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FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR

AGW: Making Up the “Science” as We Go Along?

Do you ever get the feeling that the proponents of Anthropogenic Global Warming are just winging it?

The mildest conclusion I can draw from the following sequence of news reports is that there is a heck of a lot of science that remains to be done on the subject of global warming, the carbon cycle, and the complex interactions between the atmosphere, the oceans and the biosphere. There’s enough that we don’t know that it is impossible to justify risking enactment of the permanent economy-crippling measures that have been proposed.

Science makes falsifiable hypotheses and conjectures. A religion has articles of faith. My skepticism about the AGW is based on the fact that it is more religion than science. I have yet to see a Global Warming proponent define a set of conditions or circumstances that could cause them to abandon the theory.

Exhibit 1 (Sept. 4, 2005), as blogged about <a href=”http://archive.redstate.com/blogs/vladimir/2007/apr/24/for_peats_sake_worlds_largest_carbon_footprint_revealed”>here</a>: <a href=”">Burning peat bogs add to global warning</a>

<blockquote>Peat bogs set on fire to clean rainforests in Indonesia are releasing up to a seventh of the world’s total fossil fuel emissions in a single year.

Susan Page, of Leicester University in England, said an area the size of Belgium has been cleared and burned in the past eight years, the Daily Telegraph reported Saturday. …

“This situation will only worsen. Although human-activated burning rates have slowed in the last three years, the cleared areas are easily ignited during droughts,” said Page. “These occur naturally every three to seven years and will continue to make the problem worse for years to come.”</blockquote>

Exhibit 2 (Nov. 6, 2008):<a href=”http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/hu-gwp110608.php”> Global warming predicted to hasten carbon release from peat bogs</a>

<blockquote>Billions of tons of carbon sequestered in the world’s peat bogs could be released into the atmosphere in the coming decades as a result of global warming, according to a new analysis of the interplay between peat bogs, water tables, and climate change.

Such an atmospheric release of even a small percentage of the carbon locked away in the world’s peat bogs would dwarf emissions of manmade carbon, scientists at Harvard University, Worcester State College, and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology write in the current issue of the journal Nature Geoscience.

“Our modeling suggests that higher temperatures could cause water tables to drop substantially, causing more peat to dry and decompose,” says Paul R. Moorcroft, professor of organismic and evolutionary biology in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “Over several centuries, some 40 percent of carbon could be lost from shallow peat bogs, while the losses could total as much as 86 percent in deep bogs.”

</blockquote>

Exhibit 3 (Dec. 10, 2008): <a href=”http://www.newkerala.com/topstory-fullnews-56995.html”></a>

<blockquote>The burning [of peat bogs] may have the beneficial side effect of enhancing carbon sequestration in the bogs, according to Worrall and Gareth Clay, also of Durham University.

When the vegetation growing on top of peat bogs burns, some of it turns into black carbon charcoal. The charcoal can sink into the murky depths where it is preserved.

According to a report in <a href=”http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/12/05/peat-bog-carbon.html”>Discovery News</a>, in a computer simulation, the researchers found that if controlled burns were applied to optimize this process, the bogs could absorb 20 to 30 percent more carbon than when they were left to grow naturally.

“The key is that only the top heather vegetation can be burned – what we call a ‘cool burn.’ Once you start burning down into the litter and soil, all bets are off. It’s definitely a carbon source,” Worrall said.

There’s also a risk that a burn could get out of control and turn into a wildfire, devastating the peat.

“This is kind of an up and coming idea,” said Andrew Zimmermann of the University of Florida. “Making what is called ‘biochar’ to enhance carbon sequestration has potential to be used all over the world,” he added.</blockquote>

Computer models:  Garbage In, Garbage Out. They are only as good as the underlying science, and they cannot begin to model the complexity of earth systems, especially when that science is imperfectly understood.

[emphasis added throughout]

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