6.21.2010

10 Minutes - Global Warming Facts for Kids, Pirates, and Polar Bears (the things I think about...)

Hi. It's Joe.

As you have probably noticed, this 10 minutes per day of blogging that I do is largely all about the weird things I think about.

Stuff like how global warming naysayers are simply crazy. The globe is definitely warming and there is no doubt from the data.


Are humans causing global warming? Well, that's a whole different question than the reality of the situation that the globe is, in fact, warming. You just sound like a buffoon if you say the globe isn't warming in direct defiance of the numbers. Skepticism is great, and sure you can always find a scientist willing to present facts against global warming (if the price is right). I am sure you could get a scientist to say the moon is made of cheese, if he could retire from his crappy life in academia and move to the Bahamas in exchange for doing so. But unless you are getting a fat stipend from a coal or oil company, please don't make an ass of yourself by trying to convince any sane person that the globe isn't warming.

I think the question of whether humans are causing global warming is neither here nor there. It's happening. Burying our heads in the sand about that doesn't help anyone. We ought to instead try to determine if there is anything we can do to reverse it. Because bad things happen due to global warming, like oceans rising 50 feet above their current levels, which means tsunamis, worse hurricanes, and global warming effects on animals - like polar bears dying. Actually, I don't know if polar bears dying is all that bad for anyone except polar bears. They sure are cute and furry though - even if they would probably gut and eat me first chance they got.



It's definitely true that the rise in global temperatures (which I'll just reiterate for the right wing nutbars IS HAPPENING - see above) closely parallels the rise in global fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions. Just to refresh, carbon dioxide is a GREENHOUSE gas that contributes to atmospheric warming.


NOTE: In actuality, WATER VAPOR is a far worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. However, water vapor CONDENSES into liquid, while carbon dioxide stays a gas, except at very cold temperatures. Also, as the atmosphere warms, the more water vapor it can hold (i.e., less condensing), and this causes further warming in a positive feedback loop. But...water vapor also contributes to clouds, which reflect sunlight back to space COOLING the earth. So as you can see, water vapor is a fairly harmless gas, except when other gasses that cause global warming are around, even if they aren't as good at warming the globe (because they catalyze the creation of more water vapor). Does that make sense? I you are not a right wing nutbar, it probably does.
But it is also true that the rise in global temperatures is inversely proportional to the number of pirates.


Is global warming a problem? Well, it's neither good nor bad from a completely objective standpoint. Subjectively, it's probably bad for polar bears, as we've seen. Is it too much of a leap to say that humans may be affected in ways we can't know?

From the Earth's standpoint, the demise of humanity from global warming matters not - just another extinct species. Maybe global warming is a natural thing and humans will adapt. Or maybe we'll all die fighting each other for limited natural resources or crazy religious beliefs long before we cook ourselves.

But if global warming is bad and also reversible, shouldn't we get a handle on it? I mean, if we care about our species' future. We can all not worry about global warming until it is too late. Maybe everything will be fine.

All that said, I am fully willing to admit I am an "equal opportunity" DISASTER CAPITALIST. So here you go...



Time.

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