Submitted by George Washington
Preface: I studied global warming in the 1980s at a top university. My environmental credentials are solid by any measure. I have no dog in the climate debate, other than to do what is best for the people and the planet.
The American people are deeply divided on climate change.
An April Rasmussen poll found:
When it comes to global warming, 47% of voters say climate change is primarily caused by long-term planetary trends. Thirty-six percent (36%) disagree and believe human activity is more to blame. Ten percent (10%) are undecided. While more voters have blamed planetary trends since January 2009, this is the widest gap between the two since July of last year.
There is a huge and perhaps unbridgeable gap between global warming activists and skeptics (using the terms the various groups themselves use). Each side continues to make arguments about how the other is uninformed, corrupt or plain stupid (just look at the comments to this article). Counter-productive measures are being contemplated, but we are too busy arguing to notice ... or to take effective action to demand something smarter.
Unless we agree on common ground and demand that our politicians take constructive actions, no positive policy changes will be made and - instead - ineffective or even harmful policies will be enacted.
A Window of Opportunity
A few weeks ago, one of the largest coronal mass ejections ever observed reinforced dire predictions by NASA and other government agencies that heightened solar activity in the next couple of years could knock out power grids throughout many parts of the world and lead to numerous nuclear meltdowns.
Many scientists were also worried that increased solar output could warm the Earth. As I wrote 5 years ago, after explaining in detail the affect of carbon dioxide on climate:
Scientists have also found that cosmic rays linked to global warming are increasing. The sun is simply getting hotter. Indeed, solar output has been increasing steadily ever since scientists have been able to measure it.
Not impressed yet? How about this: there is evidence of global warming on Pluto, on Mars, on Neptune's moon, and on Jupiter.
And guess what? The next "solar maximum" -- the 12-year peak of solar activity -- might be a really big one (see also this article).
However, just this week, scientists from the US Solar Observatory and the US Air Force Research Laboratory have discovered - to their great surprise - that the sun's activity is declining, and that we might experience the lowest solar output we've seen since 1645-1715. The Register describes it in dramatic tones:
What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening.