Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Global Warming Debate

I participated in a Joint Presentation on Global Warming at the Science-Technology Club, The Villages, FL, on 08 September 2011. My friend Bob Miller was on the AFFIRMATIVE side, which maintains that Global Warming due to unprecedented use of fossil fuels DOES constitute a substantial, near-term danger to human civilization on Earth. I took the NEGATIVE side that it DOES NOT.

Our combined PowerPoint chart set is available for anyone to download at Please use SLIDE SHOW mode to view the presentation because some of the charts are animated.

As indicated in the second graphic above, the debate follows the traditional 1858 Lincoln and Douglas debate format. (The photos show Bob in his younger days and me before I grew my beard :^).

The main difference in the format is that an Audience Participation Question and Comment period has been added between the initial presentations by each side and the rebuttal presentations.

To keep this debate on track, and prevent it from degenerating into a pointless argument about whether the so-called "Greenhouse effect" is real (it is), whether the Earth has been warming over the past century (it has) and, whether humans have any role in that warming (we do), both participants have agreed to the stipulations listed in the third graphic.

In short, we both agree that the "Greenhouse Effect" is real and rising CO2 levels do contribute to that effect, that it has indeed warmed, and that humans actions have some responsibility for the warming.

That leaves the much more important questions for debate:

  • How much has the Earth actually warmed over the past century?
  • How much of that is due to human activities, primarily rising CO2 levels?
  • Does the temperature rise pose any substantial, near-term danger to human civilization?
  • What, if any, drastic action is required to ameliorate human-caused Global Warming?

Ira Glickstein


dougcjr said...

Seems as though I'm the first poster. If the ideas on planet warming or cooling could be left to the scientific arena and keep the governmental establishments out of the discussion, maybe some real science would come forth.
It is sad when the studies and papers are cooked just to ensure funding for those driven only by the dollar.

Ira Glickstein said...

dougcjr, THANKS for your comment, and I agree.

ALL: Please feel free to make comments on this topic, and they can, of course, be longer than dougcjr's and may even take a view closer to Bob Miller's than mine.

Ira Glickstein

Gerry Eddy said...

I probably am a CO2 climate change believer, BUT there is a Dane, Henrik Svensmark, who is a highly credible physicist and professor at the Denmark Technical University who paints an alternate picture. He says, "Enjoy global warming while you can, because it's going to get much colder."

He claims that we are entering a period of sunspot minimum much like the Maunder minimum of the 1600's which coincided with the so called "little ice age" that produced snowfalls on London during July in that era.

Svensmark claims that the absence of sunspots reduces the magnetic field surrounding our solar system. That, in turn, allows more cosmic rays to enter earth's atmosphere. Cosmic rays produce more clouds. More clouds means less sunlight striking earth.

We may not know whether Svensmark is right for another decade or two. However, he claims that if you use a 3 to 5 year moving average of temperature changes instead of the 10 to 20 year moving average, the earth is getting cooler.

You can read an article he wrote at:

Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks Gerry and here is a clickable link to the Svensmark item you recommend:

I happen to be a Guest Contributor at that site, Watts Up With That?, the world's most viewed climate site and voted best Science Blog this year. You can see my postings if you click here.

You say you are "a CO2 climate change believer" as am I. In other words, we both accept the science that increased levels of atmospheric CO2 will (ALL ELSE BEING EQUAL) result in warmer temperatures, on average, than there would be given lower levels of CO2. As I tried to make clear in my presentation (see My PowerPoint Charts) humans are responsible for at least half of the recent CO2 increase, and, though temperatures have leveled off for the past 15 years, CO2 continues to increase linearly. That, it seems to me, proves that ALL ELSE IS NOT EQUAL, and that Natural Processes, not under human control or influence, are responsible for most of the temperature rise since 1880.

I support Svensmark's theory and hope it turns out to be true. However, if it is true, and we do get a series of three or more low activity sunspot cycles, my grandchildren and their (as yet unborn) children may be in for a bad dose of Global Cooling, and be thankful for our CO2 contribution in the warming direction. One of my charts showed how our current Solar cycle appears to be headed for a peak of 60 (compared to the previous one that peaked at 120). Let us hope the cycles that follow are on the low side, to counteract warming, but that they are higher than 60 so our descendants are spared extreme cooling that occurred most recently during the Little Ice Age (1550-1650) and the Dark Ages (450-950).

Ira Glickstein

Gerry Eddy said...

Hi Ira,

I'm not quite sure what the quote below from, Science On-line, means, but it suggests that the Greenland ice cap is safe, depending on what the climate does in the next few decades.

I still think Svensmark is on to something, but few climatologists have joined his parade.

Taking Greenland's Temperature

H. Jesse Smith
The climate warming that has occurred over the past century in Greenland has been much more pronounced than the concurrent hemispheric or global average temperature increases as a whole. Such a large and rapid local rise in temperature has raised considerable concern about effects on the Greenland ice sheet and sea level more broadly, and questions about how much of the temperature rise is natural and how much has been caused by humans. Kobashi et al. construct a proxy record for Greenland surface air temperature over the past 4000 years, using argon and nitrogen isotopic ratios from air bubbles occluded in the ice, in order to establish useful estimates of the natural variability of temperature there. They find that the current decadal mean temperature has not exceeded the highest values of the past 4 millennia, which occurred during the Holocene Thermal Maximum, but that the temperature can be expected to rise above those values before the year 2100 if the projections of climate models are correct.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 38, L21501 (2011).