What does climate change portend for hurricanes? Perhaps a lot, but maybe not as much as it would appear. Let’s look at the facts. This is the first part of a discussion of what we know and don’t know about the facts surrounding climate change and what the effects might be for life on earth. And more broadly, we will go beyond climate change to other changes that will greatly affect life on earth. In the final analysis, you will exercise your own critical thinking skills to make up your mind and not just adopt what others say. I hope you will be better informed to do so.
One observation I have made is that people like things the way they are – at least climate-wise. So minimizing change seems to be one goal. Hot where it is hot and cold where it is cold. We want to preserve artic ice, have no sea level rise, and that Florida be the most hospitable state in the winter months and that oranges don’t freeze. That is, climate change should be zero from several decades ago.
We will start with the arguments supporting that there is climate change and that the results of which will be detrimental if not catastrophic to life as we know it. Then I will present the case of the so-called “deniers” (by the pro-climate change enthusiasts). These two represent the two extremes of a complex problem. I think every reasonable scientist on both sides of the a very polarizing argument will agree it is a complex problem with parts well known and parts not well known. It is also clear that most, perhaps 85%, of the climate scientist agree that the mean global temperature is increasing.
It is further clear that very often both sides have a “dog in the fight”. That is to say, they either are or hope to profit financially or increase their standing by the position they espouse. That does not make their arguments incorrect or disqualify them, but it adds at least an apparent conflict of interest. In addition, the scientific community, societies and board have uniformly come down on the side of a catastrophic looming climate change. To not embrace that view tends puts one as an ill informed, obstructionist.
The argument has taken on a distinctly political tone, with Republicans more generally identified with the “deniers” and Democrats aligned with those warning of catastrophic climate change. Unfortunately, it has become as polarizing as all the other issues of national discourse. It really is first, a question of science, and second, a question of what if any should the social response be.
Strangely, those whose level of technology doesn’t extend beyond their smart phone, have advocated one position or the other. Perhaps less strangely, politicians have taken stands as if they had an inkling of the facts, and their positions seem to align well with those of their electorate. Few could support their arguments well.
The beauty of this issue is that it will not be conclusively resolved for a century and no one will be held accountable. That, you will see, is both a blessing and a curse.
What I will attempt to do as concisely as I am able, is present some of the relevant facts, on all sides. I will also present some facts that are conveniently ignored by both sides. And in the end you can decide where you come down on this important but complex issue. For most of us, we will realize it truly is not black or white.