A Lot of Hot Air

By Anthony | July 10th, 2006 | 11:30 pm

Over at Noteworthy, Bubba has posted another take on global warming, linking to an article by Alan Caruba, a writer and public relations counselor. Bubba quotes from the article, stating:

We could stop all industrial activity and require all cars and trucks off the roads of the world and it would not make a single bit of difference. It is not manmade carbon dioxide that is bringing about these changes. It is active volcanoes, some a mile or more high, yet entirely hidden from view under the oceans.

However, this is false. As Tim Lambert points out on his blog, Deltoid, there isn’t enough total heatflow from the Earth to make any meaningful contribution to global warming. Lambert notes:

Scientists have extensively measured the flow of heat from inside the earth—it amounts to 0.075 Watts per square metre, while incoming solar radiation is 342 Watts per square metre, about 5000 times as much. … [H]eat from the earth is not included in climate models—but that is because it is negligible.

So where did Caruba get the idea that volcanoes are to blame for global warming? According to the article, his source was Robert Felix, author of the book Not by Fire, but by Ice. On his website, iceagenow.com, Felix does indeed blame undersea volcanoes for increased ocean temperatures, and states that he thinks that the end result is going to be a new ice age. The data and evidence he used to come to this conclusion? As Lambert says:

Felix doesn’t haven’t any actual data or measurements to support his theory that volcanoes are warming the ocean. He just lists news stories about undersea volcanoes and asserts that they must be contributing a tremendous amount of heat, but without any actual numbers.

Furthermore, it seems doubtful that Felix has the background one would ordinarily look for in a primary source for an article about global warming. Lambert points to a quote from a Guardian article entitled “Junk Science”:

Is Felix a climatologist, a volcanologist or an oceanographer? Er, none of the above. His biography describes him as a “former architect�. His website is so bonkers that I thought at first it was a spoof. Sadly, he appears to believe what he says.

Once again, it seems there’s a lot of hot air being circulated over this issue.

[Update: Alan Caruba, the author of the article cited by Bubba, has responded in the comments.]

8 Responses to “A Lot of Hot Air”

  1. Gedeon Says:

    I will never understand how some people, faced even with cold hard facts, can still stand there, look you in the eye and say “You are lying!”. The very nature of this debate and its powerful implications demand that all involved be true to the *facts* of the matter, not the “Truthiness” as Steven Colbert is fond of saying.

    Global warming caused by human activities is an established fact, and all the wishful thinking in Bubba brain, and others like him, won’t change that simple truth. We need to move beyond this and start solving the problem since those who refuse to believe will evidently never be part of the solution.

  2. Alan Caruba Says:

    I don’t mind being disputed and I am sure neither does Robert Felix, the author of “Ice Age Now.” Some people find it difficult to believe a person could actually educate themselves to a point of great expertise without attending a college or university. Ironically, virtually all of the founding fathers were self educated men. Somehow they managed to fashion the oldest living constitution in existance.

    However, to say bluntly that humans are producing all the supposed heat that is generating global warming ignores several fact and factors. The Earth in previous eras was much warmer than it is now, i.e., during the millions of years dinosaurs roamed the Earth. What accounted for that heat? Fact: The Earth experienced one degree of overall warming between 1850 and 1950. Since then it has been cooling slightly. In short, there has been no dramatic warming in the last half-century, surely a sufficient amount of time to determine if it was occurring. Lastly, the North and South Poles are not melting. The snow and ice packs are growing.

    Frankly, I don’t know if undersea volcanoes are generating sufficient heat to warm the oceans, but then it is doubtful such warming is coming from any other source except maybe the Sun. And we do keep forgetting about the role of the Sun, don’t we? It too has distinct, known cycles.

    The problem with folks who absolutely insist that global warming is occurring is that they are desperate to grab at any glimmer of evidence, extrapolating it into a grand theory, all of which always comes back to evil human beings using natural resources to heat, light, and otherwise function in the modern world.

  3. Gedeon Says:

    http://www.canary-project.org/

  4. PotatoStew Says:

    Hi Alan,

    Welcome, and thanks for taking the time to reply.

    “Some people find it difficult to believe a person could actually educate themselves to a point of great expertise without attending a college or university.”

    It’s certainly possible, but when that person appears to be contradicted by people who actually are educated in the relevant fields, and have demonstrated their knowledge by working towards and actual degree, and who have data and studies to support their findings, I’ll tend to take their word over the guy who claims to have educated himself.

    And, not to be nitpicky, but about half of our founding fathers attended or graduated from college.

    “to say bluntly that humans are producing all the supposed heat that is generating global warming ignores several fact and factors”

    I don’t think anyone is saying that humans are producing the heat, though. We are producing increased amounts of greenhouse gases, which are then trapping the heat.

    “The Earth experienced one degree of overall warming between 1850 and 1950. Since then it has been cooling slightly.”

    Data from the NOAA seems to contradict that statement.

    “they are desperate to grab at any glimmer of evidence, extrapolating it into a grand theory”

    Considering that this sounds exactly like what’s found at iceagenow.com, why didn’t you have a problem using Felix as a primary source for your article? You admit in your comment above that you’re unsure of how sound his explanation is, but your article appeared rather certain and uncritical of what he was saying.

  5. Roch101 Says:

    “Data from the NOAA seems to contradict that statement.”

    I used to have great repsect for you PotatoStew, but that really is a low blow. Clearly those who disagree with you are playing on a field of conjecture, guesses, half-knowledge and feelings. For you to throw hard facts into the discussion is really unfair. Shame on you!

  6. Brenda Bowers Says:

    I believe Bubba’s background is finances and their trade magazines have been poo-pooing global warming for years. Why I don’t know; unless they feel it would be bad for business. The Heritage Foundation speaks out against global warming then admits that their basis for such judgement is based on the needs of business and industry. With that statement I stopped going to The Heritage Foundation site for any information; if they adjust their pronouncements on the needs of business rather than facts and go so far as to admit it….well, Dear Lord. Maybe Bubba, who is a very intelligent man just hasn’t read the fine print of these magazines he is depending on. BB

  7. Bubba Says:

    “Maybe Bubba, who is a very intelligent man just hasn’t read the fine print of these magazines he is depending on. BB”

    It’s not just THOSE magazines, Brenda. It’s many others to boot.

    The inescapable fact is that there is no such thing as “Consensus on Global Warming”. The final paragraph on Alan Caruba’s post sums it up:

    “The problem with folks who absolutely insist that global warming is occurring is that they are desperate to grab at any glimmer of evidence, extrapolating it into a grand theory, all of which always comes back to evil human beings using natural resources to heat, light, and otherwise function in the modern world.”

  8. PotatoStew Says:

    As I pointed out, Bubba, grabbing at glimmers and extrapolating grand theories is exactly what Caruba’s source has done.