|The 3 questions we should all be asking about global warming.26-04-2017 03:03|
|The 3 Questions We Should All be Asking about Global Warming|
There are a lot of people screaming for change in the world these days. People who claim that we are destroying our planet. Celebrities, scientists, politicians, all making us worried about how our lifestyle today may be affecting generations to come.
And there are others who deny that things are as bad as the doomsayers would have us believe. Other celebrities, different scientists, industry leaders, even presidents.
Most of us are concerned, aware that something catastrophic might be going on and willing to do what we can for the cause. But what do we do? Who do we listen to?
Here are the three questions that we should all be asking ourselves to help us decide which road to take.
1. IS GLOBAL WARMING A BAD THING?
It is undeniable that we have seen a gradual rise in temperatures globally in the last 150 years, since reliable record keeping began. But is that a bad thing?
Outspoken global-warming advocate and Science Guy, Bill Nye, often quotes as proof of global warming that you can now grow wine-quality grapes in England. That doesn't sound like such a bad thing.
Most advocates claim that the main deleterious effects of global warming would be loss of habitat for some species (polar bears and penguins come to mind), desertification of some areas and , of course, loss of coastline property due to rising ocean levels.
While it is true some species would probably lose out in changed conditions, others would undoubtedly move in and flourish, as has happened throughout natural history.
Desertification may occur in some areas due to changes in weather patterns but, with melting polar ice caps, shouldn't there be more water available globally.
Loss of coastline cities has been the fear since global warming was first suggested yet, despite the fact that the arctic ice cap has been shrinking by 13% per decade since 1980 there have been no reports that Manhattan Island has lost a single building. In the grand scale of things, coastlines are always changing anyway, from Pangea to the latest San Andreas rumble. Would it be egotistical of us to assume we can keep that from happening?
How much change in temperature and sea level are we talking here, anyway? In 2014 the IPCC (the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) predicted that by 2100 global warming would cause a rise in temperatures "likely to exceed 1.5 degrees relative to the 1850-1900 period for most scenarios and over 2.0 degrees for many scenarios." They also predicted the rise in sea levels to be somewhere between 1 centimetre and 90 centimetres (about 3 feet) by 2100.
There will be pros and cons to the effects of global warming in everyone's minds but, even though it may seem blasphemous even to consider it, this is the first question we should be asking ourselves. Is global warming a bad thing? If we are okay with it, then great, we don't have to do anything about it. We can look forward to monkeys and macaws returning to Alaska and pineapple plantations in Saskatchewan. If, however, we still have concerns that it might be a bad thing, we have to ask ourselves the second question.
2. HOW MUCH IS MAN CONTRIBUTING?
A recent YouTube video by meteorologist Jason Meyers includes a series of graphs comparing the recent rise in temperatures to changes in sun spot activity, ocean currents, volcanic activity and the like. The only one that showed a close correlation was the increase in man's industrial activity. The inference is clearly that man is responsible for the global rise in temperatures.
What we should keep in mind is that for 95% or more of the Earths history global carbon dioxide levels and temperatures were significantly higher than they are now. Also, scientists seem to be in agreement that there have been at least five major ice ages, with periods of tropical warmth in between. Logically, there must be times when temperatures rise and fall without any input from Man. If we happen to be in one of those times of rising temperatures the correlation in Meyer's graphs might be just partly coincidence.
Elon Musk speaks out about man's contribution to global warming, using this dramatic graph of the increase in carbon dioxide which is attributable wholly to man's industrial activities.
(Graph did not print)
Musk seems like a man whom we can trust to have his facts correct but, dramatic as it is, the graph still doesn't tell us the percentage of total global warming that is attributable to Man. Is it 100%? Common sense tells us that is unlikely. Is it 1%? How can we know? The only accurate way would be to remove Man from the equation for the last 150 years and compare the numbers. Since that is not possible we will have to do more research, keeping an open mind to our findings (i.e. by not cherry-picking the results to find the data which supports our beliefs, a practice used by both sides of this and most other passionately fought debates).
The main sources of green house gas (GHG) emissions today are the burning of fossil fuels and animal agriculture. Are they contributing to global warming? Of course. But even if they weren't we have plenty of other good reasons to move as fast as we can to other clean, renewable resources and industries, right?
When we do arrive at a number that unbiased experts agree is the correct one for mans contribution to the problem we then have to ask ourselves the final question:
3. CAN WE DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT?
There have been many meetings by the nations of the world to discuss this problem and what, if anything, can be done about it.
In 1992 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change met based on the premise that a) global warming exists and b) human-made CO2 emissions have caused it. From that the Kyoto Protocol arose in 1997 to set emission targets for all participating countries.
Is it working?
World Bank noted that in the first ten years after Kyoto, global energy-related CO2 emissions increased by 24%. Many of the countries involved have targets higher than their base-year emission level, others are unwilling to bind themselves to their targets, still others have withdrawn altogether. One reason could be the cost involved. One estimate put the costs of implementing Kyoto at up to 2% of GDP. Not much in the Solomon Islands but in the hundreds of billions for the United States.
Another reason Kyoto hasn't worked as well as it could have is the International Emissions Trading that is allowed under the plan. Using a variety of "flexibility mechanisms" countries are given a score based on things such as population and the cost of reducing emissions. Some end up with a CER (Certified Emission Reduction) credit. Countries with CER deficits can trade countries with credits to meet their targets, resulting in no actual reduction to emissions.
Kyoto, Meech Lake, Paris... so far none of these accords have had a significant impact. People continue to talk about this issue but not much is likely to happen until a) people get used to the idea that change happens and just adapt or b) something dramatic happens (maybe not Armageddon-dramatic but certainly more than losing three feet of Manhatten island) and we will all be forced to do what it takes to survive.
In the meantime, all of us should ask ourselves these three questions. And if we are still concerned about global warming, and convinced that we are responsible for a significant part of it, we must decide if are we ready to give up our cars and planes, our burgers and bratwurst to do something about it.
|Into the Night★★★★★
First, one must be able to define 'global warming' without using circular arguments.
The Parrot Killer
|The three questions that you ask are those that, I think, each of us have considered. Most of us are deaply entrenched in answers to the questions as you will soon see. It might be well for each of us to step back and, at least concede that the answers to these questions are not settled.
Edited on 26-04-2017 03:53
|Tim the plumber★★★★☆
|Wow, it went on a lot.|
Did it say anything?
Edited on 26-04-2017 11:30
Man has a short memory because he has a short lifespan. So anything and everything can be made to appear to be peculiar when in fact it isn't. There is no global warming beyond the normal cyclic heating and cooling periods of an Interglacial Period of an Ice Age. And yes we are presently in an ice age.
CO2 is a trace gas. In the lower atmosphere most heat is gained and lost through conduction and convection. This makes the radiant energy capacity of CO2 irrelevant. In the upper atmosphere above the Tropopause the atmosphere is so thin that all gases release energy through radiating heat. So again CO2 is irrelevant.
If indeed man is raising the CO2 levels - something that is questionable. (the oceans during this latest warm spell release very large amounts of CO2 naturally and the latest research as reported in Science has shown that soil is releasing CO2 several times faster than originally estimated since the warmer soil enhances bacterial growth among other things.) this is a positive factor since the levels were so low that photosynthesis was on the verge of ceasing. Due to the increase in CO2 from whatever factor, food production is up and world wide starvation is down.
Why would we WANT to do anything about it. And we already have had several reports showing that even a world wide effort would have no discernible effect.
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