The Denial Lobby

We’re doomed.

Found this comment on Facebook in response to an item NASA posted up about climate change:

Just in case something’s gone wrong with that image, that’s a comment from someone called John Pyatt, saying:

“Ok…Lets assume for a moment that we ARE to blame for the current warming trend. Just what are we supposed to do? 30+ years ago all we heard was the upcoming ICE age. Also in the 70s, we heard all about carbon MONoxide poisoning. Thats why we have catalytic converters on our vehicles. Which is it?”

Well, John, if you’d like me to answer that last: it’s the one that’s real.

It is true that an uncharacteristic drop in global temperatures triggered a wave of hysteria in the media, stoked by a number of fringe hypotheses that gained no mainstream support amongst climatologists, that the drop meant a new ice age was coming.

This was never the case – except inasmuch as another ice age may well occur at some indeterminate time in the reasonably distant future, because ice ages do.

If Earth enters another ice age, it is unlikely to do so for several tens of thousands of years – by which time we will have already suffered the effects of the man-made ‘global warming’ we’re currently facing.  (I would use the more accurate term ‘climate change’ rather than ‘global warming’, but an ice age would of course represent climate change in itself, and I need to distinguish between the two separate ideas.)

The effects of made-made global warming are already being felt.  Quite how severe they are, and how long we have to mitigate them (if that’s still possible) is difficult to tell, because the issue has become so politicised – indeed, it’s possible to argue it’s become a religious matter for many people – that all reports and data are potentially tainted by vested interests.  But since the denial lobby are largely reduced to arguing over the cause of the warming rather than whether it’s happening or not, there is already far more basis for real concern about warming than there ever was about cooling.

John, to answer your other points: if you want to know what to do about climate change, as belated as such action might be, then by all means go read up on the many, many articles and reports that have explained the effects of releasing carbon dioxide into the air in such vast quantities as we currently are.  There are a number of ways of addressing the problem, but all depend for the most part on controlling and reducing the amount of CO2 we produce.  Some of that can be done at the individual level; a lot of it will need to happen at the governmental or even the international level.  One thing’s for sure: sitting there saying “what are we supposed to do” is not going to help.

Finally, no: we don’t have catalytic converters on our cars because we’re concerned about carbon monoxide poisoning.  We have them to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from our vehicles.

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