Sunday 16 August 2009

Now I understand why it's all about CO2

I am maybe 1/3 of the way through Heaven + Earth. It's heavy going - it takes 2 goes to read a chapter, because I usually conk out halfway through. Then again, this is not unusual at the moment. Monkey kicked me out of bed at 0615 - on a Sunday! He just doesn't understand the concept of "sleep in".

That said, Heaven + Earth is well worth reading. I've learned more about astrophysics and other heavy stuff in reading a chapter of this book than I have picked up in my entire life to date. Plimer has tried to write an easily accessible book on the science, but I'm afraid the science is too dense to allow him to pull that off. Face it, this stuff is heavy going, no matter which way you look at it. It's like trying to plow through an Economics text book.

(I flew Perth-Sydney once when I was at Uni. I took an Economics text book to read on the plane. I was in the back row. The book put me to sleep before take off, and I was woken up in Sydney by a cleaner wielding a vacuum cleaner. When I got to the baggage carousel, my bag was the only one from my flight going around and round. So I don't blame Plimer for sending me to the Land of Nod on a regular basis.)

Anyway, I can see why the "Blame CO2" crowd have decided to indeed blame CO2. It's easier that way. There is very little knowledge to absorb. You don't have to wade through piles of dense research papers. You don't have to wrap your brain around the idea of the sun circling around the solar system centre of gravity, and the impact of the larger planets on the rotation speed of the sun's core. It did my head in to find out that the sun is pulled away from the solar system's centre of gravity by the big planets - I thought it was so big, it just sat there and rotated on its date (date meaning "backside" - if you can imagine a kid sitting on the slippery floor and spinning around on its bum).

I reckon it will take me a month of careful reading to absorb all this, and even then, I realise that Plimer has simply provided a primer. I'll have skimmed the surface of the science, and taken in only a minute quantity of the available information, theories, models and so on.

Now I am reasonably bright and well edumacated, so if it will take me a month to get a grounding where I think I can start to understand the science (and it may take me a second reading of the book to really get it), where does that leave the bulk of the population? Many seem to have trouble understanding the rules governing roundabouts, so I hold little hope that they will ever come to grips with the impact of cosmic rays on cloud formation, and the subsequent effect that cloud cover has on climate.

I can see why Algore went with CO2. If I had a choice between a simplistic theory that could be packaged and sold in 1-2 hours, and an impossibly complex set of theories that are a more accurate reflection of reality, but would require 30-50 hours of hard study - I'd go with the glib and easily packaged slogan. And get rich and fat.

I have come to a simple conclusion - CO2 believers are lazy sods. They couldn't be bothered to drag themselves away from the latest series of 24 in order to get some serious learning in their skulls. Sceptics can be defined by one simple characteristic - they are hard working enough to actually put in the effort to learn more. The warmenistas are children of the fast food "me" generation - they want it all now. They want their hamburger NOW. They'd rather eat their science from McDonalds than have a degustation banquet at a fine restaurant.


kae said...

Hi Boy
At the book launch in Brisbane earlier this year he talked about publishing another book, a text if you will, for distribution to school children. I think it's a brilliant idea. I have friends who believe and I think that H+E is wayyy too heavy for them.

Richard_H said...

Still haven't made a good start on it, bad me... Fortunately I have a pretty good grounding in the science. At the Brisbane book launch my ears pearked up when he mentioned cosmic rays. I read a book "The Chilling Stars" about a year ago which deals with that. Basically, the authors hypothesis is that ionizing radiation affects cloud formation, and therefore, that is affected by our position in the galaxy. Interesting stuff. They need some time on CERN to test it and hope therefore to have some better data after that. Good book, really easy to read. Bought it in a smug little coffee store in Paddington (Bris).