Global Warming Overview

Copyright 2004 Bob Persons
January 1, 2004

Time to try to make some sense of this. As usual, I will begin with lists, as a means of organizing an approach to the issues:

I don't know enough to fill in much of these lists.

  1. I don't think we know enough about the earth's climate system to determine if we are in a warming period.
  2. I don't think we know enough to determine conclusively if the problem would not exist, or it would be a smaller problem, if human activity did not contribute to the causes.
  3. Neither environmentalists nor economic experts nor government scientists can say for sure what is going on.

Yet, based on what I have learned, I believe the global warming phenomenon exists and at least some of its causes come from and can be dealt with by humans. So, my current stand is:

  1. Global warming exists as a phenomenon.
  2. Some of the cause may be normal climate cycles or the evolution of the earth's climate system.
  3. Some of the cause is human activities. The current administration apparently agrees with this, in the EPA's Climate Action Report (May, 2002).
  4. The world economy is increasingly dependent on extracting resources from the earth and using them up, resulting in waste products that enter the atmosphere at an ever increasing rate, contributing to global warming. The same Climate Action Report agrees with this.
  5. Despite this administration's recognition of the problem, and human activity's contribution to it, the administration (again, the Climate Action Report) appears to be offering ways to live with the problem, rather than trying to reduce its extent.
  6. It is government's responsibility to manage and preserve the commons. Yet our governments increasingly hand over management of the commons to corporations for exploitation, without a corresponding responsibility for preserving the resources and cleaning up the inevitable waste products.
  7. There seems to be no recognition that the earth's resources, and the environment in which we live, are the infrastructure upon which the economies of the world depend, and to remove, deplete, or destroy the infrastructure would, ultimately, destroy the economies that depend on them.
  8. Apparently, this administration is concerned only about short-term goals, in its unswerving goal of increasing business's capacity for making a profit, even at the expense of depletion and destruction of the infrastructure of resources on which that economy is based.
  9. Further, this administration appears to be willing to exploit the problem. It sees the profound effects of global warming (rising sea levels, abandoning of ocean ports, migration of croplands northward, mass migration of animals in response to warming, extinction of vegetation that can't adapt, etc) as merely another new market for business to develop and sell the technology that will enable us to "live with it". (Once more, see the Climate Action Report.)

In the end, it seems obvious to me (and to this administration and to many scientists) that we humans are increasingly devastating our planet. Global warming is only one of several profound effects we have on our planet. We could, if we wanted to, at least stop that portion of the global warming problem that we cause (recognizing we can't do anything about the natural evolution of our climate, except perhaps defensive measures). Our activities are not necessary; they are calculated and could be adjusted if we really wanted to.

"Living with" the effects is something we could learn to do in response to the natural evolution of our climate. We do not have to learn to "live with" the effects of our own arbitrary contributions. We could choose to remove those effects in the first place.

Instead, this administration is choosing to abandon any concern for quality of life in its unswerving pursuit of the economy's short-term goals.

 


Here is the rant you've been waiting for (or not):

What a concept! What genius! Turn a profound devastation of our planet into yet another opportunity for business to make a buck!


- Lone Coyote Calls

 


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