Another View to Think About Climate Change
The climate change debate, even if some in the media and politics think it is settled, is not conducted in a productive manner. Currently, the proponent of climate change mitigation is focused on our use of fossil fuel and CO2 emissions. The skeptics like me were focused on real data and the lack of accuracy of these various climate models in their projections. It seems to me a different approach based on science may be a better way to move both sides forward. Let me propose it here.
- Feb. 2018
Assume I, as a skeptic, will allow myself to believe in the claims of climate change scientists that we, humans are the largest contributor to climate change.
And let me also assume that the climate scientists are genuinely interested in solving this problem that they foresee in our horizon to be devestating to mankind.
How do we proceed to solve this crisis...or is it a crisis?
Here is my proposal. Assume the basic science behind climate change is sound, the greenhouse effect, what if we examine the reality of theses effects that are being predicted as a result.
1. How likely are oceans to rise 20 feet and in what time frame?
2. How likely are super storms and extreme hurricanes materialize as a result of climate change or glogal warming? With increasing frequency?
3. How likely are areas of the globe that will experience extreme heat that are life threatening?
These are “what if” questions that scientists should be able to address or at least attempt to answer with a certain amount of confidence.
After all, anything that we project has to work within the confines of what is possible physically. What I mean about that is due to the immense size of the earth, some things are just physically impossible.
Let me use a simple example to illustrate this basic concept.
If we pile snow 10 feet high in a parking lot. How long do you think it will take to melt it?
Suppose we know an increase in the average temperature of the earth will lead to ocean to rise due to the melting of glaciers...
How fast and how high the rise is a number we should be able to compute. Assume the worst case scenerio and a rise of 2 degrees C over the next 30 years. Given that assumption, let us compute how long it would take to melt the glaciers around the globe that will result in a 20 foot rise in our oceans. The amount of heat or energy to do this should be easily calculated. Also, the time it would take to accomplish it. How many years will it take to rise the ocean one foot?
Who are these scientists that can do the calculations? Shouldn’t they be the first to come up with the answers that are so important for us the people and for our public officials who has to come up with policies to deal with these changes?
Let me state that I am not a scientist. I don’t have the skills or the expertise to do the calculations. But, let me hypothesized for a moment. Suppose the answer is a decade. If it takes 10 years for the glaciers to melt and increase our ocean even by 10 feet, then this is very bad news. We as a society are in deep trouble. We cannot fix this fast enough...
Suppose the answer is 100 years. Then we do have some leverage. We can plan to mitigate any harmful effects of the rising oceans. We can move cities to higher grounds for example. We can find ways to reduce the greenhouse gases or counter its effects. We have time to solve this problem that is slow in the making.
Suppose the answer is 1000 years. Well, then I would conclude there is nothing to worry about. The time frame is so large that none of us will be around including our children and grand children. The effects are so far away, there are just too many other factors to consider. We may destroy our civilization by a nuclear war. We could be struck by an asteriod similiar to the one that killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Or we could invent some new technology to sequester Carbon dioxide. Or we could relocate our civilization to outer space or another planet. The possibilities are just endless.
What to Do Going Forward...
My suggestion for those who are engaged in this issue is to ask questions. You will be surprised by the answers. Next time when you hear a talk by climate scientists, ask point blank just how long does the effect will materialize, based on our current understanding? In many cases, the answer is they just don’t know. How come?
If I was engaged in a life long study on climate change, I would want to know how much time are we talking about. Is it imminent, or do we have time to mitigate?
In conclusion, I just want to change the debate on climate change. Instead of arguing whether if it exist or not, or whether if it is natural on manmade, why not assume the worst and calculate the effects. If the time frame is short, we better act with urgency. If it is long then it may not be too bad...as projected.
Isn’t this the more responsible and common sense approach to deal with this potential disaster?
A Simple Poll
How long do you think it will take Greenland to melt?
© 2018 Jack Lee