Climate change; is it for real or are we being mislead?
By, Uwe Paschen.
Climate change is on many peoples mind these days and some do wonder whether it is for real or if we are being mislead?
One may first have to define climate change. Climate change is any change from a given point of reference or an average of a period of reference wish would be either higher or lower then the point of reference, wish would be either colder or warmer then the point of reference.
The earth climate underwent many changes over the past billion years. Some of those drastic changes may have been caused by major natural disasters such as meteorite impacts on the earth. One of those major impacts is believed to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, but this we can not say with absolute certainty, since other factors may very well have caused this massive extinction.
The last mini ice age or also called Little Ice age, that we underwent in the 17th century seems to have been caused by several factors coming together, for one, it was a period of enhanced volcanic activity. In the past two centuries, we have seen how volcanic activity can affect climate. After the eruption of Tambora in April 1815, the Earth cooled for at least two years with 1816 being recorded in many places as the Year without a summer. Cooling was also observed after the eruptions of Krakatau in 1883 and Pinatubo in 1991, although not as extreme as the cooling associated with Tambora.
Also the Solar observation of the 18th century suggest a decrease in solar activity, this does however not explain the onset of the Little ice age, since this one started in the 14th century and lasted until the 19th century. Further, the little ice age was limited to the northern hemisphere, the over all average temperature of that period was only one degree Celsius below normal.
In the period of the little ice age, in wish Western Europe experienced a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850 that brought dire consequences to its peoples. This colder weather affected agriculture, health, economics, social strife, emigration, and even art and literature. Increased glaciation and storms also had a devastating affect on those that lived near glaciers and the sea. The growing season changed by 15 to 20 percent between the warmest and coldest times of the millennium. That is enough to affect almost any type of food production, especially crops highly adapted to use the full-season warm climatic periods. During the coldest times of the Little Ice Age, England's growing season was shortened by one to two months compared to present day values.
Some do point out with good reason, that just before those drastic climate changes we had a period of massive overpopulation, great Empires, countless wars and massive deforestation conducted by the Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Inca, Aztec and Chinese Empires. All making an accumulative impact on the earth environment and its ecological balance. Systematic burning of large Forest areas was practiced by most, in part to make room for farm land, but also to harvest wood for the construction of buildings, ships and to dismantle rebel groups that used the woods to hide and made the roads unsafe and expensive to police.
Europe lost 60% of its forest in that era, after the 16th century massive reforestation was practised in Europe, still it never recovered from the losses. In North America over 80% of all wood land has been clear cut in the past two centuries and not restored, this is adding to a great lack of CO2 filters we need.
Today though, we are faced with several more factors and our present climate change is far greater and faster then any thing humanity has witnessed so far on a global level.
We do burn fossil fuels, clear cut forest, and pollute the waters and the air with toxins and worth. We are also totally overpopulated. Yet, some claim that all this can not have any negative impact what so ever and persist that it is all the sun’s doing…
Well, granted we do know rather little, even though we behave as we where gods and all mighty. Our arrogance and shortsighted thinking may very well be our undoing. Why we see some argue that Humans cause only 3% of all CO2 produced. That is true, if we only count what we produce directly our self’s. However, once we add the CO2 caused by Man made activities and pollution such as clear cutting a forest and overfishing or destroying a coral reef. Then our human contribution is almost a quarter of all CO2 produced and should we take a deeper look into the missing trees and oceans wild life that can no longer absorb the CO2 because we simply destroyed them. Then our impact is even greater.
Now, I personally worry less about the CO2 then I do about the O2 that we destroy or rather lock up in the CO2 and in other forms such as C3H5(NO3)3 nitro-glycerine or O2 H2O 2e-→HO2.sup.- OH- Peroxide. The use of the Oxygen atom can be fund in many application and combination. The more it is used the less there is available. Why in part, our oxygen levels are falling. For instance, the more we burn energy the more oxygen is being locked away in form of CO2 and other combined Atoms. This oxygen became available in the air and made life possible on earth thanks to photosynthesis. The photosynthetic source of oxygen was probably in operation as long ago as 3.8 billion years.
Once the photosynthetic oxygen source exceeded the rate of supply of reduced minerals exposed by erosion and weathering, the accumulation of oxygen in the ocean and atmosphere could be controlled only by reaction of oxygen with reduced organic material. This stabilization mechanism still operates today. This balance has been compromised though, due to Human pollution and excessive burning of fossil fuels, wish leads us to an oxygen depletion of the atmosphere. At the time of the first homosapian the Oxygen levels of the air was 35% compared to 22% at the beginning of the 19th century and 20.9% today.
Why is this relevant? Well, should the level of oxygen in the air keep on falling and go bellow 19%, then we would simply start to suffocate. This is why Climate change, pollution and CO2 absorption do matter. This may be of greater concern to the next generation, then it is to the presently ruling baby boomer generation. Those BB are on their way out and won’t have to worry to much longer. Never the less, it is that generation of baby boomer that plays with the lives of the next generation, yet they wound be held accountable for it nor will they have to suffer the consequences of their abuses.
Now, the trouble with Climate change or global warming, is that it may cause an Ice age as well, at least in parts of the world, such as Europe and this due to the potential collapse of the Golf stream, wish allows for the moderate climate that Europe enjoys in its western and northern parts. This Golf stream is depended on the gravity of the Sea water and this one will change with even the smallest change in sea levels, wish will affect the golf stream almost instantly.
The Earth is a rather complex planet with delicate balances that allows life to exist and strive. It does not take much to upset this balancing act nor to destroy all life, as we know it.
A coral reef for instance does not tolerate any temperature changes be on and above one single degree Celsius nor can it survive a change in the PH of the water be on one point either way. Yet, that Coral reef contributes greatly to our biodiversity and balancing the climate, for one it is a great absorber of CO2.
Should the coral reefs dye out, as they seem to, we would then face another chain reactions of further genocidal events.
Life on earth has evolved and learned to deal with many variables such as the cycles of the sun and moon or even Comets and other cycles for wish it has fund ways over millions of years to compensate.
Humans are however, one factor the earth has not had near enough time to compensate for. We are the once that can tip this delicate balance with our irresponsible actions and life stiles.
Ironically the greatest opposition to this debate and for any change in reducing our pollution and cleaning up our planet comes from North America wish is coincidentally also the greatest contributor to the problem over the past two centuries and the one that has done the least to counter this pollution as well.
The leaders in Environmental technology and implementation are in Europe and Asian, This however, is not enough. Even China the US favourite scapegoat has invested more into renewable energy and to counter pollution over the past ten years then North America did.
What will we tell our grand children when they ask us where all the wild life has gone to and why we are having trouble breathing? Or when they are wondering why Grand Pa or Grand Ma did not do any thing to counter the destruction and death of the diversity of life on Earth but went on in stead driving SUVs and playing ignorant all the wile screaming for more cheep oil to be burned in their cars and houses?
I wonder how we will be able to justify all this to the coming generations?