Monthly Archives: May 2013

Ducking an Ice Age: Has Humankind Fooled Mother Nature?

time-magazine-april-1977

I remember this cover. Do you?

I post it not because I am a climate denier, I am not. But it does demonstrate how science can, from time to time (yet generally only for a short while), be very wrong.

I post it because it helps me make the following argument:

  1. We are due, overdue actually, for another ice age. Look at the record back into deep history and you’ll see what I mean.
  2. As bad as a warming Earth is, it is far less destructive of human life, agriculture, economies, and college football than an ice age would be. Less than twenty thousand years ago, where Chicago stands today, sat an ice cap over a mile thick. Cubbies games postponed indefinitely.
  3. We use the terms “climate change” and “global warming” rather loosely. It is warming up from what it was 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 years ago, but so what? Who are we to say, temporary and short-term residents of the planet that we are, that the temperature/climate we’ve enjoyed for the last millennium or so is the “right”, or “proper” one? Many older species, dinosaurs perhaps, might disagree.
  4. Returning to item two for one second, is there any doubt that dramatic cooling would be far worse for our kind than the warming that is occurring presently? For example, the number of deaths prevented by warming exposure to cold temperatures is several times greater than the deaths projected from warming. It is a net good in that regard.
  5. No scientist of any weight believes that we can take significant enough action to halt, much less reverse the trend.  The Gores and Boxers of the world are simplyusing warming to promte their own interests and agendas. Given that, why not spend our time and resources learning to mitigate the damage rather than waste them on a campaign that will have little or no effect? And finally
  6. Given the above, even though who wouldn’t want to live on a planet with a static “ideal” climate, man-made warming could end up being one of the best things humankind has created since we stumbled out of Africa.

So perhaps we should be considering a much larger picture than that on which we seem to be focused.  Perhaps humankind is better served by planing, mitigating, and – by the way – thanking our lucky stars for the carbon-based energy that allowed us to grow our collective wealth to levels that would have been unimaginable to our great-grandparents. Not to mention postpone or even prevent an ice-driven end to our species.

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