Disclaimer: The writer serves as a volunteer president of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the MCNA board.
There are a number of questions that need to be answered.
The most pressing one is why do media and governments so blindly accept every story that comes out about climate change? There are hundreds, if not thousands, of stories floating around about climate change. That the climate is changing, and has been changing, since the beginning of time, is true. After that opening statement, everything else is open to question.
Beginning of time, what does that mean? To former Green Peace founder Robert Moore, beginning of time means billions of years. To some students of the Christian and Jewish Bible, it means about 6,000 years. Does it really matter? Either way, we have thousands of years of climate patterns to look at and the conclusion is pretty much the same, the world’s climate is changing and always has been.
The deeper questions need to be discussed. What is causing climate change? How fast is it currently changing? How fast is it currently changing relative to 1,000 years ago or 5,000 years ago? What causes the changes? What can be done about it? More important, what should be done that is actually helpful? And, most important, what should not be done that might actually make matters worse?
Green Peace founder, Robert Moore, spoke at a conference in Red Deer I attended a couple of weeks ago. He hasn’t been with Green Peace since 1986, having left, as he felt it had accomplished its original goals and should not have gone into endless fundraising activism. Moore believes, in contrast to many climate change students, that CO2 levels are dropping. He believes that dropping CO2 levels will have a drastic effect on plant life, resulting in reduced food production. If any of the climate change worriers actually looked at the role of CO2 in plant life, they would come to the same conclusion. CO2 levels are purposefully raised in greenhouses so as to get better production. Moore’s take on CO2 is that we need more, not less, and that CO2 levels have little, if anything, to do with global warming.
The world’s temperature may be going up. Key words, “may be”. My generation was being warned in the 1960s that there was a coming ice age and ironically, it was by some of the same scientists who are saying the opposite today.
If the urban world is warming up, and it might be, it is more likely to be due to us running more cars, trucks, trains and airplanes than we did 50 years ago. Remember also, that 50 years ago, air conditioning was rare. Today, most houses, commercial buildings and vehicles are being cooled and the outdoor environment is being doubly heated by the energy expended and by pumping the internal heat into the atmosphere.
The very frustrating thing about the climate change discussion is that many statements go unquestioned. Greta Thunberg says our generation has destroyed her future. That is false. In contrast to 50 years ago, young Greta has access to better nutrition, if she so chooses, better education and, for a young woman especially, access to a far wider career choice than 50 years ago. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently bemoaned that our generation destroyed her opportunity to bring children into the world. That’s nonsense and she should know that. Compared to 50 years ago, living and health conditions have improved vastly. Childhood diseases are much reduced. Childbirth is much safer.
What is not safer is a world unprotected from unquestioned political, media and academic statements. In the rush to get votes, readership and research dollars, the appropriate level of questioning falls to the wayside. We are more likely to be more in danger today from a lack of intelligent debate than we are to be in danger of climate change. We used to have both climate change and healthy debate. You decide which one is missing.