With apologies to Al and Greta (12/27/19)
So, everyone reading this article must fit into one of two options: Either you accept the doomsday predictions of Greta Thunberg and Al Gore, or you are a “climate denier.” Those are your choices. I’ll wait….
Well, I don’t care for those options. First, I believe that the climate is changing. The NOAA Global Climate Report for 2019 tells us that the ten warmest years on record have taken place since `1998, and thus far this century, our average surface temperatures are up 1.7 degrees from that of the 20th century. As government bureaucracies go, I like NOAA. I trust them, so yes, I agree that as a general rule, the climate is warming.
I think that the second criterion for being a “denier” is a belief that human activity can’t affect climate. I’m no climatologist, but I have spent hot summer nights in both the city and in the country, and I know that concrete and asphalt retain heat, which makes the cities a few degrees warmer.
If we humans are good at anything, it’s pouring concrete, so based on that alone I would conclude that we have made at least some impact on climate. Please scratch me off on your denier list.
Does that make me a Green New Deal guy? Let’s hope not. I prefer “Open Minded Skeptic.”
When Al Gore released his slideshow movie back in 2006, I watched it as any dutiful citizen should, and I took notice of the slide which graphed evidence of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) in the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution against rising temperatures. I’m an old econ student and got it immediately. Carbon went up the graph at a 45-degree angle, and so did the temperature. It doesn’t get more clear cut than that, right?
Anyone who managed to sleep through sixth-grade science class and escape with a passing grade knows that correlation is not cause. Suntan lotion sales peak in the months of June, July and August. So do shark attacks. Think about it.
As an old ham radio guy, I am also aware that the sun works on 11-year cycles of peaks and valleys, and throws fits from time to time. Mr. Gore’s graph didn't mention the sun. Nor did it consider seismic activity (remember that hot ball of molten metal that we are all standing on?). The graph didn’t complicate things. It was just two jagged lines side by side. Not too hard for us to figure out.
Mr. Gore’s graph left out a few other things that I think I understand, like the jet stream, ocean currents and moving fault lines He also left out some stuff that I wouldn’t begin to understand. Are you aware that Wichita Eisenhower airport changed its runway designation because of a shift in magnetic north? You are probably aware that the moon’s gravity influences tides, but did you know that it is moving 3.78 cm away from us every year?
I was a kid in the 1970s. I can remember when folks used to toss fast food trash out of moving cars without much thought. Then we had this great, iconic television commercial featuring a native American with a teardrop leaking down his cheek. The reference was to fast food trash, but the real victim was cigarette butts. Until then, cigarette butts were recognized as nature’s bounty; an excusable but a necessary evil. Not trash, just something we step over without notice (sort of like dryer sheets in my house).
For the environmentalist movement overall, I would say this: There is a famous line in the movie “Jerry Maguire” where Rene Zellwigger looks at Tom Cruise and says, “You had me at Hello.” Well folks, you had me at clean water and clean air. You didn’t need to invent a crisis to get me on your side.. I don’t need a contrived emergency to motivate me. Let’s put in INCENTIVES to further develop renewable energies to a point where they are economically competitive without penalizing currently successful business models.
I have never played with wind power. I helped my son with a science fair project where we split water into hydrogen on a small scale. That was cool, but I have had the privilege of sitting at a campsite in a national park and listening to the radio on solar power. That’s cool. That’s magic. I did that 30 years ago. We aren’t ready to scale renewable fuels up yet. We just aren’t there yet, but someday we will be. Until then, I think it’s in our best interest to offer tax advantages to those who wish to research and develop renewable fuels, but penalizing existing successful and necessary business models is ridiculous.
Sorry, Al and Greta. I’m no climatologist, but I damned well know a political agenda when I see one. I care about the environment, but I’m not going to allow you to define what that means to me