First, I am not one of those folks who could be called “a climate-change denier.”
I am, however, one who reads, evaluates evidence, considers all viewpoints and reflects seriously.
Based on the evidence I have been able to review, including scientific books, magazines and other media reports, I have formed some opinions.
My first opinion is that there are large numbers of academics, scientists, entertainment personalities, politicians, media companies and figures who have an interest in promoting the whole idea of climate change becoming continually worse. Generally, it appears they do this to increase their fame and, in many cases, to increase their fortune. First among these (at least by name recognition), is, of course, former Vice President Al Gore.
Gore has, more than most, shamelessly agitated the public about climate change in order to enrich himself. The book he ostensibly wrote and the documentary he produced (both titled “An Inconvenient Truth”) did more to inflame public opinion about the dangers of various substances (mostly carbon-based) to the environment than anyone had since the 1960s.
A serious analysis of the book, the documentary and Gore’s personal behavior since releasing them has cast a long and dark shadow on his credibility as a person as well as his honesty as an advocate for the environment.
Gore has followed the pattern of many environmental and wildlife activists, that of “working” a potentially volatile, emotional issue for personal gain. Often, this pattern involves exaggeration and half-truths — or even untruths — repeated often enough that they take on the ring of validity and a higher degree of urgency and importance than the subject deserves. One of Gore’s examples involved the visual depiction of some polar bears on a small ice floe, with the accompanying suggestion that polar bears were becoming extinct because the ice caps and glaciers were melting as a result of “global warming,” as “climate change” was then termed.
The actual facts about polar bears are much less serious. Polar bears may have to evolve their hunting behavior toward more land-based game over the next century (plenty of time for such a behavioral change, according to scientists). Factually, however, they will be in no danger of extinction (due to climate change) for the foreseeable future.
A recent Lewiston Tribune article by Julia Rosen of the Los Angeles Times quotes a United Nations report as reporting “... dire consequences for humanity.” These include increasing frequency of hurricanes, storm surges, and other disasters, such as “... by 2050, flood events that used to occur only once a century will happen at least once every year in many places, ...” and that “... one study found that so-called 100-year floods will occur in Los Angeles about five times per year by mid-century.”
“Mid-century” is only 30 years in the future. Climate deniability or not, nothing in weather prediction has proven to be accurate 30 years out. People in the same business predicted in the 1970s that we would now be in the throes of an ice age. How did that prediction work out?
No, I should be called a “climate realist.” My belief, based on the best available information, is that the Earth’s climate is generally warming. Our best response is not to try and stop it (because, frankly, we don’t have that power). Instead, we need to do whatever is necessary to minimize the damage. Humans must do what the polar bears will have to do: Adapt.
The best evidence this writer has seen suggests that the warming climate is tied to the activities of the sun and the movements of our Earth around it, the same way our seasons are dictated by those predictable movements. In addition to the quarterly tilt of the Earth’s axis, science has known since the 1950s of a phenomenon called Milankovitch cycles, repeating shifts (about 25,700 years, 109,000 years and 405,000 years) in that tilt and the trajectory of Earth’s orbit, triggering climate swings that leave scientifically measurable traces in rock layers.
Events on the scale of the universe will not change, regardless of what puny humans do. Reduce your carbon footprint if it makes you feel good, but you’d better serve the Earth if you’d just quit pitching your plastic water bottles along the side of the road.
I’ve heard it suggested that one result of climate change could be that mosquitoes evolve to the size of chickens. If that happens in my lifetime, I will shoot them with my 12-guage and see how they taste boiled, steamed, baked or fried.
Rogers of Clarkston is a retired manager at CCI-Speer (now Vista Outdoor). His email address is email@example.com.