A Spiteful Snit Fit
Last December, I wrote a column titled "Black Gold" pointing out that global warming may or may not exist, and if it does exist it may or not be caused by human beings (greenhouse gas emissions), depending on which scientific study you believed. I remained neutral in the presentation and didn't endorse one side or the other.
Soon thereafter, I received a series of e-mails from a fellow on the West Coast who tried to convince me that global warming was primarily caused by humans whereupon I responded with many studies that disputed this contention. His response was always that his experts had impeccable credentials and my experts were quacks.
After much correspondence, which included other subjects as well, he went into a profanity-laced rant and abruptly ended our e-mail debate by writing that I should "eat dirt and die." This column is dedicated to him.
Steven Milloy has a B.A. in natural science and an M.S. in biostatistics from Johns Hopkins University, and a juris doctorate from George Washington University. He was on the judging panel for the American Association for the Advancement of Science Awards and has testified before the U.S. Congress on environmental issues.
In other words, he's a man of superior credentials, although I'm certain the West Coast critic would disagree.
Milloy is also the publisher of JunkScience.com, an online Web site where he refers to the global warming controversy as the "mother of all junk science." He contends that climate varies naturally and the ongoing climate change is within the natural variation.
In his online piece on the subject, he makes several compelling arguments.
The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement among nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent from the 1990 levels by 2012. The United States and most of the European Union signatories have been ignoring it.
Using data provided by those who promote the Kyoto Protocol, if every country complied with the agreement, the average global temperature would be reduced by 0.0015 degrees Centigrade. At this rate, it would take 667 years (and a cost of $100 trillion) to hypothetically forestall global warming by 1 degree Centigrade.
A Russian study showed that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is approximately 370 PPM (parts per million) and compliance with Kyoto would result in a difference of only one or two PPM by 2012.
Former Vice President Al Gore is an ardent global warming prevention advocate. At a political event on Jan. 4, 2006, he was asked if he thought the Kyoto Protocol would work. His response was, "Hell no!" He went on to explain that the main point of Kyoto was to generate international support for environmental concerns.
Gore has produced a documentary filled with inconsistencies to promote his alarmist view of global warming. In it he shows some glaciers that are receding but fails to even mention that other glaciers are actually growing as well. Also, certain glaciers in Alaska have been receding ever since famous outdoor photographer John Muir photographed them back in the 1800s, long before the onset of manmade greenhouse emissions.
The documentary also implies that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide have historically preceded increases in global temperatures. However, a 2005 study in the journal Science reports that the opposite may have been true in the past; that higher temperatures may actually precede increased carbon dioxide levels.
Scientists also point to volcanoes under the oceans, increases in solar activity and other factors to explain global warming. As I wrote in December -- science is like beauty; the truth is always in the eye of the beholder.
Most people are able to discuss important issues in a calm, rational manner, while others prefer to growl and pout. The next time you feel compelled to tell someone to eat dirt and die, you should have a better reason than politics or global warming. Throwing a spiteful snit fit over legitimate differences is immature and offensive.
There are only two things in this existence -- you and everything else. Blaming the rest of the world for your imperfect existence is like blaming the sky for being blue. The only thing you can control is yourself.
Anger is an ugly emotion. It should only be utilized by experts, like preachers and professional wrestlers.
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Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels, which are available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.