Editor's Introductory Note: Our planet has been slowly warming since last emerging from the "Little Ice Age" of the 17th century, often associated with the Maunder Minimum. Before that came the "Medieval Warm Period", in which temperatures were about the same as they are today. Both of these climate phenomena are known to have occurred in the Northern Hemisphere, but several hundred years prior to the present, the majority of the Southern Hemisphere was primarily populated by indigenous peoples, where science and scientific observation was limited to non-existent. Thus we can not say that these periods were necessarily "global".
However, "Global Warming" in recent historical times has been an indisputable fact, and no one can reasonably deny that.
But we're hearing far too often that the "science" is "settled", and that it is mankind's contribution to the natural CO2 in the atmosphere has been the principal cause of an increasing "Greenhouse Effect", which is the root "cause" of global warming. We're also hearing that "all the world's scientists now agree on this settled science", and it is now time to quickly and most radically alter our culture, and prevent a looming global catastrophe. And last, but not least, we're seeing a sort of mass hysteria sweeping our culture which is really quite disturbing. Historians ponder how the entire nation of Germany could possibly have goose-stepped into place in such a short time, and we have similar unrest. Have we become a nation of overnight loonies?
Sorry folks, but we're not exactly buying into the Global Hysteria just yet. We know a great deal about atmospheric physics, (bio) and from the onset, many of the claims were just plain fishy. The extreme haste with which seemingly the entire world immediately accepted the idea of Anthropogenic ( man-made ) Global Warming made us more than a little bit suspicious that no one had really taken a close look at the science. We also knew that the catch-all activity today known as "Climate Science" was in its infancy, and that atmospheric modeling did not and still does not exist which can predict changes in the weather or climate more than about a day or two in advance.
So the endless stream of dire predictions of what was going to happen years or decades from now if we did not drastically reduce our CO2 production by virtually shutting down the economies of the world appeared to be more the product of radical political and environmental activism rather than science. Thus, we embarked on a personal quest for more information, armed with a strong academic background in postgraduate physics and a good understanding of the advanced mathematics necessary in such a pursuit. This fundamental knowledge of the core principles of matter and its many exceptionally complex interactions allowed us to research and understand the foundations of many other sciences. In short, we read complex scientific articles in many other scientific disciplines with relative ease and good understanding - like most folks read comic books.
As our own knowledge of "climate science" grew, so grew our doubts over the "settled science". What we found was the science was far from "settled".. in fact it was barely underway.
It was for a while a somewhat lonely quest, what with "all the world's scientists" apparently having no doubt. Finally, in December 2007 we submitted an article to one of our local newspapers, the Addison Independent, thinking they would be delighted in having at minimum an alternative view of the issue. Alas, they chose not to publish it, but two weeks after our submission (by the strangest coincidence), published yet another "pro-global-warming" feature written by an individual whom, to the best we could determine, had no advanced training in any science at all, beyond self-taught it would appear. Still, the individual had published a number of popular books on popular environmental issues, was well-loved by those of similar political bent, and was held in high esteem among his peers. We had learned a valuable lesson: Popular Journalists trump coupled sets of 2nd-order partial differential equations every time. Serious science doesn't matter if you have the press in your pocket.
In fairness to the Addison Independent and its editors, our article was somewhat lengthy and technical, and presumably the average reader most likely could not follow or even be interested in an alternative viewpoint, since everyone knew by now that the global warming issue was "settled science". And we confess that we like the paper, subscribe to it, and know a number of folks who work there personally. They're all good folks, and they have every right to choose what does or doesn't go in their publication. They also have a right to spin the news any direction they choose, because that's what freedom of the press is all about. Seems everyone, both left and right, does it - and it's almost certain we will be accused of doing the same here. And we just may be, as hard as we may try to avoid it. We humans aren't all shaped by the same cookie cutter, and that's a blessing that has taken us as a species to the top of the food chain.
But by then we had been sharing our own independent research of the literature with others via email, and receiving a surprising amount of agreement back in return. (We're in contact with a large number of fellow scientists around the country, dating back to our college days in the 17th century when beer was a quarter a bottle). One local friend, in particular, kept pressing us to publish, and even offered to set up a "debate" with the Popular Journalist who had usurped our original article. This we politely declined, arguing that "debate" cannot prove or disprove science...science must stand on its own.
But then something unusual happened. On Dec. 13, 2007, 100 scientists jointly signed an Open Letter to Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, requesting they cease the man-made global warming hysteria and settle down to helping mankind better prepare for natural disasters. The final signature was from the President of the World Federation of Scientists.
At last, we were not alone...