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As a devout Libertarian, I know that idiots come in two major varieties: Conservatives and Liberals. Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to imply that just because I'm a Libertarian, I'm smarter than other people or that all Liberals and Conservatives are lacking in intelligence. Many Liberals are college educated, and many Conservatives enjoy successful lives as medical professionals and widely-read authors. But one issue on which both Liberals and Conservatives are blinded by their own prejudices is one of today's most hot-button topics: Global Warming.
While the debate over global warming has been raging ever since Environmentalism was first founded in early 1982, the vitriol has been especially thick in the wake of US President George W Bush's executive order forbidding the United States to sign on to the Kyoto climate control treaty. Conservatives, who believe global warming to be a ridiculous Liberal myth, hailed the move, citing reputable scientists who have issued numerous scientific studies [aol.com] refuting global warming. The Liberal reaction, conversely, was mildly critical of the President. Liberals cited their own scientists, who believe that global warming would be fatal to all life on the planet. Peaceful environmental activists advocated calm, polite methods of encouraging President Bush to reconsider his policies. Liberals have been known to take peaceful, progressive stands on environmental issues, and this one was no exception.
However, the Conservatives are wrong and the Liberals are dumb, which is usually the case on every issue, except when the Liberals are wrong and the Conservatives are dumb. Global Warming will happen if current greenhouse gas emission trends continue, despite the warnings of Conservative pseudo-scientists. Global Warming will not lead to ecological disaster, human extinction, or the violation of "Mother Earth", as inane Liberal-Communist nutjob fearmongers would have you believe. Rather, sound scientific principles, human ingenuity, and old-fashioned elbow grease can result in the forces of Global Warming being harnessed for both human advantage and economic opportunity. I'm here to present a plan that will tell you not only the truth about Global Warming, and not only why the Liberals and Conservatives are both "educated stupid" about the issue, but also about why Global Warming is not a crisis, but an opportunity. Although I am a Libertarian, this is not a Libertarian plan, this is a human plan, and you won't hear me babble endlessly about the liberating power of the Free Market. Global Warming is an issue that exists outside political boundaries, and I will treat it as such.
2: SCIENCE REVIEW
(Scientists can skip this -- please go to section 3!)
The first thing we must do in order to understand and confront the issue is to define Global Warming and understand the ecological factors involved. I don't want to insult your intelligence by making this explanation too basic, so I'll assume you already understand basic climatology, and also, because this issue involves thermal radiation and heat dissipation, I'll assume you understand Isaac Newton's three Laws Of Thermodynamics. If you need to brush up on Newton's Laws, you can read a summary here, and if you need a refresher on the science of climate, you can find up-to-date information here.
The issue of Global Warming is an issue centered around the Earth's atmosphere. According to The Encyclopaedia Britannica (Free Registration Required), the atmosphere of our planet is made up of a mixture of several gasses, the most common of which is (obviously, or else we'd have trouble breathing!) Oxygen. Oxygen is a colourless, odourless, non-metallic gas that's absolutely essential to the biological life process of all animals, including humans. Organisms that require Oxygen to live, including all members of the animal kingdom, are called "ANAEROBIC ORGANISMS," which literally translates to "of air." The atmosphere also contains large amounts of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), an alloy of Carbon and Oxygen that's used by plants. Plants take in Carbon Dioxide and, through a process known as "photosynthesis", break it back apart into Molecular Carbon (C2) and Molecular Oxygen (O2). The plants release the Oxygen into the air, while they use the Carbon to grow and reproduce -- plants are basically living Carbon, and this fact is the basis of science known as Organic Chemistry, but that's far outside the scope of this document. When animals eat the plants, they are eating Carbon. Animals breathe in Oxygen, and combine this Oxygen with the Carbon from the plants to create Carbon Dioxide which they exhale. Hence, the balance of the atmosphere is maintained by the combined efforts of plants and animals -- animals change oxygen into carbon dioxide, while plants change carbon dioxide into oxygen. The carbon, meanwhile, makes up the planet's "bio-mass", the sum total of all organic life on the planet. The atmosphere also contains trace amounts of Nitrogen, but this is used mainly by fungus so it's of no concern to us.
Unbonded Oxygen atoms are never found in nature. Atoms are compelled to bond with other atoms by the Strong Force (one of at least four fundamental forces in the universe, the others being Gravity, the Weak Force, and Electromagnetism) to form molecules. The Oxygen in our air is Molecular Oxygen (O2), meaning that the molecules consist of two Oxygen atoms in a so-called "co-valent" bond, meaning that the two atoms have completed their outer electron orbits, or "valences" by one of the atoms stealing four electrons from the other. This may sound confusing, but it's not important to the current issue. Two other forms of Oxygen are important to this topic: the first is Dihydrogen Monoxide, aka Hydroxyl Acid, more commonly known as Water (H2O). The second is Ozone (O3), short for "Oxygen Zone", a triatomic allotrope of Oxygen that's poisonous to life and is found in the outermost layer of the atmosphere, the stratosphere, which is also known as the "Oxygen Zone".
The Earth is heated by "electromagnetic radiation" (aka "light") from the sun striking the surface of the Earth. When sunlight strikes the Earth, heat is transferred into the ground which begins to radiate up into the air through the heat transfer method called "conduction." However, not all sunlight reaches the Earth. Some of the radiation is reflected by the Oxygen Zone back into space. O-Zone has reflective properties, in fact, the reason that mirrors are reflective is that they are coated with a compound containing liquified Ozone. This keeps much of the sun's heat from ever reaching the Earth. The most advanced statistical models predict that if there were no Ozone layer, the Earth's average temperature could increase by as much as 10 degrees C (18 degrees F, 8 degrees K). The theory behind Global Warming concerns so-called "greenhouse gasses." A "greenhouse gas" is any gas with density less than that of Ozone. In any fluid medium (including liquids and gasses), less dense substances will be pushed above heavier substances, because gravity pull down harder on the heavier substances. Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, and Nitrogen are the heaviest gasses in the atmosphere, so they exist near the surface of the earth. Ozone is lighter, so it exists higher up, in the outer reaches of the atmosphere. The "greenhouse gasses", including many gasses used in industrial work, gasses released by burning of fossil fuels, and the gasses released by burning oil-based products such as gasoline, will rise up above the Ozone in the atmosphere. Instead of being reflected back into space by the Ozone, all of the sun's rays will now be absorbed by the greenhouse gasses and converted into heat, which will be sent down to the earth by the heat transfer process known as "convection." This is what causes Global Warming.
I realize that this Science Review was pretty long and maybe a bit boring, and was probably this site's second most in-depth technical article after Building Your Dream PC, but in order to provide the readership with the respect they deserve, I've tried to aspire to the exact same level of accuracy, reliability, and scholastic integrity that the author of "Dream PC" achieved.
3: WHY THE CONSERVATIVES ARE WRONG
Let's not mince words: Conservatives are as dumb as posts. Especially when it comes to science. Oh, Conservatives have produced a ton of science: the only problem with it is that none of it follows the scientific method, none of it fits with real-world data, and most of it was created by deciding on the "facts" beforehand and then creating "science" to fit the "facts". If you're willing to overlook those three minor flaws, Conservative science is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
However, if you're interested in science that accurately reflects reality, Conservative science is generally a sub-optimal choice. Liberal science isn't very good in that regard either, but we'll save that point for section 4.
Conservatives have produced reams of "evidence" claiming to disprove the theory of Global Warming. However, this Conservative "science" has proven to be about as accurate as the "science" of Spontanious Generation, Ether, Protoplasm, General Relativity, Flat-Earth Theory, Quantum Mechanics, Heliocentricism (the theory that everything revolves around the earth), Craniometry, and Phrenology. Fortunately, formalized Logic allows us to quickly disprove the assertions of the Conservative scientists. There exist a number of "Logical Facilities" that we can quickly use to settle most debates. You can find a list of common Logical Facilities here. Two Logical Facilities in particular allow us to easily prove that Global Warming is fact. The first Logical Facility, Ad Verecundiam (appeal to authority), states that if an expert in a subject agrees with a premise regarding that subject, then the premise is true. Climatologists and other expert scientists believe that Global Warming is true, therefore by the Ad Verecundiam Facility, Global Warming is true. The second useful Facility is Ad Populum (appeal to the masses), which states that if a majority support a premise, the premise is true. A majority of people believe in Global Warming, so by Ad Populum, Global Warming is true. The fact that Conservatives still deny Global Warming just proves they don't understand Logic, which by the Ad Hominem Logical Facility makes them even more wrong! Moses on a stick!
I think I've said just about enough about Conservatives.
4: WHY THE LIBERALS ARE WRONG
Let's not mince words: Liberals as dumb as bricks.
Let's look at some quick facts about the Liberal/Environmentalist class of people that seriously throws their credibility into question:
I could go on and on with this same tack for hours, but I won't -- I think you get the picture by now.
Now, why are Liberals in such a hissy-fit over Global Warming? Are they worried about their precious "Mother Earth" getting a sunburn? Yes, but that's not the only reason. Their real complaint involves the polar ice caps.
According to The Encyclopaedia Britannica (Free Registration Required), the Arctic and Antarctic icecaps are giant blocks of freshwater ice suspended in the ocean at the poles. Geologists estimate that the icecaps contain as much as 5% of the Earth's fresh water, and that melting of the icecaps would cause a devastating rise in ocean levels that could severely affect coastal cities. It's estimated that full melting of the icecaps could cause oceans in some areas to rise to as high as twenty feet above sea level, which in some flatter areas could result in water sweeping several miles inland.
5: WHY GLOBAL WARMING IS A GOOD THING
Liberals fear drowning under the rising ocean waters as long-haired hippie freaks shout out dire portents about how mankind is finally being punished by a vengeful Gaia for driving SUVs. I hate Liberals so much. So very, very much. I've worked out a plan for what we can DO with the water, how we can use it productively and proactively, and how we can make Global Warming the greatest event in human history and the turning point that'll mark our journey to the stars.
Unfortunately, this article has gotten quite long already, and with all the extensive research it required, I've been working on it for over six hours. I'm going to have to end this installment here, and turn this article into a two-parter. Consider this just the intro text; tomorrow night's conclusion will detail in full the ways we'll cope with global warming. Because I believe strongly in the concept of peer review, anyone raising objections to this article will be told why and how they are wrong in part 2. Don't miss it!
TO BE CONTINUED...
"Due to pollution, cars pose a mortal threat to the security of every nation."
Al Gore, 1992, Earth in the Balance
"Cars have freed the American spirit and given us the chance to chase our dreams."
Al Gore, 1999, speech to the Economic Club of Detroit