Unlike the baristas, bus drivers and people in the elevator, I have no idea what’s going on with global warming.
I thought I did — once. I learned we were pumping tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That increased the carbon dioxide count to record levels, unleashing a greenhouse effect that causes a rise in temperature, which has an impact on the delicate balance of nature.
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But then it got political. Atmospheric carbon continues to reach record levels every year, but a whole bunch of clever people argue that climate change is a natural fluctuation in solar activity and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Don’t worry, be happy. Or something. I have no idea what the global warming deniers want to do; they’re too busy denying. As far as I can tell, they don’t want the rest of the world telling the developed nations — that’s us — to reduce our carbon emissions. Let them clean up their own act first.
So is it better to whistle in the dark and let the planet take care of itself?
Unlike the baristas and bus drivers, I am not a climate scientist. Even if I were, I would probably not entirely agree with other scientists. It’s hard enough to predict the local weather 24 hours in advance. The whole planet 50 to 100 years in advance? That’s a job for a highly skilled climate expert like the guy at Starbucks.
The deniers are having an effect. A recent poll found the number of Americans who believe there is solid scientific evidence for global warming has decreased by 20 per cent to 57 per cent since 2007. Glaciers continue to melt, seas continue to warm, and climate continues to change. Just don’t ask why.
So what happens now? Apparently, if we follow the deniers’ advice, nothing. Business as usual. Kind of like Stephen Harper’s government, which is merely relieved that the new greenhouse gas targets, originally set for the Copenhagen summit next month, have been postponed until the next round. Whew
Meanwhile, 4.4 new climate experts are born every second while the capacity of the planet is seriously overburdened by the 6.8 billion who already exist. That’s a lot of expert hot air. I suppose we could try to cut it back and work together in the spirit of discovery before the oil runs out or, even worse, the water runs dry.
Or we could always just keep arguing. For that, we have the technology.