Sunday, May 3, 2009

Is global warming a crisis?

(Personally, I think this is the wrong question. I don't think we're yet at a crisis stage, but that doesn't mean we have the luxury of ignoring the science altogether and pushing this off on future generations. It's a little like insurance. Most of us acknowledge that we probably won't be involved in auto accidents or see our homes burn down, yet we continue to purchase insurance, no questions asked. Why? To prevent a ruinous, financially disastrous situation in the unlikely event we are involved in an accident. It's the same with climate science. Even if there's only a 1 in 3 chance that the atmosphere will continue to warm, with more negative consequences than positive outcomes, does it make sense to take some early, cost-effective steps today to insure that a worst-case outcome won't materialize? I'm not Chicken Little. The sky isn't falling. But it is warming, the 30 year trend is undeniable, and there are consequences to our carbon-intensive lifestyle. To ignore this altogether is reckless and some would say, immoral. What is a reasonable form of climate insurance that would make sense for America, even if global warming does turn out to be overblown? What reasonable, ultimately business-friendly steps should be taken today to foster new energy sources, new industries, new strategies that naturally reduce our reliance on carbon-based fuels over time? It's a loaded question, but I'm happy to see that government agencies, from the EPA and NASA to NOAA and the Executive Branch are taking the science seriously and taking the first, logical steps toward addressing the problem, and possible solutions).

Global warming has quickly become one of the most heated issues in America (pun intended). Rising temperatures and melting icebergs are indisputable evidence that the Earth is warming, but is this global heat wave a man-made crisis or just overblown hype? The complete article, focusing on arguments from both sides, the "Alarmists" and the "Deniers" can be found here.

It's sad that this discussion, like so many others, has become polarizing. It seems like climate change, like so many other important issues, has been taken over by the radical elements on both sides of the debate. Where is the common sense middle? Where is the compromise? We're so busy shouting at each other that we're not taking the time to talk to each other and LISTEN to each other. That's the only way that real progress is going to be made on what will probably be one of the big stories and issues of the 21st century.

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