Global Warming Overview
Copyright © 2004 Bob
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:
- The issues:
- Global warming exists or it doesn't.
- Global warming, if it exists, is a problem or it
- The world economy depends on resources in the
- Information relevant to the issues:
- Climatological cycles.
- Human activities:
- Government must preserve and manage the
"commons" - those resources that all
citizens use and share.
- Analyses of the information in the current environment.
- Conclusions drawn from the analyses.
I don't know enough to fill in much of these lists.
- I don't think we know enough about the earth's climate
system to determine if we are in a warming period.
- 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
- 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:
- Global warming exists as a phenomenon.
- Some of the cause may be normal climate cycles or the
evolution of the earth's climate system.
- Some of the cause is human activities. The current
administration apparently agrees with this, in the EPA's Climate
Action Report (May, 2002).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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