Arguments about global warming seem to be full of hot air

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By Steve Doyle

One letter arrives as if sucked into the vortex of another, something like two powerful thunderheads colliding over the middle of the county, creating all sorts of wind and havoc.

They speak of data and experts and opinions. They portend great insight, laying out  science and history in detail. They are doused with perspective and seasoned with rancor.

But these letters don’t address our heaviest matters, such as war, healthcare or human rights.

No, their topic is climatology or, more specifically, global warming.

One writer’s Armageddon is another’s natural process.

This popular discussion has produced a Tsunami of perceived expertise and torrent of emotion.

We should expect the disagreement about the science of this issue. Every fact can be nuanced and debated, which is science by definition: theory that must be proven.

But here’s the one aspect that I can’t seem to grasp: Why are the lines of argument about the state of the ozone drawn along political ideology?

What does a political party have to do with hydrogen levels?

Why must emissions and sunspots and the right and wrong of this issue be debated with so much name-calling and so much posturing about the “other side?”

Maybe it’s all just a bunch of hot air. Please don’t construe this as my taking sides. I’m not.

I have my opinions about the human effects on our weather patterns and the realities of what has happened (a mirror is so much more accurate than a microscope, isn’t it?).

But I’m much more concerned with why we have to take sides against one another based on which politicians we prefer?

Politics largely are a tag-along game. Some people choose a party and support  its planks and follow its candidates blindly.

But a greater percentage – particularly younger people – chooses a candidate and follows him/her to a party.

In this case, though, it sometimes feels like we are following our prospective political alliances off the edge of a meteorological cliff, like weather-beaten lemmings or something.

The first step off that precipice is to say that global warming is a media-fed frenzy. Blame the messenger is our newest political game. Even the messengers blame the messenger.

You probably thought that Dennis Quaid in The Day After Tomorrow or Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth were equal parts fiction.

You probably discarded the former because a good guy was in a bad movie and the latter for just the opposite. Or at least that’s my reading on this.

Maybe the most reasoned points are those argued along religious lines. At least they have a foundation in faith.

After all, if you believe that God is in control of everything, that means He is allowing man to destroy the earth, though something tells me Adam and Even didn’t  sully the Garden of Eden with anything more distasteful than an apple core. At least that was biodegradable.

But here’s what I know for sure:

Our weather has been more volatile in the last 10 years than it has at any time in my lifetime. The hots seem hotter, and the colds seem colder. And the storms more powerful.

You only had to see what happened around here last September and then again on Tuesday morning to understand that. Anomalies abound.

We know that the ice caps are getting smaller and the oceans larger.

In Florida, we lived in dire fear of hurricanes because they came with such greater regularity and ferocity. Remember the season of 2005?

And in the nearly three decades that I lived there, Florida got hotter by average temperature for more days each year,

But those days still didn’t seem anywhere near as hot as my days on the farm.  If you’ve ever put hay in a barn on a sultry August afternoon, you know what I mean.

Your effort and the climate combined to turn you into a walking bead of sweat. Your body became an adhesive to the hay dust that blew up with the landing of each bale on the wagon.

When you actually got into the hayloft, on the receiving end of the bales that someone tossed machine-like onto the conveyor, you felt like you were in a microwave oven, only such a thing had yet to be invented.

Globally, that was warm.

So as I read the comments from readers, politicians and even ministers, I simply shake my head, not just because I disagree with one or all of them.

But maybe there’s a way to  bring synergy to these debates. Perhaps the Weather Channel could merge with Fox News and produce daily forecasts that have political guidance behind the science.

For sure they couldn’t be any more inaccurate.