Climate change: Back to the future?
By Mark Alexander
My father phoned from the Florida Keys last week. At 86, he likes warmer climates in winter, but there has been nothing warm in Florida lately -- it was zero degrees Celsius the morning he called.
Three decades ago, scientists coldly calculated that another ice age was imminent. (See AccuWeather's analysis of these predictions.) But, no longer. Today, they are prophesying that ice caps will melt within the next hundred years and swamp coastal lowlands. That is unless, and only unless, an international governing authority is established posthaste to control economic/industrial development that is blamed for global warming.
What is the truth?
Earth's climate is changing. It always has, and it always will. Mean global temperatures might, in fact, have trended upward, though recently, many climatologists are now suggesting that the planet might be in a 10-30 year cooling trend.
If anthropogenic (manmade) CO2 really has been responsible for a global warming trend over the last two decades, then why, with more man-caused CO2 today than at any other time in history, would the climate be cooling now? CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are estimated to have increased from 280 parts per million before 1750 (industrialization) to 387ppm today -- a 38 percent increase, so the ice age hype of the 1970s notwithstanding, how could a warming trend be interrupted?
The Obama administration and their Leftmedia minions are double-talking this apparent contradiction, claiming that global warming is responsible for global cooling, and the lemmings are buying it wholesale.
Moreover, why would those scientists who insist they can predict the temperature 100 years from now, fail to predict the current cooling trend?
There are many factors influencing climate. Variations in solar cycles, solar radiation deflection/absorption, the earth's core, ocean currents, complicated climate cycles, urban islands, rain forest depletion in some regions, reforestation in other regions and volcanic eruptions are just a few. The influence and interaction of all these factors and many more are much too complex to model precisely enough to draw conclusions about temperature rises and drops next month, much less next century.
According to the best scientific evidence available, much of our planet has been buried under ice for most of the last million years. The duration of the ice ages was about 100,000 years, the most recent beginning approximately 114,000 years ago when global temperatures abruptly plummeted. Just as suddenly, about 10,000 years ago the planet warmed and glaciers receded.
I checked, and there were no coal-burning fuel plants or SUVs in 8000 BC, but that will, of course, not deter the climate alarmists and their cult following.
The most recent effort at establishing an international economic/industrial regulatory body, ostensibly to control CO2 production, was the December '09 confab in Copenhagen. Representatives from 200 nations gathered an effort to draft a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the last attempt at controlling CO2 output of industrialized countries.
Kyoto called for the reduction by 2010 of CO2 and other greenhouse gases to a level that was 5.2 percent less than their 1990 output, an average 29 percent cut of current emissions levels.
The accords failed at Kyoto and Copenhagen, primarily because the biggest growth in CO2 production is from China, India and other developing economies. These nations are not about to submit to international agreements to suppress or depress their industrial output.
Despite scandals involving global warming alarmists -- most recently the suppression of contradictory evidence by climatologists at the University of East Anglia -- and Albert Gore's outright lies at Copenhagen, it is important to understand that there is a relationship between CO2 levels and global temperature -- the "greenhouse effect."
Though 99 percent of our atmosphere consists of nitrogen (78 percent by volume) and oxygen (21 percent by volume), without greenhouse gasses, primarily in the form of water vapor, in the remaining one percent of air, the mean temperature of earths climate might be as much as 40C degrees lower.
However, the overriding question is not whether the climate is changing -- it is -- but why is the climate changing? Answering that question requires steady, rational analysis and conclusions, not hyped-up fear mongering driven by political agendas and bolstered by phony so-called "carbon credit" scams.
Though we mere mortals have a natural desire to predict the future and be the arbiters of our own destiny and that of our planet, when it comes to our ability to control global climate, the fact is we probably have less control than a butterfly has in a tornado.
Of course, all the hyperbole about climate change is not so much about global warming or cooling as it is about centralization of the global economy and usurpation of national sovereignty by supranational governing entities.
As Alexander Hamilton warned, "Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants."
Though the climate may be cooling or warming, Leftists never let facts impede their power grabbing agenda, and such is the case with Obama's "cap and trade" tax legislation.
After usurping the banking, investment, insurance and auto industries and attempting to slice up the national health care sector, the Obama administration will be redoubling its efforts to enact CO2 legislation in order to control the industrial sector of our economy.
The bottom line is this: Human activity does affect the climate. Every time you exhale CO2, you increase the concentration of that minuscule greenhouse gas in the atmosphere -- but if you want to make a positive impact upon the environment, don't hold your breath. Roll up your sleeves and promote liberty, because, per capita, it is the free nations of the world that have the cleanest environments.
Conservation is not a bad word -- it even shares the same root word as "conservative." Indeed, our family makes every effort to use energy and resources wisely. The "waste not, want not" principle is good economic practice.
But make no mistake; those who are attempting to enact global mandates are advancing, first and foremost, socialist economic agendas under the guise of concern for the global climate. The implication for liberty, in those few pockets of the world where it still exists, is ominous.
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.