Rep. John Linder, R-Ga, gave an editorial a little bit ago on the hype surrounding Global Warming and even compared it to Eugenics.
Now, I’m all for people combating the morass that is the Anthropogenic Global Warming meme, but if you’re going to stand on the side of science and refute the science of the other side, you have an obligation to get it right.
Linder’s piece is good (not great), because it’s a parallel to another scientific meme that wasn’t truly grounded in solid science. Eugenics, as we can all agree, is a “science” that doesn’t really work within the confines of “science”. Genetics, the bastard son of Eugenics, was actually proven through hard work and the scientific method. Eugenics was fueled by allegory– the Africans didn’t have technology when we arrived, so therefore they are inferior. Same with the Jews. Or the Irish. Or women. Essentially, anyone you didn’t like could be pigeonholed into an “inferior” position by measuring noses, head size, the blueness of the eyes– you get the idea.
Well, Linder’s comparison of the two is OK, at best. Many who support cutting CO2 emissions do so because they see the world getting warmer and think, “Oh my God! I’m causing it!” It’s the inherent guilt felt by liberal America. So they’re out there, recruiting Leo DiCaprio and Zach Braff to combat Global Warming. They don’t really understand the science– they just trust what they’ve been told by the Goracle and Laurie David. (By the way, if someone wants to throw $300,000 at me to make a movie of one of my lectures, by all means, send me an email. We’ll win an Oscar!)
Unfortunately for Linder, there is a good deal of scientific background to distance the idea of Anthropogenic Global Warming from the realm of mere allegory. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that has been increasing in concentration. Man has made an impact on the global climate (how big of an impact is really what’s in question).
So when you pick up the crusade, especially a crusade that’s championed by the likes of Dr. Lindzen from MIT, Dr. Michaels from U of Virginia, or Dr. Legates in Deleware, you really have to make sure your point carries the same weight, or it’s going to end up in the circular file. Most importantly, if you’re a non-scientist writing about Global Warming (like Sen. Infohe), you have to have your material fact-checked.
And that’s why I was so disappointed when I read this from Linder’s op/ed:
Many of you will remember the “scientific” studies 30 years ago about the destruction of the ozone layer, particularly at the poles, that would reduce the atmosphere’s ability to stop infrared rays from the sun. We would see increasing incidence of skin cancer and increasing temperatures. It was theorized that this was caused by the increased production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that were used — as Freon — in refrigeration units.
Infrared rays? Come on, John. Any 6th grader can tell you that ozone blocks UV radiation from the sun, not infrared. And to inject this into your article simply invalidates your entire premise because it’s obvious you don’t know what you’re talking about.
If you’re going to make a foray into the argument, you have to make it not only with conviction (which you have), but with ammunition. And by stating IR rays break down ozone, well, you’re just shooting blanks.