Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Rare Dose of Common Sense on Climate

At least one of the 2,000 climate scientists of the IPCC -- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- is a climate skeptic. From the Utah Daily Herald, this:
... Tom Tripp, a magnesium specialist from Utah who gave a 45-minute keynote address in Provo at the Utah Farm Bureau Midyear Conference.

Beyond magnesium, Tripp has one other distinction to his name — he is one of 2,000 members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who share half a Nobel Prize, the other half owned by former vice president Al Gore. . . .

In his address, titled "Climate Change and What We Are Doing About It and Is It Worth It?", Tripp said ozone depletion used to be the big scary global crisis, "but that is largely solved and there is some question whether it ever existed. They don't talk about it anymore."

Now global warming is the world's existential crisis of the day, but even that has changed. Since 2002, data proves the world has actually been in a cooling phase, defying expert predictions.

To get around that, the moniker "global warming" has quietly been dropped in favor of "climate change," Tripp said. "Global cooling. When was the last time you heard that in the press?"

"Despite what you may have heard in the media, there is nothing like a consensus of scientific opinion that this is a problem," he said. "Because there is natural variability in the weather, you cannot statistically know for another 150 years. . . . There are indications, there are options, but if you are looking for hard scientific facts, you are still a long ways away."

What most people focus on is data showing that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing over time. Toward the end of his lecture, however, Tripp dismissed this, saying worrying about these statistics was akin to worrying that five people had been added to a group of 30,000 people — the effect is negligible, in other words.

In addition, 700 years ago global warming halted Ancestral Pueblo corn growing, he said.

"Did man cause that change?" he said. "It does not seem very likely."

And if climate change does exist, "many models show improved agricultural output" in the U.S., he said.

Combined, all this "tells me there is not a great crash [of the global environment] about to happen in the near term," he said. "It is important to keep an open mind."

Mr. Tripp shares that half of the Nobel Prize with the 1,999 other IPCC scientists; the other half went to the Most Reverend Open Minded Archbishop Algore.



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