08 February 2008

Climate Change And Fuels

Nick over at Libertarian Librarian has a post about bio-fuels and how they may be more detrimental to the environment and less fuel-efficient than gasoline. I made similar statements in a post about ethanol back in April of 2007.

In February of last year, Nigel Calder had a piece in The Sunday Times contesting the current climate change theories and noting alternate theories looking at solar activity.

So one awkward question you can ask, when you’re forking out those extra taxes for climate change, is “Why is east Antarctica getting colder?” It makes no sense at all if carbon dioxide is driving global warming. While you’re at it, you might inquire whether Gordon Brown will give you a refund if it’s confirmed that global warming has stopped. The best measurements of global air temperatures come from American weather satellites, and they show wobbles but no overall change since 1999.

That levelling off is just what is expected by the chief rival hypothesis, which says that the sun drives climate changes more emphatically than greenhouse gases do. After becoming much more active during the 20th century, the sun now stands at a high but roughly level state of activity. Solar physicists warn of possible global cooling, should the sun revert to the lazier mood it was in during the Little Ice Age 300 years ago.

Climate history and related archeology give solid support to the solar hypothesis. The 20th-century episode, or Modern Warming, was just the latest in a long string of similar events produced by a hyperactive sun, of which the last was the Medieval Warming.
Yesterday, Investor's Business Daily had an article regarding the concerns of scientists that slowing solar activity may be bringing about a cooler climate in the near future, no matter what the "global warming" scare might say.

In 2005, Russian astronomer Khabibullo Abdusamatov made some waves — and not a few enemies in the global warming "community" — by predicting that the sun would reach a peak of activity about three years from now, to be accompanied by "dramatic changes" in temperatures.

A Hoover Institution Study a few years back examined historical data and came to a similar conclusion.

"The effects of solar activity and volcanoes are impossible to miss. Temperatures fluctuated exactly as expected, and the pattern was so clear that, statistically, the odds of the correlation existing by chance were one in 100," according to Hoover fellow Bruce Berkowitz.

The study says that "try as we might, we simply could not find any relationship between industrial activity, energy consumption and changes in global temperatures."

The study concludes that if you shut down all the world's power plants and factories, "there would not be much effect on temperatures."

But if the sun shuts down, we've got a problem. It is the sun, not the Earth, that's hanging in the balance.
That last bit is what should concern a lot of people. If the climate turns towards a cooling trend, we will have a more challenging time maintaining an affordable food supply, and we will need to have additional resources to provide warmth over the cooler period.

Considering this, I would hope that our politicians would get off of the "subsidize bio-fuels" kick, and start directing those resources towards drilling for oil at home. Reserving domestic corn production for food could be essential if temperatures slide. Also, oil prices will likely remain constant, and if a cooling trend kicks in without having increased domestic supplies, then we will see prices sky-rocket due to need and demand.

If we take these actions and temperatures don't drop significantly, we still will have the benefits of lowering the cost of foods using corn, increasing domestic oil production that should help to at least stabilize prices, and provide us with the opportunity to have more time to focus attention on potential energy sources outside of fossil fuels and bio-fuels. None of that would be a bad turn.


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