Here are the facts on global warming: In the past 100 years, the average temperature of Earth has risen six-tenths of one degree. In the past 100 years, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased about 80 parts per million so that it stands at about 370 parts per million. Sea levels are estimated to have risen 10 to 20 centimeters in the same time frame.
That's it. Everything else is speculation based on computer models, which several scientists say are unreliable. Think. If they can't reliably forecast the weather 48 hours in advance, it's extremely unlikely that a forecast 100 years in the future is worth even noticing.
Computer models are essentially spreadsheets, and there are far too many variables to construct one of the entire Earth and its atmosphere.
Now, here's what you can do about climate change: nothing.
We live in a world of babble that goes on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are drowning in information, probably 90 percent of which is false, only partially true or entirely irrelevant.
To put this subject in perspective, one should remember that Earth has gone through a number of drastic climate changes long before human beings were even here or numerous enough to have any effect. It might again. If it does, then people will have to improvise and adapt. That happens to be what humans do best, which is why there are 6 billion of us crawling around on the planet.
At any rate, it is foolish to worry about anything that is (a) beyond our control and (b) beyond our expected life span.
We suffer from a great proliferation of busybodies and huge egos. It takes a monstrously large ego to presume to see into the future and to pretend that one can change the course of Earth's climate. We have no control over the amount of energy the sun radiates; we have no control over Earth's magnetic field; and we have no control over Earth's volcanoes. We have no control over Earth's atmosphere. What humans inject into it amounts to little more than a cosmic passing of gas.
A human being has a relatively short life span. As the ancient Greeks recognized, any rational human being wishes, as much as possible, to avoid pain and experience pleasure. To do that requires a rational approach, and part of that is setting priorities.
If you are inclined to worry, which is really a waste of time, there's a long list of things to worry about before you get to global warming. Let the scientists, most of whom are grant hogs, babble. Let the media, the most unreliable source of information you can find, babble on. Remember, the media have to turn everything into a story, even if it's just a passing rain shower.
In the meantime, play with your children or grandchildren; tend your garden; read some good books; listen to beautiful music; go to a ballgame; have a picnic; and do whatever else will give you pleasure. Whether you engage in pleasurable activities or sit at home and fret, Earth's climate will be the same. Most everything will be the same. The babble will go on. The decayed culture of America will continue to rot. Today's celebrities will be gone or forgotten in 15 years.
The gods did not place the destiny of Earth, much less the universe, on our puny shoulders. If there is a Judgment Day, you won't be asked about your carbon footprint or how well you managed the solar system. So remember the Eleventh Commandment: "Thou shall not sweat it, ace."
June 4, 2007
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years.
© 2007 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.