Originally Published: July 16, 2016 6 a.m.
Arguably the most significant question facing our species today is that of climate change, also known as global warming. Nearly all climate scientists, whose job it is to study and understand the long term effects on our planet from weather, tell us we are rapidly approaching, or may have already reached, a temperature “tipping point.” This is the point where global temperature has reached a point beyond man’s ability to control it, and will rise inexorably. These scientists tell us if we get past this tipping point, there can be no recovery, and the planet as we know it will eventually become uninhabitable. These same scientists tell us the cause of this impending disaster is us, and our long love affair with fossil fuels.
As expected, this scenario is in dispute by nay-sayers who claim that we puny inhabitants of this massive planet cannot possibly be responsible for such a problem. Their arguments take two forms. First, they reason, data tells us the climate has been periodically heating and cooling since the planet was formed. Unquestionably true, but what that argument ignores, is that mankind’s activities since the industrial revolution must be superimposed on top of those natural changes. Activities which include combusting of hydrocarbons, which has released untold billions of tons carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. And increased CO2 in the atmosphere is known to trap heat in a “greenhouse” effect.
The second argument climate deniers are fond of is that climate scientists “cook the books,” in order to receive more grants to study the climate and somehow promote their agenda, and/or fatten their checking accounts. This argument deserves little consideration.
So the controversy rages on – warming or not? The logical way to resolve this issue is to examine the results of each side being wrong. If the scientists are wrong and we’re just experiencing a natural climate cycle, then we spend some money, reduce levels of CO2 (which is not a bad thing), with no harm, no foul. Now consider what happens if the climate change deniers are wrong. The planet is doomed, along with, potentially, the human species. So which side are you on? Seems like a classic no-brainer.