After a flat denial of global warming during the campaign in line with standard conservative doctrine, President Elect Trump has moderated his stance. It will be interesting to see exactly what that entails.
I was long ago convinced that democratically-elected representative government and free-market capitalism provide the most equitable governance and the best quality and quantity of goods and services to the most people at the fairest prices. But both systems share a common flaw, they are reactive rather than proactive in their operation. The horse has to be out of the barn before anyone thinks about closing the door. In line with this thinking, conservatives care little about the depletion of finite resources or environmental degradation.
Many Americans are comfortable believing that global warming is just something concocted by a bunch of liberal scientists and cloistered, out-of-the-loop professors to scare us. But the results of exhaustive, broad-based studies reveal that global temperatures remained essentially stable for more than a millennium with only a slight rise. But in the early nineteenth century the earth’s temperature began a dramatic increase and is still climbing today. What happened?
Up until about 1800 the world relied on non-fossil fuels, mainly wood, for heating, cooking and manufacturing. But in the early nineteenth century we began to convert to the more economical, efficient and plentiful fossil fuels: coal, petroleum and natural gas.
In reviewing the records climatologists began to notice a 40 percent increase in carbon dioxide emissions by mid-nineteenth century. This gaseous mass has blanketed the upper atmosphere and has blocked the normal escape of the earth’s heat. This has resulted in a slow but steady rise in the earth’s overall temperature. The scientific evidence of carbon dioxide emissions and trapped heat is indisputable. Nevertheless, global warming is still denied by a very small segment of the scientific community, a group we might call the "Flat Earth Society."
Assuming God spoke the words the scribes recorded in the book of Genesis, why didn’t He inform them that the earth was a globe, an oblate spheroid? They mostly wrote from a flat-earth perspective. But the Bible actually makes no pretense to being a scientific or historical work. It’s a theological interpretation of events that often explains things with a story more apocryphal than literally true. Here God tells us "who" and "why," not "what," "when" or "how."
Depending on the measurements used, between 90%-100% of publishing earth scientists today agree that human activity is responsible for climate change with a 97% consensus among climatologists.
In the past the world’s industrialists have operated under the assumption that there are always more resources out there whenever we need them. And they also apparently believed we could discharge almost anything into the environment and it would be absorbed with little or no negative consequences. Those theories have been disproved over and over.
In the Book of Genesis God promised to never again destroy the world by flood. But He didn’t say He wouldn’t let us destroy it ourselves through our own bull-headed denial of reality.
George B. Reed Jr., who lives in Rossville, can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.