Category Archives: Radio

Romney Gets Feisty

Over the weekend, Mitt Romney entered into a heated discussion with Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson. The interview started to get heated when Mickelson pressed Romney on his former pro-choice stance and how it correlates to Mormonism. For Romney, who is usually very structured and, almost, scripted in everything he says, this is one of the few times that we will get to see him this exposed and it is wonderfully refreshing. I, for one, loved seeing this. He stood up for what he believes, he would not cower or skirt the questions posed. He was absolutely right to say that it is not his place to discuss the LDS Church’s stance on abortion. He was right when he said that simply being pro-choice does not subject one to Church discipline. In no way is/was Romney distancing himself from the Church. One of the things the Church prides itself on is “teaching correct principles and allowing the people to govern themselves.” People have the right to choose what to believe, the Church will not punish/discipline an individual for personal belief. The church disciplines members for their actions. There is nothing wrong in the Church’s eyes for one to be pro-choice, there is something wrong if one participates in the carrying out of an abortion (with the exception of incest, rape, or the life of the mother is in jeopardy).

Where Romney hit a home run was when he said, “You do not understand my faith like I do, so give me for the moment, the benefit of the doubt that having been a leader in my Church, a Bishop and a Stake President, I understand my Church better than you do…” And then he procedes to explain the Church’s position. He was bold, steadfast, and unshakable. He refused to both distance himself from the Church and to apologize for his and the Church’s stances on abortion.

For those of you who are not too familiar with the Church, the office of a Stake President is a high office in the Church. The Stake President is responible for a specified region of the Church, it usually makes up 8-14 different congregation. In Utah the geographic area of a stake may be a neighborhood, but in the East, say Boston or Annapolis (the Stake I belong too), the areas are quite larger. Not just anyone becomes a Stake President, in order to be called to this position one must have extremely strong leadership abilities, understand church doctrines, be a local representative of the Church, and be completely worthy and have a high moral character. Stake Presidents usually know what they are talking about. Mitt Romney having been a stake president more than qualifies him as being an expert on Church doctrine, practices, and standards. He certainly understands the doctrines and intricacies of the Church better than Mr. Mickleson.

All in all, Romney was spot on and it was healthy for the electorate to see this. It shows him off the cuff and demonstrates his skills, education, and communication abilities. While there may be a few people who are put off by this, I think that ultimately it will help Romney by making him more human and real in the eyes of the voters.

1 Comment

Filed under Abortion, Christian, Christianity, Conservative, Democrats, Doctrine, Election 2008, Family, LDS, Liberal, Liberalism, Media, Mitt Romney, Mormon, Mormonism, People, Politics, Progress, Progressive, Radio, Religion, Republicans, Romney

Is Ron Paul just Michael Moore in GOP clothing?

“Why not Ron Paul?”  That is a question that is asked all over the web by his army of supporters.  They argue that he is the only candidate that follows the constitution and is the most honest candidate in the race.  Well, the answer to “why not Ron Paul?”  is simple: He is a scrawny, less loud-mouthed, and GOP version of Michael Moore.   On the Alex Jones radio show Paul said that America is in “great danger” of our government staging a terrorist attack to essentially provide a public diversion from Iraq.   

This completely removes any legitimacy he may have had as a GOP candidate for President.  I recognize that President Bush is not perfect and things are not well in Iraq, but there is no way the President would ever allow something like that to happen, and for a GOP candidate and congressman to enter the realm of conspiracy theorists with the likes of Moore and Cindy Sheehan makes Paul even more irrelevant than he was before.

In the interview he also added that there is “an orchestrated effort to blame the Iranians for everything that has gone wrong in Iraq.”   The first mistake Paul made here is using the word “everything,” I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he only used that word because of circumstances, in the same way that many of us use it in debate forums while not actually meaning everything, but most.  If he does believe our government blames everything bad in Iraq on Iran, he simply is ignorant and unfit to lead.  The Government has said nothing more than that the Iranians are continuing to support many of the insurgents and to have an active presence in Iraqi politics.  Now, if there is one thing that I consider myself an expert on, it is Iran.   Iran has had the intention since 1979 to spread the Islamic Revolution across the world and now recognizes an exceptional opportunity to expand their influence and revolution in Iraq (and Afghanistan).  There is zero objective argument that can be made that Iran is NOT having a huge negative impact on Iraqi security and stability.   It seems to me that Ron Paul, because of his personal vitriol for Bush, has allowed emotion and irrationality to cloud his mind and as a result, will simply give Iran a pass because the Bush administration accused them of such actions. Here is betting that if the claims about Iran were first made by, say, a Jim Webb or even a Pelosi and then Bush denied it, Paul would be attacking Bush for NOT confronting the real threat, Iran.   This is what happens when people fail to look at a situation as it is and are so wrapped up in frustration and anger at Bush that they begin to believe that such a leader can do nothing right, is in an inherent liar, and thus, everthing he says is wrong no matter how right he may be.  This is where Moore, Sheehan, and Pelosi have been for at least the last 4 years and it is now where Ron Paul has gone also.

(Note: I have been planning to write a general column on Ron Paul and why I don’t support him for a while now, I will try to have that out in the next week, depending on other circumstances in the news.  Mary, I expect you to read it!)

19 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan, Anti-War, Army, Cindy Sheehan, Congress, Conservative, Democrats, Election 2008, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, Iraq / Military, Liberal, Liberalism, Media, Michael Moore, Military, Politics, Progress, Progressive, Radio, Republicans, Ron Paul, Terror, terrorism

The Case for Staying in Iraq, Part I

I am convinced more than ever that we need to maintain the course we are on in Iraq or at the least, keep an active and large presence of US troops there.  Last night my wife and I were flipping through channels and we were sucked into a PBS special on the Iraq War.  Most of it felt like there was a negative slant, but at least PBS (or whoever produced it) seemed to at least try to be objective.  During and following the show my wife, who isn’t really into politics and world affairs like I am, was very intrigued and we entered into a long discussion on the situation there and the politics of Iraq in this country, including the anti-war movement.  It was really fun to talk about it with her, and I told her I would write about our discussion today.

So in this installment I simply want to highlight Michael Yon’s latest column on Iraq. He says it better than I could.  In part II or III (if necessary), I will really get into the meat of my arguments in support of our current efforts in Iraq and why we cannot bring the troops home too soon.

The big news on the streets today is that the people of Baqubah are generally ecstatic, although many hold in reserve a serious concern that we will abandon them again. For many Iraqis, we have morphed from being invaders to occupiers to members of a tribe. I call it the “al Ameriki tribe,” or “tribe America.”

I’ve seen this kind of progression in Mosul, out in Anbar and other places, and when I ask our military leaders if they have sensed any shift, many have said, yes, they too sense that Iraqis view us differently.  In the context of sectarian and tribal strife, we are the tribe that people can—more or less and with giant caveats—rely on.

Most Iraqis I talk with acknowledge that if it was ever about the oil, it’s not now. Not mostly anyway.  It clearly would have been cheaper just to buy the oil or invade somewhere easier that has more.  Similarly, most Iraqis seem now to realize that we really don’t want to stay here, and that many of us can’t wait to get back home.  They realize that we are not resolved to stay, but are impatient to drive down to Kuwait and sail away. And when they consider the Americans who actually deal with Iraqis every day, the Iraqis can no longer deny that we really do want them to succeed. But we want them to succeed without us.  We want to see their streets are clean and safe, their grass is green, and their birds are singing.  We want to see that on television.  Not in person.  We don’t want to be here.  We tell them that every day.  It finally has settled in that we are telling the truth.

Now that all those realizations and more have settled in, the dynamics here are changing in palpable ways.

One of the key elements that I see in this is consistent progress in Iraq – Mosul, Anbar, now Baquba.  Slowly and surely we are beginning to see the domino effect that we hoped to see in 2003.  Considering how (relatively) stabilized the norther Kurdish areas, the southern provinces are, and the progress of many of the central provinces surrounding Baghdad are making, there is reason to be optimistic for real success and victory if we American’s can just keep our emotions in check and our eye on the big picture (this issue of emotions is HUGE and will be addressed in a subsequent entry).

Yon continues:

And so on 05 July, or D + 16, after the meeting, Iraqi leaders including the Deputy Governor of Diyala, and also Abdul Jabar, one of the Provincial chair holders, headed to some of the most dangerous areas in Baqubah on what Americans would call “a meet and greet.” At first the people seemed hesitant, but when they saw Iraqi leaders–along with members of their own press–asking citizens what they needed, each place we stopped grew into a festival of smiles.

The people were jubilant. None of the kids–and by the end of the day there were hundreds–asked me for anything, other than to take their photos. These were not the kids-made-brats by well-meaning soldiers, but polite Iraqi kids in situ, and the cameras were like a roller coaster ride for them. The kids didn’t care much for the video; they wanted still photos taken. While the kids were trying to get me to photograph them, it was as if the roller coaster was cranking and popping up the tracks, but when I finally turned the camera on them–snap! –it was as if the rollercoaster had crested the apex and slipped into the thrill of gravity. Of course, once the ride ended, it only made some clamor for more. Iraqi kids that have not been spoiled by handouts are the funniest I have seen anywhere.

 American soldiers just watched, but during one of the impromptu stops, an Iraqi man who might have been 30-years-old came up and said that he’d been beaten up by soldiers from the 5th Iraqi Army. He had the marks on his face to lend initial credence.  But most striking was that he hadn’t gone to the Iraqi leaders, nor did he come to the man with the camera and note pad. He did what I see Iraqis increasingly doing: he went to the local sheik of “al Ameriki tribe.”  In this case, the sheik was LTC Fred Johnson.  (Note: I have not heard anyone calling the American commanders sheiks, but during meetings around Iraq, American officers often preside like sheiks and with sheiks.)

More and more Iraqis put their trust in Americans as arbiters of justice. The man said he was afraid to complain to Iraqi officials because he might get killed, but he wanted to tell LTC Johnson, who listened carefully. When the man pleaded for anonymity, Johnson said he needed written statements from witnesses. The man pointed to some witnesses, and then disappeared and came back with statements, and I can say from my own eyes that Johnson was careful with those statements, guarding them until he could get alone with an Iraqi general later on 05 July.

On D +1 and for those first few days of Operation Arrowhead Ripper, the Iraqi leaders seemed mostly inert. But now on D+16, only about two weeks later, they are out politicking, showing their faces in public, letting the people know they are in charge.  And, unlike the tired cliché of a politician in a parade, they truly have been working behind the scenes. I know because I sit in on the meetings, and listen to the progress reports as items on the lists get checked off. I hear the whining as each section of Baqubah seems to think they are the forgotten ones. “Why the Sunni getting help first?” They ask. But then in another neighborhood, “Why the Shia getting help first?” But I watch the sausage-making.  LTC Johnson will say, “Mike, c’mon.  It’s time to make suasage and you need to see this.”  It’s messy and frustrating.  But food shipments have resumed to Baqubah after 10 months of nothing.  Not that Diyala Province is starving: Diyala is, after all, Iraq’s breadbasket.

 

The efforts highlighted here are indicative of the work that our troops are doing across Iraq.   We are even working on creating situations like this in the most dangerous areas of Iraq, places like Sadr City.  Obviously there are still plenty of problems in Iraq, for instance the political leadership is mediocre and as stable as house of cards at best, but at least there is political leadership.  It seems as though the Iraqi people are finally realizing that we want them to succeed, we want to help them succeed, but we also want to go home, so they better get their act together.  They are! So, let’s utilize a little more patience and have some rational thinking and the U.S. may come out of Iraq as heroes rather than as villains.

(note:  In the rest of Yon’s article it discuss how it is known that Al’Qaeda is attacking the Iraqis and he also has some wonderful pictures of Iraqi children in Baquba)

1 Comment

Filed under 9/11, Air Force, American History, Army, Congress, Conservative, Democrats, Election 2008, Fred Thompson, Genocide, Hillary Clinton, History, Iraq, Iraq / Military, Law, Liberal, Liberalism, Media, Military, Navy, Politics, Progress, Progressive, Radio, Republicans, Senate, Terror, terrorism

Why I support Mr. Fix It for President

I was not planning to post on this yet, but I just read an article from CNN Money that basically gives every reason while I whole heartedly support Mitt Romney for President. In fact I think he is the best Presidential candidate since 1984, the last time Reagan ran.

The Republican’s Mr. Fix it – CNN Money

If there is anything in the country that needs to be fixed it is the government. Romney business record and acumen and his enjoyment of delving into data is exactly what this country needs and makes him the antithesis of President Bush. Sure, he can be a little TOO business like, in moments that is less than ideal and people will hold that against him, but that hardly is a reasonable argument against his candidacy. Like any candidate since the inception of this country, he is far from perfect and I do not agree with him on everything and have some of my own criticisms. But that being said, he is still one of the best candidates we have seen in a long time and, more importantly, would restore international respect to a country who has seen it erode in the last five years.

Leave a comment

Filed under Congress, Conservative, Democrats, Election 2008, Fred Thompson, Global Warming, Illegal immigration, Immigration, John McCain, Liberal, Liberalism, McCain, Media, Mitt Romney, Politics, Progress, Progressive, Radio, Republicans, Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Senate

Young Voters Support Obama, Hillary; no way, really?

So young voters aged 18-30 overwhelmingly support Obama and Hillary for President. Wow, this is breaking news..oh wait, no it’s not. How is this news! I’ve seen this on CBS, CNN, Fox News, Drudge, NRO, etc, etc. They all seem surprised. Since when is it a surprise that young people lean left? The writers seem surprised that they support universal health care, increased minimum wage, government subsidies, etc, etc. So, in addition to announcing who young voters support, they add this:

By contrast, young voters aren’t feeling the love for Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson, who were each favored by less than five percent of youths. CBS News reports that, in fact, GOP primary voters were more enthusiastic about Obama (8 percent) than Thompson or even Sen. John McCain.

Again, how is this news? I could have written that exact article without ever polling anyone. Somebody, sometime once said something like, “If you are 20 and not liberal you have no heart, if you are 40 and not conservative you have no brain.”

5 Comments

Filed under Congress, Conservative, Democrats, Election 2008, Fred Thompson, Liberal, Liberalism, McCain, Media, Mitt Romney, Politics, Progress, Progressive, Radio, Republicans, Romney, Rudy Giuliani

Does Flip-Flopping Matter?

Politics is politics, people will do whatever they have to do to get elected. The 2008 election is no different from any other one. My estimation is, is that the only two Presidents not to “flip-flop” in a campaign were George Washington and John Adams. Why? because they didn’t campaign. So why do we make such a big deal about flip-flopping?

Now let it be known, that I railed on Kerry for flip-flopping, so I probably sound like a hypocrite. Fine, say what you will, but at least none of the Republicans have said “I voted for it before I voted against it” and the Republicans are at least sticking to their new found positions, something Kerry failed to do.

Hugh Hewitt, a confessed Romney apologist (me too, by the way), wrote an article precisely about this. He makes some intriguing points that we should consider:

It’s easy to turn a blind eye if someone’s flip-flopping in my direction, but that’s not it. Rather, it’s that at some point, you’ve gotta dance with the ones that brung ya. Said another way, the positions Romney et al. (Giuliani, Thompson. McCain) are taking now, in the most important campaign of their lives, are the ones they’re stuck with — whether they like it or not.After his public conversion and being pilloried as a flip-flopper, do you seriously think that Romney can walk back his pro-life positionwithout destroying himself? Does anyone actually think that Romney would be so stupid as to advance public funding of elections after running as the enemy of BCRA? If Romney runs and manages to get elected as a conservative, why would he revert to a non-winning position?

If you look at history, how candidates run — regardless of what they believed earlier in their career — is how they govern once they win. Conservatives may feel betrayed by George W. Bush but his campaigns were stellar examples of truth-in-advertising. Remember, he got elected as a different kind of Republican who was pro-immigrant and who was more concerned about taxes than spending. How Bush governed is exactly how he ran, except maybe for the nation-building thing (and there was a pretty big change in circumstances there.)

Slippery as he was, Clinton ran as a Third Way Democrat and governed that way.Bush the Father was the mixed bag we expected him to be. Once he became pro-life, he stayed pro-life. But no one expected him to be Ronald Reagan (“kinder, gentler nation”) and he wasn’t. And what you saw was what you got in Ronaldus Maximus.

Apparently they all flip-flopped or changed their views to fit those whom they were courting. Ideal? No, but hopefully they are at least changing their positions to fit ours. It is an excellent point that Hewitt makes that the candidates governed as they campaigned, and that is really what is important. For we pro-lifers, I would rather have someone who once was pro-choice, now says they are pro-life to get elected, and governs and appoints judges as a pro-lifer than I would a Giuliani who was pro-choice, is still pro-choice, and will govern pro-choice. More from Hewitt:

And does authenticity still matter? Yes, it does. But at some point, your basic positioning on issues has to matter too. And primary voters have a right to evaluate that.

We need to start thinking of this imperfect field not as a problem, but as an opportunity. Conservatives, these guys need you. They can’t take a single vote for granted. You should be forcing them to take positions that are more to your liking, because they won’t be able to live them down after running (and hopefully winning) on them.

Amen to that.

Leave a comment

Filed under Democrats, Election 2008, Fred Thompson, John McCain, Liberal, Liberalism, McCain, Media, Mitt Romney, Politics, Progress, Progressive, Radio, Republicans, Romney, Rudy Giuliani

Global Cooling? A new look at climate change

Global warming is a topic that is highly divisive, controversial, and in the fore front of many peoples’ minds. While I do not doubt that indeed the Earth is getting warmer, the argument that green house gases and human disregard is the leading cause of it has never sat well with me. As a result, I refuse(d) to believe the hype. It did not help that the only people I see harping about it as a problem were politicians, left-wing groups, and international political organizations – none of which I have much faith in. It is also troubling when MIT climate professors and other scientists and climatologists attempt to debunk human caused warming theories, only to be ridiculed or marginalized. I tell you, I am more apt to believe the science.

All that being said, there are scientists that can make an argument for either side of the debate. However, the most convincing arguments almost always come from those who disagree with popular perception in this regard. Now let it be clear, I do not doubt that the globe is warming. In the study that I am using as a premise for this article, they mention that in the past Century the globe has warmed .6 degrees Celsius, so something probably around 1.5 to 2 degrees farenheit. I am not even arguing that human factors did not play any role at all. What I am arguing, and it is an argument that I am more and more confident about daily, is that Humans are not the primary cause of global warming. I am convinced that warming and cooling are natural cycles that have occurred over the history of time and will continue regardless of anything humans do. In the Financial Times article that is my reference, Read the Sunspots, they give a great quote: “Climate stability has never been a feature of planet Earth. The only constant about climate is change; it changes continually and, at times, quite rapidly.” It is a great reminder that the Earth’s climate has never been stable, an excellent point. They continue and add:

 

Many times in the past, temperatures were far higher than today, and occasionally, temperatures were colder. As recently as 6,000 years ago, it was about 3C warmer than now. Ten thousand years ago, while the world was coming out of the thou-sand-year-long “Younger Dryas” cold episode, temperatures rose as much as 6C in a decade — 100 times faster than the past century’s 0.6C warming that has so upset environmentalists.

What strikes me about this paragraph is that in one decade the temperatures rose 6C!! And the Earth is still here to tell about it. Now I am sure that many died during that time, but the point is that, what we are going through now is hardly a cause for MAJOR concern. Of course we should protect the environment and be wiser with what God has given us, but lets not get out of hand and try to stifle all innovation and human progress because of unfounded fear. I still have faith in human kind, and especially we in the “West.” Our society was built on innovation and getting the most out of what we have. Everyday we see new ideas and advancements that are smart and safe for the environment, just watch the History Channel’s Modern Marvels from time to time.

The primary argument that this article is making is that the temperature of the Sun determines the temperature of the Earth more than any other factor. Of course it does! In fact they argue that we need to be prepared for global cooling and a mini-ice age more than we do global warming:

 

Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada. As a country at the northern limit to agriculture in the world, it would take very little cooling to destroy much of our food crops, while a warming would only require that we adopt farming techniques practiced to the south of us.

I am not saying that this is gospel or anything of the sort, I am not a scientist (although I do find it fascinating). What I am trying to get across is that there is more than one side to every story, and instead of being the alarmists and worriers that we Americans are known to be, lets be patient, continue advancements to protect the environment (not because of global warming, but because it is just the right thing to do), and make plans to prepare for a variety of possible futures.

The scientific studies part of the article is pasted below for those of you who want to see the process they used to arrive at their conclusions:

My interest in the current climate-change debate was triggered in 1998, when I was funded by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council strategic project grant to determine if there were regular cycles in West Coast fish productivity. As a result of wide swings in the populations of anchovies, herring and other commercially important West Coast fish stock, fisheries managers were having a very difficult time establishing appropriate fishing quotas. One season there would be abundant stock and broad harvesting would be acceptable; the very next year the fisheries would collapse. No one really knew why or how to predict the future health of this crucially important resource.

Although climate was suspected to play a significant role in marine productivity, only since the beginning of the 20th century have accurate fishing and temperature records been kept in this region of the northeast Pacific. We needed indicators of fish productivity over thousands of years to see whether there were recurring cycles in populations and what phenomena may be driving the changes.

My research team began to collect and analyze core samples from the bottom of deep Western Canadian fjords. The regions in which we chose to conduct our research, Effingham Inlet on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, and in 2001, sounds in the Belize-Seymour Inlet complex on the mainland coast of British Columbia, were perfect for this sort of work. The topography of these fjords is such that they contain deep basins that are subject to little water transfer from the open ocean and so water near the bottom is relatively stagnant and very low in oxygen content. As a consequence, the floors of these basins are mostly lifeless and sediment layers build up year after year, undisturbed over millennia.

Using various coring technologies, we have been able to collect more than 5,000 years’ worth of mud in these basins, with the oldest layers coming from a depth of about 11 metres below the fjord floor. Clearly visible in our mud cores are annual changes that record the different seasons: corresponding to the cool, rainy winter seasons, we see dark layers composed mostly of dirt washed into the fjord from the land; in the warm summer months we see abundant fossilized fish scales and diatoms (the most common form of phytoplankton, or single-celled ocean plants) that have fallen to the fjord floor from nutrient-rich surface waters. In years when warm summers dominated climate in the region, we clearly see far thicker layers of diatoms and fish scales than we do in cooler years. Ours is one of the highest-quality climate records available anywhere today and in it we see obvious confirmation that natural climate change can be dramatic. For example, in the middle of a 62-year slice of the record at about 4,400 years ago, there was a shift in climate in only a couple of seasons from warm, dry and sunny conditions to one that was mostly cold and rainy for several decades.

Using computers to conduct what is referred to as a “time series analysis” on the colouration and thickness of the annual layers, we have discovered repeated cycles in marine productivity in this, a region larger than Europe. Specifically, we find a very strong and consistent 11-year cycle throughout the whole record in the sediments and diatom remains. This correlates closely to the well-known 11-year “Schwabe” sunspot cycle, during which the output of the sun varies by about 0.1%. Sunspots, violent storms on the surface of the sun, have the effect of increasing solar output, so, by counting the spots visible on the surface of our star, we have an indirect measure of its varying brightness. Such records have been kept for many centuries and match very well with the changes in marine productivity we are observing.

In the sediment, diatom and fish-scale records, we also see longer period cycles, all correlating closely with other well-known regular solar variations. In particular, we see marine productivity cycles that match well with the sun’s 75-90-year “Gleissberg Cycle,” the 200-500-year “Suess Cycle” and the 1,100-1,500-year “Bond Cycle.” The strength of these cycles is seen to vary over time, fading in and out over the millennia. The variation in the sun’s brightness over these longer cycles may be many times greater in magnitude than that measured over the short Schwabe cycle and so are seen to impact marine productivity even more significantly.

Our finding of a direct correlation between variations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate indicators (called “proxies”) is not unique. Hundreds of other studies, using proxies from tree rings in Russia’s Kola Peninsula to water levels of the Nile, show exactly the same thing: The sun appears to drive climate change.

However, there was a problem. Despite this clear and repeated correlation, the measured variations in incoming solar energy were, on their own, not sufficient to cause the climate changes we have observed in our proxies. In addition, even though the sun is brighter now than at any time in the past 8,000 years, the increase in direct solar input is not calculated to be sufficient to cause the past century’s modest warming on its own. There had to be an amplifier of some sort for the sun to be a primary driver of climate change.

Indeed, that is precisely what has been discovered. In a series of groundbreaking scientific papers starting in 2002, Veizer, Shaviv, Carslaw, and most recently Svensmark et al., have collectively demonstrated that as the output of the sun varies, and with it, our star’s protective solar wind, varying amounts of galactic cosmic rays from deep space are able to enter our solar system and penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere. These cosmic rays enhance cloud formation which, overall, has a cooling effect on the planet. When the sun’s energy output is greater, not only does the Earth warm slightly due to direct solar heating, but the stronger solar wind generated during these “high sun” periods blocks many of the cosmic rays from entering our atmosphere. Cloud cover decreases and the Earth warms still more.

The opposite occurs when the sun is less bright. More cosmic rays are able to get through to Earth’s atmosphere, more clouds form, and the planet cools more than would otherwise be the case due to direct solar effects alone. This is precisely what happened from the middle of the 17th century into the early 18th century, when the solar energy input to our atmosphere, as indicated by the number of sunspots, was at a minimum and the planet was stuck in the Little Ice Age. These new findings suggest that changes in the output of the sun caused the most recent climate change. By comparison, CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet’s climate on long, medium and even short time scales.

In some fields the science is indeed “settled.” For example, plate tectonics, once highly controversial, is now so well-established that we rarely see papers on the subject at all. But the science of global climate change is still in its infancy, with many thousands of papers published every year. In a 2003 poll conducted by German environmental researchers Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, two-thirds of more than 530 climate scientists from 27 countries surveyed did not believe that “the current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases.” About half of those polled stated that the science of climate change was not sufficiently settled to pass the issue over to policymakers at all.

Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada. As a country at the northern limit to agriculture in the world, it would take very little cooling to destroy much of our food crops, while a warming would only require that we adopt farming techniques practiced to the south of us.

Meantime, we need to continue research into this, the most complex field of science ever tackled, and immediately halt wasted expenditures on the King Canute-like task of “stopping climate change.”
R. Timothy Patterson is professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Climate, Conservative, Democrats, Earth, Environment, Global Warming, Liberal, McCain, Media, Meteorology, Nature, Politics, Progress, Progressive, Radio, Republicans, Science, Weather