Or, more aptly titled, "Those who fear change, should not study Geophysical Fluid Dynamics!" I will leave the topic after this, as my message is quite clear. Assuming you can plow through the rambling musings of my various posts on the topic. No guarantee in that. So, again, the current climate is a result of many features of the past climate. Some features are recent, some features very long time scale. Some features are geologic in nature, hence epic periodicity. I will restate myself quite clearly. If anthropogenic forces have changed recent climatic conditions, it is not provable yet. Even when we do have conclusive proof of anthropogenic impact (which will happen given growing populations and waste products), the change that we will see then could not be predicted now. This is not the same problem as dumping pesticides in a river, or strip mining, or whatever. The concept of environmental damage is far more subjective when it comes to global climate change. Global climate change is not dioxin in the water or carcinogens in a cigarette.
No one can conclusively state what is a better or worse climate for mankind. Even disasters, when they happen, as horrible as they are, have long term benefits. However, if they can be prevented, that is a great success for man. But there is no impending disaster we can predict concerning global climate change. We are just as likely to all be wiped out by a errant comet. Why is there no cultural fear of that? It has happened before, and unlike a ice age, or other climate change, happens very rapidly. Why constant fear of climate change? Is it simply collective guilt?
Some people will not accept healthy skepticism (the backbone of real science), no matter what the actual facts relate. This is a social phenomena, not a scientific one. There is a philosophy that believes man's very existence is destructive. Well, that is true. It is a Christian principal. For us to have life, something else must die (the top of the food chain is like that). But, wanton waste and destruction is not good stewardship. What conversation would you have with God? Can you ask Him what He would want most of all? More believers, more people able to live better lives and help each other? Or is God concerned with a pristine environment most of all? Noah and the flood should tell us something of God's thinking.
Apparently God was willing to destroy plants, animals, and people as punishment for their rejection of God. He then made a covenant with Noah. Very interesting stuff. With this in mind what should a Christian do about global climate change? First, have faith that God will provide for you the things necessary for survival. Trust Him, worship Him, love one another, take care of widows and orphans. Then try to be a good steward of the land. There is a lot to get right before you start worrying about buying another Chevy Suburban. So what does good stewardship mean? If it means make the land productive, that is good. Does it mean preserve the earth in a primordial state of cave man utopia? Some would believe such.
One thing is certain, we should try to not create harmful environments as we expand. Clearly that means balancing growth with cleanliness. And local and regional environs are definitely impacted by industrialization. The global climate will be impacted as well, and may be already. But what is acceptable, and what is a threat? Is nuclear energy acceptable? Not to some. Is a new landfill acceptable? Not to some. Is increased use of petrochemicals acceptable? Again, there are many who do not believe that is the correct path. But each of these has a societal benefit, and is arguably better for our modern existence than current alternatives. If there is no new landfill, dangerous and unhealthy conditions will be created in areas near high populations. If there is no new nuclear energy, more coal plants will be created to meet energy needs. And for societies use of geologic petroleum, it is irreplaceable at this point in time.
We will need to create renewable sources of petroleum. It will be a major challenge for us, and one we can meet. There is cause for concern as well. History has a number of examples of civilizations that failed to adapt and faded away. Fertile lands were irrigated with saline waters to many times, the land became unusable. Forests were utilized for fuel, and in some places, completely disappeared to this day. We will need to create technology that overcomes the limited source of cheap energy. And we may need to begin to study how to mediate our global impact if possible. All good things to pursue.
In contrast to these positive steps, there is the political morass previously discussed. There is no global enforcement of environmental laws yet. And oil is the fuel of developing nations. Without it, they will not join the western world. In contrast, some would rather see the industrialized countries shrink. This is a philosophical divide as well as inherent national competition. Another part of the divide is the economic issue.
I find it asinine when presumed 'experts' can only come up with one solution to increased demand, higher taxes. And then to claim that oil is highly subsidized in the same breath! If it is so subsidized, remove the so called subsidies and find out what the real market will support. I could just as well claim all Canadian production of anything is highly subsidized, as they have national health care, as opposed to products made in the U.S. And most 'subsidies' cited are reductions in tax rates. Gee, a lower tax rate equals a subsidy? Isn't that the same thing as a reduction in the rate of growth being a 'cut' in spending? This is the real problem, many may think they understand economics, but can not grasp the most basic smokescreen of rhetoric.
Then to claim that the oil companies are responsible for billions of dollars in pollution, caused by the end user, is equally nefarious. The same people are screaming about high gasoline prices being caused by the oil companies. Lets see, increased regulation, more spending on cleaner processes, increased price. That seems fairly clear. Then increase the price of oil, increase the demand for gas, make building a new refinery unprofitable, and you get today's price at the pump. What would bring down the price of gas? More refineries, domestic oil drilling, reduced taxation. Clearly beneficial on a national level. Yet it will not happen because of fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the unpredictable nature of global climate change.
In my perspective, this is indicative of ignorance and the global citizen mentality. But on the timescale of generations, very little damage to our societies expansion. Most western economies are past the point where petroleum costs and access constitute one of the principal governors of growth. A greater fear is the recent popularization of socialist principals throughout the world. Want something that will surely lead to human suffering? Embrace socialism.
I will personally welcome the increased funding in my area of research. My goal is to see the energy budget for the ocean closed within reasonable error in the next decade. That may sound off topic, but it isn't. We do not know were all the energy goes yet, and until we do, no ocean model will be useful for prediction. Without a accurate ocean model, no coupled atmosphere ocean model will be accurate. And if you can't get that right, you can not predict the climate. We might be able to make predictions in twenty years or so, barring some major breakthrough. And at that point, we may have technologies and energy sources to make a cleaner environment globally. It is something to attain to. In the meantime, saner heads should be supported.
The history of environmental fear tactics is sordid, and when it comes to global climate change, the MO is identical. Our real policy, worldwide, should be to dump billions of dollars into public and private research into marketable energy distribution and creation. Think of twenty years ago, when a lithium ion battery powering a pocket sized cell phone for days was science fiction. We can do the same with the automobile, though it may take thirty years. And to provide all our energy needs, we will need to think big, but it is possible to accomplish.
I will stop boring everyone with meandering thoughts on the environment now, but if I get inspired in the future, plug your ears. Please consider rejecting socialistic tendency before worrying about global climate change. That should be our real nemesis, along with it's evil sibling communism.