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home : opinions : columns October 04, 2015

2/2/2013 9:57:00 PM
Point-Counterpoint Debate: Is global warming caused by man? - No
Special to the Courier

The short answer is "No." The long answer is "No." No matter the source, no matter the issue, predictions of Armageddon, of the end of the world and of total annihilation, should be looked upon with a very wary eye.

Americans used to instinctively know this. We used to make light of long-haired, robed individuals carrying signs reading "The End is Near." We knew to be aware of such doomsayers because, as children, we were taught ageless fables and parables with morals that actually educated us in life's lessons. Two of those stories that most appropriately apply to global warming are, The Boy Who Cried Wolf and Chicken Little.

Here are some facts: Green house gases make up approximately 3 percent of the atmosphere. Water vapor and clouds make up about 97 percent. CO2 is the gas most blamed for global warming and the one that is pointed to as "man made."

Here's the kicker: only 7 percent of CO2 is produced by man. The other 93 percent comes from natural sources, including termites digesting wood. So, manmade CO2 makes up way less than one-fourth of 1 percent of the atmosphere.

Since water vapor makes up such a large proportion of the atmosphere, a 3 percent change in the water vapor level would be equal to a 100 percent change in the CO2 level. CO2 also is a necessary part of nature. Currently, CO2 levels average about 338 parts per million. If the CO2 levels dropped to 150 ppm, ALL PLANTS ON EARTH WOULD DIE. In addition, the CO2 levels vary at different locations. As Dr. Terry Lovell pointed out to me, a U.S. rain forest on the Olympic peninsula, naturally has 600 to 1,000 CO2 ppm everyday.

A much more likely source of global warming, and global cooling for that matter, is the sun. Astrophysicists say that the earth warmed between 1985 and 1998. Mars and Venus also warmed. What do all three planets have in common?

Only one planet has industrialization. Only one planet has termites and SUVs. Yet, all three planets were warmer during this period. The one thing all three planets have in common is that they are all heated by the sun.

This is a crucial clue that can't be ignored.

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• Point-Counterpoint Debate: Is global warming caused by man? - Yes
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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, February 04, 2013
Article comment by: Ghost Past

Credibility? That would be nice for a change. How about informed opinion? How about a researched position? How about that one of these guys was a subject matter expert? Again, not likely here.

Posted: Monday, February 04, 2013
Article comment by: Buz Hearts Piltdown

Just last May Buz Williams wrote a letter about the great fraud, the Piltdown Man. Buz love to knock scientists and science by referring to how Charles Dawson pulled off this great 1912 hoax. First off, Dawson was not a scientist he had no university degree (alas, Phoenix U. was not born until 1976 and "Greenwich U" of Norfolk Island/Islamabad was just a gleam in some crook's eye). Secondly, he was immediately attacked by many real scientists. Thirdly, Dawson's frauds (he created a second fake) could not be proven fake until 1953, when scientific instruments had evolved (beg pardon!)to do so. Creationists/Intelligent Designers love the Piltdown Man---they use it all the time to show that scientists don't know everything. But the good ones know a lot, and found the fraud.

Posted: Monday, February 04, 2013
Article comment by: An Actual Scientist

I don't argue science with the Prescitt Peanits for much the same reason I don't argue politics with my dog. He doesn't know (what) I am talking about.

The rest of the world is not dictated by grumpy old men, and has already moved on.

Posted: Monday, February 04, 2013
Article comment by: The World Changes

Hasn't the world gone through global changes before, like, before man walked the earth? Well, then, that tells you it's just a natural change and will continue to happen even after man is gone.

Posted: Monday, February 04, 2013
Article comment by: Preskitt local

An example of one of the many misleading or flat out incorrect claims Buz makes in this hastily-researched letter:

"Since water vapor makes up such a large proportion of the atmosphere, a 3 percent change in the water vapor level would be equal to a 100 percent change in the CO2 level. CO2 also is a necessary part of nature"

Atmospheric CO2 concentrations are calculated AFTER REMOVING the number of water molecules in a sample. This simple procedure means that the CO2 concentration data are independent of water vapor concentrations in any given sample. This has been done since the 1950s.

Buz, please read this before writing another letter on this topic and misleading people once again:


Posted: Monday, February 04, 2013
Article comment by: Dear Editor

If you're going to publish letters like this, you should at least require the authors to quote their sources. Forget college- that's basic high school procedure for writing a paper. List your references.

If you really want to have an objective "point-counterpoint" debate, then you should allow both sides to be represented by someone with some credibility.

Posted: Monday, February 04, 2013
Article comment by: guy good

"considering what happened to the dinosaurs, mammoths, and Vikings"

You can certainly argue that the demise of mammoths is at least partly the fault of humans, much like most North American megafauna.

I just look at it this way:

. People have some effect on the climate, the amount is up to debate.
. People, especially 7 billion of them, tear the heck out of the planet in millions of ways.
. A lot of the global warming foofaraw is about continuing scientific funding, egos, and political control under the guise of saving the world.
. You can't design your way out of this box using technology or putting out the recycling.
. The only mechanism that will put the planetary ecosystem on a systainable course is to simply have less people on the planet. We'll probably have this occur in an ugly fashion rather than an elegant one.

Posted: Monday, February 04, 2013
Article comment by: Circus Dog

Appeal to ignorance there Buz, with the Peltdown man example. No one finds the evidence, as other than a fraud, driven by a man who wanted something to be true and was willing to commit a fraud to preserve a belief system.

BTW: the Law of Gravity is a scientific theory. A theory that no matter how many times a scientist can devise an experiment to disprove it, it is never falsified. That is also the same with Evolution as a scientific theory.

Most of us, not being scientist in the field of Climate Change, do argue byway of our appeals to authority. The authority is relevant as to the subject. To argue in an appeal to authority to a person with no relevant expertise is like asking the plumber about your dental problems, or consult a political kook about climate science.

Posted: Monday, February 04, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Van Deck Cites Terry Lovell

Van Deck comments that "Let's all remember that Terry Lovell is well versed in business and economics, not climate science."
Well, to me the most important thing about Terry Lovell, a big climate change denier, is that he appends "Ph.D" to his name---a degree he bought from an online non-accredited diploma mill once located on Norfolk Island, Australia, named "Greenwich University"---a name chosen so as to be confused with England's very real University of Greenwich. Lovell's "old school" has since moved to Islamabad, Pakistan.
You climate change deniers should just use the guys that Exxon bought through their lobbying front groups---they have real Ph.D's, which is why they cost Exxon so much.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: Sheesh Deluxe

Buz forgot to include his scientific source as Angry Guy on the Radio.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: Paula Gize

TO: Common Senzi

The hole in the ozone layer, like global climate change theories, has more to do with politics than spray deodorants, CFC’s and use of fossil fuels.

Both hypothesis are complete lies designed to enrich people like Al Gore, and suck funds from the rubes. The ozone hole, for instance, is a natural hole which appears above the Antarctic at the beginning of October and has disappeared by the end of December since it was discovered in 1956.

Now, since the “Ozone Hole Scare” was proven bogus, it has become increasingly difficult for the ruling reactionaries to cover up the fact that there has been no "depletion" at all of the global ozone layer and that the Antarctic "ozone hole" are both only a seasonal phenomenon.

Thus the same bogus 'scientists' of the UN and IPCC conjured up Global Cooling, and when that didn’t work it became Global Warming, when that was show false the term Man Caused Global Climate Change was trotted out to whipsaw everyone into a frenzy.

It is all a scam.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: a bc

Special to the Courier

I think you could have left off the "...to the Courier" part.

Seriously, couldn't you find someone with a shred of credibility for this side of the argument. Oh yeah, there is no one with any credibility on this side of the argument.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: Bitter Clinger @Victor Holm: People like me

While my first impulse is to simply banter and (easily) refute the typical response of manmade Global Climate Change ranters, I will, instead, agree with a secondary point you made.

Whether the earth is getting hotter or colder (I think neither, but climate patterns are altering), or whether it is caused by man or not. Regardless: There is nothing we can do about it!

Telling third worlders to live in poverty and pestilence seems unwise and cruel, although (truly) "...people like me..." don't really care what happens to them, as long as -if it's bad- it does not happen to me and mine. I am sure left wing liberal types are offended by such a philosophy, but they are hypocrites because at the end of the day such oh-so faux compassionate people don't really give a hoot either.

If the climate is changing, staying the same, or whether it is man caused or not factually makes no difference. None. So the arguement is moot. Debate is uselsess. We must, instead, to survive as a species, continue to burn fossil fuels, have transportation available, and enlarge a knowledge base to support growing technology all this takes energy. Lots.

Sad to say we must continue to consume in order to survive.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: Common Senzi

Yeah, and that hole in the ozone layer ain't real either.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: Zero Credibility

Other than perhaps sleeping at a Holiday Inn Express, Buz Williams has zero credibility on matters of science. If you think he is qualified on these issues, perhaps you also would like to have Buz as your brain surgeon.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@Mr Williams- "The point is that a majority of scientist believing in something is a consensus and doesn't make it a fact. A fact is when all of the scientist agree as with the law of gravity."

That is some dangerously wrong-headed thinking. It does not matter whether the consensus is 90%, 95%, or even 100%, the belief of scientists, or anyone else for that matter, is NOT what makes something a fact. Accurate description the actual state of the universe is the one and only way for something to be a fact, and if it is then it remains so whether everyone or no one agrees with it.

That said, if you disagree with the consensus opinion of scientists on a question of science, your reasons are probably not scientific. If you are forming a scientific opinion based on your political views rather than a review of physical data, then the probability that your theory will correspond in any significant fashion with the actual state of the physical world is quite low.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

Let's all remember that Terry Lovell is well versed in business and economics, not climate science.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: Victor Holm

@Bitter Clinger
I don’t expect to convince people like you any more than I could convince some people that the earth four billion years old. As I scientist I have read all the available literature I have time for, including the IPCC report, and concluded that climate change is real. That doesn’t make me a greenies or a watermelon. It is two completely different things to accept a scientific fact and what we should do about it. In fact I not sure we can or should do anything about it. This may be one problem where we let nature take its course. The main cause of the increase in greenhouse gases is population increase coupled with economic development of third world countries. It is unlikely that they will be able to substantially reduce their emissions. That will likely result in the loss of 2-3 billion people in those counties before the end of this century (not scientific fact just my opinion). By the way for those of you who think that 380 parts per million CO2 couldn’t possible cause global warming all it takes is about 1ppm of HCN to cause death.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: Bonnie McDaniel

I cannot believe the Courier would waste column inches on a climate change denier.

There is no "debate" on this. The science is settled. Human-caused global warming is occurring, and if we don't do something about it soon, the results will be catastropic.

(Refutations to Mr. Williams' points can be found here and here.

Would the Courier grant a column to someone who denies that cigarettes cause lung cancer, or asserts that the universe was created in its present form 6,000 years ago?

I don't think so. It's fine to hold an unscientific opinion, but that opinion should not be asserted as fact when it is not.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: Leonard Conly

Mr. Williams states that the temperatures on Mars and Venus have risen between 1985 and 1998, presumably in sync with the rise in global average temperature on Earth during the same time period. Can Mr. Williams provide us with a source for the study that reaches this conclusion?

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: Clement R.

My observation is that those that believe that man is at least part of the problem appear to be a lot smarter than those who believe otherwise. Nothing Officer Krumpke makes me feel any different.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: Buz Williams

To Susan Lanning: Was it 90 or 95% of scientists that believed the Piltdown Man was the missing link? The point is that a majority of scientist believing in something is a consensus and doesn't make it a fact. A fact is when all of the scientist agree as with the law of gravity. Anyway, the climate is changing as it always does. I just don't trust people who say that the Armageddon will occur if we don't do what they suggest.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: The Bird in Borrowed Feathers

Dear Buz,

I admire you for putting your positions out there for the public to criticize, but this whole topic is way, way more complex than I think you realize.

Your facts here don't really mean much. So humans produce 7% of the earth's CO2. How do you know that isn't substantial enough to raise temperatures?

Why does it matter that CO2 levels vary from place to place?

I tried to find your source implicating the sun in climate change but could not. It would be fair to provide readers with your sources.

Here is a source explaining the role of the sun in climate change and why it is likely not a factor in what we are seeing these days. The writer here knows his stuff, Buz.


Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: Bitter Clinger @ Victor Holm and the rest of clueless greenies

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is a UN collection of partisan political hacks, proven as liars time and again, who are no more independent than Barack Obama and a fellow co-conspirator Al Gore are from the Democrat Party. Get real!

The IPCC is a wholly UN sponsored group of global watermelons (green on the outside, red in the center) like Greenepeace, totally devoted to income socialism, re-distribution of wealth, and cultural re-alignment, with the UN as ruling body, by using non-existent man made Global Climate Change as another excuse to empower themselves, and curtail freedoms of everyone else.

Tell me Mr. Holm, since by your considered analysis we would all be better off to quit using fossil fuels and such, eating sustainable foods (I am sure going Vegan would help save the planet!) and getting on the electric powered 5 mile range Obamabus would make the world a much better place.

So tell us, won't you?, why is Africa, which lives by this very standard you Green-O's just love to tout, not a wonderful place to live, instead of a ceaseless mud hole of poverty, ignorance, disease, and starvation? Hm-m-m-m?

Please do enlighten.

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2013
Article comment by: Hobbes2 aka Sam Brunstein

TO: Please, please

"Who wrote: Let's keep studying and talking about it, and look for win win solutions as time goes by."

My comment to that is, "until it's too late?"

To Bitter Clinger

It restores my faith in human nature to see that denial and conspiracy theory are alive and well.

Ninety percent of the world's climate scientists acknowledge the reality of global warming, but (of course) they are all participants in a huge hoax? As I said, conspiracy theories will never die.

Global warming is happening, the evidence is all around you. And, the mechanism that causes a small percentage of CO2 to contribute is well understood.

As was stated in a post on the "Yes" op-ed, CO2 went up after global warming was already in process. Of course the CO2 went up in past millenia after global warming was happening. The oceans give up CO2 when they warm.

Be of good cheer, non-believers like y'all (and Senator Inhofe) will likely prevent us from doing anything until it is far too late and our grandchildren (not us) will suffer for it.

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