Thursday, October 27, 2005

Global Warming ... Or Not - Does It Matter?

There has been an uptick in the debate over whether or not the recent spate of massive natural disasters - hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes - are all indicators that not only is Global Warming real, these are indicators of the impact it is having on our environment.

The counter-arguments are all supported by some decent science as well, showing temperature trends and the cyclical of our world. They say that the Earth naturally warms and cools over many eons, and that whatever trends we are seeing is simply part of that. They further say that things like the hurricanes are simply a result of a confluence of events making the conditions more favorable, and that since we humans have been on this planet a short time and observing the conditions for even a shorter time, that we are not able to guage significance.

I say - what does it matter? Does the non-detectability of the leverage of a factor thought to have potential significance make that factor insignificant? Certainly not. I am an optical engineer with a focus on metrology and a statistician, so I deal with detectability and statistical significance every day. Too often who want to ignore something rant and rave about how they are paralyzed by measurement error - that because the measurement data cannot prove significance, they cannot act. I tell them the same thing I think now about the Global Warming issue. Baloney! If you think a parameter might be significant - even if you cannot measurem its' leverage on your output variable - control it!

Is there anyone who believes that the amount of pollution we generate can be neutral or even beneficial? Or that the clear-cutting and deforestation has no impact? Who thinks that the environment wouldn't be healthier and the atmosphere in better shape if we lived agrarian lifestyles?

So why should there be debate around semantics? Can't we accept that it is *likely* there is environmental impact of both short and long term nature based on man-made waste and that by reducing or eliminating them we can help preserve the planet for future use?

1 comment:

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