In my recent post The Climate Change Pope, Part 1, I provided a brief historical context as to why I believe i can speak to this issue with some clarity from the standpoint of science and mathematics, as well as modeling. I have done my best to take an unbiased look at the data, and have also studied a number of the less black and white issues around the idea of human-caused climate change (which used to be global warming, but I’m convinced that it became obvious that this claim was going to be problematic – nonetheless, climate change is still, generally, used synonymous with a precept that the planet is warming, and that is undergirded by a precept that the warming is caused by humans).
My past history has led me to the conclusion that the theory that humans cause global warming is mostly false. Call it the Diatribe-o-facto-meter. I say mostly false because I think there does appear, in my past research, that over the past few decaded the temperature anomalies ride slightly higher than what is otherwise nicely explained by incorporating cyclical trend analysis. The differential, however, is not what I would call significant. The fact is, there are very long term warming and cooling trends that take place over time. We all know this without being science majors – there have been series’ of ice ages and series’ of warmer ages. One can easily find historical charts dating back millions of years that show these cyclical patterns, determined through different scientific analyses. Then there are intermediate term cycles withing these longer term cycles. Finally, we know of at least two sixty-ish year cycles that take place with ocean warming and cooling patterns. Throw on top of that the solar cycle that lasts a fraction of that time, and it’s easy to see why trying to jump to conclusions by looking at a 10, 20, or 30 year temperature trend needs to consider all sorts of things before you can start talking about what the actual impact of human activity does.
In my past blogging, I attempted to do just that, and my conclusions are that we are in a long/intermediate trend of warming at about 0.4 degrees Celsius per Century. This has nothing at all to do with human activity. From the mid 1970s through the 1990s we were in one of the short-term upward cycles. My analysis showed that we peaked a few years ago, are on top of a wave where temps would be relatively stable, and then start a gradual decline for a number of years before starting to increase once again. I posted this observation a number of years ago and it’s exactly what happened.
My analysis also showed that recent anomalies where slightly elevated after considering these cycles. This could have to do with recent solar cycle contribution, or it may well have to do with human contributions. So I accept a contributory impact. But it is such a small contribution that it cannot possibly justify back-breaking action.
So, moving on from all that, why is this important? I have always felt it is important, primarily, because I think we are victims of a combination of honest mistakes and outright lies. Honest mistakes can be reviewed and debated and corrected. Outright lies means that there is something more to the story. The question is, “why would they lie about something like this?”
And this is where the Pope becoming complicit (I believe with good intentions) is quite problematic. The goal of those who really, really understand the science behind this issue is to promote a particular socioeconomic outcome. Increase taxation, disallow more and more land use, thus reducing private ownership of land (I just read today that during Obama’s 8 years, he has federalized enough land to fill Texas three times – that is alarming and something we should resist greatly), and – the greatest evil of all – to paint human beings as intrinsically at odds with creation and of lower value than planet earth.
In my next, and final, post on this, I will further explain my position. In a nutshell, I am not suggesting the Pope doesn’t have a proper concern in making sure we are reminded of our human responsibility to care for God’s creation. He makes great and humbling points that need to be considered. My issue is moving beyond the more general spiritual directive in reminding us of our overall responsibility and the broad considerations we need to make in all our actions, and moving into much more specific case of climate change and fossil fuels. There is a very real danger in how his words will be taken by many odd bedfellows, and in my opinion not only creates potential confusion but also actually, albeit indirectly and unintentionally, aids in the advancement of evil.