Monday, March 22, 2010

Time to get serious about Climate Change

Our climate is changing. It would be highly irregular if it didn’t. I’m not a scientist. I don’t even play one on TV. But I’ve paid enough attention to the issue over the years to conclude that obsessing about man-made carbon emissions amounts to rearranging the proverbial deck chairs on the Titanic.

Earthquakes have increasingly been in the news, which may simply be because they are occurring in populated areas, rather than increasing in frequency, but that doesn’t make them any less hazardous. The northern part of China is rapidly turning to sand, which is a problem for at least half the world, as the wind picks it up and takes it as far as the western U.S.. There’s a hurricane cycle due to hit the northeastern U.S. in about 5 years that has nothing to do with your S.U.V.. It’s just that time again. Yet, we’ve built massive skyscrapers right where history tells us a major storm could make landfall (somewhere in the vicinity of Coney Island). Nobody knows when the next big earthquake will strike in California or Yellowstone, just that it will be devastating when it does.

We may not be able to prevent nature from taking its course, but we need to get better at predicting it so that we can take evasive or adaptive action. The first order of business is to take politics out of it. There’s a lot of money riding on the “carbon is the root of all evil” scenario. But any analysis of climate and geological trends that doesn’t take into account the activity of the Sun, the rotation, revolution and tilt of the Earth and other system-wide dynamics is a massive waste of time and resources.

Government would be within its purvue to examine and prepare for contingencies, including warmer climates, colder climates and geological disasters. While considering input from objective, comprehensive research is logical, advocating for one unproven theory over another is not. Real science is not subject to a vote or an opinion poll. The truth is what the truth is. Convincing people that you’re absolutely right when you’re not is not virtuous. It can be disasterous.

The carbon debate has become so polarizing that I don’t know if we can get back on the right track or not. It’s just as likely we’ll all be mounting solar panels on our sub-compacts about the time the glaciers start advancing or Yellowstone erupts.

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