May 25, 2006

A Challenge to the global warming nutters

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting This is Myron. Myron works for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Republican think tank funded almost exclusively by companies for (wait for it) companies. What kind of companies? Oil companies mostly, which is why Myron is visiting us today.

At this point you probably think I'm making Myron up. Bitches. Here's his lame bio. Myron is the director of energy and global warming policy at CEI which means that he does 'research' sponsored by the companies he's 'researching' and shills for those same companies. There's a phrase for this... it came up a little in the early part of the decade regarding investment analysts at investment banks and brokerage firms. Conflict of Interest? Does that sound right?

Not suprisingly, Myron doesn't think global warming is real. He and CEI have joined others (including such luminaries as Matt Drudge) in a SwiftBoatLiars-style campaign to discredit Vice - President Al Gore and his new movie, An Inconvenient Truth, which is about (you knew it was coming, right?) GLOBAL WARMING. Part of that campaign involves some lame commercials that are up on the CEI streams site (this one features an adorable little girl and this one is all about why the icecaps aren't really melting). The gist? Carbon dioxide is LIFE. Seriously, since plants need CO2 to live, and plants make oxygen, more CO2 means more oxygen. Honestly, that's really their point and all the established science be damned. The second video uses a little known fact to make the case for more CO2, that the Antarctic ice cap is thickening. However, it's a halftruth

"The Antarctic ice sheet is getting thicker, not thinner," the ad cheerily declares, while an image of a study from Science flashes across the screen. Just one problem with the claim: It's completely misleading. The study's author, Curt Davis of the University of Missouri, was so horrified that he released a statement. "These television ads are a deliberate effort to confuse and mislead the public about the global warming debate," he said. "They are selectively using only parts of my previous research to support their claims." Global warming is melting sea ice and the coastal areas of Antarctica at an alarming rate, which in turn has increased precipitation, thus thickening the ice in the interior. In other words, the melting coasts are making it snow more in the middle. But this is a bug, not a feature. Overall, the ice sheet is losing mass, not gaining it. As Davis said in response to the CEI ads, "The fact that the interior ice sheet is growing is a predicted consequence of global climate warming."

Of course there is the evidence that global temperatures have increased and that most life on earth exists within a pretty narrow temperature range... too hot, the biosphere collapses; Too cold and it freezes. Myron doesn't really care about that, he's too busy making bank.

Given that Myron and his pals think CO2 is such an awesome thing, I have a challenge for them. I want to put them each in an airtight container about the size of a coffin for 4 hours. I'll even give them a fighting chance by placing an ivy inside with them. Then we'll lower it into the ocean. Every 10 minutes they'll need to hit a button that transmits a signal to let us know they're OK. If the signal doesn't come, we'll know they're already dead and just release the coffin, letting it sink. I think Myron will have a newfound appreciation for the dangers of CO2 and bad rhetoric.

Plants do need CO2, however, they also need oxygen. As the atmosphere's CO2 load has increased over the last 200 years we can see that plants just don't grow fast enough to clean it out and maintain the balance. If Myron were right, we'd have plants even in deserts and no problem with CO2. Instead, we have ever increasing levels of CO2 and are in real danger of driving the kind of warming that will make earth inhospitable to plants and, shortly thereafter, us.

You send Myron an email here and let him know what you think of his shilling.

Posted by mcblogger at May 25, 2006 04:12 PM

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