At anchor Woods Island Harbor

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 25 Aug 2007 17:53
Position: 49 06.079 N 058 13.057 W
At anchor Woods Island Harbor

We awoke this morning to wind and rain so felt no great desire to get
underway. The forecast is for the winds to abate later so for now we will
wait at anchor, if the winds moderate before sunset we will get underway
otherwise we will wait until tomorrow.

One of the objectives of this voyage was to encourage meaningful debate on
the topic of global warming. To this end I have been trying to increase my
own understanding of the subject, both for and against. To this end to
understand the con argument one book I have read is "Unstoppable Global
Warming" by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery. Its primary premise is that
global warming, which it does not dispute, is more likely the result of
natural long term cycles in the solar radiation of the planet than due to
man made causes. It is well written, cites an impressive array of credible
references and appears to be a more scientific treatise than Al Gore's much
better known book. This has led me to try to look more deeply into the
subject. I am currently reading Time Flannery's "The Weather Makers", I am
only a third through this so will comment later. In my quest I discovered
what I consider to be quite an impressive document available on line:
"Climate Change and the Greenhouse Effect. A briefing from the Hadley
Centre. December 2005", available at the UK Met office website. This
briefing is probably the most comprehensive summary I have read to date with
solid evidence objectively and clearly presented. I would highly recommend
it to anyone with more than a passing interest in this matter, which given
the predictions that are being made about global warming I believe should be
anyone whose life is not fully taken up with the daily struggle for
survival, basically most of us in the developed world.

"Unstoppable Global Warming" concludes:
"Human society should attempt to put binding constraints on human emissions
of greenhouse gases only if advocates of man-made warming can demonstrate
three things:
1. That the greenhouse gases are certain to raise global temperatures
significantly higher than they rose during previous natural climate warming
2. That the warming would severely harm human welfare and the ecology;
3. That rational human actions could actually forestall such overheating."

These are very reasonable demands and as someone who I think represents a
fairly average layperson I am trying to answer them, though I would dispute
the unstated assumption in demand 1, namely that because in the past average
global temperatures have risen to higher than current or projected levels
due to natural reasons does not necessarily mean that they will again, or
indeed regardless of any human activity or deliberate intervention. In
principle as Tim Flannery suggests in "The Weather Makers" the human race
may theoretically have it within in its powers to broadly control future
climate. Nonetheless in response to demand 1 with my research to date I can
only reasonably conclude that yes, human activity is indeed a major
contributing factor to global warming, on the other hand I have yet to fully
satisfy myself that emissions continued at current and higher levels will
cause correlatively higher global temperatures.
More later.