Those who are on the climate change bandwagon and the deniers accuse each other of being bought off. The deniers or skeptics must be paid shills or hacks for the oil industry. Maybe some are, but the brightest are not. Also, some who are loudest about a climate change catastrophe also have a dog in the fight. And many of the brightest scientists are not vocal. Both sides are guilty of selective use and interpretation of data and both vehemently deny it. Missing is a thoughtful and knowledgeable discussion about how to manage all our resources and minimize the negative impacts of all kinds on civilization. Included in that discussion should be: population growth, food shortages, and the lack of fresh water for crops and to drink. Haven’t heard it yet. But these crises will precede significant temperate increases by a hundred years. You will begin to hear about them. I can hear them coming.
I think the evidence of increasing temperature in recent centuries is real but that many of the forecasts are exaggerated and over generalized. The predictions of an unstable atmosphere with temperatures exceeding those used in cremation are crazy, but ice will melt. Nature seeks an equilibrium temperature, and that equilibrium will be warmer than it is now. Bottom line:
Will warming continue? - yes
Are people responsible? Is it at least in part anthropogenic activity? – yes
Can we fix it? – yes
Will we fix it? -- no
Is it a catastrophe as portrayed? – no
Will nature fix it to its satisfaction? – yes
Can we survive the warming? – yes
Are there real catastrophes that need to be addressed now? – yes
Are they being addressed? – no
What is the problem? – POLITICS, $$, and sadly, our own human nature.
Keep in mind the carbon we are putting in the atmosphere, actually was there, we are just returning it after it was in storage for a few hundred million years. And when we run out of it, it will be a catastrophe.
There is also an indication that we are in the midst of an increase in extreme events. Oddly, it was only in the 1970s that Florida had such a freeze that it killed all the orange trees except in the very south of Florida. The southeast has actually has been cooling. So maybe the use of “global” should be used more carefully.
It is likely that in 200 years mangos can grow in Tallahassee and our climate might more resemble that of Orlando. I have already planted my two mango trees, just in case. It is likely that we will loose some coastline and we will gain some elsewhere. The drying aquifers in California and Texas are releasing pressure on the earth’s crust and the land is already rising. Regionally that will more than compensate for any sea level rising. The earth is and has always been a dynamic system with natural wild swings in just about everything. We do contribute to changes in the atmosphere, and are we adding to that for the first time in the history of the earth. Our increased numbers allow us to do that.
Possible break here for part 2.
What will happen to the average global temperature? It will get warmer. We will also run short of potable water; we will run out of energy; we will have hundreds of times more mouths to feed, drug resistant bacteria will kill us, and we will have insufficient water to drink or to use on crops, even though we have run out of room to plant them.
The problems we face are far bigger than just burning oil. What we do or don’t do in all areas: climate, population growth, alternative energy sources, conservation of water, etc., will dictate the outcome of climate change and more importantly the quality of life if not life itself. In the mean time, 1) none of us (currently living) will be around during the “worst of times”, and 2) no one will be worried about climate change in 100 years – no more than the ozone hole, nuclear winter , el Nino, etc. It will be the beginning of “survival time”. Don’t say we can use reverse osmosis, etc, because everything takes energy and we need a lot of fresh water. And forget about the oysters in Apalachicola Bay.
By then, the real problems, the ones that are hard to push off to the future, the ones that will truly divide us, the ones that REALLY matter will be in our face. The reality is: people will dream of protesting a rather small rise in sea-water level. They will because the earth is crowded. The population doubles every 40 years. In 100 years there will be 100 times as may people living on the earth. All will suffer the lack of food and water. Many will die and wars will be over resources.
There will be change -- there always is. The earth and climate has always been in a state of change. We will adapt. Ultimately all the fossil fuels will be used up in a few hundred years. And then we will have to contend with that very real problem. In the mean time, we will fight over food and water and more will die of starvation than from heat, even though the atmospheric temperature will reach a new normal. And the increase in carbon dioxide will come from human breath.
We need to conserve! Do we want some foreign country to have all the remaining oil? NO, we want the last drops of oil! We must conserve that natural resource. We need to diversify our sources of energy and how to store energy. We need as many ways as possible, as soon as possible, while we address the really tough issues we are avoiding.
Yet there is no serious consideration to these potentially catastrophic problems that are just over the horizon. Remember that Mark Twain famously observed, “Whisky’s fer drinkin’ and Water’s fer fightin’ over”.
Got that right! Amazing.