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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/19/09

A Balanced View of Global Warming

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There's been a shift in Global Warming from denial being the mainstream view, to acceptance being mainstream, and denialists finding themselves suddenly as the minority gadflies looking in. Both extremes are probably wrong.

Although they accept Global Warming, New Scientist magazine says we can expect 1-2 decades of cooling because of normal Oceanic current variations. In fact, if we don't get cooling and instead the world keeps heating up, or just stays about the same, that would mean we are in deep, deep trouble, because then, by 2020-2030, the oceanic currents will reverse and things will really take off.

On the other hand, we are, as a society, really going overboard in ascribing every storm (damage), drought, and brushfire to Global Warming.
These are, respectively, due to:
A) increased human populations living in increasingly fragile areas (like by the sea - 50% of Americans live in a county bordering the Oceans, the Gulf, or the Great Lakes. Many of the rest live close to unpredictable rivers like the Mississippi)
B) overuse of finite water supplies due to population increases and geometric rises in water usage (along with every other resource. Consider: the population has roughly doubled worldwide since 1960, but resource usage has increased 8-fold)
C) extremely poor forest management that sought to preserve every little tree and underbrush, which turn out to be the first thing to burn in a forest fire. Now that we've killed off so many herbivores, there is nothing to cull these little trees and other forest litter, meaning it is incumbent on us to clear this out for human usage, or burn, baby, burn.

Global Warming has been used to "get us off the hook" for our myriad environmental crimes and mistakes - cutting down protective coastal mangroves, paving over America so that useful rainwater runs into the sea, depopulating wildlife to such a degree through overhunting/overfishing and habitat loss, that the natural cycles are thrown completely out of whack. Did you know that tree growth accelerated by the Yellowstone rivers once wolves were reintroduced? Why? Because wolves eat herbivores like elk and deer, which would otherwise strip trees and brush to their roots before they could grow.

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We are still very bad at ecology and should think twice (or maybe 10 times) before attempting to "rescue" the planet by artificially reducing CO2 through mirrors in the sky, artificial pollution to block sunlight, or any other half-baked scheme.

Another thing, the soot we produce is, according again to an article in New Scientist, at least as responsible for melting ice sheets as warming, due to the
effect. This is a reason to reduce all pollution, not just CO2.

Personally, I'd like someone to total up all the harm to the arctic/antarctic from icebreakers, scientific vessels, science experiments including drilling, tourist ships, submarines, experimental drilling for oil, ships tentatively going through the newly opened Northwest Passage, helicopters landing on fragile icebergs, polar treks to bring "attention" to Global Warming, snowmobiles, etc. Together, these may be a significant factor in damaging ice sheets. Are we loving the arctic/antarctic to death?

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I'm not a Global Warming denier; in fact, I think it is real, but there are so many complicating factors that are being ignored that the conclusions as to what will happen, and, just as importantly, why they will happen, are very suspect. We turn to science for precise answers, but what we may be getting instead is The Fallacy of Precision - precise sounding answers where no precision is possible. In the meantime, we can use the precautionary principle to reduce our ecological impact by making the use and abuse of natural resources the main thing we tax (or, even, by adopting the Georgist Single Tax, the ONLY thing). This would foster growth while discouraging resource use/abuse.


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Scott Baker is a Managing Editor & The Economics Editor at Opednews, and a blogger for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Global Economic Intersection.

His anthology of updated Opednews articles "America is Not Broke" was published by Tayen Lane Publishing (March, 2015) and may be found here:

Scott is a former President of Common Ground-NYC (, a Geoist/Georgist activist group. He has written dozens of articles for (more...)

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