Have you ever heard of Lagrange points? Unless you studied astronomy or are a science-fiction fan, you haven’t. No matter how many articles you read about global warming, or how many TV programs you saw about it, or if you saw Al Gore’s so-called “documentary,” I’ll bet serious money that you never – not once – heard the expression “Lagrange points.”
But you should have.
Joseph-Louis Lagrange was a mathematician. In 1772 he described five points relating to an object orbiting around another – in this case, the earth orbiting around the sun. As shown in the diagram, two of these points are stable, the ones that precede and follow the earth in its orbit around the sun. The other three points are only partially stable, in that they require small inputs of energy to keep them in position. One of these points is on the side of the earth opposite the sun, one is on the side of the sun opposite the earth, and one – the one we are interested in – is between the earth and the sun. The last is called the L1 point.
The L1 point is that point between the earth and the sun at which a satellite will remain indefinitely, with minimal input of energy. In fact, NASA has placed research satellites at the L1 point.
Can you guess how the L1 point might be relevant to global warming?
It might be possible to control global warming by placing a satellite at the L1 point, and then spreading a huge umbrella-like device that would block 0.5 to 1 percent of the sunlight that reaches the earth.
The advantage is that if global temperatures fall again, which is quite possible, the umbrella could be closed. Global temperatures could be regulated without upsetting the global economy. The disadvantage is that this umbrella would have to be roughly 600 miles across to be effective. But a series of smaller satellites rotating around a common center would be equally effective and more practical.
I am not an astronomer. I never had a course in that subject. I have no expertise, not even enough to know whether the idea is feasible, or how many billions it would cost. But there are some things I do know:
● I know that if I hadn’t been a science-fiction fan in my youth, I never would have heard of Lagrange points.
● I know that I have never seen or heard the term in any discussion of global warming in the mainstream media.
● I know that if I want to get a government grant, or get an article published in a mainstream journal, or get tenure at a university, I must parrot the party line on global warming – and never dare to question it.
● I know that alarmists like Al Gore call for drastic cuts in greenhouse gases that would cripple our economy, set our industry back many decades, and send millions into poverty.
● I know that even with these drastic curbs on our economy, the effect on global temperatures would be vanishingly small.
● I know that because India and China are exempted from the Kyoto Protocol, global air pollution will increase no matter what we do, while over two billion people – one-third of the earth’s population – continue to industrialize as fast as they can.
● I know that with our economy strangled, our defense capabilities will be dangerously reduced – which may be the underlying objective.
● I know that the real purpose of the alarmists is not climate control, but people control.
● I know that many of the alarmists are like watermelons – green on the outside, but red on the inside.
● I know that there are enough problems in childhood without making young children suffer from anxiety about global warming.
● I know that global temperatures have risen only about 0.6 degrees Celsius in the past 100 years. The dire predictions of the alarmists are based on computer projections for the future, not on the temperature rise that actually was observed.
● I know that fluctuations in global temperature closely parallel fluctuations in energy output by the sun – which of course can’t be blamed on human activity.
● I know that increased solar energy output caused warming of Mars and Pluto. The last time I checked, there were no SUVs on Mars, and no coal-fired generating plants on Pluto. So if people talk about global warming, ask them which “globe” they mean.
● I know that even if the alarmists are not exaggerating the danger – which they almost surely are – there are less intrusive remedies that might help.
● I know that the alarmists never mention satellites at the L1 point, or altering the exhaust of jet airliners, or other less intrusive methods of reducing global temperatures, because these methods would not allow the alarmists to control virtually every aspect of daily life.
● I know that as recently as 1974, the cover of Time Magazine warned that climatologists were predicting global cooling and another Ice Age. Now they predict the opposite. It ill behooves those who reverse themselves 180 degrees to claim that they are infallible.
● I know that climatologists predict severe hurricane seasons because of global warming. Instead, recent seasons have tended to be mild. It ill behooves those who cannot predict the weather six months in advance to claim that their predictions about the next 100 years are infallible.
● I know that although atmospheric levels of CO2 continue to rise, global warming stopped about 15 years ago – thus casting doubt on the idea that CO2 produced by humans is a principal cause of global warming. If A continues to rise while B remains stable, how can we believe that A causes B? In fact, it is possible that B causes A. Historical data suggest that rises in CO2 follow rises in temperature. The oceans give off CO2 as temperature rises, just as a soda goes flat as it warms up. The alarmists may be fixated on the result of global warming, not its cause. That would indeed be ironic.
● I know that the alarmists’ computer models failed to predict what is happening now, so how can we believe that they can predict what will happen in 50 or 100 years? Hubris is not science. Leftist politics is not science. A desire to control all human activity is not science. And stifling debate is the exact opposite of science.
● I know that whether record high temperatures or record low temperatures are reported, or whether there are droughts or floods, or dust storms or snow storms, global warming is blamed. An idea that is supported by any evidence, even if contradictory, is a quasi-religious belief, not a scientific hypothesis.
● Most of all, I know that the essence of a scientific hypothesis is that it can be disproved. Referring to his General Theory of Relativity, Einstein said, “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” One of the greatest geniuses in history readily admitted he might be mistaken. But global-warming fanatics like Al Gore insist “the debate is over,” and anyone who disputes them is a liar in the pay of oil companies.
In science, the debate is never over. In fact, the debate is science. If the debate is over, science is over, and all we have is leftist politics disguised as science.
Scientists are questioning some of their most basic beliefs. They are questioning whether the speed of light is constant, as Einstein assumed, or may vary with time. They are questioning whether this is the only universe, or whether there are many. But global warming is “settled science”? Nonsense! The essence of science is that it is never “settled.”
But even if science could be “settled,” how would we know when to “settle” it? If we had “settled” climate science in the 1970s, we would still be stockpiling parkas and thermal underwear in anticipation of another Ice Age. The notion of “settled” science is preposterous – which, by the way, means pushing your rear end forwards.
Science is a method of seeking the truth by means of observation and experimentation. Science is not a set of revealed dogmas that must be affirmed publicly in order to achieve salvation – or government grants, which in a university is much the same thing.
From all this I conclude that: (1) Global warming is a problem, but less of one than the alarmists claim. (2) Global warming has stopped, at least temporarily, and global cooling may have begun. (3) Less of the warming is due to human activity than the alarmists claim. (4) Less intrusive methods may exist to help us deal with the problem, even if it is a problem.
Some global-warming alarmists are sincerely worried about the impact of human activity on global climate. They want to avoid the problems that are being predicted by some – but by no means all – experts. But other alarmists are true fanatics.
Like all fanatics, they believe we can’t have too much of their “good thing.” They focus on this one aspect of human well-being to the exclusion of all other aspects. They claim to be speaking for all humanity, a colossally egocentric notion. They refuse to answer, or even listen to, arguments against their pet theory. Instead, they call those who disagree terrible names, even equating them to Holocaust deniers – and refuse to publish their opinions. In effect, global warming has become the alarmists’ religion – they brand those who disagree with them as heretics. And we know what fanatics do to heretics.
The next time you hear people expound on the dangers of global warming, ask them if they ever heard of Lagrange. He isn’t widely known, but he has a point.
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