Thursday, March 10, 2005

Guest Column

Gullible’s Travels
by The Windjammer

I continue to be amazed at the ongoing arguments about global warming.

I have read numerous articles written by those who claim we are in the middle of a warming trend and that the warming is caused by industrial pollution. I have read several articles which claim that global warming does not exist or that it is so slight and gradual that it can hardly be noticed.

I have noticed that most of the articles which declare flat-footed that global warming is caused by industrial pollution miss or choose to ignore what should be the most important factor in any environmental study. Man. Or to be a bit more specific, mankind. I wrote a book nearly fifteen years ago in which I said that any environmental program which does not include man is doomed to failure. Man is an integral part of the environment and his welfare must be considered in the implementation of any program which either attempts to preserve the ecology in a pristine state, one which uses the environment for his benefit or one which destroys portions of the planet. Man will some day become extinct, but he is here now.

In the first place, there is no such thing today as "a pristine state of the environment" and hasn’t been since before the dinosaurs left their footprints on the sands of time. We may attempt to set aside areas which are off-limits to development, use and travel and call them "pristine areas," but those can only be islands of nature preserves or some such. They can exist, not because of the whims of man, but because of the "whims" of nature. The recent activity of Mt. St. Helens is ample proof of that. Some of that activity took place only yesterday and again proved to man how little control he actually has over nature. We are still being affected by the eruption which took place several years back, and that one didn’t come close to making the record books.

Global warming exists. It has been around since before mankind came into being. So has global cooling. If you doubt that statement, think a minute about only the last ice age which we call the Wisconsin Glaciation. I am writing a brief story about that one in my new book (now in process) about my ancestors. Some of those who were the progenitors of the Seneca and the Cherokee (and countless others) waded the icy water which resulted from the melting. I am surprised that anyone could get past the first year in high school without learning that there is a latent heat of freezing and a latent heat of melting. We measure those today in BTU’s. I can solid guarantee you that it took several hundred BTU’s from some constant reliable source to melt the glaciers which left evidence of their passing in such places as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and other places in Yankeeland and Siberia. I will admit that I went to high school more than 70 years ago, but some laws can’t be changed at the discretion or indiscretion of an activist judge.

I have read that there were at least seven such freeze-ups over the past 200,000 years or so, according to scientific core drilling. The conclusion reached by those scientists, based on the core sample readings, was that each of those was preceded by a period of strong warming. I suspect that they are correct. According to the time schedule determined by those, we are on the verge of entering another such period. "Verge" does not mean this week, but it may mean within the next millennium.

Measurements taken in recent years in the antarctic indicate that atmospheric temperatures there are NOT increasing, but decreasing. Atmospheric temperatures are a bit more accurate than ground temperatures because of a variety of influences. A great deal of the misinformation about the arctic is just that.

There will continue to be some degree of global warming for quite a long period. I doubt that any of us alive today will see the end of it. Most of that increase will be by natural causes. There may be some small additional increase from man-made pollutants, but no one to my knowledge has accurately determined that amount or even if it will occur.

Meanwhile, let’s remember the real problem for which I coined the term "Popollution,". We are projecting more than nine billion people a short way down the road. That is a lot of neighbors. The pollution they create will not be only from hot breaths.

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