The Pointless Global Warming Debate
Al Gore hosted his giant Live Earth concert over the weekend. The goal of his mega-concert was to raise awareness of global warming (because there may be four people left who don't know about it), and inspire the world to do something about it. Sadly for Gore, he was met with a cool reception.
The entire global warming debate is almost pointless, however. Even if the argument that humans are indeed the principal cause of global warming is granted, then it is far too late to do anything about it. All of Al Gore's goals for limiting human consumption of fossil fuels are insignificant when compared to the sheer amount of carbon dioxide we use for our most basic needs.
A major part of Gore's plan for the prevention of global warming is limiting the amount of electricity that we use. He asks Americans to do little things like using florescent light bulbs, turning down the thermostat, and cleaning dirty air conditioning filters. All of these things are quite doable, but also quite useless. If Americans, simply by performing these little tasks, managed to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by twenty-five percent (a doubtful scenario, but just barely possible), then we have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by just two percent. If we reduce our transportation emissions by a quarter, then we would reduce emissions by another two percent. If we completely eliminated all of our industrial greenhouse gases, we would lower the world carbon dioxide levels by three percent.
These goals represent what only the most optimistic of environmentalists would ever anticipate. The stark reality is that carbon dioxide emissions will almost certainly rise over the next decade.
The Kyoto Protocol is thought by many environmentalists to be a much needed measure to slow global warming. Since the United States hasn't ratified it, this line of thinking goes, the cause of preventing global warming has hit a wall. Simply by signing this treaty, the United States could take an effective and much needed step against climate change.
These folks ignore the inconvenient truth that such a measure would devastate the economy. They also disregard the fact that few of the nations that have signed are actually bothering to abide by any the treaties provisions.
Even worse news for those who favor the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is the fact that the provisions written out in it are completely powerless to slow climate change, even if all the nations of the world signed it and honored all of the provisions in it. Jerry Mahlman of the National Center for Atmospheric Research estimates that controlling the earth's carbon dioxide emissions would "take forty successful Kyotos". Considering that the various countries of the world can't handle even one Kyoto, it is literally impossible to see it agreeing to slash its emissions by forty times the amount agreed to in the Kyoto Protocol.
If it is impossible to curb greenhouse gas emissions what is the proper response to global warming? It might seem frightening to do nothing while our entire climate drastically changes (assuming the global warming folks are right) for the worse. (Remarkably, the "experts" seem to agree that nothing good will come out of global warming). However, reducing carbon dioxide in any meaningful amount is an almost impossible goal, especially with Al Gore around with his mega-mansion and his private jets.
If global warming is happening, the best thing for humanity would be to try to simply adjust to it, and not try to push against it. If global warming occurs, there will be definite drawbacks for us. But there will also be benefits. For example, Siberia will probably be a more hospitable. The amount of arable land in the world will probably increase. Humanity can't stop global warming. It can adapt to it.