Climate Change – Fact or Fiction: Global Warming?
Based on the level of interest generated by the recent postings on Global Warming, there may be some value in posting the results of a survey I ran last year in LinkedIn. The survey addressed “Climate Change” rather than “Global Warming.” Climate Change is broader in scope since it includes precipitation and ocean variations in addition to alterations in the atmosphere which is generally referred to as “Global Warming.”
The survey was designed to better understand how members felt towards Climate Change. For the purpose of the survey, “Climate Change” was restricted to that induced by human activities only. Also, as used in the survey, “Remediation” was understood to include governmental controls taken through regulations and laws. Readers had to select one of nine statements ranging from (all nine choices are listed at the end of this posting):
• (1) “Climate Change” is a problem that requires immediate remediation by all countries only if a worldwide accord has been reached.
• (9) “Climate Change” is an illusion and should be taken out of the vocabulary.
General Information relating to the survey includes:
• Restricted to 50 LinkedIn Groups
• Approximately 80% of the LinkedIn groups sampled were “Energy” related
• 38 (66%) of the 50 Groups had members responding
• 1107 comments were received over a period of two months
• 16 (5%) members created a choice >9
• 53 members responded by private Emails
• Additional Responses Received as Private Emails from LinkedIn Member: 53
• Comments filled 369 pages, Arial (10 pt), Single Spaced.
Nearly forty-nine (49%) percent of the respondents reported that they believe “Climate Change” is a problem that requires immediate remediation by each individual country, independent of a worldwide accord. Choice #2
As a distant second, fifteen (15%) percent of the respondents felt that Climate Change” lacks evidence, not a problem and requires no action by any country including the U.S. and China. Choice #8.
Thirteen (13%) percent of respondents indicated “Climate Change” is an illusion that should be taken out of the vocabulary. Choice #9
Combined, about fifty-nine (59%) percent of respondents felt that “Climate Change is a problem that requires immediate action. Choices 1,2,3 and 4.
Combined, nearly forty (40%) percent of respondents felt that “Climate Change” is possibly not a problem and no action is required within the next 10 years. Choices 7, 8 and 9.
Combined, less that 2% of the respondents felt that “Climate Change” is a problem and some action should take place within the next 10 years. Choices 5 and 6.
Similar percentages of 60% and 40% were given by respondents when choices were combined into two groups consisting of those that consider “Climate Change” “IS” and “IS NOT” a problem, respectively. Choices 1, 2, 3 ,4 and 5 (IS) verses Choices 7, 8, and 9 (IS NOT).
The most obvious conclusion of this survey is the extreme polarization of people into two camps of about equal size (60 % vs. 40%)
Reflecting of more scientifically structured polls on this subject, this survey showed a similar trend that a large number of people believe that Global Warming is a natural cycle of the Earth rather than the result of human activity.
See Gallup Poll (http://www.gallup.com/poll/126560/Americans-Global-Warming-Concerns-Continue-Drop.aspx).
With strong and unwavering beliefs on both sides, the challenge is not to change beliefs but to find a uniform path that achieves separate goals for a collective win-win solution. One away is move from “Climate Change – Fact or Fiction,” to “Economics. – Strength or Weakness.” It is useless to argue whether anthropogenic GHG emissions cause climate changes or global warming. However, agreement can be reached by looking at the economics of exporting dollars for foreign oil. The answer is plain dollars and cents and not El Niño, La Niña, unseasonable climate conditions, hurricanes, melting ice, non-attainment zones, etc. For the most part, how much is spent, how much is owed and how much is in the bank is undisputable. Just, “Follow the Money.”
To the extent that the U.S. uses petroleum and other oil derived products, the nation exports about $2 million a minute, $117 billion a month and more than $1 trillion a year for foreign oil (all countries: Persian Gulf, OPEC and Non OPEC). Since viable alternate energy options exist, why is it so difficult for the U.S. to expand usage. Europe and other countries are able to do so. Without exception, continuing this path is economic suicide. Significant reductions in the amount we spend on foreign oil will: stimulate the economic landscape; keep dollars in the U.S. for job creation, R&D, development and manufacturing; and by the way reduce GHG emissions.
This is not to imply that the transition from foreign oil to renewable and sustainable forms of energy has not started. It has but at a snail’s pace. With the abundance of affordable (with a little help from Uncle Sam) and reliable alternative solutions, the U.S. should be moving much faster.
For the most part, no technological breakthroughs are needed to use the vast supply of natural gas under our feet, nuclear energy, domestically made solar panels, wind turbines and adopting across the board energy efficiency measures. The lack of infrastructure keeps coming up as a reason for the freeze on using natural gas as a fuel for vehicles. Had the U.S. allocated $15 billion from the ARRA for natural gas fueling station, at least 15,000 natural gas filling stations could have been built across the nation. By design this would create jobs for land developers, civil engineers, architects, local equipment manufacturers, construction companies, station owners and workers.
It is not so surprising that a key impediment comes from our own government and regulatory agencies, such as the EPA. In some cases, the regulations make it so costly and difficult to adopt alternatives, that cheap foreign oil, remains the best option.
The question comes up “What is the true cost of petroleum?” In simple terms, the everyday price of oil does not reflect many hidden costs, such as the escalating trade deficit, decline in foreign investment in T-Bills, added health-care and protection of our overseas oil supply lines by the DoD. There is also the duality of purchasing oil from petro-oligarchs with regimes, which may conflict with U.S. interests. One can argue with credibility and certainty that our government is subsidizing the oil industry and other sovereign nations.
Finally, in terms of GHG emissions, there is no question that carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride are GHGs. However. water vapor, which is a more abundant and effective greenhouse gas is not generally discussed in the context of regulations. The EPA characterizes water vapor as a strong GHG. However, it is removed from the regulated list on the pretext that water vapor results from climatic feedbacks related to the warming of the atmosphere rather than a direct result of industrialization.
In closing, whether GHGs are the cause of climate change or global warming, is therefore questionable but the simple fact remains – WHY GAMBLE ON THE FUTURE when alternatives exist that result in economic and environmental vitality.
___ 1. “Climate Change” is a problem that requires immediate remediation by all countries only if a worldwide accord has been reached.
___ 2. “Climate Change” is a problem that requires immediate remediation by each individual country, independent of a worldwide accord.
___ 3. “Climate Change” is a problem that requires immediate remediation through a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and China, only.
___ 4. “Climate Change” is a problem that requires immediate control by the U.S., independent of a worldwide accord.
___ 5. “Climate Change” is a problem that needs a worldwide accord before any remediation is taken, even if takes another 5 years.
___ 6. “Climate Change” is a problem that needs a worldwide accord before any remediation is taken by any country including the U.S. and China, even if takes 10 years.
___ 7. “Climate Change” maybe a problem that should be watched over the next 10 years before any debate is taken by any country including the U.S. and China..
___ 8. “Climate Change” lacks evidence, not a problem and requires no action by any country including the U.S. and China.
___ 9. “Climate Change” is an illusion and should be taken out of the vocabulary.