Introduction to Geological Perspectives of Global Climate Change*
Lee C. Gerhard1
Search and Discovery Article #70030 (2007)
Posted January 25, 2007
*Adapted from presentation at the Tulsa Geological Society meeting, November 14, 2006
1Lawrence, Kansas; Director Emeritus, Kansas Geological Survey ([email protected])
History has seen many memorable public confrontations between belief systems and science data. Despite the scientific merit of the data, belief systems are powerful endemic and forces against which science must struggle. Some modern examples are evolution and global climate change.
In both cases, complexity is added to the debates because scientists bring their own belief systems to the controversy. Although the scientific observations and information make a scientifically correct conclusion clear with respect to both evolution and global climate change, belief systems drive media, politics, and group thinking, keeping alive a debate that has no further useful purpose, but which distracts governments and the people from mitigating the effects of natural processes and enhancing public education.
Much of problem lies in the resurgence of a new cycle of anthropocentrism that started in the 1960’s with the “me” generation. It did not take very long for anthropocentric self-flagellation to begin and identify human beings as the cause of all things “bad.” The next step was inexorable and led to the worship of the “state of nature” without any human beings as the ultimate good.
The United Nations, a political organization, is the acknowledged leader in the argument that human beings are the cause of global climate change as a result of their use of fossil fuels.
The mission of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations organization, is not to study causes of climate change, but to document only one cause, human impacts on climate. This kind of mandate validates the recent quote from geologist, Dr. Peter Flawn (2006), President Emeritus of the University of Texas, Austin:
"All geologists early in their careers are introduced to solving problems through multiple working hypotheses - of deriving solutions from the data rather than, as is common among some social scientists, settling upon a solution consistent with the reigning theory and supporting it with data selectively chosen."
This presentation documents the current state of scientific information about climate change. The substantial credible scientific evidence establishes that a number of popular assumptions and hypotheses cannot be supported and in some cases are demonstrably false.
Human emissions of carbon dioxide are a significant driver of climate. They are not.
Climate change rates and the global warming of today are unprecedented. They are not.
However, the data does support a number of less popular hypotheses:
Climate naturally changes constantly, from warmer to cooler and cooler to warmer, and at many levels of intensity over time at many scales.
- Variation in Solar activity closely correlates with global temperature variations, suggesting that the amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the earth is a primary climate driver at the time scale of decades to millennia.
Climate changes constantly.
Little or no correlation between CO2 concentration and temperature change.
Natural processes are the most significant climate drivers.
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