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by Pearl Hahn 

How much control do humans have over the Earth’s climate? This is a topic I have covered in a policy paper and commentaries. A reader recently wrote to me to express his concern that it is premature for either side to announce they have an unassailable position based on existing data.

I responded in kind:

You are absolutely right that no one, from global warming alarmists to climate change “deniers,” have a clear picture of the relationship between global temperature and levels of greenhouse gases, let alone carbon dioxide levels, in the atmosphere. In fact, the experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration openly admit that mechanisms involved remain poorly understood.

One thing to keep in mind is that CO2 is a pretty insignificant
greenhouse gas. Water vapor is the most significant in terms of
abundance and contribution to the greenhouse effect. If we are
endeavoring to predict future global temperatures, water vapor, which contributes as much as 70 percent to temperature fluctuations, should be examined in lieu of carbon dioxide (NOAA has said feedback loops involving water vapor are “critically important to projecting future climate change” see noaa.gov).

Is it premature for someone to say they have an unassailable position on the effect of greenhouse gases, manmade or not, on global temperatures? Depends on what the position is. I am a skeptic of Al Gore’s version of what’s happening- the version which is being bought hook, line, and sinker by leaders and the public around the world. Along with other skeptics, I am not disposed to accepting popularity or authority as a substitute for proof of the truth of opinions.

The burden of proof falls on the alarmists, not on the skeptics. Skeptics are not demanding the redistribution of resources, money, or power. The alarmists are the ones who are doing so and as such need to do the explaining. As long as they continue to fail to resolve questions the skeptics are asking, it is up to the skeptics to keep asking the questions.

If you’d like to see the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere on which billions of dollars, all sectors of the economy, and our current way of life hinges upon, watch this quick and fascinating video. This is the total amount of carbon dioxide that over 6 billion humans contribute. This is what we are fighting over.

Pearl can be reached at pearl@grassrootinstitute.org.