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Global warming: Bring it on!

Written By | Jan 5, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS IN, January 4, 2015  –  Now that the climate has changed again and winter is again upon us, it is time to explore the benefits of global warming, assuming just for the sake of argument there is such a phenomenon.

What would happen if global temperatures were to rise a few degrees? According to the various opportunists, alarmists, and enviro-tyrants who make their livings spreading fear and loathing with their pet theory, rainfall would increase, great ice fields would melt, partial desalination of the oceans would alter the existing eco-structure.

Oceans would rise, washing over existing shore cities and flooding deltas and shoreline lowlands. Lowland population centers, even far from coastlines, may flood.

According to geoscientists, this has all happened before, in cycles that vary from mere hundreds or thousands of years, over millions of years. The fact that it may be happening now, to those who believe, is the only difference.

Truth is, climate has never been steady and unchanging – or it would never have changed.

Well, not the only difference. Today, Believers think these phenomena, to the extent they seem to be occurring, are caused by mankind and that mankind has both the power and – for some reason – the obligation to halt or reverse them, regardless the cost or effectiveness of any measures.

Is such a reversal 1) a good idea, 2) affordable, or even 3) possible?

“Natural” events are not necessarily “good,” and “unnatural” events are not necessarily “bad.” There is no answer to question 1, based on the cause of global warming. If we cannot determine whether global warming is good or bad, why would we want to intervene?

Whether or not global warming is manmade has little to do with whether conscious efforts to counter it would be affordable – clearly, if all mankind’s resources were put to altering the planet’s climate, some measureable effect would result. The extent of the effort would determine whether such an effort would be sustainable – but it may be possible for a short-term effort to set in motion other forces, that would “take it from there.”

Question 2, then, is answered only by quantifying the long- and the short-term costs of such an effort. What will mankind give up, to make the desired change?

Whether any such a change is possible is answered by knowing how much effort will be expended. How much change is possible, and for how long it will last, is largely dependent on the resources and focus applied.

And who is to say, once such a reversal were to start, where it should end? And who knows if the process of reversal would take off on its own? Would we be facing “The Coming Ice Age?” In all the study lately written, I have been unable to find mention of a strategy, were our efforts to change climate in their direction, effective.

But again, let’s assume for the sake of argument that the temperature is indeed rising. What will be the predictable effects?

First, let’s not worry that the oceans will rise suddenly, with a Hollywood-style tsunami erupting out of nowhere and inundating coastal cities, drowning millions of unsuspecting victims, with additional panicked millions clogging all the roads away from the shore.

A quarter inch rise, over a decade, would be enormous, but that would take nobody u surprise. As waters rose, new structures would be built to accommodate. (For example, Venice has survived several significant rises and falls in the level of water in the area, net of the usual effects of old age and the limitations of the architecture and construction techniques of the day.)

Rainfall would increase, wetting existing deserts and making farming possible. As cold areas warm, fertile soils, fallow for a thousand years, will become available for farming for the first time. Vast stretches of tundra and dry arctic and antarctic regions, from Siberia across Canada and Greenland in the northern hemisphere, will bloom green with new crops. Additional rainfall would provide fresh water for billions of people and additional livestock.

If we, as the human race, merely avoid doing really stupid things and otherwise “keep calm and carry on,” we can weigh costs versus benefits and safely ignore global warming, devoting our time, efforts, and resources to possible and useful things.

Existing crop patterns will change, as today’s crop bands move from the poles; today’s cornfields may be planted in rice. Calgary may some day become the western North American epicenter of the corn belt. The rainforest may rebound…

Perhaps we really shouldn’t worry. Hollywood’s dream factory has, once again, provided us with words to live by. One of the quotes from Jurassic Park that has endured in the book of popular clichés is “Life will find a way.”

Tim Kern

Tim Kern taught economics for fifteen years, and discovered that understanding life is easy; it’s recognizing reality that takes practice. He holds a music degree, and later earned an MBA in finance from Northwestern University. He has lived across the US, and now makes his home in Anderson, Indiana.