Going cold on hot air

global warming - mirjoran

Did anyone notice the story that the Antarctic winter ice sheet has swollen to a record level? NASA satellite imagery shows it now covers an immense 19.47 million sq km.

Not bad for a planet pundits claim is plagued by global warming.

And last year’s cover was a record, too. And NASA says the winter ice sheet is now nearly 4% greater than for the average of the years between 1981 and 2010. Food for thought, eh?

Now, I’m not going to suggest we are not suffering from climate change and only a fool would propose we do not take the changes seriously. But the utter lack of agreement on just what is happening – and why – makes it equally foolish to over-react and give all credence to those who scream that the end is nigh.

There can be little argument that humanity hardly deserves this planet given how badly we treat it. We do suffer an inordinate tendency to think we could not damage it beyond repair.

But, equally, we did not ask to colonise this planet (and anyone who wants a religious argument about that can go say a prayer elsewhere) and we have no option but to plunder its available resources to create a quality of life.

Yes, many of us should lead lives that are far less indulgent than we do. And we should do that just to share our good fortune with those who desperately need a better deal. We won’t hold our breath for that, though.

It is pertinent to remember the hole in the ozone layer. For a decade or two a while ago we were assured with utter conviction that we would all be French fries by now. Crispier than corn chips. Admittedly we held back a lot of gaseous admissions (though some of my work colleagues could do more in this regard) and appear to have corrected the problem.

It does show that once people accept the nature of a global problem and can agree on projected solutions, we can unite to bring about positive change.

But we are an obstreperous lot, by and large, and we really dislike those who cry wolf. It is not that the message of global warming is necessarily wrong. But the vehemence and bullying attitudes espoused by the take-no-prisoner cliques who are most adamant about the situation get right up our nostrils.

It’s interesting that so many of the most vocal have used the message of global warming to secure grant funding or political power as the corollary of their pulpiteering.

If they were less obnoxious and pious, we sinners might just be persuaded to some acts of contrition. Persuade us to change our lifestyles for sensible reasons: don’t just demand we do it simply because you say we must.