Your Opinion: Fallacies in climate argument
Thursday, April 14, 2011
The Feb. 26 letter headlined “Global Warming is Socialist Fraud” claims that it is wrong to blame extreme weather on human-caused global warming. In response global warming is not really a good description of what is happening, climate disruption is more accurate. Scientists have predicted that increased greenhouse-gas levels would cause more storms and extreme weather.
The writer also theorizes that the purpose of the socialist fraud is to redistribute wealth to third-world countries. In response, it is illogical that hundreds of the world’s climate scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, under the aegis of the U.N. and World Meteorological Organization, would concoct false science for such a purpose. (However, it may be reasonable for big emitters like the U.S. and China to provide some compensation for such places as the Pacific island nation of Kiribate, which is being inundated by rising sea levels, due to melting polar ice.)
The writer also repeats the fallacy that all other greenhouse gases are insignificant compared to naturally occurring water vapor. Water vapor is indeed the most abundant greenhouse gas; however, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have more potent heat-trapping capacity.
Other significant industrial-age greenhouse gases include methane and nitrous oxide (mainly from agricultural sources) as well as halocarbons, volatile organics and carbon monoxide (from industrial sources and vehicles.)
To make matters worse as temperatures rise, the atmosphere has a greater capacity to hold water vapor further compounding the warming and destabilizing effect.