Sunday, May 20, 2007

Geological Perspectives of Global Climate Change

This is a good review of a publication representing a view of global warming from some of the world's foremost geologists, and certainly one the most respected organizations of geologists. For the entire book review, go here:


Archived Book Review
Geological Perspectives of Global Climate ChangeAAPG Studies in Geology # 47

Edited by Lee C. Gerhard, William E. Harrison and Bernold M. Hanson Published by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in collaboration with the Kansas Geological Survey and the AAPG Division of Environmental Geosciences; contributions by the U.S. Geological Survey, March 2001

This highly illuminating volume presents a series of peer-reviewed scientific papers, selected to provide a geological perspective of current concerns about anthropogenic effects on Earth's climate. The selection of papers is both highly relevant and objective. Every effort has been made to present facts, leaving the reader free to reach his or her own conclusions on the likelihood of a man-made climate catastrophe resulting from emissions of greenhouse gases and the advisability of basing international environmental policies on the IPCC's GCM-based estimates of climate change in the near future.

Despite the editors' meticulous avoidance of favoring one view over another, it is impossible not to conclude from the papers selected that the present warming trend is caused predominantly, if not entirely, by natural phenomena. Anthropogenic effects on temperature cannot be distinguished in the present warming, as the planet recovers from the Little Ice Age with resulting temperature changes within the expected range.

The comparison with past climate changes and the analysis of all known climate change drivers effectively deflate the politically-driven sense of urgency to act in order to avoid a man-made climate calamity. Indeed, the book's collection of insight seriously questions whether the concept of man-induced climate change reversal is feasible at all.

The politically-driven perception that action is urgently needed to stop global warming arises from the prevalent notion that Earth's climate has been stable and benign for the longest time and is only now suddenly beginning to undergo ominous change as a result of mankind's interference with nature. This concept is in conflict with the reasoned approach of scientists questioning the need and efficacy of such action. It is not widely understood that climate is never stable; it changes constantly. Politicians are upset about the possibility of a very minor sea level change, and are unaware that only 14,000 years ago the sea level was over 500 feet below what we consider 'normal'.

Since political movements aspire to interpret scientific arguments by majority rule, it may be impossible to stop a nonsensical waste of resources in a futile attempt to alter what in all likelihood is nothing more than a natural change in climate. Scientists are at a loss to explain sophisticated and complex issues to a lay public, as well as governments, who prefer simplicity to reality. This situation, note the editors of this remarkable and very timely volume, may force science to abandon its efforts to explain and instead focus on introducing the least expensive methods of CO2 emission abatement (to the delight of a hopeful CO2 sequestration industry).

This unusually lengthy review highlights some of the most essential observations and conclusions of the papers presented as they relate to the current debate on climate change. The intent has been to present a cohesive view of the purported warming phenomenon afforded by the generous amount of relevant, factual and refreshingly new information provided in this single volume.

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