November 08, 2004

Chicken Little, reporting as ordered.

I did a quick scan of the news before I started reading the old blogroll today, and I noticed this little gem. It would appear that the fucking sky is falling. I mean

North American wildlife species ranging from butterflies to red fox are scrambling to adapt to Earth's rising temperatures and may not survive, according to a study released on Monday.
Ahhhhhhhhhh! Aaaaaaaahhhhh! Ahem.

Let's see how bad the whole "Global Warming" phenomena rally is shall we.

Heat-trapping greenhouse gases emitted by vehicles, factories and other human activities have boosted Earth's temperatures by 1 degree F over the past century, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change said in a report.
Aaaaaah! Ahhh-what? One fucking degree?! Over a span of a hundred years. Hmmm. Maybe we should assess things a little more closely.

From the above data they were able to extrapolate that

global temperatures (are) expected to rise another 2.5 degrees to 10.4 degrees F by 2100
. Huh? It took us a century to raise the temps by one degree, and now it will be 2.5 to 10 in the next century? Does not compute. Sure, there are more pollutants out there since the beginning of the twentieth century, but I don't feel that contamination is the root cause of all the temperature changes. Could it be? Could it just be, that the Earth is a constantly changing ecosystem? Never thought of that did you? You arrogant prick!

From a quick Google search, I found the speculation that the Earth is roughly

So far, oldest dated Earth rocks are 3.96 billion years.
years old. What the hell makes you think that an observation of .099 % of the total time of the Earth's age makes it something to worry about? (For that matter, what makes you think you have enough data to make any type of assumption?) A century isn't even a drop in the bucket, and you're going to use that as a system of measurement? Fuck off!

It is my contention that you can do one of two things under the "Changing temperature" scenario, you can either adapt, or die. Luckily Us humans have the ability to build shelters to provide us with our (currently) optimum living conditions. The "lower" critters don't have this abiltity, so they migrate to where they need to be to meet their optimum survivabilty needs. Once they arrive to their new place, they wil do one of two things. Conquer the animals currently occupying that space, or be wiped out by them. A third option (providing that species are remotely similar) is to breed with the animals there, and create a new animal from the two. That is evolution at work. An old species will die out, but a new one will take its place.

As far as I'm concerned, the entire planet can tip itself on its ear, and there will still be life here. It won't be the same as what we've got now, but it'll still be Terran". If it comes down to it, I'd rather adapt than die. If there's a few species of fox or butterfly that have to bite it in the interim, well fuck'em. They couldn't hang, so "see ya!". I'll be busy petting your grandkids... and teaching them how to hunt food for ME.

If it's survival of the fittest, then I intend to be the "Fittest" bastard around. Anything else can just get stuffed and placed into the nearest museum. You can't save everything , so why try? Let the system work as it was designed to. Kyoto be damned.

Am I wrong?

Posted by Johnny - Oh at November 8, 2004 10:10 PM

Sorry to say, but yes, you are wrong.

As a species we are the only one that DIRECTLY affects the whole nevironment in such a dramatic fashion. It might not seem like a big deal when you consider that, as a species, our life expectancy is roughly 73 years, but that what we do now has an impact on generations to come. The statistics you have quoted are slightly misleading. If all that warming has occured in the last ONE HUNDRED YEARS and the earth is roughly 4 Billion years old then in the blink of an eye (relatively speaking) we have caused massive change. That's very bad. very very bad, because nature has adapted to the conditions over millions of years (that's how evolution works - it takes a long time).

Or, to put it a different way, you have to think of it like this. One degree rise = polar ice caps melting = flooding problems in countries = aid relief given by industrialised countries = tax dollars spent moping up. Where as if the tax dollars had been spent preventing it in the first place then you have prevented the problems rather than spent futile efforts cleaning it up after. It's a global issue - we all need to help.

Posted by: Alex at November 9, 2004 03:56 AM

When you look at it in the context that you so nicely elucidated, sure it seems like a huge impact, and that maybe steps should be taken. Absolutely. My biggest problem with the whole "Global Warming" phenomena is that I truly don't believe that we have enough information to even clearly state that the temperature change is either A.) caused by human activity, or B.) will have the impact that most of the scientists in the field seem to think it will.

We just don't have enough information. A century is not a long enough observation time to be able to predict all these bad things. A sample of the same type of reasoning would be: watch a person for one hour, and ,then declare any and all health issues that they will have in their lifetime based on what you saw in that hour. You might guess something right, but if you did, you probably just listed anything bad that you could think of, and then one of those things happenned by chance. Just because they guessed one thing right, doesn't mean that all the rest of the things that they listed will happen.

Thanks for dropping in Alex. I always enjoy discussing things like this with you.

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at November 9, 2004 06:22 AM

The way I've always thought of it is: the earth was here long before we were, she endured, and will continue to adapt and endure despite whatever ills or benefits we convey. Long after the human species is gone, the earth will still be here, will heal from whatever damage there is, and in plenty of time to get vaporized when the sun finally goes nova.
I tend to wisely budget my worry moments on things like rent, car insurance, and how many calories are in Cheetos.
But that's just me.
Thanks for a great read, Johnny-Oh.

Posted by: LeeAnn at November 9, 2004 10:41 AM

I agree more with Alex. One way or another we'll find a way to make ourselves extinct.

Posted by: Boudicca at November 9, 2004 04:40 PM

Johnny - if you haven't read The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjorn Lomborg you would probably find it fascinating. Oddly enough he's a "green" and as the book begins he clearly states that while things are not as bad as environmentalists make them out to be... we can and should still improve. But the fact that he debunked a huge bunch of myths out there that are considered sacred by the environmentalist crowd, means that he received death threats and there have been huge efforts to discredit him - not with any facts mind you - just with propaganda. Anyhow, check him out - it's good scientific reading!

Posted by: Teresa at November 9, 2004 11:15 PM

How many ice ages and mini ice ages has the planet had in its history? What were the temperature fluctuations from 976 to 1076 A.D.? The left always has to have a scare scenerio going--anyone remember The Population Bomb? Folks believed it, reduced reproductive rates, and now there aren't enough kids to pay into Social Security to keep it afloat. Global cooling was the other big scare scenario when I was in High School. A volcanic eruption has more effect on global temperature in one eruption than all the human effects since the Industrial Revolution.

I think it's all a plot to get us to stop eating meat....;)

Posted by: Susie at November 10, 2004 12:12 PM

I can't get a decent 10-day weather forecast, and you want to base policy decisions on a *100-year* cycle?

[waves hand dismissively]

But for fun, let's say I bought the global warming theory. I think trying to cut production to slow it down is NOT the way to go. We're better off reacting to the changes *after* they happen than tossing money around on speculative preventative measures.

Posted by: Harvey at November 14, 2004 12:48 PM
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