I saw that on the telly, on "When Good Tornadoes Go Bad..." or something like that
and yes, I have to tell you, we are
causing global warming. Not that it can't and doesn't happen naturally, because the Earth wobbles on it's axis, the Sun can vary it's output, and other factors such as volcanoes chucking much up into the atmosphere. But, if you look at the most reliable evidence for global weather conditions, ice cores, they clearly show that going back several hundred thousand years, these natural variations have been up and down within a fairly restricted range. A range that has been of course sufficient to cause several ice ages and warm periods, showing that it doesn't take much change in global temperatures to drastically alter global weather and environment. What's the common factor between these shifts, the evidence that links them all? the quantity of carbons in the atmosphere. Admitting that there are indeed natural explanations for increased carbon levels in the atmosphere, the ice record shows that there has (wait for it) NEVER been as high a concentration of carbons in the atmosphere as there is now (it's staggeringly vaster than at any time in the past as far as we can tell) and this trend can be clearly traced back about 250 years to, surprise surprise, the same time as the beginning of mass industrialisation and the concomitant burning of fossil fuels. Mmmm, do ya think there might a connection there?
So yes, there is indeed natural warming and cooling and we are in a warming phase, and have been since the mid 17th C since the so-called "mini ice-age" - but mass industrialisation and it's associated pollution has dramatically increased this trend not just a bit, but a lot, by several orders of magnitude.
Thing is, no-one wants to see it or do anything about it. Too many vested interests and we like things the way they are thank you and don't want to give up our cars and energy inefficient homes and everything else that's a part of modern life, and the people in the developing world want what we've got so they don't want to be held back either. So basically we're scr*wed, or more accurately, you lot are, because by the time the worst of it comes, I'll be long dead. I don't want to be around in 2050, because it will be quite a lot worse then, this is just the start. By 2100 unless really drastic action is taken, the world will be pretty dreadful to live in. I'm glad I won't be around to see it. I pity my kids though.
The problem with adopting the attitude of "it's a natural phenomenon" is that it absolves us of blame. We can say it's sunspots or some other convenient pseudo-scientific excuse to do nothing, certainly not anything that would have any sort of drastic effect on our lifestyles, because, and this is the way people are, I'm afraid to say, if it's not effecting us directly, it's someone else's problem or not even a problem at all. I'm sure people feel very sad about the polar bears, but I fear that until New York is under 500 feet of water or whatever, being sad about the polar bears is about all the reaction there's going to be. For pity's sake, New Orleans gets destroyed by a monster hurricane the like of which has rarely been seen before and there's still people who say "it's all part of a natural cycle" - I'm quite sure they wouldn't be saying that if it was their
house that had been swept away, their
family that had been decimated, their
life destroyed. As long as it happens to "someone else" then it just isn't a problem and it's easy to sit on your backside doing nothing except thinking up excuses to carry on doing nothing. Selfish complacnecy is what I call it, exactly the same sort of mean-spirited narrow-minded self-indulgence that we see every time there's a natural disaster, the sort of people who blame Pakistanis for living in earthquake zones, or Bangladeshis for living on a flood plain, or Ethiopians for living in a drought zone. Saying it's all just part of a natural cycle is merely another excuse for doing sweet b*gger all and for big business to keep all those lovely profits. Tragic but true.
I heard a funny story on the radio today; aliens invade the Earth and when asked why, they say they're a dying race and they've expoited the natural resources of their own planet, destroyed it's environment, and need to colonise a new world to survive. When they realise that humans have knackered up this planet, they say "er no we'll leave it, thanks all the same," pack up their alien armies and b*gger off to find a better planet to take over....
Edited by - Tawakalna on 12/9/2006 12:55:53 PM