Wednesday, November 19, 2014

We Had a Cold Day

Wall of snow approaches Buffalo NY

Yesterday was the first day I had to shovel snow this winter.  It was also -7c with a strong wind.  I was all set to stay in the house after supper, but Mary Ann wanted to go to the movie, which was "Emptying the Skies", a documentary about bird poaching being shown at the Princess Cinema.  As usual, she wanted to walk, in order to save the world from the global warming that would be caused by the carbon dioxide emissions from our car.  So I dressed up warmly, and then waited for Mary Ann to finish up by putting on 3 pairs of gloves.  As I pointed out to her (jokingly of course), that the top layer alone of her handwear was rated down to -30c, and all three layers together would probably be too warm even if we were on an expedition to the south pole.  She countered that she was just getting over a cold, and needed to stay warm.  I did not counter with "Why are we walking to the theatre then?".

Today I saw in the news that all the US mainland states had freezing temperatures on Tuesday.  Buffalo NY had places with over 1 metre of snow.  And of course the usual comments on the news items about "Well, I guess this proves to the eco-weenies that global warming does not exist".

I guess it would really help the cause of the Global Warming people, if we had +30c temperatures all over Canada yesterday, but the Global Warming models show only about a 3c rise in average world wide temperatures over a period of 50-100 years.  Meanwhile, our front yard can warm and cool by 10c on any given day.

Why is there so much wilful ignorance over the case of global warming?  I am quite sure that most people have some kind of opinion one way or another, while very few show any understanding of the science.  If most people are smart enough to superficially understand how a car works, they should be able to figure out that "average" world wide temperature is not the same thing as seasonal changes in the northern hemisphere. Most Canadians know that a car can freeze in the winter.  You need to have antifreeze in the coolant in order to prevent the car from freezing and ruining the engine.  There are no "deniers" claiming that cars can't freeze.  Funny thing is, that if a car "freezes", the engine is not destroyed by the cold, it is destroyed by localized overheating.  Assuming people can accept this paradoxical fact, why do they still claim that cold weather proves global warming does not exist?

I think we should try to apply some of the same sophisticated understanding that we have of our cars to the planet.  Think of it this way: The planet is a complicated machine, just like a car. The main difference being that all 9 billion people need to share the one planet.  Since we can't even live without our planet, we need to be in agreement if some maintenance needs to be done, or if something is happening that needs attention.  Scientists are pointing out that increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are warming up the planet. We don't need name-calling and gloating about freezing temperatures, we need understanding of how we can deal with the problem.  We need to be cautious in our approach, rather than reckless. And there is nothing more reckless than letting the oil companies influence our approach to this problem.  That's kind of like putting tobacco companies in charge of our health care.

1 comment:

  1. You ask, 'Why is there so much wilful ignorance over the case of global warming?

    I suspect that a lot of that is a combination of the refusal of many people to accept climate change because they would have to make changes to their lifestyle (e.g. give up their gas-guzzlers) and of the pathetic backlash against the 'liberal-intellectual elites' who appear to be the ones insisting that climate change is a serious issue.

    Thomas Frank addressed that sort of intentional ignorance in his 2004 book, 'What's The Matter With Kansas?'