UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed shock to see the melting Arctic ice cap on his recent visit there. To him, this is clear evidence that we must do something to prevent global warming, and save the Arctic ice.
Perhaps it comes as news to the UN SecGen but the rest of us know that the Arctic ice cap has been declining since the last “Ice Age” ended 10,000 years ago (scientifically we are in an “interglacial” period, but I will use the popular concept). No matter what we mere mortals do to rachet up the world’s temperature, we remain on a global warming trend that will eventually do away with the Arctic ice. And this has happened before in the earth’s long history. There have been times when there was no ice in the Arctic region. Similarly there have been real “Ice Ages” when the entire planet was covered in ice.
As the kids would say today, deal with it.
I have also read much about global warming changing rainfall patterns. However, the salient fact is, that as the world heats up, there will be more evaporation from the seas, and thus more rainfall. Yes, the patterns may shift, but there will be more rain. As every schoolboy knows the main resource problem we face around the world today is fresh water. More rain will guarantee that we have more fresh water, so global warming is in fact helping us overcome a major resource problem.
Of course, discussing rain brings up the threat of that most dangerous of rains, hurricanes or cyclones or typhoons. The cry is that global warming will increase the occurence of hurricanes. I for one worry about these storms since I lost a car to one hurricane and part of a house to another. And my house in the Mediterranean is not spared this threat since a “hurricane” (these storms are only called this in North America) tore part of its roof off a few years ago.
But we will continue to have hurricanes, regardless of any action we take to reduce our heating of the planet. We are talking about an incremental problem, not doing away with these storms. I suggest that the money spent to slow down global warming could be better spent seeking methods to reduce the force of these storms.
Ah, yes, the melting Ice Cap and more rain will raise the level of the seas. Living at 18 inches above sea level at high tide, I should be concerned about this. Well I have seen almost every major port city in the world. The fascinating similarity they share is that, with one exception, Houston, Texas, they are all built out into the sea. There is no major port in the world that does not have structures and foundations that jut out into the sea. Instead of building the ports by digging away from the sea, we build them by pushing rock and dirt out into the sea. Well if all the ports of the world, which contain a sizeable share of the world’s population, have been artificially built to be above the level of the sea, I am sure we can continue to raise our homes above any sea level. Just ask our Dutch friends.
Again, it comes down to, do we try to stop global warming, or adapt to it? I should point out that no sane voice is suggesting that, by getting rid of all of our cars and killing all our cows, we will stop global warming. What they seek is to bring it back to a “natural” rate of increasing temperature. So instead of the Arctic ice cap vanishing by 2030, it should last a couple of centuries more.
The point remains that no matter what we do to stem global warming, we will only slow it down. We cannot halt the earth’s inextricable march toward a warmer tomorrow. So the smart money is on adapting to global warming, not preventing it.