuming there are any) in the US and other countries decide to keep moving without us? Or suppose the whole planet followed suit. How would we stop volcanos and sun spots from affecting things? The absurdity of the entire issue leads me to wonder why is the cry for stopping global warming (or cooling as it was believed to be only years ago) so loud?

I don’t think polluted air is good, nor do I believe that we shouldn’t explore alternative sources of energy. But this exploration should not be guided by the government through subsidy or tax because the government can’t know what innovation is the best. Should we allow ourselves to sanction the meddling behavior of the government in our lives and in industry (and the economy) due to the results of imperfect models and imperfect research, the results would be painfully inconvenient. Before pulling that “yes-for-warming” lever, be sure to stock up on winter clothes, just don’t let those in power confuse you with a denier if you do so.

Related Content:

Global Warming and Government Regulations - Austin Raynor
Environmental Tyranny - Austin Raynor
Acknowledging the EPA Glut - Eric Stevenson

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