November 13, 2005

Thinking Coolly About Global Warming

I’m certainly not a climactic scientist, but, from a layperson’s perspective, I’ve been rather disappointed with much of the thought regarding global warming. So often, it seems that we simply do enough science to support our pet conclusions, without really trying to do a thorough job.

(For instance, so often I’ve heard that we started global warming since the industrial revolution. That makes sense if we assume that it was greenhouse gases, from all the factories we built, that caused warming. But simply since a measurable temperature rise and factories apparently started at the same time does not mean that one caused the other. There could be any number of other things that could be causing global warming: orbital changes, a receding ice age, cows farting, etc. Now, I know that scientists generally have tried to take this into account. Yet, it seems that it is very difficult to really take into account all the possible factors.)

A news report I saw the other day, however, seems to have done a much more thorough job (in my mind) than most. (Okay, okay, I know I haven’t studied these things for years like some folks have—but I know full well that people are fallible, no matter how much studying they’ve done.)

A quote from the article:

William Ruddiman, a professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, is behind a controversial theory suggesting that humans had a hand in warming the planet nearly 8,000 years ago, and in doing so, might have prevented another ice age.

This certainly doesn’t give us reason to avoid trying to clean up our act. I drive a small car and bike when I can for a reason—and not just because I need exercise or because I’m cheap. (Although, now that you mention it, those are probably good reasons, too) There are a ton of resources that we could make much better use of, and a lot of work we can do to make sure we don’t spoil God’s good creation. Alarmism, however, doesn’t help anything—and, if accurate, this report seems to indicate that it might be a lot less appropriate that we have been led to believe.

[Update: I added a few links and fixed a grammatical error. ~ DAH 11/14/2005]

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