There’s been a ton of talk about new carbon emission standards and with Obama now in the White House, there will probably be a lot of money spent on new legislation, new policies and all with the aim or curbing or slowing down global warming.
Personally I think that many people miss the big picture when it comes to global warming. The earth has been around for 4.5 billion years and has survived just fine with us and will do just fine without us. Throughout the history of the earth there has been a definite movement between warm and cold periods. I think that what is misunderstood most about these temperature changes in the past is that everyone assumes they are extremely gradual.
For example you hear people talk about an ice age that lasts 10,000 years or a warmer period that may last 5,000 years, but in the middle of those overall trends there have been period of 50 years or even 100 years that may completely buck the trend. One of the great examples I read about was when the great conveyor – seen here which is huge underwater river in the ocean more than 40 times as large as all the fresh water rivers on earth, part of it stopped flowing in the not too distant path (maybe 20 to 30,000 years ago). Well the warm water the great conveyor brings up from the equator keeps much of continental Europe and the east coast of the US to some extent much warmer than it would be normally.
When the great ocean conveyor belt stopped flowing, the climate of France took about 3 years to be plunged into extremely cold weather and much of Europe experienced the same conditions. Many scientists are saying that now because of the melting of the north pole ice, the extra fresh water may serve to disrupt or partially half the great conveyor – which has been theorized adds close to 10-15 degrees of warmth to the areas it passes through.
Here is the direct quote from this article that I found particularly enlightening:
For early humans living in Europe 30,000 years ago – when the cave paintings in France were produced – the weather would be pretty much like it is today for well over a thousand years, giving people a chance to build culture to the point where they could produce art and reach across large territories.
And then a particularly hard winter would hit.
The spring would come late, and summer would never seem to really arrive, with the winter snows appearing as early as September. The next winter would be brutally cold, and the next spring didn’t happen at all, with above-freezing temperatures only being reached for a few days during August and the snow never completely melting. After that, the summer never returned: for 1500 years the snow simply accumulated and accumulated, deeper and deeper, as the continent came to be covered with glaciers and humans either fled or died out. (Neanderthals, who dominated Europe until the end of these cycles, appear to have been better adapted to cold weather than Homo sapiens.)
So is Global Warming a bit of red herring, when we really should be worried about Global Cooling?