Sunday, October 31, 2021

Climate Change: Looking at an Elephant Through a Magnifying Glass

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Before it even starts, Cop26, the United Nations conference to address climate change, has experts demand concessions based on their own narrow and futuristic perspectives.  As reported by major news outlets, unnamed "experts" demand (and I believe that is an appropriate term to use) that World leaders agree to a maximum 1.5 degree Celsius historic increase in the overall temperature of the Earth. Do they really think computer generated predictions based on faulty and inconsistent data constitutes "real science"? Sir Francis Bacon, perfecter of the now standard Scientific Method, would question not only their process but the conclusions made using such flimsy experiments. 

Shutterstock Photo
With a good high school and college science education to bank on, I found myself researching and writing a book during the pandemic that ended up being about climate change (Air Pollution's the Answer! How Clean Air Policies Compromised the Planet and Public Health).  It was not hard to see that Bacon's specific, detailed and unbiased method that had been the foundation of truly significant scientific discoveries had become little more than a framework for dissertations and grant funded papers that were used as public relations vehicles.  In the book, I refer to the trend as Looking at an Elephant through a Magnifying Glass.  Bacon's first principle in scientific inquiry for centuries was to remove all bias and prejudice. As experts, these scientists are automatically prejudice in a way that narrows the vision so that the big picture, or elephant, is not even considered.

Ridiculous Guidelines

Based solely on mathematical projections and not on definitive physical experiment, the temperature data is more conjecture than predictable science. It is simply impossible to accurately and fairly assess the temperatur of every location on the planet. First the guidelines refer to conditions during a time when atmospheric composition was not measured. Second, they only consider greenhouse gases as the culprit even though carbon dioxide, water vapor and ozone are by-products of all life forms. Viewed out of context, new age scientists see any study and any publication as one of fact not the record of the effort. Third, these findings fail to recognize the world-wide move toward heat retaining building materials, roadways and climate control systems which expel heat in the summer and artificially warm spaces during the colder months. This failure to acknowledge other factors is called experiment prejudice and makes the conclusions invalid according to Bacon's Scientific Method.

False Narrative, False Pledges

Beyond narrow interpretation of unproven science, the pledges themselves are nothing more than political ramblings. Like a pinky promise by young children, the compliance is based on faith and trust not hard line science.  How does one measure a drop in the temperature of the planet Earth?  Adding a few colder tlocations and dropping large cities could skew the average temperature by far more than the targeted 1.5 degree Celsius (Approximately 3 degrees Fahrenheit). Sadly, these well educated scientists are either too naive or too focused on success to grasp how easily it would be to manipulate data.  

How will Climate Change End?

There is every indication that Climate Change is a multi-faceted problem resulting from a collection of poor decisions by industrialized countries. Mining the atmosphere of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide for economic gain seemed innocuous enough at the time but it was then followed up by regulating smoke and emissions that simply looked and smelled bad.  Without dust, higher elevation clouds could not form to shield the sun's radiation and bring rain to all areas of the globe.  Gases. thought to be a nuisance or danger, instead carried essential nutrients for wildlife, plants and mankind. When these emission were reduced, industrialized countries turned it in a way to make a profit.  Supplementation with sulfur, magnesium and nitrogen are now required in agriculture and healthcare to keep people healthy.  Poor countries which have no such resources lose their citizens to wealthy countries and make the divide greater. 

Climate change will end when the World's "scientific experts" see computerized data for the biased and inconsistent data it is. Then and only then will leaders be free to roll back their own poor decisions and management of the Earth. 

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Climate Change: Knowledge vs. Wisdom vs Philosophy


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Recently, I was tagged in a post by a fellow FCS (Family and Consumer Science) teacher (see picture).  I remember the common struggle of my students to understand the difference between knowledge, wisdom and philosophy or opinion. As you might imagine from the photographic post, when the three were used interchangeably, it led to all sorts of interesting outcomes in the kitchen.

As climate change becomes the focus of the news cycle for the next two weeks, there is no doubt that experts and World leaders will come armed with huge volumes of data to support their positions. In this global difference of opinion about who, what, when, how and why climate change happened, will leaders use knowledge, wisdom or philosophy to make their decisions and if they choose poorly, what further difficulties might the World see in the near future?

Personally, I am tired of being chastised by billionaire celebrities, child advocates without a high school education and extremist politicians with an economic agenda. I was thankful for the comments of the UK's Prince William highlighting America's split priorities (We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.)  In like fashion, Queen Elizabeth II has expressed similar frustration about how people talk about climate change but do nothing. With all due respect to these Royals, as leaders converge on Glasgow, Scotland for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (Cop26), the World must also acknowledge that scientific minds must not be shackled by a political philosophy that often runs counter to actual science. 

 What is Known About Climate Change?

The sad but all too human reality is that today's scientific knowledge is largely based on mathematical speculation rather than actual physical conditions. Talking points focus on extremes which do not fairly represent real world conditions. Is a day the hottest because the temperaure peaks for a few minutes then drops rapidly to a much cooler temperature or is the hottest day one that has the highest per minute average temperature for 24 hours. The quick and easy "high temp" version misrepresents environmental conditions and should not be labeled "scientific knowledge". Real knowledge is consistent and predictable without excuses or questions.  It is easily seen and can be replicated by anyone time and time again. The tomato is scientifically classified as a fruit only because it meets the same physcial criteria as an apple or grape. How it is used is not a factor--only the sum of its visible and verifiable characteristics count.

Even though this planet has survived thousands of years using fossil fuels and without global intervention, mankind continues to blame the environment for "changing".  Modern society looks for an easy and quick explanation that absolves it of wrongdoing. In greenhouse gas theory, it found a principle so obscure that even fellow scientists would not understand it, industrialized countries found the "facts" they needed to create a philosophy that was both plausible and impossible at the same time.  Rather than look for wisdom in the hundreds of reputable and detailed scientific studies and historical events that speak to the climate change phenomenon, society chose to adopt philosophy as knowledge while squandering any chance to gain wisdom.

Is Climate Change Wisdom Possible?

Achieving wisdom is not just about learning from mistakes but being mature enough to think critically about information. Real science follows its own rules.  It cannot be made into what people want and does not occur without cause.  Blaming fossil fuels, commercial farming, large families, or immoral living serves no purpose except to divert study from what could be a simple answer.  At the same time, dismissing that which is uncomfortable to admit only keeps this planet in a state of upheavel. 

Until leaders put economics and reputations aside for the good of the planet, this cycle of disinformation and arbitrary regulations will only serve to compound climate change.  Wisdom requires an understanding that being right and doing right are two fundamentally different action. Needing to BE right comes from a place of immature thought while doing what is RIGHT comes from a place of knowledge and wisdom. 

Is Solving Climate Change Possible?

It is certainly possible to solve climate change but only with a shift away from philosophy and toward knowledge and wisdom To put it simply, environmentalists need see nature as a tomato and not as an ingredient in a Bloody Mary.  These well-meaning individuals have encouraged leaders to take drastic and unproven steps to 'clean up' the environment when the environment was working efficiently on its own.  Clean air and clean water might be beautiful to look at but they rob wildlife of essential minerals which are otherwise unavailable in the real world.

Sadly, environmentalists tend to come from wealthy countries. They do not experience the consequences of their beliefs because healthcare and agriculture have monetized environmental dysfunction. The very fossil fuels which are declared harmful to the environment are turned into fertilizers that produce health foods and medicines which keep populations healthy.  Poorer countries must suffer without such improvements and wildlife is left to die out because those who want to protect it do not understand basic chemistry well enough to realize they have caused this heartbreaking situation.  

Its time for environmentalist to see nature for what it is, an imperfect tomato that does not taste good in a fruit salad and stop trying to make it into a Bloody Mary that only people can enjoy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Climate Change: The Coral Reef Conundrum and Solution

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UPDATE: As world leaders differ about how to solve climate change at Cop26, studies that promote the value of volcanic ash in healing the environment are coming back around. Started nearly ten years ago, the studies mention its use as a carbon gas neutralizer of sorts. While this author questions the validity of that conclusion, volcanic ash has the potential to provide marine life with a rich source of sulfur and other minerals. Healthier sea life means higher metabolic rates. Plants would use more dissolved CO2 and release greater volumes of oxygen into the water.  That conclusion is based on basic biochemistry.  It seems nature knew what it was doing all along when it put active volcanoes so close to the ocean. 

For many with some years on us, the 1970s news of dying coral reefs was the first indication of some sudden and unexpected environmental change--a change that scientists could neither explain nor remediate.  As World leaders congregate in Glasgow for the U.N. Climate Change Conference (October 31-November 12), this lowly resident of Earth wonders if the attendees will continue to grumble about carbon gases and fossil fuel controls or finally come together to re-evaluate their own actions in what has brought the World to this point in time. Personally, I hope for the coral reefs and other forms of wildlife, it is the latter.  

National Geographic Photo    

Until the stunning and informative documentaries of The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s, sea exploration was nearly unheard of.  And yet, just a few years into its exploration, science was making alarming predictions about the role coral reefs played in the ecosystem.  Before even learning to walk in this new science and without looking at the big environmental picture, scientists ran to blame everything from farming to industrial waste for the demise of this small and seemingly insignificant creatures. 

Instead of approaching the problem from a fact-based physical evidence standpoint, observation and speculation became the basis for large scale decision-making.  As a result, science squandered its first opportunity to repair climate change before it had really started.  Now, forty years latter the science has become so corrupted by computer models and economic interests that countries are locked in a false narrative of what climate change is and how it should be reversed.

What is Coral?

While this may be an over simplification, coral are small basic lifeforms that act a bit like nature's water filtration system.  Still, they are animals and are subject to the same nutritional (biochemical if you want a big word) rules as all animals. Herein lies the misconception that all environment studies have failed to recognize.

Coming at environmental science from a position of something toxic impacting coral, science has never considered that there is something missing from the environment and that this substance(s) was removed suddenly in the years prior to coral reefs dying. 

Was there a light bulb that just went off in the minds of readers everywhere? There should be.

Wrong Science, REALLY?

Like the belief that the World is flat, science has assumed human intervention is needed to keep climate variations in check.  Who is to say this assumption isn't along the same misguided observation-based notion as a flat Earth?  Is climate change the result of random change in a system that has been in place for millions of years or is it that man has become a bit too confident in his ability to adapt the environment to his own preferences? Will the presenters in Glasgow finally scratch their heads and say "Oops, we made a mistake"? Not likely.  

Something is Environmentally Missing?

As mentioned previously, biochemical processes (aka dietary needs) are similar across all living organisms. In simple terms, the absence of a vitamin or mineral that makes humans sick will also make coral succumb as well. The big difference is that humans have disguised these mineral and vitamin deficiencies through modern healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Wildlife has no such method of attaining the nutrients needed to live healthy and relies heavily on an unadulterated ecosystem. 

But what is it that could be missing in the environment that would make the whole planet sick? That is the question everyone is trying to answer with little success.

Looking Back to Find an Answer

Unfortunately, history can be an unforgiving teacher when it comes to reminding mankind of its faults and in this case, the reality may be hard to swallow.  

In the 1960s and early 1970s, man's excess had caught up with him. Large cities were choking on the fumes of modern convenience.  Instead of pinpointing historically recognized toxins like lead and asbestos that could quickly contaminate air and water, leaders chose to take a full-tilt approach to the pinball game that has become environmental science. With little research to back up decisions, industrialized countries regulated a handful of ugly, smelly gases.  Still holding fast to their decisions and looking to carbon dioxide as the next culprit, the restriction of these gases has compromised an environmental cycle that had been in place for thousands of years. In the atmosphere, these breathable nutrients would help all life forms self-regulate body functions even in cases of food shortages. Without them, the result is declining populations and possible extinction.

What is Missing?

Ironically, the five elements that make up restricted gases are the same five elements (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur) that form the majority of the World's foods and medicines.  Sugar is made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen while chicken is made of all five elements. All life forms, coral, plants and humans alike, require sulfur for common life functions each and every day. Had these gases remained in the atmosphere, rain would have latched on to them and deposited them into the soil and sea where all life could have benefited. This basic concept of renewal has been known for much longer than most experts wish to acknowledge.

Coral's Relationship with Sulfur

Regardless of where life forms live--bacteria in ice near Antarctic, elephants on the Savanna, or coral under the sea--all life forms are subject to the same rules of cell composition.  This interconnection makes individual species interchangeable up and down the food chain. As a food, coral is at the bottom and eaten by a great number of species. If it is deficient in minerals, then so is the species that eats it.  Each successive meal perpetuates the mineral deficiency until the who World struggles to find good health.

Sulfur is known to impact growth rates, injury repair and reproductive capabilities for all life forms. Without sufficient sulfur in the water, what scientists interpreted as a dying coral reef may have been one that simply could not reproduce itself as fast as it was consumed. There was never anything to blame other than an urban population that wanted to live large without environmental accountability.

What All this Means?

There is only one conclusion and course of action that makes sense if one believes the science as it is reported here.  The rush to judgement by those who lived in unsustainable environmental conditions (cities) solved their problem by stripping the atmosphere of essential gases which made the land incapable of producing food and reduced the ability of wildlife to sustain themselves in a natural setting. Rather than acknowledge their missteps early on, the World's leadership built a massive healthcare system to treat human illness and created additives to foods and soils to make them viable.  Poor countries were left to become dependent on others and starvation became a worldwide problem. 

If one takes a good hard look at the role sulfur plays in every part of the environment, it becomes very easy to see that Clean Air policies did more harm than good and should be rolled back.  Fossil fuels are not the enemy here. Man's own ego is.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Thanks Senator Manchin: What an Elected Official Should Be (Updated)


New York Magazine Photo

***Over the weekend of Dec 17-19, Washington found out how easily all the work on the Build Back Better initiative could fall apart. As the analysts confer, it seems a few poorly chosen words from the White House coupled with a few too many snide and disrespectful comments from idealists were the tipping point for Senator Joe Manchin who called it quits on the President's funding proposal.  While the younger and/or less mature members of the House and Senate have commented that Manchin needs to be "run out" of the Democratic party, they better hope he remains a solid, albeit, moderate Democrat. They might just be thanking him for saving them come November 2022.

With the deadline for this year's budget and spending plan kicked down the road as expected, it has become increasingly clear who in Congress is there to serve this country and who is there to play soccer in a never-ending and generally tied game of Republicans vs. Democrats.  With members focused on following a political game plan rather than effective planning, this country has been subjected to a ping-pong approach to lawmaking instead of setting it on a path that fairly represents every demographic and business. With crossed fingers and muttered wishes, that trend may finally be cracking with a kind of action-based hope for fair and equitable government coming somewhere in the near future. 

Over the last year, approximately one percent (1%) of Congressional members have shown they can be what an elected official should be--objective, knowledgeable and flexible representatives who are not hog tied by party loyalty. Nine months ago, it was the handful of Republicans that voted to impeach Trump.  Now it is Joe Manchin (D-WV) who is standing against an over-the-top Democratic agenda that is largely a mystery to the America people. For that, he deserves a thank-you instead of the short-sighted criticism of the President and Congressional leaders.

This morning (10.8.2021), the news is about Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's speech following a stop-gap vote to extend the debt limit until early December. Without too much first-hand knowledge of this speech, it isn't hard to imagine the content.  Far too often, over the last few years, federal leaders have addressed each other and American citizens as if they were scolding children instead of being professionals. That tactic has not been successful in the past and does not seem likely to work in the future. Unless Schumer was playing to donors and extremists, what possible reason could he have had to take several minutes to berate half of the Senate chamber (and at least half of the country) with words that come off as shaming rather than reconciliation. Does he really believe the majority of US citizens want more debt?  Perhaps it is Biden, Pelosi, McCarthy, Schumer and McConnell who need to be reminded of their role in government, not the American people. 

From what little is known about Biden's Build Back Better agenda, the focus is on fixing fifty years of problems created by quick decisions and simple majority wins. Repeating a pattern that has left local government with the responsibility of maintaining all these projects, the BBB legislation is competitive by design rather than mutually beneficial across all states and demographics.  It perpetuates economic behaviors which have not served taxpayers well but have created a legacy of government dependence and mandates that keep American families in a lifestyle of debt and consumerism. Like always, rural communities are low on the priority list because they can and do support themselves. 

Joe Manchin understands this governmental trend and is right to drag his feet. What is seen as rogue or unprofessional behavior on Capital Hill might just be caution to insure fair treatment for his state as well as other rural communities.

For nearly forty years, Manchin has worked in all levels of government to protect and support a state that is characterized as bigoted and uneducated but often used by big business and big government for their own purposes.  To discount his understanding of government in favor of the ideas of young and inexperienced members of Congress is to say that only the young are entitled to the full benefits of American citizenship. Entitlement based on any single characteristic--age, location, education level, income, ethnic status or gender--damages the foundation of this country and democracy as a whole.  That knowledge only comes with experience. Manchin knows the difference and should be thanked, not ridiculed. 

All of rural America should support Manchin for two reasons. One, because it is a more reasonable course of action than the one currently proposed. And two, to finally rid this country of the notion that this is all about Trump. For far too long, rural communities have carried more than its share of the economic load while surviving policies that built up global trade and weakened local economies.  Maybe now, those in Congress will wise up and see that without rural America, this country is nothing.

Keep it up, Senator Manchin. 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

infrastructure 2021-22: The Hilarity of a Carbon Tax

** Pennsylvania is--according to different news reports--the first state to adopt a carbon tax policy.  No called "carbon pricing" as if it were a purchase of goods and services, the policy is coming from President Joe Biden's old stomping grounds.  With the cost of living already high in Pennsylvania, the logic of this action is dubious. 

As Congress and the President work diligently to force through an agenda that everyone but those who answer the Polls seem to question, this concept of a carbon tax is dangled out there as a way to fund the massive, catch-all infrastructure bill.  So, while this author prefers information that is well researched and factual, it should be clear that this is conjecture and speculation and not direct knowledge as to how a carbon tax would be used.

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What is a carbon tax?

Simply put, it is a potential tax on anything that produces some type of carbon emission. Since nearly every biological function or energy source produces some form or carbon gas, it is an atmospheric gold mine of tax revenue. The unknown here is to what degree Congress will use this provision and how it might be regulated.

Why a carbon tax?

Like the Clean Air policies which began this trend of demonizing fossil fuels, this tax would draw income from actions and products people cannot easily do without but release some form of carbon into the air.  The concept is not new. King George tried it several times ( tax on tea and the Stamp Act come to mind) only to have the colonies rebel against him and his control.

Why have a carbon tax? 

As with most moves by government, taxing is best done when it plays well with voters.  A carbon tax seems innocuous enough because voters believe it will not impact them. Even some members of Congress may not completely understand the science to fully grasp its all-encompassing potential.  More important than the huge amounts of revenue it could generate, such a tax would show support for climate change initiatives adopted by the European Union which are based on Greenhouse Gas Theory. This is as much about earning points with US allies and celebrity activists as it is appearing to address climate change. 

Will this help curb Climate Change? 

Not likely.  As any Star Trek fan learned from the iconic series (1966), the Earth is a world based on carbon. How many times  did Spock explain this simple but accurate fact to viewers is hard to gauge. The average human is 18.5 percent carbon. Every plant is made of carbon as well as every animal on the planet.  With the exception of water, nearly all foods and medicines contain carbon. Building materials such as steel, wood and stone contain carbon.  Fabrics such as polyester, cotton, wool and acrylic are based on carbon.  Paper including shipping containers, hard copy books and even greeting cards contain carbon. To do without carbon is to do without most of the essentials of life. 

What could it tax?

This is where the hilarious nature of the carbon tax comes into play and why every citizen should stop for a moment and think about what that tax could mean for them.  Again, remember every living thing produces carbon gas at some point in its cycle. This is a natural environmental process that has existed since life first appeared. It is essential to life and to disrupt it will have unknown consequences.  Here are just a few things to consider as this Build Back Better agenda takes hold.

  • Breathing Could Be Taxed - According to figures that are circulating the internet (which this author cannot verify), the average human exhales between 1.5 and 3 pounds of carbon dioxide every day.  Using the example of a penny a pound, that is roughly $10 per person per year for $3.3 billion dollars. In a similar fashion, pets, farm animals, wildlife preserves and stocked lakes have animals which produce carbon dioxide and methane.

  • Any heat source could be taxed. Everything from the wood stove or oil furnace that so many rural residents depend on to the high efficiency heat pump with propane backup could be restricted or taxed.  Oil, propane, natural gas, wood, coal, kerosene, paper and even gel alcohol produce carbon emissions.

  • Electricity in General could see increased costs from taxes.  According to government figures (2020) only about 2.3% of all electricity in this country is produced by solar energy. Add wind and hydroelectric plants and it leaves 80% of all electricity produced in the US subject to carbon emissions regulations. 

  • Imports as well as Exports could be taxed.  This global economy that was pushed so heavily a few decades ago is one that cannot exist without carbon emissions. Container ships as well as over-the-road trucks are dependent on diesel for power.  Large amounts of carbon gases are produced over oceans where such gases cannot be utilized effectively by plants.  

And the list could go on and on and on. 

What about Climate Change?

For now, the leaders of the World believe that carbon emissions is causing climate change. Like the belief in a flat Earth that popped up in many civilizations, believing in something does not make it factual.  If carbon gas were the cause of all global ills, the planet would have ceased to exist long ago.

Perpetuated by computer models which have no capacity to think critically, leaders force people to accept incorrect science in order to financially benefit from government contracts, grants and tax breaks.  Until, the masses question this propaganda, carbon emissions will be seen as the enemy and taxed. Additional regulations will attempt to restrict carbon gasses much like the EPA has restricted other elements (sulfur, carbon, nitrogen, ozone and dust) when sent into the atmosphere.  

Sadly, by reducing these emissions, leaders may further compromise the environment and prolong the climate change debate.

Why does the Environment Need Carbon Emissions?

From the Lord of the Rings to many other Sci-Fi movies with spectacular special effects, movie goers have learned to see volcanoes, hurricanes, wildfires and drought as end-of-time events. Instead they are clear and specific parts of the environment's never-ending process of recycling itself.  Drought is the sign that the air is too clean (no dust=no clouds=no rain). Hurricanes bring moisture from the oceans that replenish ground water sources so that the land can continue to produce food hungry people. Volcanoes are a beautiful, yet drastic, way to recycle the minerals (like sulfur, carbon and hydrogen) that are needed for plants and wildlife to live healthy lives. And finally, wildfires clean up the environment when mankind shirks his responsibility to manage and use the resources the environment gives him.  

As long as mankind chooses to restrict these common and naturally occurring gases, erratic weather will be part of the global scene. Taxing an essential life element because some see it as dangerous is not only hilarious but extremely sad at the same time.