Saturday, April 28, 2007

We Haven't All Fallen For It

The global warming scam, that is.

There is no question that the earth is getting warmer. David Warren pointed out a few weeks ago that since the atmosphere is always changing, there's a 50/50 chance that it will get warmer, so why are we so shocked?

The real debate among the scientific community is whether the cause of global warming is man-made or naturally occurring. Turns out there's a lot of room to argue that this is a natural cycle in the planet's progression through time. [Check that link out if you have a real desire to overwhelm your mind!] today had a piece about the president of the World Federation of Scientists, Antonio Zichichi. In an address to the Vatican's Seminar on Climate Change, he is maintaining that we mortals aren't contributing very much at all to the warming of the planet. He's very critical of the flawed scientific methodology the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change uses to come to their conclusions, and refers to solar activity and volcanic action as the chief causes of atmospheric change, and his arguments make a lot of sense to me.

But for a moment disregard all the science and all the politics and all the Hollywood hype: think about this. Mankind has been around for a long time. Sure, today we are at an unprecedented level of industrialization, but the earth has seen a heck of a lot more atmospheric particulate matter in its long life than we've put up there. Volcanoes are a huge contributor to this - many of us can recall how far Mount St. Helens spewed its ash, and that was a relatively small bit of action on the scale of global history. Even the most tragic human actions (the Dresden fire-bombing, or the accident at Chernobyl come to mind) pale in comparison to the destruction and environmental impact an erupting volcano effects. How come Al Gore & Greenpeace don't picket in front of Mount Vesuvius?

My point is, we have become far too proud. Pride is best defined as an inaccurate self-image, whether it be too high or too low. We are far too high on ourselves as a species today. Do we really understand just how big this planet is? We fly from one side of the globe to another in mere hours. What used to be a months-long undertaking fraught with uncertainty and danger is now a $1200 airline ticket and a bad night's sleep away. We communicate electronically instantly; it used to be that if I needed to communicate with somebody in India I'd send a letter on the next ship sailing and it could be years before my reply came, if I could absolutely trust the couriered path for both full routes.

We think we've conquered the world and have solved its deep mysteries, but in reality the earth could split open and swallow a city in a moment and we'd all be left stunned, with only George W. Bush (and increasingly, Stephen Harper) to blame. We have looked God in the face and shrugged nonchalantly; we have built a new tower in Babel and are certain we can guarantee its perpetuity.

But we are small. We are tiny, insignificant specks on this planet, and while we can change the course of water or dig a canal through an isthmus or build a wall visible from space due to our vast technological knowledge, just how much can we really do? Can we divert solar flares (click Visualizations, then watch the Coronal Mass Ejection - very cool) or alter orbits or form stars?

By no means am I arguing that we shouldn't care for the Earth and make it a clean, pleasant place to live. But when the proponents of the Kyoto Accord start insisting we cripple our economies while we wait for the natural planetary warming cycle to revert, I suspect they are more interested in suppressing population growth than saving the planet.

And I won't hear of it.

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