Earth at Its Warmest In Past 12 Centuries

Brett Knowlton brettk at
Fri Dec 11 06:44:44 PST 1998

Enzo wrote:

>Where do you read that?? The only fact that emerges from that FAQ is that
>much larger swings in the past have not substantially damaged life on the
>planet; that, as natural events have effects orders of magnitude larger than
>human-induced ones, taking action on the latter is quite irrelevant; and
>that it could well be counterproductive too.

Making statements like "life has not been substantially damaged on the planet" is misleading. It depends on your point of view. If your habitat is destroyed during an ice age, that's pretty bad, but if it opens up new territory to colonize, so much the better.

So the question is, what will a change in climate mean for people? Since the world functions based on the assumption that next year's climate will be essentially the same as today's, then a changing climate will cause a great deal of dislocation. Farmers will go bankrupt as their land can no longer grow crops, land mass could be lost (some islands might even disappear) to rising water levels, etc. Climate change probably isn't a good thing, all things considered.

Secondly, human-induced changes in the environment have reached the magnitude of changes produced by natural mechanisms. The destruction of the ozone layer has been, as far as we know, caused by people. The dramatic increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is another example, and this will accelerate dramatically in the near future.

I suppose its true that we don't know what the consequences of these things will be since the earth is a very complicated system. But this seems to me an argument against changing the environment, since any changes we induce will probably be unpleasant.


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