The Oakland Post

A “New Green Deal”

Timothy Kandow, Contributor

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Newly elected Representative Alejandra Ocasio-Cortez of New York proposed a “New Green Deal.” The goal of this deal is to significantly reduce greenhouse gases to avoid the supposed catastrophic consequences of climate change/warming. The gravity of human effects on the climate and its severity, and how it’s changing for present and future generations, is a relatively recent discussion in American politics.

Though one should not dismiss the change of the climate if there were one, passing resolutions, enacting laws or conducting studies must be reviewed under several key observations and questioned in multiple ways.

The premise of the climate change debate is that of the global average temperature. Since 1880, according to several highly credentialed organizations including NASA, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the National Climate Data Center (NOAA), the global average temperature has risen 1.5 °C.

Even if one were to admit the global temperature was rising—which is what these studies suggest—the impact of a degree and a half hardly has a large impact. The situation of global temperatures risings is not of a significant nature.

Let’s assume for a moment these average temperatures are correct and pose a threat, do they accurately support the premise of all global temperatures rising?

It is important to understand there exists no global temperature. The world is composed of many different ecosystems and environments and their temperatures fluctuate. Cold spells and heat waves are natural and occur from time to time. These waves and spells go into the global average but do not represent the entire globe, only the region in which they occur. Only one region of the world has to rise in temperature for the average to rise.

The Harvard Business Review critiques averages in a simple way: “Consider the case of the statistician who drowns while fording a river that he calculates is, on average, three feet deep.” A piece of an average does not show the average itself neither does the average accurately represent all pieces.

Even if the global average temperatures were the true average and the rise was of a significant nature, the temperatures in which NASA, NOAA and UNFCCC used to date back to only 1880. What about the rest of history? Scientists have only been able to accurately record the global temperatures for less than two centuries.

Most, if not all, beliefs on origins of the earth claim the earth has existed longer than a century and a half, hence, having temperatures extending before 1880. A comparison is needed. If something is rising, it must have a standard to rise from. The scope of time used by credentialed scientists is minuscule in light of the history of time.

Climate warming is shown to be highly insignificant, prone to inaccuracy and reviews a small portion in the necessary field of study. Earth is here for our enjoyment, but is also our responsibility. Before we move to protect it, however, it is key to evaluate the basis for change and review the reasons for reform.

1 Comment

One Response to “A “New Green Deal””

  1. Cody Donovan on March 5th, 2019 4:23 PM

    I understand that this article was posted under the Opinions section, but quite frankly, there are several issues here where the author, in my opinion, is severely uninformed. I will outline where I think the author is misinformed as follows:

    1. Climate Change vs. Global Warming
    Source Used: https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/climate_by_any_other_name.html

    According to the author, “The premise of the climate change debate is that of the global average temperature.” I find this characterization to be incredibly reductive and lacking in nuance. According to NASA, the phrase “climate change” includes average surface temperature increases, in addition to all of the other affects of global warming. The author has thoroughly mischaracterized the way the scientists who research topics related to climate change and global warming actually use these terms.

    2. Global Warming Does Not Pose a Threat?
    Source Used: https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/sites/2/2019/02/SR15_Chapter3_Low_Res.pdf

    The author says “The situation of global temperatures risings is not of a significant nature.” This statement is either egregiously uninformed or an outright falsehood. According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), there are a wealth of reasons to mitigate average global temperature increases. I’ll leave it to the experts in the report linked to above, but I’ll list a few reasons they lay out:

    -To prevent loss of habitats, preserve animal species, and maintain ocean health
    -To reduce the frequency and/or intensity of heavy precipitation weather events
    -To reduce the risk of water scarcity in certain parts of the world

    3. A Mischaracterization and a Critique of Averages

    The author introduces his next section with the following: “Let’s assume for a moment these average temperatures are correct and pose a threat, do they accurately support the premise of all global temperatures rising?” He then goes on to explain the shortcomings of using a single average rather than looking at different areas individually.

    First and foremost, I would implore the author to cite a single, mainstream researcher in the field of climate science to support the statement “surface temperatures literally everywhere, over all of the globe, are increasing.” The author has misrepresented what the scientific consensus on global warming actually is. The consensus is that the average global temperature is increasing, not that the temperature in every location all around the globe is increasing.

    Secondly, I’d like to address to author’s critique of the use of averages. I understand the thought process, but how far the author takes this line of thinking seems rather extreme. Averages are used in scientific fields to gain an understanding of overall trends. No one is making the case that the average global temperature increase will impact everybody. Just because averages don’t apply to every data point does not mean they are useless.

    Quite frankly, certain parts of the author’s critique of the use of averages are bizarre and very puzzling to me. As he puts it, “Only one region of the world has to rise in temperature for the average to rise.” Does the author understand exactly how massive the earth is? A quick google search yields roughly 200 million square miles of surface area. To achieve some perspective, America is roughly 4 million square miles of the earth’s surface area. If we break down the whole earth into 1 square mile segments, America would have to rise an average of 75 degrees C to achieve an increase in average global temperatures from 20 to 21.5 degrees C.

    4. Historical Temperature Data
    Source Used: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/global-warming/last-2000-years

    The author insists that there is not enough historical data to draw any conclusions about global warming. I am inclined to disagree. Although it is true that historical records only exist for measuring temperature since roughly 1880, there exist indirect methods for measuring temperature before 1880. The source listed above from the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration) clarifies that the overall trend of historical data and indirect temperature measurement methods indicate an overall increase in global temperatures over the last century.

    5. A Conclusion

    I have finished addressing the article itself, and would like to address the author and the Oakland Post directly.

    First, to the author. I cannot pretend to know your intentions in writing this article. I will assume the best. I would like to encourage you to take a critical look into the literature associated with climate change and global warming. Without meaning to sound insulting, it seems to me that you do not have a fully nuanced understanding of the work climate scientists do. I am no expert myself, but there are several critiques of climate change/global warming you have made here that climate scientists have already addressed many times.

    I would like to encourage the Oakland Post to have a higher standard for articles discussing scientific issues. Again, without intending to offend, this article displays very little scientific rigor. However, in the interest of public responsibility, and of the Oakland Post’s reputation as a college newspaper – whether or not the Post is independent – I implore the Oakland Post to make more responsible decisions in choosing which pieces to publish, regardless of whether or not they are opinion pieces. Issues like climate change are going to be very important in the future, and it is the responsibility of media outlets such as the Oakland Post to provide accurate information to the public.

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A “New Green Deal”