On this page two years ago I wrote, “What if it doesn't get warmer? What if it gets colder?” After a summer that wasn't and one of the coldest and snowiest winters on record, it certainly seems to be getting colder.
Does that mean that the Danish physicists' theory about sunspots affecting temperature is correct? Their theory is sunspots create a solar wind that shields the Earth from cosmic radiation. When sunspot activity is low, we're bombarded with cosmic radiation from space, leading to the formation of low level clouds, which cools the planet.
At present, sunspot activity is low. We've got one of the quietest suns since the Dalton Minimum (a period of low solar activity, named for the English meteorologist John Dalton) at the end of the 18th century and start of the 19th, when it was so cold that New York's Hudson River froze, and people walked across the ice from Manhattan to Staten Island.
So are the Danes correct?
I don't know. And neither does anyone else.
A few weeks before world leaders and celebrities gathered in Copenhagen to discuss global warming in the snow, a hacker or whistle blower released private correspondence and computer code from England's Climate Research Unit. Sparsely covered by the mainstream media and whitewashed when it was covered at all, the Climategate documents reveal a breakdown in the climate science peer review process, a conspiracy to avoid freedom of information requests, and outright scientific fraud regarding climate models and temperature records.
Following on the heels of Climategate, we learned that the Moscow Institute for Economic Analysis claimed that large parts of Russia were omitted from the climate data used to calculate world temperatures. It appears the Brits cherry picked the data. This comes from a report published by the Russian news agency, RIA Novosti. Add these rural Russian temperature stations back in and global warming disappears.
It's not like the U.S. temperature records are better. According to climatologist, Joseph D'Aleo, Canada, Greenland, Africa, South America, parts of western Asia, and parts of Australia are largely extrapolated in NASA's climate record. D'Alero is the executive director of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project.
Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre has repeatedly exposed “errors” — if not outright fraud — among U.S. researchers, resulting in red-faced researchers changing the data. After McIntyre destroyed the infamous “hockey stick” temperature record that erased the inconvenient Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age, the House Energy and Commerce Committee deployed our nation's best statisticians to conduct a review. They supported McIntyre.
It gets worse (or shakier). The U.S. land surface temperature record is the world's gold standard. And yet, Anthony Watts, a Chico, CA-based meteorologist, headed up a Surface Stations project involving 650 volunteers who physically inspected U.S. temperature stations. They “found that 89% of the stations — nearly 9 of every 10 — fail to meet the National Weather Service's own requirements that stations must be 30 meters (about 100 feet) or more away from an artificial heating or radiating/reflecting heat source.” The errors alone exceed the 20th Century temperature rise.
Not only is the science unsettled, the data's uncertain. All we have supporting anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming is theories and computer models.
And yet, we're going to reorder society anyway. Cap and trade legislation may die in the Senate, but the people who write regulations and craft building codes that affect all of us will continue to act as though anthropogenic warming is an undisputable fact.
We don't know if man is changing the global climate or not. We do know that laws and regulations are changing the industry's business climate. Business climate change is the reality we need to adjust to.
To adapt, we need to do more than service and change out old furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps. We need to do more than HVAC. We need to become experts in geothermal, solar, wind, electricity generators, in attics, in building pressure, and in the envelope as well as traditional equipment, ducts, air distribution and diffusion. In short, we need to become total home energy experts.
Those who make the transition will prosper. Those who don't will struggle. What will you do?
Matt Michel is the CEO of the Service Roundtable, which is helping contractors make the transition at www.ServiceRoundtable.com. He is also a longtime member of the ContractingBusiness.com editorial advisors board. Feel free to argue with him by email at Matt.Michel@ServiceRoundtable.com or by calling him toll free at 877/262-3341 or on his mobile at 214/995-8889. You can also become his friend on Facebook, connect on Linked In, follow him on Twitter (@ComancheMktg), and read his blog at www.ComancheMarketing.com.