Where is modern civilization heading?

As a society are we heading in the same direction as the ancient Romans? If so the question becomes.......

Are our leaders fiddling while civilization burns?

While we ponder the question I will post my personal thoughts on this blog. Often I will focus on current events that catch my interest, however I am not and do not pretend to be a news organization. I'm simply a guy with his own thoughts on issues that I believe affect our country and society.

Be forewarned, I have been accused of being a right wing thinker and if that is offensive please move on. Remember, this is my blog and my opinions, and unlike many facets of our already over-governed modern society they are not being forced on anyone.

However, please feel free to leave your comments, good, bad or indifferent, after all this is a free society we live in (at least for now).

Friday, October 14, 2011

Climate Change...What's up with that?

During the last four or so decades that I have actually been paying attention to the world around me (prior to that time my biggest concerns generally were the warm feeling in my diaper or the empty one in my stomach), I have been very fortunate to have survived at least three, possibly four crisis that from all accounts should have brought an end to our planet. As I recall during every one of these events the general public and the popular media did their damnedest to convince the rest of us the the proverbial "sky was falling".
I have seen the end of the world predicted as follows...
  • During the Air/Water Pollution crisis of the late 60's, watched as the water of Cuyahoga River in Cleveland burned and environmentalists predicted the beginning of the end, a future where the air was unbreathable and the water unfit for consumption. Where all oceans would be "Dead Seas"
  • Witnessed the mile long line ups at the gas pumps  in the 70's as we were apparently down to our last barrel of oil and would have to freeze in the dark, while leading scientists of the time warned us of an impending ice age due to "Global Cooling" (trust me, cooling not warming).
  • Hid in in the shade throughout the 80's in fear of being burned to a crisp from increased exposure to UV rays caused by the depletion of the Earths ozone layer and the ever expanding hole in it over the Antarctic.
  • During the last two decades sweated the "meteoric rise in global temperature" caused by the greenhouse effect and man's indiscriminate use of fossil fuels.
Well the really odd thing is that the first three listed above were nowhere near as bad as the naysayers predicted, in some cases they were simply off the mark, in others the data was incorrect, or possibly at times an agenda was being pushed, and believe it or not in a few instances science and technology actually helped to resolve or diminish a problem.

So where does that leave us with climate change in today's world. First off let me say that I have no doubt that as a species humans are damaging this planet and given enough time may actually make it unlivable. In fact you can read one of my rants about how we consider this planet our personal trash can ...Here
Where my doubt arises about Climate change is the accuracy of these predictions....are they even close to being on the mark or will they simply pass or diminish as the other three I have lived through.
So lets look at a few facts that are indisputable (check on them yourself, don't take my word for it)....

  • Global warming started long before man had the technology (Industrial Revolution) to introduce any amount  of CO2 worth mentioning into Earth's atmosphere. Global warming began 18,000 years ago as the earth started warming its way out of the Pleistocene Ice Age-- a time when much of North America, Europe, and Asia lay buried beneath great sheets of glacial ice.

  • Approximately every 100,000 years Earth's climate warms up temporarily. These warm periods, called interglacial periods, appear to last approximately 15,000 to 20,000 years before regressing back to a cold ice age climate. Since we are currently somewhere around year 18,000 our brief ( in geological terms) vacation from the Ice Age is much nearer its end than its beginning.
  • Total human contributions to greenhouse gases account for only about 0.28% of the "greenhouse effect". In fact, of the 186 billion tons of carbon from CO2 that enter earth's atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth's oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants.
  • Scientists across the globe are not even close to agreeing about the causes of "climate change" or if it is even occurring. Don't believe me, turn off CNN or MSNBC for a moment and do a little research of your own on the internet, hey if your reading this your already here.

So you ask, Why would the governments of developed nations around the world all be singing the same tune about global warning and the impending crisis?
Well I suspect to a great extent they are simply adhering to an old age adage in politics "Never waste a good crisis", and if you really think about it this so called crisis is the best to come along in decades and the timing could not be better. Currently around the globe there is  (to my knowledge) not more than a couple (maybe even three) developed nations that are not currently experiencing an economic crisis of their own making, all due to overspending. So any crisis that can capture the hearts and minds of the man on the street and divert their attention from the miserable mess governments worldwide have made of our finances is welcomed with open arms. Better yet, everyone realizes that solving the "climate change" crisis will take more than say the next four (4) or eight (8) years, which coincidentally is about the length of term for the average politician.

But Frustrated Joe, even if our politicians are naive, misled, stupid, or just plain lying how do you explain the all the scientists, literally thousands that claim they have evidence that climate change is happening?

Yes, literally thousands of scientists have climbed on the global warming bandwagon, scooping up billions in research grants that were all intended to "prove" that global warming is real and directly caused by mankind. One of the things that really amazes me is that this group is able to accurately predict climate change over the next 10, 25, 50 or even 100 years, yet for all intents and purposes we still cannot rely on a weather forecast more than about 5-7 days out! Go figure...... I suspect that this is because nature and our ecosystem is a VERY complicated model, and the possible variations of cause and affect are endless.

So lets take a look at a far less complicated man-made model that also has variations of cause and affect, although far far fewer than the global climate system... the stock market. Although man built this model from the ground up starting a recent 100 years ago or so and it probably has more computing power focused on it that any other "study" in history it is still totally unpredictable. There are simply too many variables!

But, I have rambled long enough so I will leave you with two thoughts and a funny video to watch

1) Why if global warming does exist and is caused by mans production and release of CO2 do politicians and scientists always seem to choose meeting places for discussion on the subject that require a lot of travel, accompaniment by large entourages, rides in limousines, and lodging at 5star hotels generally in warm climates?

It would seem to me that these actions in themselves would create a lot of CO2, the very thing they are attempting to reduce. In fact, researchers have estimated that the bill for the 12-day Copenhagen climate  change summit held in 2009 topped $200 million USD, and generated as much greenhouse gas as an entire Africa country. Here is some trivial facts from that particular conference that would be almost comical if they were not true.

At the time the UN estimated that the flights, rail, bus, food and energy from the conference generated at least 41,000 tons of carbon dioxide. That's more greenhouse gas than produced by Malawi, Afghanistan or Sierra Leone over the same period. The Danish Government said it would offset any emissions created by the talks by planting trees or investing in green projects that will reduce carbon emissions elsewhere (geez, if it is that simple why don't we all just plant a tree). According to an analysis at the time by the Taxpayer's Alliance, a conservative cost of Copenhagen was $200 million. It included $9.8 million on flights, $31 million on hotels and $5.2 million on food.The figure also included the salaries for delegates and the contribution from the Danish government of $58 million. Most of the money came from taxpayers (that's breaking news!).

Note: The climate change summit in Cancun in 2010 generated 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide, its Mexican hosts have admitted.That means the $67 million event produced as much greenhouse gas as an average-sized African country would over the same two-week period. Although on it's surface one would like to think that this was a case of summit organizers realizing that they were in fact "part of the problem, rather than part of the solution", the reason for the substantial decrease in cost and CO2 output was simple, the summit was closer to home and attendees didn't travel as far. Why closer to home and in a warmer climate? Apparently the previous year in Copenhagen the weather did not cooperate with the summit and caused a lot of grief. It was extremely cold with huge amounts of snow, not the kind of thing you want people to see when you are preaching the end of mankind due to rising global temperatures. The good news for Danes is that due to the cold weather during the summit they actually experienced a "White Christmas", one of only seven they have seen in the last century.

2) If global warming does exist how does anyone plan to solve it while maintaining our society?

To my knowledge the supposed biggest culprits traditionally blamed are automobiles and power generation, so how many of you reading this are willing to walk to work and sit in the dark?

Wheres the warming?

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