I was in the process of convincing myself to cast a vote for John McCain for president next November when he held a press conference in Oregon that reminded me why I find that distasteful.
The long and short of it is, he panders!
Last week, he pandered to large corporations and agribusinesses that think they have a right to exploit cheap foreign labor and to those who entered the country illegally and now demand to stay. This week. he pandered to the radical sky-is-falling environmental movement adding fuel to its assertion that we’re all going to melt from global warming.
Among the false statements, half-truths or implications promoted by McCain:
- Global warming is the most serious environmental danger we face.
- Greenhouse gases are heavily implicated as a cause of climate change.
- The burning of fossil fuels is a threat to the planet.
- We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short to prevent disaster (he stopped short of calling it a consensus).
- Satellite images reveal a dramatic disappearance of glaciers.
- Polar bears, walruses and sea birds are in danger.
- Global warming will bring endless troubles such as reduced water supplies, more forest fires and a greater intensity of storms.
Yes, the earth is experiencing a period of global warming. This has been going on since the Little Ice Age, but it is far from serious. Yes, CO2 is a greenhouse gas– as are methane and water vapor – so it is likely that man has contributed (some) to the recent warming trend.
Since 1850 – about the time organized weather records began – the earth has warmed approximately 1.4 degrees, or about 1 degree since 1970. Some of this warming is due to the urban heat island effect (it’s warmer over concrete than it is over grassland). Efforts are being made to correct for this bias. Recent measurements from satellites and weather balloons show a much smaller warming trend; they are a lot more accurate than ground-based weather stations located in or around growing cities.
How significant is a one-degree rise in the temperature of the earth? Not very. Scientists believe that the earth has experienced several periods of warming and cooling with temperature variations of as much as 11 degrees. In fact, the earth was much warmer during the Medieval Warm Period that occurred between 1100-1450. There is a reason that Greenland, which is now covered with ice and snow, was called Greenland. When the Vikings settled the area in the Middle Ages, the southern portion was actually green. Also, Earth is not the only planet that is warming. Mars, Pluto and Neptune are experiencing global warming, so the current rise may have more to do with solar variations than anything man is doing on this planet.
The important thing to remember is there is no scientific consensus that the current warming – however slight – will cause damage. Claims to the contrary mischaracterize the research done by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. It is pure unadulterated hype of the worst sort!
No, the weather is not causing the polar bears to go extinct. Animals migrate to adjust to changing conditions – and conditions are always changing. Of Canada’s 13 populations of polar bears, two are decreasing, but the other 11 are stable or actually gaining in population.
In 2005, the “green extreme” blamed Hurricane Katrina and the rash of hurricanes that occurred that year on global warming. However, in 2006, the level of hurricanes went way down and destroyed that theory. Also, current sea levels are within the range of sea level oscillation over the past 300 years, and satellite data show virtually no rise over the past decade.
Yes, glaciers melt during warming periods and advance during periods of cooling. They always have. They always will. However, scientists investigating the retreat of the glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro recently reported that glacier loss in that area was due to other climatic conditions such as a drastic drop in atmospheric moisture at the end of the 19th century. Meanwhile, contrary to claims made by Al Gore, glaciers are growing in the Himalayan Mountains.
To McCain’s credit, he is promoting nuclear power, which is the only cost-effective, clean source of energy presently available. Perhaps he thinks that the only way to get people excited about nuclear power is to sign on to the politically correct theory of man-made global warming. Nevertheless, this should be viewed as nothing more than a cheap political trick.