Global Warming

I note your editorial comment regarding climate warming ("Global Warming: A Lot of Hot Air?" by Michael Weil, Weil I'm Thinking of It ..., November 2011, http://bit.ly/Weil_1111), in particular, "Much of the data used to come to this conclusion is based on ... modeling."

I am distressed to see an editorial comment demonstrating complete ignorance of the science, in particular the peer-reviewed evidence from James Hanson that the science is based on empirical evidence, not modeling.

You are, of course, free to comment on any issue based on whatever limited understanding you have of it, but when the fate of civilization hangs in the balance, ignorance is no excuse.
Rene Ballard

Good column in the November issue. Recently, controversy has surrounded the report by Prof. Richard Muller and the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project team that, "Global warming has not stopped, and skeptics are proven wrong." Attached is a letter I wrote to my local newspaper refuting the professor's claims (http://bit.ly/DoughertyLetter). Also attached is a blog from The Telegraph questioning the professor's analysis (http://tgr.ph/Delingpole). Finally, the following link, to an article on MailOnline, further reinforces a skeptical view: http://bit.ly/MailOnline_climate.
Fred W. Dougherty, PE
Panacea, Fla.

It's refreshing to hear a bit of common sense on the subject of global warming or climate change or whatever the latest name is. Eminent scientific bodies pontificate endlessly, but offer little conclusive evidence.

Anyone could make a personal sacrifice in the name of reducing their "carbon footprint," such as giving up air conditioning in their offices, homes, and vehicles (20-percent reduction in personal energy demand), but I see no movement in that direction by the climate-change crowd. There are many other personal choices that could be made to reduce one's personal carbon footprint. Let's try this voluntary approach before hanging an albatross (carbon tax) around the neck of our economy. Anyone sincerely interested in their children and grandchildren surely would sacrifice a modicum of personal comfort toward such a worthwhile goal.
Terry McMahon
McMahon Technology Associates
Leonia, N.J.

Your column regarding global warming summarized the state of the debate well. Perhaps two other thoughts or clarifications would be helpful in framing global warming.

First, the waste ethic of "reuse, recycle, and reduce" takes time to implement. It's a solid piece of logic, and, ultimately, humans will need to more fully embrace the concept, but it takes time, maybe generations. It's just a good idea to begin now, managing ahead of, and avoiding, a crisis.

Second, the Galileo comment is very astute for this reason: The Church funded science in his time and required the results to fit its agenda; politicians fund research now and require the results to fit their agenda. In the spirit of cigarette scientists, the agenda of the funders is more important than pure research. Just think about the term "deniers" and hear "heretic."

Fundamentally, I think humans love the illusion of control, even to the extent of impacting climate. I appreciate your column.
Steve Sinnenberg

I read your comments with interest, as I'm very skeptical myself about both the science and the scare politics behind this issue. What science does not explain is the wild swings of weather over the centuries.

Greenland once was a temperate land where crops were grown. Norsemen were amazed by the plentiful grapes growing in the northern climes of centuries ago, naming the area "Vineland." What about all of this happening before any man-made machines to spew carbon dioxide and pollutants into the atmosphere? How do they explain that?

I'm of the opinion this is mostly (made up), and the only people profiting are the carbon-credit-scheme originators. I also notice the folks who squawk the most are the biggest emitters of pollutants or users of energy.

I'm sure you're getting a lot of criticism about your viewpoint. Just know that at least one person also believes it is a false premise, only kept alive by those who will profit the most because of it being perpetuated in the media—they are the biggest lapdogs of all in this giant lie.

Well done. I appreciate your sanity and clear perspective.
Bruce Schwartz

At last, your column indicates science may be winning over agendas.

I believe global warming is a big, really expensive hoax at a time when the United States and the world cannot afford hoaxes that are politically correct and scientifically invalid. This hoax is causing our country to embrace energy policies that are wrong and harmful to our people and our countries.

Maybe the only really good thing about LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is that it is causing us to pay more attention to energy consumption and our environment. The really bad part about it is that the efforts are misdirected and biased by invalid conclusions. The doom-and-gloom religion has been embraced not only by (politicians), who profit at the cost of our country, but by leaders in scientific organizations, who provide scientific creditability to the hoax and profit in power, recognition, and, probably, financially. I am a member of ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) and no longer believe its main goal is science-based. I am ashamed by the position ASHRAE leaders have taken in this matter; they should be aware that their position does not reflect the majority position of the membership.

An article recently came to my attention. In it, doom-and-gloomers conclude that a 5-percent increase in fossil-fuel emissions would cause a change from global heating to global cooling. Isn't that validation that global warming is not occurring? Even if it is, how can one conclude that burning fossil fuels is the cause?
Charlie Boyle

You have to know only some basic facts to understand global warming:

  1. CO2 (carbon dioxide) (and other gases) trap heat.
  2. The CO2 level in the atmosphere has increased 50 percent since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

From these two facts, it is clear that the globe is warming up. Additionally, most of us have seen the evidence in our own lifetime, as spring comes earlier and winter later.

The HVAC industry did a good job in showing leadership on the ozone issue. The HVAC industry also is showing leadership in increasing energy efficiency and promoting renewable energy. I would not like to see the HVAC industry lose the role of leadership in addressing climate change.
John W. Roberts, PE, MSPH, LEED AP BD+C
Dewberry
Chapel Hill, N.C.

Unfortunately, the science of climate and climate change on this planet has degenerated into a political cesspool. All those who see waste and inefficiency want to pick up a banner that identifies them as "good guys," and they have to point out that if the rest of us don't see the world in their eyes, then we don't understand that we are the cause of the eventual end of the world.

Since Al Gore's (2006 documentary) "An Inconvenient Truth" focused the blame on the United States' industrial base, politicians have been running full speed without a bit of proof of the difference change will make.

Some scientists came up with a computer model to predict what might happen if certain parameters, such as carbon dioxide, changed. Other scientists have found the model to be flawed, and there seems to be an intentional lack of critical review to validate what proposed programs should achieve. In other words, if you can't measure the effects of a change, then what justifies the change?

When someone suggested we could reduce fossil-fuel consumption by adding ethanol to gasoline, it sounded great, and it became law. However, mileage per gallon decreased. The unintended consequences have been we pay more for gasoline (because ethanol is subsidized, it costs more to produce than gasoline), we pay more for other corn products (such as cereals, animal feeds, etc.), and we wasted tax dollars on an idea that didn't pan out.

The bottom line is that Mother Nature is far more complex and powerful than any of us mere humans, and it is not within our power to significantly influence Mother Nature. Species come and go every day. In 10 million years, we may be the next layer of oil for the new inhabitants of our planet.
Thomas L. Kelly, PE (retired)

Don't get me wrong. I think every person should do his or her part not to trash God's gift to us. However, looking at how the earth goes through natural warming and cooling phases doesn't mean we should get in line to see Al Gore get off his personal jet, drive his gas-guzzling Hummer right up to the podium, and talk about the earth coming to an end because of our pollution. It's mildly stated hypocrisy at its best. Thanks for your impartial and open-mindedness to all sides. So many people go to their malls and buy synthetic shirts saying "protect the earth" and don't realize that they're more at fault than the rest of us. I think the problem is that people have accepted a theory as fact. Actors in Hollywood get behind something, such as global warming, and it looks hip. They target kids, altering their concept of reality to the point a theory becomes generally accepted. It's humorous. I find most people too feeble-minded or busy to find out anything for themselves. It's easier to listen to the talking box in the living room—you know, the one raising their kids.
Gregg Powers

Letters on HPAC Engineering editorial content and issues affecting the HVACR industry are welcome. Please address them to Scott Arnold, executive editor, at scott.arnold@penton.com.