Consider the phrase “climate change.” (Or “global warming” or “global climate disruption,” as it’s also known…) Don’t think about it in the current cultural context. Just think about that phrase – on its own.
Climate change is obvious. The climate is changing every single microsecond of every single day. The earth’s climate is probably the single most complex and dynamic concept man can attempt to contemplate – with the possible exception of humanity itself.
What is “the earth’s temperature?” Think of the earth in terms of cubic square feet. Imagine the earth covered in one layer of one foot by one foot cubic square boxes. Now imagine there being enough layers of those boxes to reach the outer atmosphere of the earth. The captured weather conditions would be at least slightly different in every single one of those boxes. Even within the box there might be at least the tiniest fraction of a difference in temperature from one corner of the box to the other. Some boxes would have snow, some rain, some cool, some warm, etc.
Now consider that there are air currents constantly blowing the contents of every one of those boxes around the globe – and not in any uniform pattern. The molecules in one box could spread to millions of other boxes with one gust of wind. And now, add the element of time.
All of these variable conditions and molecules are in constant movement all over the earth. Every second, every cubic square foot of the earth is changing.
Just to add one more layer, consider how each one of those variable conditions interacts with all of the dynamic types of earth surfaces.
Sand will blow, water will run and erode, sun will heat. Given all of this, how would you go about determining the earth’s temperature at this second? And what is the relevance of that second’s measurement?
Let’s say you nail all of that, and you’ve got a system that everyone agrees on and understands. What is the ideal temperature of the earth? How would you know?
One can only be alarmed by changing global temperatures if there is certainty regarding what the global temperature should be. Plus, the earth has been around for millions of years. Trying to draw conclusions about any climate change over the course of five, ten, thirty or even 100 years is without merit because we still have no context unless we can compare it to the previous millions of years.
When something has been around that long, a change is going to have to present itself over a very, very long period of time before one should conclude that there is a serious change afoot.
Let’s add another element – the idea that the change is man-made.
Over the history of the world, there have been ice ages and warming spells. 1,500 years ago, Greenland, which is currently covered in ice, was green (hence the name) and fit for farming. How could it have been warmer 1,500 years ago if man was not yet producing pollutants in anywhere near the current volume?
The climate is changing, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. But why are we convinced it is a bad thing? Why are we not celebrating the warming climate? Warmer temperatures will make more of the earth fit for agriculture. There will be less cold-related death. There are a number of positives to a warming earth. Why so glum?
But, let’s just say that Al Gore is right and that the climate is changing and we need to do something. How will we know when we’re done? What will prevent us from going too far, and how would we know if we did? If we did go too far, would we simply reverse course until we got it just right? Would we bring back the Hummers and get the factories pumping again? Would we break out the aerosol cans and classic Freon refrigerators?
Something tells me the answer is no. So why, then, are there people promoting the idea of man-made climate change?
(And, speaking of Al Gore (and people like him), if they believed their own predictions – which, when it comes to the end of the earth, have to be considered pretty darn serious, why would they be the greatest violators of their own dogma? If they were that concerned, they’d be first in line to sell their mansions and start using candles.)
There’s no way to know for sure. Many people simply believe what they’re being told, and they want to do the right and responsible thing. But what about those promoting the concept?
One of the reasons this issue has broken down traditional political party lines is because those promoting the idea are only promoting solutions that entail a massive expansion of government and its role in the economy. In fact, I’m pretty confident that’s the point.
Many climate change promoters are largely anti-capitalist. They don’t believe in the free market system, and they want the government to have more control of our market. More specifically, they believe in socialism, and they want the state to play a larger role in society.
Environmentalism is a means to this end.
Another theory is to follow the money. A large portion of the funding for climate research is coming from the government and liberal environmental activist organizations, and they are only going to be motivated to fund this research if the funding is leading to results that suggest more research should be done. (Climate change is hardly the only example of this phenomenon.)
This also proves one of the main tenets of conservatism – people will act in their best interests nearly all of the time, and it goes both ways.
With all of the government funding of climate research, I find it ironic, if not disingenuous, when we’re told by environmentalists that Big Oil is behind all of the anti-climate change science. Yet it never occurs to them to question who’s funding their science.
And with all of the evidence that the global warming skeptics are amassing, we’re still told by the climate change crowd that “the debate is over,” and anyone who doesn’t BELIEVE is a denier. I guess if you put your fingers in your ears and yell “the debate is over!” loud enough, then it is.
I’m not afraid to accept that there might be global warming and that something must be done about it. That’s why I’ve read so much about it. In my 30 plus years of following politics, it is probably the issue I’ve studied the most. But I’ve simply not see anything definitive or convincing.
And every time I hear a “fact” about climate change, it turns out to be wrong. Most of the science and predictions come from climate models that are nearly always flawed because of one dynamic or another that wasn’t accounted for.
Carbon dioxide is supposed to be a pollutant. We all breathe it out with every exhalation, yet it’s a pollutant. And if it were, you’d think the levels of carbon dioxide in the air would be a precursor to temperature change. But it turns out that levels of carbon dioxide rise only after temperature rises and fall after temperature falls. This seems like a relatively large fact to ignore.
Maybe it’s the marketing. Environmental issues were always sold under the premise that “we can’t prove it’s going to happen, but what if it does? We must prepare now.” But that’s just not a compelling enough reason to fundamentally change the entire structure of the country. (Though it is compelling enough for corporate America to take advantage of consumer sentiments by “going green” and showing off as a good corporate citizen.)
It would also be helpful to environmentalists if the anti-capitalist left hadn’t taken it up as a justification for eliminating capitalism.
I realize that not all environmentalists are liberals. But the most extreme ones that we see most in the media are, and all that does is turn off conservatives before the conversation even starts.
We need to take care of the earth and manage our own areas thoughtfully. Most everyone can agree on that. But I’m not sure I’ve seen enough evidence to tear apart the foundation of the greatest country on earth on a gamble that our computer models, which have always been wrong, that never factor in all conditions, tell us something bad might be happening.
And being called a “denier” isn’t really winning me over, either.