Climate Change

Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2008, 11:20 AM

I'm going to talk about a particularly significant and controversial subject, one where I am not part of the majority view.

Global Warming, or perhaps more accurately Climate Change, is the theory involving our world's temperature extremes are actively changing to be higher and lower than they have been in the past. Most people, and Governments, seem to accept this at face value because it's what the scientists are telling everyone, and they all seem to agree on the broad facts, so there's no real reason to disbelieve it.

However, for me, I have doubts. It's not that I think it's not happening at all - I'm not clever enough to be able to understand the statistics to know if it is or not, and it seems a reasonable assumption to me that something is happening, at least - but I do think that what we are being told isn't actually what's really going on. And my reasons for this are simple - nobody seems to be able to agree on the finer points. And by 'finer points' I mean the broader points.

Q. Is it happening?
A. Apparently. Probably. They can't say for sure, but they think so.

Q. What is happening?
A. Many places are getting hotter. And some places are getting colder. And some aren't really changing much at all. A few are doing all three. But on average, there is change of some kind occurring.

Q. How bad will it get?
A. They don't know. It could mean the death of many millions of people. It could mean a slightly damp Iceland.

Q. What's causing it?
A. Probably the build-up of various carbons in the atmosphere. Or maybe it's something else.

Q. Are we causing it?
A. They don't know. Most evidence correlates with recent human industrial activity. But there are some who think much of the evidence points to being mostly natural.

Q. What problems will result?
A. Possibly the melting of polar ice-caps, causing flooding worldwide. Possibly the drying out of water resources, causing drought. Probably both, and more besides. But then again, maybe nothing.

Q. When will this start to manifest?
A. They don't know. Perhaps it's already begun. Perhaps it will be many years away. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe in 200 years.

Q. Can we fix it?
A. It seems doubtful, but they don't know. Some evidence suggests it's far beyond any repair, let alone within our own reach. But they'll try to pretend we can fix it, just to make everyone feel better.

Q. Then is it too late?
A. Some have suggested so. But they don't know.

Q. Is this all actually just natural?
A. They don't know.

Q. Then this is all our own fault?
A. They're trying to spin it like it is, but in reality they don't know. Whichever it is may not make any difference anyway.

So that's how I see it - nobody really knows anything for sure, there's still a lot of argument, a lot of assumption, a lot of projection. They're trying to make us all behave as though it is happening, trying to get us to be more responsible.

For the most part that's probably not such a bad thing - using less resources, and those we do use handled more responsibly, are reasonable behaviours. But what makes me a little suspicious of it all is that twenty years ago, the hippie green-conscious nature children, who had no discernible power or influence, argued "If we don't start being more careful with our wasteful use of resources, we'll destroy the planet, man!" and then rather conveniently, when many of these hippie green-conscious nature children finally got some amount of power after they got jobs as environmental scientists and the like, now they had some statistics that said exactly what they had cried in the dark up until then. Isn't that just a bit too convenient?

Now that may be because they were absolutely right, and it really is happening exactly as they claim. Most of the world seems to accept that at face value, but I am not convinced. I think that, like most statistics, they're easily manipulated to look like anything you want them to, and that, though there may be some truth, it's mixed in with some considerable amount of fudging and exaggeration.

The Media then step in and cause panic by talking about Global Warming as though it is absolutely true and happening as we speak, and that if we don't "do something now" we are all going to die. More exaggeration, more telling people how to think, more spin on something that at this stage is still a lot of supposition and theory.

Here's my take on it:

  • If it is happening, and we did cause it, and we are all going to die, then we deserve to die.
  • If it is happening, and we did not cause it, and we are all going to die, then that's natural selection at work - many species of creature have died out naturally in the past, and this is our turn.
  • If it is happening, and we can fix it by being more ecologically responsible, then that's good.
  • If it is not happening, but we continue being more ecologically responsible, then that's even better.
  • But if it's not happening, then who cares? We'll survive just as we are now.

Either we live or we die, either it's our fault or it's not, either it's happening or it isn't. What happens, happens.

Penn Jillette is of a similar mind as myself:

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