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Monday, March 20, 2006

Global Warming Research Fears: Galileo Would Have Recognized the Feeling

Kudos to the Canadians, as the Ottawa Citizen has published an article about University of Ottawa Science Professor Jan Veizer's new global warming theory.

The article begins:
A prominent University of Ottawa science professor says what we know about global warming is wrong -- that stars, not greenhouse gases, are changing Earth's climate.

Jan Veizer says high-energy rays from distant parts of space are smashing into our atmosphere in ways that make our planet go through warm and cool cycles.

The recently retired professor (he still holds a research chair and supervises grad students and postdoctoral fellows) knows that to challenge the accepted climate change theory can lead to a nasty fight.

It's a politically and economically loaded topic, and as polarized as an election campaign.

Yet he is speaking out -- a bit nervously -- about his published research.

"Look, maybe I'm wrong," he said in an interview. "But I'm saying, at least let's look at this and discuss it. "Every" part of the theory "has its problems," Mr. Veizer adds. "But so does every other model" of how Earth's climate behaves.

Cosmic rays are hitting us all the time. Hold up a penny, and one such particle will hit it, on average, once a minute...
The article goes on to explain Professor Veizer's credentials and more about his theory, including this:
Mr. Veizer felt uncomfortable with the idea that high levels of carbon dioxide alone are causing hot spells. For one thing, he says, Earth would have needed vastly more carbon dioxide than today to change temperatures so much. For another, his reading of the graphs shows that some rises in carbon dioxide came after increases in temperature, not before. And in one case at least, we appear to have had very high carbon dioxide at a cold time -- an "icehouse," not greenhouse.

He wondered: What if something else makes the temperature go up and down?
Something else worth noting about this article: In it, Professor Veizer says, point blank, that he was "scared" to go public with his theory, because it contradicts the popular theory that human-created greenhouse gases are causing global warming.

Says the Ottawa Citizen: "Doubters [of the greenhouse gas theory] tend to be written off as paid mouthpieces for the oil industry."

Professor Veizer held back on his theory for years due to his fear of the controversy it would generate, the article says.

And to think we modern folk believe we've opened our minds since Galileo's time...

Hat tips to The Other Club and Strong World.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:18 AM

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