April 20th, 2008

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Global Warming.

      Global Warming... It's amazing how much political nonsense and other stupidity has become attached to the topic. So allow me to cut through some of the rhetoric and explain this rationally.

What is Global Warming.


      Simple answer is an increase in the worldwide average temperature. The more meaningful answer would be "an over-energized atmosphere". A temperature increase of only a few degrees, multiplied by the volume of the Earth's entire atmosphere, is a colossal amount of energy. The atmosphere functions as a gigantic thermal engine, converting thermal energy to kinetic energy... In other words, causing the weather to be much more turbulent and unstable than it used to be.

Is Global Warming for real?


      It's easy for some people, especially those who spend most of their lives insulated from the weather by air-conditioned vehicles and climate-controlled buildings, to observe the occasional record-breaking cold snap and flippantly remark "So much for that whole Global Warming theory!" This just goes to show that they don't understand the concept of an over-energized atmosphere. The excess kinetic energy can swirl arctic air into the south out of season, causing freakishly cold weather. It can also disrupt normal weather patterns, causing both drought and flood. It's not just about Summer being a little hotter than usual.

      Yes. Global Warming is for real. And it is doing a lot of damage, including inflicting some heartbreaking losses right here on TEOTWAWKI Ranch.

What are the effects of Global Warming?


      Many of the "experts" on Global Warming love to say things like "polar ice melting could raise sea levels by two feet in the next fifty years!" Big deal. So our grandkids have to build a few levies and sea walls to protect low-lying property. Hardly the end of the world.

      There are more troubling effects of Global Warming that are hitting us hard right now. In my own part of Dixie, we used to have extended freezes and usually snow every year. Not months-on-end of frozen tundra like up in Yankeeland, but enough to freeze the ground a few inches deep and any standing water for several days at a time. These past several years we've had a few record-breaking cold nights, but they were immediately followed by warm days. No hard ground freezes means that bugs, parasites, weeds, and insects that would normally be killed-off in the winter are surviving in huge numbers. We're losing livestock to insect-borne diseases that didn't exist at all in this region a few years ago. Parasites that weren't even considered a problem in the past have become so numerous as to debilitate animals.

      The over-energized atmosphere swirls-in unusually warm weather in during the Winter, causing our fruit trees to blossom early, then gives us arctic blast frosts in the Spring to kill the blossoms and ruin the crop.

      Yes, there have always been droughts and floods and storms. Nature has always been known to throw us the occasional curve... But a fifty degree temperature swing over a matter of hours used to be a freak phenomenon that people would talk about for years. Now it is a common occurrence.

      The effects of this frenetic climate can be partially masked in this era of cheap energy, where produce from far away can be shipped and trucked in to replace local losses. But that option is already fading fast.

Is mankind responsible for Global Warming?


      It is interesting to note how many Global Warming activists automatically assume that, if something bad is happening, humans must be the cause of it... A sort of weird, self-hating hubris there!

      As many Global Warming skeptics will point out, Nature produces massive amounts of greenhouse gases on her own. Cycles of climate change go back to long before mankind harnessed fire.

      So no. Mankind is not THE CAUSE of Global Warming. It would be happening without us... But it is also irrational to believe that you can pump the smog from burning mountains of fossil fuels into the atmosphere, while killing off the forests and ocean life that renew the air, and have no effect. We'll never know to what degree mankind's activities are accelerating/enhancing Global Warming, but it might not take much to be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back.

How can we stop Global Warming?


      There's the rub! Short of having the starship Enterprise slip back through time to bombard the poles with Coldernell particles, there is diddly-squat mankind can do to halt Global Warming.

      Even if we could magically stop producing pollution tomorrow, Nature would keep right on producing the lion's share of greenhouse gases... And the Global Warming enhancing pollutions produced by mankind have a long atmospheric life, so we'll be reaping the effects of what we've produced in the past for decades to come.

      Worse yet, there's a feedback loop going into effect now, as the melting of permafrosts is starting to release extremely potent, natural Global Warming gases that have been trapped underground for ages. The gases enhance Global Warming, causing more permafrost to melt, releasing more gases. This cycle is fully independent of human activity.

      One assumes that the people in powerful positions know all this... But still we hear them talking about "reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent". Hopefully these are just empty promises from politicians who want to SOUND like they're actually doing something about the problem. Because, the truth is that 80 percent human carbon reduction probably wouldn't make much difference to Global Warming, and could only be achieved by a combination of massive population reduction and a fairly dramatic lifestyle change for the people who get to stay alive. But some say that is the REAL point of the whole environmental agenda to begin with...




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