The Sun, Tsunami and global warming
The Himalayan Times , 21 Feb 2005
I know for sure that one day the ice age will descend upon all of us. It is global cooling that we should worry about not warming.
The day this will happen is billions of years away but the probability of it happening is 100%. The sun is going to run out of the fuels that power it and provide us with warmth. When that happens, in whatever billion years, earth will again descend into - this time - an endless ice age.
However, beyond this certainty, there is not much that we can accurately project about the forces of nature. No one predicted the tsunami. Even a days warning - a believable one - would have probably saved 90% of the 1,50,000 thousands lives that were lost. When we can't even predict a disaster of this magnitude 24 hours in advance, why are we ready to believe pseudo scientists telling us that somewhere between tomorrow and a 100 years global warming is going to occur?
It is that time of the year, when I wish that a little bit of warming does take place. It is cold in Kathmandu, and colder still for those high up in the mountains. I am sure my wish is the same as of those living in Siberia -where winter temperature routinely go 50º below freezing.
Andrei Illarnov, economic advisor to President Putin of Russia, gave a brilliant presentation in Salt Lake City in the US and later on in Hong Kong - both of which I happened to attend. He spoke at length, and showed the gathering of economists scores of charts completely debunking the myth of global warming. Later on I asked him if he would e-mail me his presentation. He sent it to me the next day, and, anyone who wants it can have it from me.
There is no point, Illarnov said, of trying to affect changes in earth's temperature by expending vast resources - estimated in trillions of dollars over the next 100 years - to effect 2-3 degrees of cooling. Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish environmentalist calculates that the Kyoto treaty (to curb warming) would slash economic growth by $150 billion a year to merely cut temperature increase by 0.3 degrees by 2050. For half that amount, he says, we could provide clean water, proper sanitation, quality education and modern healthcare for every poor person on the planet. Rise in temperatures - doubtful at best - even if it occurs will do far less harm than the diversion of cash to protect us from its effects.
The problem is not of global warming, it is of getting funding from government. Scientists who can scare the public by showing a credible threat to our planet can get funding for their research. Contrast this with a person like Andrei, who shows us no threat, and if there isn't one, obviously he doesn't need funding and will not get it.
Andrei did not go back a year or two or even 200 years, he traced the weather changes since the earth was born. He proved, conclusively in my opinion, that the minute changes of a few degrees which people talk about, and we are given warnings of, are nothing new. Nothing is static in nature. Temperatures today are no higher, and, are in fact lower than they have been at several points in the earth's history.
Statistics can lie. They can be made to prove anything. If we want to prove warming, we just have to take a time period which shows that temperatures are rising and then extrapolate it to the next 100 years. If, on the other hand, we have to show cooling, all we have to do is to choose a different time period which shows falling temperatures and extrapolate it. Journalists, in an attempt at sensationalism, do this all the time.
It is evident that we can't predict nature with any certainty. At least, not yet. The tsunami death toll is proof enough. I know that we will face calamities caused by 'acts of God'. However they will come, unpredictably, like the tsunami, and catch us by surprise. Will global warming take place. I doubt it. Why? Because we are predicting it, and foolishly, even planning to mitigate its effects.