Global Warming Debate at Purdue Without Ag?

Hoosier Perspectives

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Published on: September 20, 2010

Imagine my surprise when a press release came floating through the Ethernet into my email, announcing a symposium on Greenhouse Gases to be held at Purdue University. My first reaction was, wait a minute - who said greenhouse gases are a real topic? Not everyone has yet given credibility to the theory, especially after some fraud in emails between pioneering scientists was uncovered last winter.

My second thought was, 'Why is the ag school acting like this is a done deal, and holding such an informational program?' The answer to this one is much simpler. The ag school, now known as the College of Agriculture, isn't one of the sponsors. Instead, it's the folks on the north side of State Street if you're familiar with campus. The College of Ag and common sense more generally lies on the south side of State Street.

The College of Engineering, College of Science and Global Policy Institute are sponsoring this forum. And there's not one Purdue specialist on the program as far as I can see. Instead, there's so-called world experts on something which I can't yet make up my own mind as to whether it exists or not. Since this is a blog, not a news story, I can express my opinion. My opinion is I don't have an answer - although I'm mighty skeptical of a theory that doesn't hold up under close scrutiny.

Nay to the person who pops up and says we've had almost twice as many days of 90 degrees F or higher this year than normal, so that proves global warming is true. What about last year when we had five, far below the normal of 18, and one of the coolest July months on record? Where were the global warming forums then? And we're only some 15 years out from what was one of the coldest winters in Indiana history, with a minus 35 degrees recorded in central Indiana. For trivia buffs, it occurred at Whiteland Indiana, about 5 miles from me. It was so cold it cracked the face off a few bricks in my garage where the insulation was poor. In 21 years of living here, that's happened only once - that was the time. Global warming? I'm not so sure.

Rising carbon dioxide levels - yes, that's fact. They're up considerably, but still far from double, from what they were in the 1950's. But is there a clear tie to the ozone layer and greenhouse gases because carbon dioxide levels are higher? While someone is proving that, have them disprove my own theory that corn yields are trending up because carbon dioxide levels are higher. I can't prove it, and they can't prove their theory either.

So if you want to hear from someone from Princeton, the Woods Hole Oceanographic project and the Science and Environmental Science Institution, you're invited - it's free to the public. It's 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept 27.  It's to be held in Loeb Playhouse in Stewart Center at Purdue University.

Showing up might be a good idea, just to keep what appears to be environmentally-biased speakers honest. If they start blaming the whole thing on cows, I would get might suspicious.

I'm still wondering where the ag people are, and if they were even invited. Agriculture is usually the primary target when greenhouse gas debate comes up. It looks like we would have at least been invited to the party. Why would you bring a program to one of the greatest agricultural schools in the world, hold a forum on a topic loosely tied to agriculture and not invite the ag school and its specialists to participate?

Oh well, one thing no one has ever said existed in this whole debate was common sense and logic.