Global Warming, Global Cooling, Climate Change
The debate is on, and it wouldn’t be a major issue except for the fear, the skepticism, the disdain, the cost, the mistrust, the potential for disaster that it engenders. Not too many years ago, the threat was global cooling – Earth was in line for a new ice age. The Earth made a U-turn. Suddenly the temperatures were rising, and global warming was the new nemesis. Icebergs would melt, sea levels would rise precipitously, mankind would be decimated. Then, in the last few years, the warming trend seems to have paused. So a safer term was found that covers all the bases: climate change. Here is the new fear: things will change! If we cool, oh dear. If we warm, fear fear. So, who has decided that change is bad, and that our climate today, right now, or maybe a few years ago, is the climate we should always have? And who really believes that man has the insight and capability to knowledgeably manipulate the environment in such a way as to make predictable changes in Earth’s climate? Are we really willing to pay for this rash experimentation?
Solar Radiation, Earth’s Impact, Man’s Influence
For what it’s worth, something, or some combination of things, is causing changes in the climate. This is not particularly germane to our primary focus, but it does perhaps apply to how we get there. Given all the possible influences, and all the evidence of climatic fluctuation, is the ideal climate a possibility?
It’s patently foolish, if not to say absurd, to deny that Earth is warmed by the Sun. Located within a narrow band that supports life, the Earth orbits the Sun in a nearly unbelievable position. A small deviation toward or away from the Sun would mean the end of our existence. Is it any wonder, then, that very slight changes in position, such as that caused to northern and southern locations by the tilt of the Earth, would change the relative warmth of the hemispheres? But, then comes the point of controversy. Is the Sun a stable source of warmth? Is it possible that the solar output fluctuates significantly? What if the heat output of the Sun were to decrease? Today, do we play ostrich in the sand and ignore evidence of current warming occurring on Mars? Where is Occam’s razor in the face of evidence like this? For other data on possible solar impact, see “sunspots.”
With or without man, there are important, large-scale events occurring in the Earth that have significant influence on its climate. Predominantly we see the impact of volcanic activity and forest fires. Volcanoes can have massive and world-wide effects, sometimes through an immediate cooling, but sometimes through warming based on cloud cover and trapping of greenhouse gases. Forest fires can have the same multiple effects, and following the fire, the lack of trees can mean a reduction in the natural demand for CO2. Let’s not forget the normal life cycle of the Earth. We have oxygen-based life which breathes in O2 and exhales CO2. Then we have the plant kingdom, which consumes CO2 and releases O2. The more CO2 we have, the more the plant kingdom can flourish. The more the plant kingdom flourishes, the more human life can be supported. Where is the bottom line?
Then we have the question of how much man influences the climate of Earth. Is it enough to trust man-made models to measure man’s contributions to changes in Earth’s climate, especially when those creating those models believe that man is the primary culprit? And by their own admission, proponents of the theory that man’s activities are causing catastrophic changes, the rhetoric they invoke is biased toward scare tactics and hyperbole. Is the generic term “scientists” enough to convince us, by the methods of “proof by authority” or even “proof by threat?” For many in today’s world, the answer is “YES,” or at least “yes,” or maybe even “probably”. This, when even the fastest supercomputer today can predict tomorrow’s weather sometime next week. And yet, the brooding question remains: do even the loudest fear-mongers really believe their own words? Consider the following: is there any evidence that Al Gore is actively buying up land in northern Canada?
Is the Earth warming? Is the Earth cooling? Does the Earth contain enough flexibility as an eco-system to mitigate the changes, albeit over time, so that the rate of actual climate change is reduced? For an interesting look at some possibilities,
see this overview of global warming.
The Past, The Present, The Future
For a historical look at our global climate history, see this climate history.The information is the result of research and may suffer the same weakness that any historical endeavor can encounter. But it provides us at least with a thinking
point that we must not ignore. For a look at the past, the present, and the future potential, see past, present, future. This second site, of course, has its detractors. The “man-is-the-culprit” cadre opposes it violently. But personally, I lean toward the data on this site, rather than the “man-is-predominant” claims.
But now, finally, we come to the real issue of this post. Perhaps the Earth is cooling. This is unlikely – all the models, whether those that blame man or those that acknowledge the influence of outside forces, look for a rise in the Earth’s temperature. Even without the models, unbiased observation seems to provide the same result. So perhaps the Earth is warming. Or maybe, it’s in a stasis, oscillating between a cool point and a warm point, as we’ve seen over the last few years. What’s your opinion? What’s your preference?
Current climate alarmists have all their scare tactics pointed toward higher temperatures than we currently experience. What is the basis for this scare? WHAT AUTHORITY IS THERE THAT TODAY’S CLIMATE IS THE RIGHT ONE? Which climate is best for the Earth? Which climate is the best one for mankind, for our survival? Every winter, one of the greatest causes of death in Europe is cold-related. Wouldn’t it be better to warm Europe up? The Climatic Optimum, at 1 to 2 degrees Celsius warmer than today would increase crop production and increase livable land overall. Even during the Little Climatic Optimum, settlements were established in Greenland and Iceland, expanding the productive potential on Earth.
CHANGE MAY NOT BE BAD – IT MAY BE BENEFICIAL. Why is today’s climate the right one? Who defines the best climate for the Earth? This seems a rather parochial and stolid viewpoint – “what I have experienced and am now experiencing must last forever.” I, for one, would welcome a warmer Earth. Let’s see food production rise. Let’s see plants thrive. Let’s see prosperity we haven’t seen before. Let’s get our heads on straight!
What can man do to prevent volcanic activity and unbounded forest fires? Are we up to that kind of challenge? Instead, maybe we should focus our financial efforts on helping stamp out starvation and disease in Africa.
Agree or disagree, it’s grist for the mill.