No Such Thing As An Opinion!

Reader Request: Climate change bullshit. Part Two

Continued from Part One


So, although I can’t offer a
fully developed opinion, I will offer a strong opinion.

Without knowing to what extent, if any, climate change results from man-made factors, wouldn’t it be prudent to become more environmentally friendly anyway, in order to limit the chance that man-made factors don’t increase or expand and influence climate change in the future?

Although I might not know to what extent any existing climate change might result from man’s activities, I think I can safely say this:

Man likely
is one of the causes of climate change.

Why? Well, I could be wrong, but I’ve never read anyone disagree that the following points are true:

  • The earth’s temperature has risen dramatically over the years.
  • The level of carbon dioxide has risen dramatically over the past several decades.
  • Carbon dioxide warms the earth, and therefore increased levels of carbon dioxide increase warming.
  • Man's activities have increased carbon dioxide over the past several decades.

(Perhaps these points are rarely, if ever, challenged, because there are relatively few ways in which to challenge them.  The points involve the simple recording of measurements and observation of the effects of carbon dioxide.  Perhaps if it were possible to plausibly challenge these views we’d see the current debates extended to these points).

So, if carbon dioxide warms the planet, and if the level of carbon dioxide has risen dramatically over the decades, how could man
not be contributing to global warming?

I would say that the question in the media should likely become: How
much of the global warming is due to man? Instead of the question leaning towards: Is any of it is due to man? (Assuming that carbon dioxide warms, and has been increasing due to man's activities, the only manner in which man, overall, couldn’t be at all contributing to global warming is if man is unknowingly engaged in other activities that actually reduce global warming enough to offset the warming from the carbon dioxide.  This is possible, although I’ve never heard anyone suggest this).

Now, I’ve already mentioned that even if climate change is not primarily a result of man’s activities, at least some environmentally friendly measures should be implemented for these reasons:

1) If benefits outweigh the costs, as described at the start of this article.

2) The prudence of limiting the chance those man-made factors will expand and influence climate change in the future.

I will now add a third reason why environmentally friendly policies should be considered for implementation:

Even if man’s activities cause only a small portion of global warming (say, 0.2 percentage points out of a 2.0% annual rise in earth’s temperature), eventually that contribution will eventually be enough to trigger environmental disaster (if you assume, of course, that indefinite increases in temperature lead to a point at which the temperature will become so warm that disasters will occur.  I don’t see how this could not be the case).

An example: Let’s say that disaster will occur if the earth warms 2.0% one given year.  Let’s say the earth warms 1.8% due to non man-made factors, and 0.2% due to man-made factors.  Without the man-made warming, the earth would’ve warmed 1.8% that year and not be hit with a disaster (that quickly, anyway). In that case, if man hadn’t been a partial cause of global warming, the earth wouldn’t have tipped into disaster that year.

Think about this.  If man is annually contributing to 0.2 percentage points out of, say, 1.5 percentage points of global warming, then over a 20-year span man has contributed to 4.0 percentage points.  It adds up!

And if those extra 4.0 percentage points accelerate warming by two years and mean that mankind suffers disasters two years sooner than it otherwise would…

It might very well turn out that those two years were the extra two years mankind was counting on to reverse the global warming trend, as they race against the clock. 
But they simply ran out of time.

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