Global Warming is Real. There’s No Turning Back.

16 Oct

VIEWPOINT

Global Warming is Real and There is No Turning Back

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Global Warming is real.  There can be no denying it.  But where we go from there is an open question.

The indisputable fact is that climate change is happening.  What remains up in the air however is how human beings relate to it, what the actual contribution of people to the problem is, and how/if it can be fixed.

It’s happening.  That’s certain.  Average temperatures are increasing and we are beginning to see the effects in terms severe weather extremes, the polar ice caps melting, and the recording setting dry spells and droughts occurring in the United States and elsewhere this past year building up to today.

However, what’s the “cause?”  The “real” “cause” in a precise scientific and epistemological sense.  Not merely the “antecedent” or “conditional” of it, but the real “agency” or “dynamic” that’s actually making global warming and climate change happen.  It can’t be “humanity in the ontological sense” because global warming as we know it today didn’t always exist and we have the oft-mentioned data to prove it. And yet what kind of human activity would “cause” climate change?  The widespread, modern, industrial kind pumping out heat trapping chemicals like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, that’s what.

And, yet, this still doesn’t completely address the “cause” question.  What “causes global warming?” The dynamic of heat-trapping chemicals reacting with the natural processes of our world’s ecosystem and its climatic cycles.  The dynamic itself is the true “cause” of “global warming” and its opposite number is in the effect of a warming atmosphere.

So why say this?  And am I just hairsplitting here?  … I’d say no.

The reason I’d say no is that only by identifying the actual and precise cause of global warming can we truly assess how to deal with the problem and take proper action to remedy it.

Humans/human activity are “precipitants” to modern global warming, but not its “cause” per se.  They are catalysts to an already finely balanced environmental system that doesn’t take too much as it is to be overtaxed.  Contemporary human beings by their activities and modern technology have overloaded the scales and tipped that balance in favor of global warming and the greenhouse effect.

There’s no quick-fix to climate change.  There no easy policy solution to global warming.  And to imagine we can simply “reverse” it and go back to some sort of golden age before contemporary times when we didn’t have this happening and before we industrialized, thereby ushering in a new better future for ourselves without the specter of humanly precipitated climate change/global warming, is far-fetched.

It’s not going to happen.  We’ll have discovered the legendary Fountain of Youth before it does.

In all likelihood, we won’t turn back the clock on global warming. Nor can we reverse course.  We’re stuck with it, and the we best we can do now is learn to live with it.  We’re going to have to learn to manage the consequences of climate change in our daily lives and for our societies and the greater world.  We’ll have to develop technologies for dealing with the fallout of climate change; but at this point the irrevocable damage is done.

Global Warming is real and there’s no turning back.

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