Friday, February 16, 2007

Some Perspective On Global Warming

Global warming seems to be arising as the major issue for the left. It would seem that radical environmentalism has increased in popularity to the extent that the political status quo on the left now more or less accepts the radical environmentalist view on climate change. For many people, global warming is apparently the most important issue facing us, as opposed to war or civil liberties. When flipping through the wasteland known as television, I have repeatedly seen special shows on the Science Channel with a radical environmentalist agenda, painting a picture of an evironmental doomsday on earth within decades as "scientific fact". The problem with all of this is that it is truly on shaky ground scientifically, and it is pure alarmism. The idea that we face the possibility of the earth's surface turning into a gigantic incinerator within a century is not sound science, it is quackery. Even if it was aknowledged that the earth in general is warming, this process would be an incredibly slow one, not a sudden huge jump in temperature.

To begin with, there are some aspects of this issue that are often overlooked. It is a fact that 90% of the world's ice is in antarctica (I.E. the south pole), and all scientific data on antacrtica tells us that it is not warming or cooling, but remaining rather stagnant. In short, there is only one melting ice-cap at best: the north pole/arctic, and the north pole plus Greenland only constitutes 10% of the world's natural ice. This means that even if the arctic ice sheet completely melted, we would be left with 90% of the world's ice still. Not only that, but 90% of the world's fresh water comes from Antarctica. Further, this would almost indicate that the world's ice is gravitating towards the south pole, rather then simply dissapearing in mass (a reasonable hypothesis; much more reasonable then global apocalypse). The rise in sea levels that would result if the north pole were to completely melt would take place gradually, thus eliminating any possibility of a sudden "doomsday". This rise would also not be too large considering the vast area of the that the ocean encompasses.

Other scientific data on the temperatures of cities themselves is rather revealing. One finds that in the most populated cities, temperatures are slowly warming, yet only 100 miles away from those cities, in less dense areas, temperatures are either cooling or remaining about the same. A very simple reason for this is obvious: the cities are the areas that produce the most heat, the most electricity. Of course the cities are going to be heating up more than less densely populated areas. They are filled with concrete, which tends to conserve heat as a material. But a mere one or two hour drive from these areas brings us into territory that has nowhere near such concentration of heat, and therefore these areas are considerably stagnant. Many of these non-city areas are actually showing signs of cooling.

The extent to which human activity effects the environment is being greatly exaggerated by people with an agenda - particularly by people with power who want to keep and/or expand it (such as Al Gore). It is certainly undeniable that human activity has some sort of effect on the environment, but the reality is nowhere close to the picture painted by the environmentalist movement. At best, human activity is only adding a few percentile points to the rate of environmental change that already is occuring naturally. The most radical of environmentalists would have us believe that environmental change is entirely or almost entirely caused by human activity. This notion is completely out of square with nature, as nature is not something that is unchanging. Nature is not something that can only be changed by industrial human activity, it is something that has, does and will change on its own over considerable periods of time.

It must be kept in mind that the environment is a self-healing and entropic system. One of the major problems with the ideology of environmentalism is that it considers the current status quo of the environment to be an ideal that shouldn't change. This notion is actually in opposition to nature. The environment is naturally something that changes over time. If we were to take the environmentalist's view and apply it to few million years ago, then humans would have never formed, since the environment is presumed to be something we want to keep static, and it took an environmental change to spawn the human species. Environmentalism seeks to preserve the status quo of the climate and general environment without realizing that the environment naturally does not stay static. Nature is an entropic and unstatic system. It is always in a state of flux.

Any natural change in the environment is viewed as bad, while artifical manuevers putting species in environments in which they are not naturally adapted to is viewed as "preserving the environment". In this way, environmentalism is actually anti-naturalist because it opposes the prospect of allowing the environment to change at all. Things that would naturally die out are considered as things to be artificially saved. This is true questionable meddling with nature. It would seem that our environmentalist friends actually oppose the way the environment works. They believe in creating an environmentally static atmosphere when the environment is inherently an unstatic thing.

The way that environmental change effects humans is also being quite overblown. It is not considered that any real changes that may be going on are slow and gradual processes. Human beings can adapt. We are not doomed to waking up one day with a radically different environment that forces us to die out. Humans are the most short-term adaptive species on the planet. Humans survived an ice age, yet now we have alarmists trying to convince us that humans can't survive a gradual temperature change of a few degrees! If sea levels rise, humans have some very common sense means to cope with this: use technology that builds coastal homes on a higher plane, or simply move away from the coasts. Since environmental changes are so gradual, there is almost always a way for humans to change their mode of living in preparation.

It would appear that the environmentalist movement is more concerned with preserving the status quo (in opposition to any natural changes) than with preserving the well-being of the human race. The well-being of the human race does not entirely depend on keeping environmental conditions exactly the same. To the contrary, geologically and biologically speaking, the well-being of the human race is more dependant on the ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Yet instead of coming up with ways to adapt to change, we see the radical environmentalist movement concentrating all of their efforts on the goal of stopping any and all change. Their ideology depends on a rejection of nature, not an embrace of it. They would be willing to give up the entire human race in the name of keeping the environment the same.

In many ways, the cause of environmentalism is being used as a cover for a different agenda. In particular, it is being used as a rationale for economically socialist policies; anything that curbs industrial activity and the developement of technology. Since they blame industrial activity on all of the ills of the world, the most radical application of their agenda would mean a gradual reduction in commercial, industrial and technological activity and developement. The ultimate consequence of most environmental policies would appear to be a crippling of market activity, especially market activity involving industry and high-technology. All of this constitutes a reduction in human well-being in the name of keeping things the same. It is rather Luddite in nature.

Radical environmentalists are like watermelons. As the saying goes, "green on the outside, red on the inside".

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