In his Two Worlds blog, #16 / Acknowledge The Difficulties, Gary Patton references Robert Samuelson in his December 27 editorial, stating that “…regulating the world’s temperature is mission impossible.”
Samuelson is correct in his assessment. Humans do not have the power to control the world’s temperature, even if that concept had any meaning in reality. Humans may have the power, if we have the will, to reduce the effects of human consumption and production on natural climate variation. Switching to “renewable” energy sources is certainly a rational decision, if for no other reason than non-renewable energy sources are finite and will become much more dear as they diminish.
That does not mean that changing our energy sources will allow us to “stop global warming.” The concept is absurd. Allow me to explain.
The current over-fascination with global warming assumes that human CO2 emissions have resulted in “Global Warming” since the Industrial Revolution, around 1850. Observations show that yes, sure enough, global average surface temperature has increased, overall, since 1850, with some pauses and declines along the way.
But wait, why stop looking at 1850? What happened to global average surface temperature before the Industrial Revolution?
As it turns out, global average surface temperature has been increasing steadily since around 1600, 250 years before the 1850 target date. Humans were not producing CO2 in any appreciable quantity in the 17th Century, so what caused this “Global Warming?”
We can go back even further. The 950 − 1250 AD Medieval Warm Period featured Global Average Surface Temperature as high as today with no contribution from increasing CO2 levels. What caused this “Global Warming?”
Looking even further back, the Holocene interglacial, which we currently enjoy, is a period of “Global Warming” that began 12,000 years ago, arising of itself, through natural geophysical processes, from the Pleistocene glacial period.
Over the past 2.5 millions years, the Earth has gone through four additional glacial periods, each with their own “Global Warming” interglacial periods just as we see today.
“Global Warming” is nothing new, having been an essential part of human evolution since our earliest hominid ancestors first walked on their hind legs.
The point is that humans do not cause “Global Warming.” Therefore, by extension, humans cannot stop “Global Warming,” no matter how we change our socioeconomic relationships to the planet we inhabit.
Current fear-mongering about “Global Warming” is not aimed at a radical change in the way humans produce energy. It is an attempt to maintain socioeconomic control in a civilization in which the major economic source, the fossil-fueled “Global Economy,” is sputtering to its inevitable end, threatening the hegemony of the global economic control system set up at the end of World War II. The United Nations’ “Sustainable Development” program, the genesis of the IPCC, is an attempt to prop up development in poor nations, in the face of increasingly apparent environmental limits on economic growth.
Rather than attempting to frighten the world into belief that we can control climate variation that threatens continued growth and development, we should be helping all to understand and prepare for a world that will continually change beneath our feet, and that has unavoidable limits to human economic growth, consumption and production of wastes.
Pretending that we are apart from the natural world and not subject to natural cycles of resource abundance, climate variation and large scale geologic changes is ultimately futile and self-deceptive, as well as destructive to the rest of the world on which we intimately depend.
We must give up the idea of control of climate and instead develop social systems that are resilient and adaptable, and not rigidly demanding of finite resources, critical natural habitats and uncontrollable natural systems.