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RE: [cdn-nucl-l] RE: [Rad_Sci_Health] Climate Change and Nuclear Energy: A View from MIT's Kerry Emanuel
Charles Pennington wrote:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org.McMaster.CA on behalf of Pennington, Charles
Sent: Mon 3/19/2007 8:49 AM
To: Ruth Sponsler; ANS Member Exchange Listserv; Canadian Nuclear Discussion List; Rad_Sci_Health
Subject: [cdn-nucl-l] RE: [Rad_Sci_Health] Climate Change and Nuclear Energy: A View from MIT's Kerry Emanuel
The argument is not about climate change - it's about the cause of
whatever global temperature oscillations we may be experiencing.
Some "weather scientists" are committed to conveying their knowledge
that climate is changing or has changed. Others want to tout their
modeling skills at predict the weather. The group that is scary to a
few of us nuclear folks is the one that wants to take the potential
climate change and attribute it to human-generated CO2. The BBC
documentary, which seems consistent with my own tracking of this issue
for almost 20 years, shows that human-generated CO2 just can't be the
culprit of any local or global temperature changes (for one thing, the
ice coring record seems to show global temperature leads CO2 increase,
it doesn't lag it, which means the oceans are likely a big part of the
source). Solar magnetic storms and the resultant wind (which almost
doubled over the 20th century) appears to be the most scientifically
consistent explanation, if, indeed, there is a global average
temperature change in process. And there are, indeed, many scientists
(not a few dissenters) that are more than skeptical about the damnation
of anthropogenic CO2.
The discomfort most of us nukes feel is that we look around at the
people who are supporting the global warming hysteria and we see the
same players that fear-mongered the world on low level ionizing
radiation, ALAR/pesticides, ozone holes, electro-mag radiation, red-dye
number take-your-pick, and all the rest of the falling-sky scenarios.
These folks are dominated by the anti-techs. Does the science support
getting into bed with that group on global warming? To date, some of us
nukes say it doesn't. Yes, support for human-caused global warming may
help the resurgence of nuclear power, but, at the end of the day,
nuclear power is a technology and bad science is still junk. Our support
could hurt the nuclear cause in the long run.
My two cents.
Actually, there aren't very many scientists "that are more than sceptical about" anthropogenic global warming. I participated for a couple of years in an internet discussion run by climate sceptics and have been reading the literature for 10 years or so. The same twenty names pop up all over the place. A few of them publish in peer-reviewed journals, but mostly they write op-eds in the Wall Street Journal, the National Post, foxnews.com, the Sunday Times (London), and testify in congressional hearings run by James Inhofe and Joe Barton -- although not much of this last happening nowadays.
Charles' last main paragraph confirms my point that many on RADSAFE and on CanNuke are saying "I don't know much (or anything) about climate science but I know which side I feel ideologically comfortable believing". The scientific approach would be to start with the attitude that "Even **fill in the name of the politician you most despise here" can be right some of the time" and set about using your scientific training and attitudes to investigate the issue on its merits and on your own.
By the by, "ozone holes" was and is a case where the sky really was falling. It was an science policy issue created by some imaginative scientific investigation by Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina, work for which they shared a Chemistry Nobel with Paul Krutzen. Government policy makers were impressed enough by the scientific argument to get together to settle on the Montreal Protocol, which with its later amendments, will eventually (in 50-100 years) restore the ozone layer to its former condition and take the seasonal polar ozone hole back to its condition before widespread use of CFCs. Fred Singer was on the wrong side, scientifically, of that argument, but he does continue to natter on claiming he was right all along.
Remember, even the environmental loonies might be right about some things some of the time.
A final thought: Rather than RADSAFErs ranting about the IPCC process of having large numbers of scientist periodically reviewing the literature and offering judgments about the "scientific consensus" on various aspects of climate science, they (the RADSAFErs) ought to be demanding a similar process to adjudicate low-level radiation issues and demanding that the scientific consensus described be the basis for government policy.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
These comments are mine and have not been reviewed and/or approved by my management or by the U.S. Department of Energy.