Global Warming - Is it getting hot in here?

During my commute from work to home one afternoon I saw some teenagers standing on a highway overpass. These teenagers were jumping up and down and pointing to their very large home made banner. The banner read, "Stop Global Warming! Use mass transit!"

There are very few subjects being publicly discussed today that are as important, misunderstood, and politicized as Global Warming. The majority of the political and environmental discussions concerning Global Warming are based on the two premises:

  1. that Global Warming is caused by mankind’s actions,
  2. that mankind can, and therefore should, do something to prevent it, as evidenced by the teenager's banner.

I question both of these premises.

  1. Is Global Warming caused by mankind's actions?
  2. If mankind can do something to stop Global Warming, should it?

A Natural Phenomenon

First let's get politics out of it and look at what pure geological and oceanographic research has to say on the matter.

When I was younger and learning about geology, earth sciences, history, and oceanography, all of those subjects had the same message concerning earth's historical climates. All of those subjects touched on the evidence that the earth goes through cycles that range from extremely cold conditions, called ice ages, to periods between the ice ages that are extremely warm. All of the classes, academic books, and instructors also agreed that we were currently coming out of the last ice age. In other words, the earth is getting warmer naturally , not due to any influence by humans.

Much of what we know about our earth's climatic history is derived from evidence in ice cores, sediment, and fossilized plants. From studying different markers within the evidence, such as gases locked in ice cores, scientists can determine certain characteristics of the earth at the time when that ice was formed or when that sediment was created, or when a plant became a fossil. The following graphs are from such sources.

The graph below shows temperatures over the past 400,000 years as measured from the Vostok ice core samples.

Temperature Graph

A couple of points jump out at anyone looking at the graph above. One point is that temperature swings have been occurring since long before mankind came into existence. Another point is that the temperature of the earth has been warmer than it is today, and that these periods of cooler and warmer temperature appear to be somewhat cyclical with less severe changes in temperature existing between the larger changes. We can also see that we are indeed coming out of one of the more severe ice ages (far right of the graph). In other words, we are living during a period when the earth is naturally getting warmer. One last point shown in the graph above is that climate change is not gradual. Notice how fast both the ice ages and warmer periods end. The end of an ice age is shown as a very sharp rise in temperature and the beginning of an ice age is shown as an almost equally sharp decrease in temperature. And remember, all of this is without any influence by mankind.

Looking at 400,000 years worth of temperature data is a good start to understanding our climate and how it changes; but let's get closer to our current time. The following is a description of our last ice age according to NASA :

"Ice sheets began to grow, and climate cool about 130,000 years ago at the beginning of the last ice age. About 130,000 years ago...the polar ice caps thickened and expanded Earth cooled by almost 12° C and global sea level to drop 130m below its current level. About 15,000 years ago, this process was reversed as more sunlight reached areas near the Arctic Circle, and Earth emerged from the ice age. Earth is about 8° Celsius (14° Fahrenheit) warmer today than it was then."

Examining the above excerpt more carefully reveals something astonishing; the earth is still 4°C cooler than it was before the last ice age began 130,000 years ago. So we have 4°C to go just to get back to where the earth was naturally before the last ice age, before mankind could have affected the environment in any way. It also reveals that the sea levels dropped up to 130 meters below its current level. Since we know we will probably warm up at least 4°C, it stands to reason that we should also expect sea levels to continue to rise. All of this was, and is, the result of natural occurrences.

Let's get even closer to our current day by looking at the graph below that shows just the last 2000 years, before the industrial revolution that so many are attempting to blame for our current warming climate.

Midieval Temperatures
Example of regional variations in surface air temperature for the last 1000 years, estimated from a variety of sources, including temperature-sensitive tree growth indices and written records of various kinds, largely from western Europe and eastern North America. Shown are changes in regional temperature in °C, from the baseline value for 1900. Compiled by R. S. Bradley and J. A. Eddy based on J. T. Houghton et al., Climate Change: The IPCC Assessment, Cambridge UniversityPress, Cambridge, 1990 and published in EarthQuest, vol 5, no 1, 1991.
( )

Again, as shown in the graph above, it can be seen that the temperature was warmer during the 1200's, without our industrial revolution, than temperatures today.

The graph below shows temperature differences over the last 2400 years and highlights that temperatures have been higher during the rise of Rome and during the times when cathedrals were being constructed than temperatures are today.

Temperature Graph
( The above graph was reproduced from: Brief Introduction to the History of Climate )

The purpose of the above graphs is to show that the natural temperature swings of the earth are somewhat cyclical and occur without any influence by mankind. They also show that in just the recent history of 2400 years, the earth's temperature has been fluctuating, including periods that were warmer than it is today. In other words, the warming of the environment that we are experiencing is not only natural, but expected! And Global Warming is definitely and indisputably not man made.

So for the young teenagers who went to so much trouble to create and display their banner across the interstate that I began this essay in reference to, I'm sorry to inform you that you've been lied to. Switching all of humanity to mass transit will not stop Global Warming.

Now I'm not claiming that mankind does not effect the environment. It's a fact that mankind does change the environment. We drain swamps, redirect waterways, create and destroy forests, and change whatever we want so that we can live wherever we want, and however we want. It's what we do. It's probably the main reason that we as a species have been so successful.

I'm also not claiming that the warming of our climate that we are currently experiencing doesn't contain an element of mankind's influence. What I am claiming, and I'm backed up by all of geologic and oceanographic research concerning the matter, is that Global Warming and cooling are naturally occurring cycles of change for our Earth. We are currently in a warming cycle that the historical record shows is expected to continue regardless of whether mankind exists or not.

Catastrophic Swings

Seeing graphs of temperatures is one thing, understanding what those graphs translate into on the ground is something else. Here's a passage from P.B.S.'s website that gives us some idea of the effect of these natural temperature swings:

"During the past billion years, the Earth's climate has fluctuated between warm periods - sometimes even completely ice-free - and cold periods, when glaciers scoured the continents.
Between 52 and 57 million years ago, the Earth was relatively warm. Tropical conditions actually extended all the way into the mid-latitudes (around northern Spain or the central United States for example), polar regions experienced temperate climates, and the difference in temperature between the equator and pole was much smaller than it is today. Indeed it was so warm that trees grew in both the Arctic and Antarctic, and alligators lived in Ellesmere Island at 78 degrees North.
But this warm period, called the Eocene, was followed by a long cooling trend. Between 52 and 36 million years ago, ice caps developed in East Antarctica, reaching down to sea level in some places. Close to Antarctica, the temperature of the water near the surface dropped to between 5 and 8 degrees Celsius. Between 36 and 20 million years ago the earth experienced the first of three major cooling steps. At this time a continental-scale temperate ice sheet emerged in East Antarctica. Meanwhile, in North America, the mean annual air temperature dropped by approximately 12 degrees Celsius.
Between 20 and 16 million years ago, there was a brief respite from the big chill, but this was followed by a second major cooling period so intense that by 7 million years ago southeastern Greenland was completely covered with glaciers, and by 5-6 million years ago, the glaciers were creeping into Scandinavia and the northern Pacific region. The Earth was once more released from the grip of the big chill between 5 and 3 million years ago, when the sea was much warmer around North America and the Antarctic than it is today. Warm-weather plants grew in Northern Europe where today they cannot survive, and trees grew in Iceland, Greenland, and Canada as far north as 82 degrees North."

Notice that the above paragraph states that "...alligators lived in Ellesmere Island..." and "Warm-weather plants grew in Northern Europe where today they cannot survive, and trees grew in Iceland, Greenland, and Canada as far north as 82 degrees North" , again, without mankind's influence. Notice that the above also states that the earth has been "...sometimes completely ice-free..." and that it's been " warm that trees grew in both the Arctic and Antarctic..." Again, without mankind's influence.

But what does the end of an ice age actually look like? According to this description of the end of the last ice age, it is quite traumatic.

"The abruptness of the termination is startling. Agriculture, and all of our civilization, developed since this termination. The enormous glacier, several kilometers thick, covering much of North America and Eurasia, rapidly melted. Only small parts of this glacier survived, in Greenland and Antarctica, where they exist to this day. The melting caused a series of worldwide floods unlike anything previously experienced by Homo sapiens. ... The flood dumped enough water into the oceans to cause the average sea level to rise 110 meters, enough to inundate the coastal areas, and to cover the Bering Isthmus, and turn it into the Bering Strait. The water from melting ice probably flooded down over land in pulses, as ice-dammed lakes formed and then catastrophically released their water. These floods left many records, including remnant puddles now known as the Great Lakes, and possibly gave rise to legends that persisted for many years. As the glacier retreated, it left a piles of debris at its extremum. One such pile is now known as New York’s Long Island." ( )

I hope by now that everyone reading this essay agrees that our current period of Global Warming is no more caused by mankind's actions than the last period of Global Warming was 140,000 years ago. It's quite evident from looking at the 400,000 year graph above that we're actually right on schedule to continue getting even warmer. But just in case there is some remaining doubt, I'll end this portion of the essay with the following:

"Ice Age climate change has been rapid, pervasive and frequent. For instance, during the last 2.6 million years, the duration of the current Ice Age, there have been 104 major fluctuations between global cold and global warmth. Each of the major fluctuations was itself complex, encompassing ‘minor’ changes of up to 5 degrees centigrade in average annual temperature. As temperature rose and fell, so did global sea level, by up to 130 metres." ( ) All without mankind's influence.

So pure geologic and oceanographic research shows that there is absolutely no doubt that Global Warming is a natural occurrence. Anyone claiming otherwise may be motivated by either ignorance, or political and/or economic, or other selfish concerns. But their motivations must be questions since their statements do not align with our wealth of historic evidence.

What is the cause?

Now let me be absolutely clear on the following point. I am not suggesting that mankind doesn't affect the environment. It is possible that mankind is having some, as yet unproven, influence on the current rise in temperature. Our influence may be due to green house gas emissions which trap heat in our atmosphere (this is called the insolation theory), the huge amount of asphalt and concrete that lock in heat and slowly release it (this is known as the heat island effect), all of that lighting that is on all of the time, or from any of a myriad of other human activities. It may be that we are adding a few degrees every century or so to the rise in temperature. It may be that we are adding a small component to the acceleration of Global Warming. But having an affect on the temperature rise, or the acceleration of that rise, and being the cause of it are two different things. It is clear from the geologic historical record that we are NOT the cause of this period of Global Warming any more than we were the cause of the previous periods of warming when mankind didn't even exist.

If you're still not convinced, think about these observations that are agreed upon by the research of geology and oceanography:

Ice ages occur in 4 known cycles. These cycles are 400,000 years, 100,000 years, 41,000 years, and 23,000 years.

Since our civilization is just over a few thousand years old, to suggest that mankind is responsible for these cyclical climate changes is not only ludicrous, it's irresponsible and ignores the historic evidence.

Let me put it another way. Let's say that tonight I developed a liquid that could be added to any device that burns fossil fuels that would eliminate all emission of green house gases that result from the burning of those fuels. And 3M volunteered to manufacture the liquid free of charge and Wal-Mart provided free use of its world wide distribution network to deliver this green house blocking liquid. And after 3 months this liquid was being used all over the world and there were no, I repeat no, green house gases being released into the atmosphere due to mankind's activities. A week after I developed that miracle liquid, I also developed a manmade green house gas vacuum that would remove all green house gases from the atmosphere that were there due to mankind's past activity. (Interestingly enough, after I completed the first draft of this essay billionaire Richard Branson offered a reward to anyone who develops just such a device.) The result of those two inventions would be that the only green house gases in the atmosphere are those that are there naturally. In other words, mankind's influence in the warming of the planet, through the theory of insolation, has been removed. In this imagined world the rise in temperature may slow down, or even temporarily stop. I would be given all kinds of awards and may even be crowned king of something. But my fame and fortune would be short lived because shortly thereafter the temperature would start to rise again. Because climate change is natural! Again, this is not opinion, it is an undeniable historical fact.

Well if mankind doesn't cause Global Warming, what does? There are many many theories surrounding the natural causes of our planet's temperature cycles. The leading theories at the moment are actually a revival of theories that were developed centuries ago that combine the earth's orbit, it's degree of tilt toward the sun, the wobble in the orbit, and other astronomical factors. The theories that combine astronomical forces to explain our naturally cyclical climate changes, as opposed to the ones that focus on mankind's activity, at least make sense. After all, we all know that most celestial bodies move in some sort of periodic arc and that every astronomical body affects the other bodies around it through gravitational forces. And we know that even though the sun is very hot, being just a little tilted away from it can cause very large drops in temperature. For example, in Minnesota the temperature can rise to over 100 degrees in the summer and drop to 40, and even 60, degrees below zero in the winter. That difference in temperature, over 140 degrees, is primarily due to how the earth is tilted with respect to the sun.

But according to our best calculations to date, the changes in earth's astronomical orientation and/or orbit are not enough to actually cause our planet's cyclical temperature swings. Instead, the astronomical influence theory has become accepted as a type of "pace maker" that sets up the conditions necessary for the temperature swings to occur. In order for an actual ice age or temperate period to occur, a highly complex set of environmental interactions need to take place resulting in what is known as a feedback loop. Anyone familiar with electronic circuitry, or software engineering, or who has ever experienced the ever increasing high-pitched tone resulting from holding a microphone too close to a speaker, understands what a feedback loop is. Basically a feedback loop is a situation where the output of a system is fed back into that same system in such a way that the next output of that system is stronger or amplified. That stronger output is again fed back into that system. The loop continues to intensify the output of the system until either the loop is broken or a component of the system itself fails under the stress of the loop. Once the astronomical pace maker became an accepted theory, scientists began looking for the environmental factors that would create the theoretical feedback loop necessary to warm and cool the planet. Sometime in the mid to late 1980's scientists found two potential candidates for creating a feedback loop: carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane.

There are many other theories as to the cause of Global Warming which include other feedback candidates including ocean circulation, heat radiation, and other elements of our natural environment that, for the brevity of this essay, I will leave to the reader to discover and research . The true causes of our cyclical environment may be a combination of all of these theories or some other answer not based on any of them. But one thing is certain, mankind is not the cause . The point, and the truth, is that ice ages and the Global Warming between them happen naturally. Anyone debating that observation is not looking objectively at the historical evidence.

A few good places to start researching Global Warming and ice ages are:

Since geologic and oceanographic research shows that Ice Ages and Global Warming are natural events, what is the basis for the current controversy?

The discovery of CO2 and methane as potential candidates for maintaining a theoretical feedback loop is the cause of the current Global Warming fanaticism. This fanaticism is based on the fear that mankind is pumping so much CO2 into the atmosphere that the current Global Warming cycle will continue past its normal cycle and overwhelm the naturally occurring cycle. There are several problems with this theory:

One last point that needs to be well understood - this is all just THEORY! No one, I repeat no one, knows what causes our natural cyclical climate changes, and it may turn out that all of these currently espoused theories are just dead wrong. And since we do not know the causes, we cannot presume to know if or how we may influence those causes. Let's take a look at that other potential candidate, Methane.

Methane as the Real Feedback Candidate

Methane has up to 30 times the heat trapping property of Carbon Dioxide. In other words, one molecule of Methane will trap up to 30 times the amount of heat as one molecule of CO2 . In Russia there a huge bogs that have been frozen over since the last ice age. Once these bogs begin to thaw, they will begin to release the Methane gas that has been trapped there for thousands of years. These bogs contain the equivalent in Methane as 2 trillion tonnes of CO2 and they are already beginning to thaw and release their stores of Methane gas ( The Warming of the West Siberian Bog Threatens Our Future ). Depending on which estimate one believes, these bogs may already be releasing enough Methane gas into the atmosphere to sustain Global Warming at its current rate. In other words, if we removed all of the CO2 generated by man from the atmosphere, the earth would continue to warm because of this naturally occurring methane gas release. The feedback loop may have already begun, naturally.

What about the Consensus we hear about through our media?

Just like most everything else we hear about through our media, network news-tainment included, the scientific consensus on Global Warming is pretty much fake. Just like all of the other issues we hear about, Global Warming is the "issue du jour" that news-tainment and some scientists (what I call scienticians, a combination of scientist and politician), companies, and even countries can use to gain economic and/or political power. This forced, homogenized, and advertised consensus is about money, power, and prestige, not truth. To quote President Eisenhower:

"Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity … The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever-present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite." ( Global Warming: Inconvenient Questions )

If you think that Eisenhower doesn't understand our current environment, please read " Climate Of Fear ". After reading " Climate of Fear ", it should be obvious that the scientific community suffers from the same group dynamics that are present in just about every human organization. There are people in every group who want to control information and feel powerful to the detriment of others and even to the detriment of the group's purpose. Let's look at an example of how a viable theory was sequestered and ridiculed by so called scientists instead of being properly investigated based on the Scientific Method . The consummate example is the theory of Plate Tectonics:

"...a German meteorologist, Alfred Wegener, who was only 30 when he wrote to his fiancé in 1910: "Doesn't the east coast of South America fit exactly against the west coast of Africa, as if they had once been joined? this is an idea I'll have to pursue." And he did, researching geologic and fossil records in university libraries all over Europe. Some of his findings amazed him: remains of the Cyognathus, a 9-ft.-long Triassic-era land reptile, had been discovered in two narrow strips of land, one in south America, the other in Central Africa. When these continents were fitted together, like jigsaw pieces, the two strips lined up perfectly. Another set of bands, in which fossils of the freshwater reptile Mesosaurus had been found, seemed to connect seamlessly across the lower latitudes of South America[n] and Africa. A third dinosaur, Lystrosaurus, was found only in three strips traversing Africa, India and Antarctica, and these bands formed a single brushstroke when the shapes of those continents were linked.
For Wegener, the conclusion was as clear as it was revolutionary: all the world's continents had once been joined in a single land mass, which he called Pangea, Greek for "All Earth." that giant landmass, he posited, had gradually broken apart, in a process he called "continental drift." Of course, the fossil evidence that Wegener used to support his theory had not gone unnoticed by other scientists. In an example of how tenaciously mainstream scholars will cling to orthodoxy, geologists and paleontologists had explained these anomalies by hypothesizing a series of "land bridges," causeways that once linked continents across the world's oceans. The fact that there was little evidence that aside from a few well-known examples such bridges had ever existed seemed to bother no one.
What did bother nearly everyone, though, was the prospect that a young outsider-a mere weatherman, no less!-could upend the finely wrought theory of land bridges. "Utter, damned rot!" howled the president of the American Philosophical Society. Any person who "valued his reputation for scientific sanity" would dismiss such a theory out of hand, agreed a leading British geologist. When Wegener died, on an expedition to Greenland in 1930, his theories about Pangea and continental drift commanded roughly the same level of academic respect that speculation about the Bermuda Triangle does today."
(TIME Nature's Extremes, Inside the Great Natural Disasters That Shape Life on Earth (c) 2006, pgs.13-14 isbn:1-933405-04-X)

The above paragraph is a great illustration of how scienticians are more concerned with prestige and orthodoxy (not to mention research dollars) than with the dispassionate pursuit of answers based on evidence. There are other examples of how the world's scientists, as a group, circle the wagons instead of approaching new ideas with the open minds that we would expect. One such example is the theory that heat is an element. Scientists of the period were quite taken aback by Fulton and his steamboat. Global Warming would be just another academic example of this group dynamic in action that the public at large could ignore, except for our news-tainment industries' and our government's involvement with these scienticians.

Where do we go from here?

The above sections showed that there is overwhelming and undeniable evidence that climate change:

  1. is, for our planet, a natural and normal event,
  2. is normally dramatic and quick, not gradual,
  3. has global ramifications that could be catastrophic for humans (Don't forget the last climate change allowed us to develop civilization. Not all climate change is bad.),
  4. may have many other causal candidates than are currently being studied, and
  5. as studied by our scienticians is more about prestige and money than truth/science.

It appears we have three options:

Should we prevent climate change? I think it important to point out that even though we like to pretend that through science we know something, the truth is that we actually know very little. We have no idea what the consequences of interfering in the cycles of climate change could or would be. For example, if we successfully stopped Global Warming would it cause an even worse ice age later? If we could stop all climate change and control the earth's temperature the way we control the temperature in our homes, would volcanoes and earth quakes become worse? And if we could control the climate, whose version of climate would we choose? The politics in that choice alone should cause more than just a few wars. So the answer is no. Even if we could control our environment, we shouldn't. Not that we can, so the point is moot.

Should we just throw up our hands and let civilization end? You may be saying, "Hey! Wait a minute! How would the earth getting warmer end civilization?" Allow me to explain.

Take a guess, just a guess, at how many chemicals are in your neighborhood right now. Consider how many gallons of paint, paint thinners, gasoline, other fuels, glues, print toner, acids, and other liquid containments that are in people's basements, garages, attics, and work sheds. Now include all of the chemicals that are in your neighborhood's homes. Now include all of the commercial buildings in and around your neighborhood and all of the chemically based supplies stored in them. Remember all of those chemicals released by the terror attacks on 9/11? And that was just two buildings, large buildings, yes. But still only two. Now try to imagine all of the chemicals that are in all of the neighborhoods along just the east coast of the United States, and don't forget all of those industrial and military sites. When this period of natural Global Warming completes it's cycle, all of the east coast of the United States may be under water and all of those chemicals will be leaching into the water and spreading all over the world. Now we haven't included nuclear waste and other contaminants in our imagining, and we also haven't included the west coast of the United States or the other low lying coasts around the world. In other words, the water will quickly become too contaminated to support life, and life on this planet, or at the very least the human race, will end.

There's another threat out there that no one seems to be either aware of or taking very seriously. That's the biological threat of centuries old organisms that have been frozen in ice, in a state of suspended animation, being reintroduced into our environment once their host ice melts. There is the potential that bacteria and viruses that existed long before humans, and that the human body and its immune system has never encountered, will be reintroduced into the environment. How will our immune system protect us from these ancient organisms? Can our immune system protect us? Even if we are not directly attacked by these organisms, what effect will they have on our environment and our food sources? These questions are not baseless.
"Lake Vida lies in Victoria Valley, one of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, on the continent of Antarctica. It is isolated under year-round ice cover, and considerably more saline than seawater. It came to public attention in 2002 when microbes frozen in its ice cover for more than 2,800 years were successfully thawed and reanimated." ( Lake Vida )

I don't know about you, but my answer to "Should we just throw up our hands and let civilization end?" is no. Even though it may be better for the planet earth in the long run if we weren't around any longer, my preference is stay here. So if we can't stop it and we can't live through the consequences of it, what are we to do? Our only choice is to do what we do best, engineer and adapt.

Engineering for Survival

We must demand that our scientists stop this futile attention given to stopping Global Warming and focus on how we can survive its effects. There should be a huge, purely scientific and un-politicized, research effort undertaken to determine which organisms are locked in glacial ice and what effects those organisms will have on our environment and our bodies. Once that catalog of organisms has been created, our scientists should be developing weapons to use against any of those organisms that may be harmful to us and/or our environment. There should also be a huge, purely scientific and un-politicized, research effort undertaken to understand what truly causes Global Warming, so that we can monitor those causes, accurately predict their effects, and properly manage our society to account for those effects. Anything short of the effort I've described is simply unacceptable and putting the survival of the human race in jeopardy.

Adapting to Change

We have been blessed and cursed with our climate over the past 2000 or so years. We have been blessed because our climate has been so warm and stable that we have been able to build a civilization along coast lines and in low lying areas with very little concern for our safety. We have even been gullible enough to believe that through the use of levees, dams, canals, and other engineering projects, we can control or at least minimize the effects of our climate. We have lived in such a stable climate that most all of us are ignorant to how this planet's climate naturally changes. For example, the area of the mid-west United States that is known as the bread basket of the world because of the large amount of grain and corn grown in this area is normally a very arid and inhospitable place that may only occasionally support prairie grasses. But none of us realize or think about this because during the last few thousand years this area has been so hospitable for humans, animals, and crops alike. We have been so fooled by our luck-of-the-climate-draw that when we are shown how feeble our engineering projects are, we ignore the lesson as if it never happened. Or we pretend that the event was a fluke that won't happen again.

A great example of our foolishness is the city of New Orleans. We built a large part of the city under sea level on land that naturally sinks. The only reason the land wasn't under water before we built there is because the Mississippi river would periodically flood over the land and deposit sediment over the area. The following points illustrate the situation we created that led to so much destruction during hurricane Katrina.

Once we decided to build on that land, we built levees to prevent the Mississippi from flooding, which prevented the deposition of the sediment, which had the result of not building up the land. Doesn't sound very smart now does it? Now that those low areas of the city have been destroyed by flooding, are we adapting and doing the correct (translated "smart") thing and rebuilding those homes and businesses on higher, more stable, ground? No, we are not adapting. Instead we are building higher levees, ignoring all of the risks,not learning the lesson that Katrina taught, and rebuilding the homes where they were. Not only is this not very smart, it's down right stupid.

I bring up the example of New Orleans because it is a microcosm of what I described above, where we have part of our civilization living in areas where they shouldn't be. When these areas are flooded, chemicals will leach into the water and that water will become too contaminated to support life. To prevent that scenario, we have to move away from the shorelines and out of low lying areas. Now if we are so blind, proud, and stupid that we don't move New Orleans when given a perfect opportunity to do so, after the city has been mostly destroyed and a majority of the population has already left, how can we possibly find the political will and wisdom to move all of the cities that are lining all of the coasts and all of the rivers of the world?

Yet that is exactly what we have to do in order to adapt and survive the natural occurrence of Global Warming. And don't forget, we will also have to move to survive the next ice age. (Unless of course you're foolish enough to believe those are caused by mankind as well.)

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