My most popular post is “How To Disprove Global Warming”, which earned its distinction dishonestly, I’m afraid. I can’t prove it, but I have strong suspicions that most of its continuing popularity, week after week, comes from climate change deniers who have stumbled upon it, hoping to find support for their unsupportable belief. It’s amusing that the rating for the post is 2-1/2 stars, which can only mean that half rated it “excellent” and the other half rated it “very poor”. Deniers would rate it “very poor” because it goes against their faith.
I’m very sorry to disappoint them. Their conspiracy theories are ridiculous, and every bit of the evidence is against them. NASA scientist James Hansen said it best. “There are lots of opinions about climate change, but only one set of facts.”
“There are lots of opinions about climate change,
but only one set of facts.”
I have said many times that it really doesn’t matter what scientific ignoramuses and ideological slave politicians think. Climate change is happening before our eyes, and will go on happening regardless of their articles of faith. They claim there is controversy, but the fact is that in a count of tens of thousands of peer-reviewed scientific articles, only about half of one percent suggested climate change was not occurring, and those are old articles. Conservatives claim there’s a worldwide conspiracy, but they can’t explain why all the climate scientists all over the world would suddenly decide to go over to the dark side. Several Republicans continue to characterize climate change as the grandest hoax ever foisted upon the gullible world.
This is idiocy. The only questions are when climate change will become too obvious to ignore, and how bad it will be. This is where genuine scientific disagreements can occur, but every week we get more bad news and almost no good news. The only bright spot in the otherwise disturbing landscape of new research is a finding that the rapid warming may be leveling off somewhat. Good, but climate change hasn’t stopped, nor will it, because it is caused by our abuse, which is actually worsening.
It really doesn’t matter what
ignoramuses and politicians think.
Climate change is happening before our eyes.
Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas, produced by the normal operation of cars, deforestation, and other processes. For decades, we have been aware that the best scientific evidence we have is that 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide is about the maximum the planet can take without radical consequences. The last update of the subject told us we had crossed the 400 ppm marker for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The public shrugged. The politicians paid no attention. The industrialists and all the rest of us continued to pump millions more tons of carbon dioxide into the air.
The last time there was a reading higher than 400 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was some 45-million years ago. The ocean then was 65 feet deeper than it is now.
Perhaps the doubters look at the present sea level and conclude that, since the rise is not obvious so far, let alone dramatic, warming can’t be real. If movement is very slow, we can’t see it with our eyes; we can only see it after time has passed, or if we measure it scientifically. As Stephen Jay Gould said, tadpoles are immortal in the eyes of a mayfly, whose entire life passes in one day.
The last time the earth had 400 ppm of
carbon dioxide the sea was 65 feet deeper.
Some, including quite a few fools in Congress, have pointed to record levels of snowfall and concluded we can’t be warming if there’s all this snow. These people are willfully ignorant. That’s exactly what science predicts, along with more violent hurricanes and tornadoes, worse flooding and drier droughts, and all the other things that get worse every year.
Now, we have seen maps that show us the coastal areas that will be under water if the sea rise is ten or twenty feet, which is not imminent, but inevitable. The effects will be radical, requiring the relocation of hundreds of millions of people into areas that are already overcrowded. Major cities will be permanently under water. Agricultural land will be lost. It’s already being lost. But if we had a sea level rise of anything even close to 65 feet at some far future date, it would be a catastrophe unlike anything since long before homo sapiens became a separate species. The population would be greatly reduced. Billions would die. Fortunately for me, I will probably be long dead by that time. But my grandchildren and yours may not.
It’s worth remembering that it won’t be the end of the world. The planet will go on. But it’s possible it will go on without people. No problem. Evolution will continue as it always has (regardless of whether people “believe” in it), only there might be no people.
Solving climate change is no longer possible.
We can only try to live with the consequences.
In the United States the entire subject is crippled by political-religious ideology, by a conservative, anti-intellectual failure to understand the reality of science, of how the universe actually works. By an inability to get beyond conservative belief in magic that is simply wrong, that is not even possible in the real world. Believers simply don’t accept that their faith is failing them, and is leading us into deep and turbulent waters that will drown us.
Solving the problem of climate change is no longer possible, because even if the generation of greenhouse gasses were to stop completely in an instant, they would continue to build up in the atmosphere for decades. The United States, as the nation that contributes the most to atmospheric greenhouse gasses, has failed to even begin rational discussion. The tiny steps we have taken—recycling our cans and bottles, driving a hybrid—are all but meaningless. The world will probably never address the problem.
There’s a term that describes a species that has lost the ability to adapt because environmental conditions have changed too much: extinction.
Here’s a nice little PS for you. It’s an especially telling graphic presentation of what is happening to Arctic sea ice since 1979, by Andy Lee Robinson. Note especially the black trace for September, the month of least sea ice. Looks a bit too much like the vortex going down the drain, doesn’t it?