Global warming or global scare mongering?
Scientists have stepped up calls for greater climate protection, saying that if the current rate of global warming continues, a catastrophic sea level rise of 4m could occur this century. Some experts say the earth has gotten warmer with average global temperatures rising about 0.6 celcius. They blame rising levels of greenhouse gases (GHG) including carbon dioxide. In this CNN report, British chief science advisor David King says studies of air bubbles in ancient ice show current GHG levels to be higher than at any time in the last 420,000 years.
But are these air bubbles in the ice a sign of impending doom? Chief US presidential science adviser, John H. Marburger III, says there is not enough information to be making quantifiable assessments.
Dr Fred S Singer, an atomospheric physicist at George Mason University and founder of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, is a leading skeptic of the scientific consensus on global warming. He suggests the scenarios are alarmist and that computer models reflect real gaps in climate knowledge; his contention is that future warming will be inconsequential or modest at most.
Dr Singer says he believes climate change is a natural phenomenon and cites data showing that the climate warmed between 1900 and 1940, but then cooled between 1940 and 1975. Temperatures then rose again for around five years. An FAQ on the Science and Environmental Policy Project site notes that hurricanes have actaully dropped in frequency over the past 50 years.
Author Michael Crichton has delivered several compelling speeches on the subject. "Fear, Complexity, & Environmental Management in the 21st Century" touches on much of what Dr Singer is concerned about and highlights some key episodes in history where scientists, politicians and the press have driven an agenda of unsubstantiated alarm.