Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Wheel of Global Warming

I ran across an interesting editorial by Pat Sajak, host of "Wheel of Fortune", titled "Is it Just Me, or Is it Warm in Here?". Admittedly, a game show host does not qualify as an expert in Global Warming, but he does make a good common sense point:
"Well, it's official. The Earth is warming up, and we're to blame. A United Nations panel of scientists has said it's more that 90% probable that human activities have caused most of the warming in the last 50 years. That's up from a 66% probability in a 2001 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And way up from a 30-year-old warning of a coming Ice Age in Time Magazine. (Oops! That was right in the middle of our 50 years of man-made global warming.)

Anyway, the Time piece (June 24, 1974) reported, "The University of Wisconsin's Reid A. Bryson and other climatologists suggest that dust and other particles released into the atmosphere as a result of farming and fuel burning may be blocking more and more sunlight from reaching and heating the surface of the earth." So, you see, we were also responsible for the global cooling even though, as it turned out, we were in the middle of global warming, although those wacky climatologists of the 1970s didn't notice.

...So I guess it's the logic (or lack of it) that gives me the greatest pause. On some level, I suppose, its comforting to think man has the power to turn the Earth's thermostat up and down at will. There's also the argument that we should take all steps deemed necessary by this [U.N.] panel "just in case". I say, let's wait a bit before dramatically adjusting our lives. After all, if we can switch from an impending Ice Age to catastrophic global warming in just 30 years, we should be able, with some effort, to drop the temperature a degree or two in pretty short order.

Of course, Sajak is being funny, but he has a valid point. Where does mankind get off thinking we can control the weather?

On a side note, think about this: If we were producing enough greenhouse gases to impact the climate of the entire planet, you would notice it in the air anywhere on the planet. Certainly air is "dirtier" in large cities and industrial areas. But if you go out in the country, or up on a mountain, or out on the ocean, how is the air? It seems pretty clean to me.

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