Q&A Friday #22: What About Climate Change?

Question: “Do you think climate change poses a significant long term threat to the United States?” — Uowe10000inBushdebt

Answer: To me, there are two very important things to keep in mind about global warming:

#1) Despite the fact that a lot of people talk very authoritatively about global warming, what the temperature is going to be like in 50 years, etc., when it comes to the global climate, our knowledge level is actually very minimal.

So when you start asking basic questions like, “Is mankind causing global warming or is it just part of the normal heating and cooling cycle of the earth,” or “Will the earth still be warming 50 years from now or will the temperature have leveled off or started cooling,” I don’t believe anyone who says we definitively know the answers to those questions.

Until we better understand the global climate, I think it’s pointless to get all up in arms about a problem we may or may not run into 50-100 years in the future, when we have so many other issues to deal with right now.

#2) Let’s say you solve problem #1 and determine that global warming is coming, it will be very damaging, and that it is caused by human beings. Even if that were the case, nobody has yet offered any sort of practical solution to deal with the problem.

Even the environmentalists who championed the Kyoto Protocol now admit that it’s essentially useless when it comes to stopping global warming. From Reuters:

As developed countries struggle to meet their greenhouse gas reduction targets by the treaty’s “first commitment period” of 2008-12, they also have to start discussing what happens next.

“The nay-sayers have all said Kyoto will never go into force, now they have been proven wrong,” said climate campaigner Steve Sawyer of Greenpeace. “Now what they are saying is there will never be a second period.”

Even before the United States, which produces a quarter of the man-made emissions blamed for causing global warming, pulled out, it was clear that Kyoto’s aim to reduce greenhouse gas output by 5.2 percent of 1990 levels was just a first step.

Scientists say an emissions cut of at least 60 percent is needed to prevent catastrophic impacts of climate change this century, including rising sea levels, the spread of deserts and even worse weather-related disasters.”

Given that a large majority of Senators in the Republican and Democratic parties oppose Kyoto and that China, India, and a lot of other developing countries basically got a free pass under the protocol, I cannot even BEGIN TO IMAGINE any sort of plan — using today’s technology — that could achieve 60 percent emissions cuts.

So, at this point, there are a lot of things ahead of global warning on the priority list, but that may change in the future as science progresses.

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