For cripe's sake, the permafrost is thawing. The permafrost. It's been frozen for as long as we know- hence the name, permafrost.posted by hincandenza at 1:10 PM on June 11, 2001
See, UncleFes isn't to my knowledge a trained scientist, so he wouldn't think to check air bubbles in ice- a very clever solution to the problem of finding samples to compare the atmosphere from different times, including thousands of years ago. This is akin to people not knowing about the rings in trees (incidentally, careful study of old trees that have been cut down can show clues to how the environment behaved decades or centuries ago- another non-intuitive solution) and thus poo-poohing anyone who claims to know how old a tree is- just because they don't understand the methodology doesn't make it true.
In the end, good ol' Mother Nature don't give a damn what we think about her, and no amount of Freeping or right-wing think tank agitprop is gonna change her mind or alter ecological trends and patterns. If indeed the effects of global warming could be catastrophic, the worst possible time to engage in that debate is when it's already too late. We don't have the technology to stop a tornado- what would we do in the face of global climatological crisis?posted by hincandenza at 6:17 PM on June 11, 2001
Ice melts at a little above 32 degrees. There's a huge amount of ice at the polar caps. This melting ice can alter sea level around the globe, and even a couple of feet could drastically alter sealines around the world. Further, the danger isn't so much the 2 or 3 degrees, but the potential for a domino effect, in which things get worse and worse and worse, spiraling out of control- some aspects of the ecosystem reach a gradually fluctuating balance over the eons, and a couple of degrees either way can upset them, radically so.
You're exactly right- the government can't control the weather, or make it cooler; neither can you. Which means extremes of weather are kind of a bitch, no? Your question of whether in 10 years, the temps will fall- well, we could just wait and see, of course. But a lot of highly educated, dedicated scientists seem to think otherwise, or at least consider the possibility pretty likely.
And that's the core of the issue: what would it really cost us to, say, raise mileage requirements 5 miles a gallon for all new cars sold in the US by 2005? To invest in alternate and hopefully cleaner energy sources, you know, just in case? If all the enviros and scientists are wrong, then... well, in the long run you may save money on gas and on the electric bill anyway. Wheee! But if they're right and we do nothing.... ? I can't figure out why people are so resistant to the idea of playing it safe... it's Pascal's wager, basically. The cost of environmentally sound policies aren't economically disastrous, as some want (again, I can't figure out why) to believe. The cost of doing nothing, however, could be huge.posted by hincandenza at 6:47 PM on June 11, 2001
« Older Invictus | China executes 28 in single day Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments