Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Global Warming Skeptics

In the current issue of Forbes, Steve Forbes has an excellent editorial about global warming titled "Fantasy Fears". His editorial recites many facts from "Diagnosing Al Gore: Truth in the Balance", which I haven't read in it's entirety but is also interesting.

The premise behind both is that global warming concern has elevated to hysteria and everyone is jumping on board and creating a new reality based on "scientific facts". Diagnosing Al Gore, written by Mary Ellen Tiffany Gelder, is an exercise in dissecting claims made in the film and discrediting them. This was bound to happen and, from what I've read, the article does a decent job and is not a scientific research paper. I know that if you look hard enough you will find information to support any argument so I'm not going to debate the alternative facts in the film or Gelder's article.

What I do have a problem with, and what Forbes and Gelder highlight, is the panic to be on the "right" side of the issue. This has created a lemming effect where everybody follows without asking any questions. Forbes also raises the point about calling people "deniers" who don't believe in global warming and likening them to Nazi Holocaust deniers. This does not serve the global warming cause well at all. Democracy allows people to share ideas and debate them publicly. We choose this form of social organization because it is better than one version of everything coming from the top down. By limiting the debate and proclaiming one truth we overlook the possibility of being wrong or finding other solutions.

While the global warming skeptics tend to be from more conservative political backgrounds and are more business/economic oriented they do agree with one position. Business will be helped by efficiency gains and waste reduction. If these people can get on board with supporting new technologies and methods that reduce waste, promote efficiency and create new economic models then everyone will be happy with the results. However, by proclaiming that the "inconvenient truth" is the only truth then the debate has polarized and any action is now paralyzed.

1 comment:

rgpman said...

I read this article in Newsweek a couple of days ago about major corporations and their plans to derail the efforts to fight global warming. I got pretty bent out of shape.

My anger turned into a desire to do something. This morning I was checking out Google's new "Google base" and came across this article:

The thing I found interesting was not so much the article itself, but the website it was referring to. I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences, with regards to that site, in a way that might move others to action. (BTW: The article in Google base is actually amusing and is worth a read)

I spent my lunch break going through the entire website and, let me just say, these guys seem to have something here. They have a pretty extensive FAQ page that I found very informative.

At first, I thought that it was a joke or maybe even a scam, however, I was persuaded otherwise. In their F.A.Q. page they addressed the fact that there are scam artist that prey on the naive. They actually gave links to the authorities, the FBI and their state's Attorney General's office, to use if participants feel they have been defrauded!

I want it to be understood that I am a skeptic and pretty tight with my financial resources. I am also EXTREMELY environmentally conscious. That being said, I really felt that this might amount to something. Other green skeptics should browse though the F.A.Q. page as well as the rest of the site and see if they come to the same conclusions.

I showed the site to several of my co-workers and they all searched through the site, as well. At last count, myself and about 30 of my co-workers have taken part in their program.

What this organization, the Adopt the Atmosphere Foundation or ATAF, offers is sponsorship or what they call "Adoption" of the Earth's atmosphere. They have divided the atmosphere up into "columns" that are each 400 Kilometers high with a 100 square Kilometer base. People can adopt or sponsor an atmosphere column and become a member of their organization for a nominal, and 100% refundable fee.

There are several graphs on their site that clearly explain what the fee is spent on. About 85% will go towards environmental charities, environmental lobbying, and environmental issue awareness campaigns . The rest is divided up in administrative office expenses.

The thing I thought was so intriguing about ATAF was that they are hoping to eventually register the adoption/sponsorship of the entire atmosphere! I guess they plan to use the registry of adopters as a platform to be heard in the international community.

That's kind of interesting! If the entire atmosphere is divided up and sponsored by environmentally concerned individuals and the concise, detailed records of these designated sponsored columns are kept by an organization in a database registry, the members of that organization would have some real clout.

Even if the only outcome of a massive registry of adopters is a raised level of environmental awareness, than I say, "Good on ya!" to those who've orchestrated such a thing.

FYI: The ATAF website is