I hate the term, “Global Warming!” Like most things about which people disagree, it’s become a monumental political football. And huge numbers of people not knowing the difference between CLIMATE and WEATHER PATTERNS makes discussing the matter even more difficult.
For the sake of simplistic clarification to a very complex issue, climate changes occur at glacial speed. Weather patterns change by the hour and are always based on climatic conditions. It’s more complicated than this, but you get the general point.
But, the overriding question isn’t whether Earth’s climate is changing. It either is or it isn’t. Legitimately, some SCIENTISTS claim that it is; but just as legitimately, others claim that it isn’t.
And while others disagree with my thinking that the place is getting warmer by the year, it’s also necessary to note that that those in the “no-it’s-NOT” camp seem to be diminishing in number with each passing month.
However, in relative terms, it doesn’t matter. The politicians long ago chose sides based on the amount of mileage they thought they could muster; so the political football game rages on into mid-3rd quarter.
We’ve already chosen our cheerleaders from among the spectrum of capable ratings-oriented TV/radio pundits. By God, there’s a hissy fit to be won; and so, reality—whatever that is—be damned.
Far be it from me to encourage fan interference. However, even though my scientific specialty isn’t climatology, it IS physics and mathematics.
But it’s the mathematician in me that insists on stating the equation of climate change with ALL of its elements included. However, even though most legitimate climatologists have already done so, the politicians and pundits have NOT.
Let’s begin with what I think the hissy fit is all about. It isn’t so much about whether the place is getting warmer as much as it is about whether humans are causing it.
The geologic record shows that Earth has cyclically warmed up and frozen up at regular intervals throughout its history of 4.54-BILLION years of life to date. Every ice-age has been preceded by a global warming; it’s a fact. So, there’s nothing new to the equation here.
Also, our star, the Sun, has always experienced hot flashes, releasing them as increases in its radiating power. Whenever this has happened, the entire solar system has become historically warmer. Again a geologically historic fact and nothing new to the equation.
In fact, most of the SCIENTIFIC arguments relative to climate change are proven geological facts. And, given these facts, scientists can debate the issue to a draw.
However, there is an element in this mess that is NOT a historically geologic given: humans. We’re newcomers. In relative terms, we’ve only been on the scene for the cosmic equivalent of an eye-blink.
The first human-like dudes and dudetts first appeared about 2-MILLION years ago. It took about an additional 1.8-MILLION years for “modern-like” humans to evolve.
At this point, if we put Earth’s existence of 4.54-BILLION years to date on a scale of 365-DAYS, modern-like humans have been around the equivalent of around 19-MINUTES.
And even at this, based on the human population and technological abilities at THAT time, they couldn’t POSSIBLY have influenced the climate of this planet.
But then, 199,740 years later (about 260-years ago), beginning in the vicinity of 1750, our direct human ancestors began indulging themselves in myriad world-wide industrial revolutions.
These folks had developed the technology to make our lives much more comfortable. With the aid of natural resources and the brains capable of inventing effective tools, they began a concerted effort to develop and invent things.
They unleashed a thirst for technological know-how never before seen on this planet. And with it came consequences that they could not begin to foretell.
If we reduce just this segment of human existence (about 260-years) to our scale described above, this human technological capability has been around for only about 1.8-SECONDS!
No one is accusing humans of causing climate change. We’re off the hook thanks to Earth’s geologic record. As well, the Sun’s radiating power has always fluctuated; humans are not the culprits here, either.
Also, our polar ice masses have always lost and gained ice. In the Artic, the place has routinely lost ice while the Antarctic has done the opposite. Again, humans are off the hook; blame it on nature.
But the ratio of the Arctic’s current losses to Antarctic’s current gains is overwhelming. And science—most of it anyway—IS accusing humans of accelerating the warm-up.
Once chemicals make it into the atmosphere, they combine. Some of the resulting combinations thrust havoc on our environment. And, these new compounds stick around for HUNDREDS, sometimes THOUSANDS of years.
What’s seemingly happening with our climate began in earnest some 260-years ago. And, no matter how much money we throw at the problem, we can’t reverse it. All we can do is reduce future impact.
And, at least in this country, we began this process about 60-years ago, starting with massive reductions in harmful fluorocarbons. We’ve begun to improve other processes as well. And, we could do more WITHOUT breaking the bank.
But, no matter what we do going forward, when we include the human element beginning about 260-years ago, the link between PEOPLE and an accelerating warming trend leaps right off the page. It’s a FACT!
It’s also a fact that to successfully solve an equation, we have to factor all of its elements to their lowest common denominator. And I mean ALL of them!
I’m going to be long-gone and so will most of you old enough to read this. But if we continue doing NOTHING about it but argue over whether it’s really happening and who’s causing it, it’s going to be quite uncomfortable by the end of this century for people born over the next 20 to 30-years.