Here is a pretty extensive analysis with supporting authority about, and a clear analysis of, the distinction between the scientific reality of slight global warming in the last century and the factual fiction of the cause being human-based in large part.
Separating fact from fiction
First, let’s be clear that the current debate about climate focuses on “global warming,” which is not synonymous with the debate about the environmental consequences of the “greenhouse effect.” The latter issue concerns what, if any, relationship exists between man-made CO2 in the atmosphere and global temperatures.
For the record, most reputable scientists agree that we are in a period of gradual global warming (about 0.7 degrees Celsius in the last century), and that the greenhouse effect prevents our climate from becoming a deep freeze. Most also agree that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased in the last century, and there is a growing consensus that global warming is due, in part, to the greenhouse effect.
However, there is no scientifically established correlation between global-warming trends and acceleration of the greenhouse effect due to human production of CO2 — only broad speculation. Although some politicians and their media shills insist that the primary cause of global warming is the burning of hydrocarbons here in the United States, that government regulation of man-made CO2 will curb this global warming, that our failure to limit CO2 output will have dire consequences, and that the costs of enacting these limitations far outweigh the potential consequences, there is no evidence supporting any of these assertions.
I don’t know what is the correct answer as to how much human carbon-based activity has contributed to the greenhouse effect, but I am convinced that there is no scientific consensus on the matter. Some seemingly otherwise brilliant scientists declare flat out that the argument is over, that there is consensus in the scientific community on the matter, and that we humans have all but destroyed the planet. Poppycock. Just read this article and you’ll see plenty of authoritative indication that not all of the science is being factored into that debate. Note, for example:
Case in point: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii has maintained the world’s longest continuous worldwide record of atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels — those cited by global-warming alarmists. In 2002 and 2003, NOAA recorded increases in atmospheric CO2 of 2.43 and 2.30 ppm respectively — a 55 percent increase over the annual average of 1.5 ppm for previous years. In 2004, however, this increase fell back to 1.5 ppm per year.
Did human industrial output somehow increase 55 percent during those two years, and then decline by that amount in 2004? Of course not. For the record, NOAA concluded that the fluctuation was caused by the natural processes that contribute and remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
The article is a good read with some decent references. It’s largely a political piece, but with some scientific meat.
Quotes are taken from Global Warming: Fact, Fiction and Political Endgame By Mark M. Alexander Monday, February 26, 2007, http://www.townhall.com/columnists/MarkMAlexander/2007/02/26/global_warm… (accessed 2/27/07)