Too warm or too cold: Which is worse?
Some people confuse Conservation, Global Warming and Global Cooling. They are not the same. For example, Conservation of our planet’s resources ought to be a no-brainer. Everyone should want to use less energy, to recycle whatever can be recycled, and to create new things out of materials that are environmentally friendly.
Or, as our soldiers and Marines say, “Don’t crap in your own mess kit.” If that is what is meant by the Green Movement, then everyone should be for it.
But is our planet going to warm forever or is our planet merely in one of its warming cycles which, historically, have always been followed by a cooling cycle? John Coleman, the creator of The Weather Channel, says, “Global warming is the greatest scam in history.”
But wait. Human activity could be a factor in either global cooling and/or warming. Maybe, part of the answer can be found in an experiment we can conduct ourselves:
On a nice, windless day of about 60-degrees F. (59-degrees F. is what scientists call a standard-day-temperature used for all kinds of scientific measurements), go outdoors in your shirtsleeves and stand in the sun. You will find 60-degrees to be so nice that you could stand out there comfortably for a long time.
Next, move somewhere the sun doesn’t shine. Within a few minutes, you will feel so cold that you will want to move back into the sun or go get a coat and hat. While you are in the shade, press your hand on the shaded ground. It will feel cold. (If it feels hot, run like heck because you are probably on top of an active volcano.)
Then, go back out into the sun and press your hand on the sunlit ground. It will feel warm. That should suggest the ground gets its surface warmth from the sun. Recall, the shaded ground only radiated cold.
One concludes then that life without the warming rays of the sun would be difficult, if not impossible. So, what would happen if “something” gets between the surface of the earth and the sun and stays there? Would that “something” make our atmosphere grow warm or cold?
That’s the crux of the raging debate. Some think the carbon emissions put into the atmosphere by the countless millions of 24/7, third-world cooking fires and by the carbon emissions of the industrialized nations create a “greenhouse effect” that traps heat and causes global warming.
Others look at the evidence from the great volcanic eruptions of Tambora in 1815 and Krakatoa in 1883 (13,000 times more powerful than the 1st atomic bomb). They conclude that billions of tons of ash-laden air particles shielded the earth from the sun, creating the “haze effect.”
Thus, volcanic eruptions resulted in periods of global cooling, to include the Little Ice Age (circa 1650-1850). Some think episodes of increased sunspot activity may have added to the periods of global cooling as well. Apparently, we can’t control sunspots.
Global cooling periods are blamed for periods of famine, illness, increased mortality, shorter human height, malaria, flu epidemics, susceptibility to bubonic plague, social unrest, raging winter storms, advancing glaciers, and for forcing westward exploration to the Newfoundland Banks and Cape Cod in search of cod and other fish.
The British love for whisky and beer versus the southern European preference for wine is traced to the Little Ice Age. Hard grains, the sources of whisky and beer, could better survive the cold of the Little Ice Age. When the Little Ice Age froze the vineyards of the British Isles, only the vineyards of Italy and southern France were able to survive.
By contrast, periods of global warming have produced bumper crops, tropical diseases, forest fires, rising sea levels, reduced mortality, insect-borne diseases, more hurricanes, more plant and animal life (to include Polar Bears), less snow for skiing, a lot more wine, slightly taller humans, and Al Gore.
William Hamilton is a syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today. Writing as William Penn, he and his wife, Penny, are the co-authors of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2007. William Hamilton.