Are the squids alright? Opposing viewpoints on global warming
September 16, 2016
The squids are alright: Why fighting global warming is a waste of time and money
We created it, but it spiralled out of our control. It threatens to level cities and destroy civilizations. According to the U. S. President’s website, “no challenge poses a greater threat to our children, our planet, and future generations.” One could reasonably mistake the subject of the discussion for Skynet from Terminator.
In fact, the panic concerns a global temperature increase of 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over a period of 136 years.
The American political class’s advocacy of radical measures to stop global temperature change did not, in fact, start with the warming scare. In 1972, famed news anchor Walter Cronkite went on air to warn the public of the dangers of global cooling. What happened to the great “new Ice Age” scare of the 1970s? Nothing came of it but a few memorable magazine stories, and now leading pop-science figures (many of them the same who pushed global cooling in the decade of Led Zeppelin) demand government action to counter the opposite.
While several accomplished scientists certainly count themselves among the anti-warming movement’s ranks, its most well-known faces cannot be called modern-day Einsteins: such figureheads as Bill Nye, a children’s television personality with a bachelor’s degree in engineering, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, a relatively undistinguished astrophysicist mostly known for hosting a preachy remake of Cosmos.
Warming does, of course, occur, and humans may impact it, but that does not necessarily call for the kinds of unprecedented interventions environmentalists so earnestly promote.
Climate change did not spring suddenly into existence a century ago. Archaeologists note that medieval Europeans had to layer up when the Medieval Warm Period led into the Little Ice Age, which lasted well into the nineteenth century. Indeed, part of the current warming trend may simply result naturally from the end of the Little Ice Age. The changes, however, did not produce the sorts of apocalyptic phenomena activists frequently stress; human civilization continued with little disruption.
And even if warming does present a danger, government intervention will not stop it. According to the Cato Institute’s Carbon Tax Temperature Savings Calculator, based on EPA-funded research, a 100% reduction in carbon emissions from the world’s industrialized countries would, even by the most sensitive climate models, only halt warming 0.352 degrees Celsius (or 0.6336 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100.
A small percentage hardly counts as a world-saving transformation.
In short, the world’s governments ought to not waste precious time and money on stopping warming by a tiny fraction of a degree. Governments should instead use more of their resources on defense, technology, infrastructure, and helping citizens in need.
The squids should end up all right.
The squids aren’t alright: Global warming is a problem and needs attention
If 97% of aviation engineers, as well as every single major engineering body in the world, predicted that a flight out of Hartsfield-Jackson would explode in the middle of the ocean, would any passengers still board?
The majority of passengers would take another plane, but somehow 73% of the same people would board the plane when it comes to human-caused climate change. Despite what media outlets say, almost every single climate scientist — from the most famous meteorologists to the most obscure graduate students — agrees that anthropogenic climate change exists. The world faces the largest and most widespread threat in human history: it could destroy agriculture, make millions homeless, make deadly hurricanes commonplace, and kill the vast majority of oceanic life forms. Nevertheless, 32% of Democrats and 83% of Republicans do not even believe in climate change, let alone believe that humans cause it. The plane’s engines exploded, but the passengers still calmly chat about their plans as they hurtle toward a watery death.
The 2016 summer broke every heat record set in human history, just like the summers of 2014 and 2015. In fact, the past half-century can be viewed as a cycle of record breaking, with each year’s heat surpassing the temperatures of the previous year.
Courtesy of NOAA
Climate change deniers point out the natural cycles of warming and cooling that characterize the earth’s climate history, and they do so correctly, but the current state of climate change happens at a historically and scientifically unprecedented rate, unexplainable by the gradual rise in global temperatures. Furthermore, human emissions of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Methane (CH4) add to the warmth.
Of course, I would misrepresent politics and the intelligence of politicians by claiming all skeptics refuse to acknowledge climate change. While the great majority of deniers negate climate change’s existence, a fairly sizeable minority acknowledge it but argue that the world should take no action for fear of economic ruin. Dissidents argue that halting economic growth, especially in poorer nations, would affect humanity to a much greater degree and much quicker than whatever devastation climate change will bring.
These “experts”, while correct in many of their assessments of climate regulation, ignore the harsh realities of global climate change. Within the next century, in the age of the experts’ grandchildren, sea levels will have risen enough to submerge major metropolitan areas. As growing seasons in parts of the planet lengthen, and intrepid entrepreneurs buy “climate change real estate” in anticipation of rising sea levels, most agricultural sites in the world will turn barren, and rising sea levels and droughts will push world infrastructure past its breaking point. The world cannot ignore the threat, for the sake of its children, grandchildren, and the safety of society.