A recent article Global Warming and the Weather Channel has started a little debate. Readers seem to be placing me in the conservative denial camp or the liberal dooms day camp. That’s fine with me but I really feel that I am closer to the middle of the road. In any case, I feel compelled to explain my stance on the subject of global warming.
With over six billion humans on the planet doing the silly things humans do like trying to survive. There have been a lot of changes made to the planet. Those changes can and do effect global weather and produce greenhouse gases. Some of the changes made by humans affect the weather and do not contribute to greenhouse gases. Converting millions of acres of desert to productive farmland is one such case.
The presence of mankind on this planet has an adverse environmental impact on the planet. The eradication of humankind from the planet would eliminate man’s contribution to global warming. This is not an option that I would care to pursue. There are some radical groups promoting nuclear weapons proliferation that seem to be contemplating this recourse.
The ultra leftwing of our society preach doom and gloom. They are of the mind that decisive measures must be taken immediately to stop the world’s destruction at the hands of mankind or all will be lost. There may be a slight chance they are correct, but a very slight chance. The planet we live on is a huge reservoir. In physics terms, this means that the planet can absorb huge amounts of energy and greenhouse gases with insignificant changes. The planet is not an infinite reservoir so there are limits.
The greenhouse effect, which contributes to global warming, which causes climate change has an effect on the reservoir. The reservoir or planet if you prefer, can counter these influences to a point. Warm trends in the northern latitudes increase ice melt and rainfall. The increased rainfall and freshwater from the ice melt decreases the salinity of the North Atlantic Ocean. A significant decrease in the salinity of the North Atlantic cold waters reduces the northern flow of the warm Gulf Stream current. As the warming current reduces, the northern latitudes will cool, increasing frozen precipitation and extending sub-freezing temperature durations. This will increase the artic ice cap size. Then the whole cycle will repeat.
The ultra rightwing consider this predicted cycle to be normal and that there have been insignificant impacts by man on this cycle. Current temperature averages seem to indicate that this thought is incorrect. The actual degree that man’s activities have had on global temperatures is still subject to some debate.
Scientists differ on the rate of global warming. Some use a shorter time frame that indicates an exponential increase in temperature (very bad). Others use longer time frames and predict an increase that is more linear (not as bad). Following this next cooling cycle more accurate predictions can be made.
In the mean time, thousands of inventors and entrepreneurs view the current global warming and the energy crisis as an opportunity. They are leading a charge to develop and implement new alternate energy technologies. Wind, solar, tidal, nuclear and agricultural energy alternatives are quite viable at this time in human history.
Other entrepreneurs are working on improving product energy efficiency, which will reduce waste heat. Some are working to improving forestry management, which will decrease carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Agriculturalist are working on improved crop hybrids and farming methods that will increase production and decrease energy use in farming.
All of these positive trends in technology, that will have an impact on global temperature change, have financial incentives driving their development. President Bush’s 20 in 10 statement made during his state of the union address, will increase implementation of these technologies through tax incentives.
Warm and fuzzy idealism is a wonderful example of mental masturbation. Real change is influenced by cold hard cash and that’s the sex. This is the stark reality of the situation. So to best describe my position on the subject I would say opportunist, which is not a bad thing IMHO.