Thursday, August 6, 2015

Global Warming? Why Not Just Cope with It?

Back in October, I think, I wrote a piece about global warming.  In essence, I said that even if it is indeed happening, changes in climate were just that, "changes", and should result in as much good as bad.  That the alarmists not once ever acknowledged a single positive outcome of that "change" was prima facie evidence that they were raising the issue for power and control, and not because they actually, you know, cared about the Earth.

It was actually a pretty good piece; if you have a minute take a look here.

Another thing I did, if only to defuse the opposition, was to stipulate first that the planet's temperature might indeed be sneaking upward.  Sure, fine; let's go ahead and agree that we might be a degree or two higher in 100 years.  Maybe even three -- centigrade.

Can we have a civilized debate, then, about whether the reasonable expected impact of a couple-three degrees of global temperature can or cannot be adequately accommodated without ripping up the entire global infrastructure for creating energy?  The answer, of course is "no"; we cannot have a civilized debate with zealots about anything.  Moreover, they're not out there because of a warm Earth, but because they want power ... and then maybe more power.  We're not talking electricity.

The debate right now, such as it is, consists of the usual elements it has featured for a few years -- is the globe actually warming; is the warming because of mankind burning fossil fuels; what steps do we need to take.

But it stops too soon.  The left and the global-warming alarmists are so all-fired anxious about the possible impact of slightly higher temperatures on our great-grandchildren, sure, but that's the only impact they seem ever to care about.  In a "civilized debate", we would also be talking about the impact on humanity of reducing consumption of fossil fuels.

In a "civilized debate", we would be trying to predict the impact of a few degrees of warmer temperature -- and that would include benefits as well as negative outcomes -- and balance that against the impact of any action on a civilization and planetary populace, one that derives a huge percentage of the energy it needs from the burning of fossil fuels.

For every polar bear moving north (or south, perhaps) to find new food sources; for every penguin that would have to do what penguins need to do if the temperature rises; for every glacier that gives a few tons of itself back to the sea, there are positive outcomes as well; not just palm trees in Portland, Oregon but newly arable land in Canada, Russia and Scandinavia that can help feed the starving in Africa, as well as those on a penguin-based economy.

Not only do we have to consider that (and the fact we don't shows that the warming alarmists aren't exactly out there for science and their fellow man), but we have to consider what a reduction in fossil fuel use can cause.  We are not going to replace that with wind turbines and solar panels -- although we could replace a lot of it (certainly the coal-fired plants) with nuclear power plants (and the fact that we don't shows ... well, same as above).

Reduction in fossil fuel use means a reduction in transportation flexibility.  It means a reduction in our capacity to heat homes, hospitals, schools, etc.  Reducing transportation flexibility makes it harder to get food from farm to market to home to starving people.

You get the idea.  Why not simply discuss, rather than how to stall global warming, how to cope with it?  Why can we not simply adjust ourselves to the notion that things will be a bit warmer, and over 3-4 generations we might have fewer people in Arizona and more in Idaho?  Why not consider whether the impact of stalling global warming is far too costly; that it is far less effective than doing exactly what mankind has done for 10,000 years when God was the only one doing the warming and cooling -- i.e., just adapting to it?

What presumptuous beasts we must be to think that we must change the impact we have on the planet rather than basking in it.

Just move a little north ... or at least your grandchildren can.  As long as there's a USA we'll be free to do so.

 Copyright 2015 by Robert Sutton
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