Does Anthropogenic Global Warming vs. Natural Global Warming Matter?

Reading this post about AGW (anthropogenic global warming) skeptics made me smile. I’ve always been frustrated most by people who agree that climate change is happening but feel that humans aren’t causing it and shouldn’t try to do anything about it. The arguments presented very much mirror my own feelings on the matter, especially:

Even if you deny that GW is man-made, how is this an excuse for inaction? Using the same rationale, would the commenter refuse to put out the fire in his house simply because it was hit by lighting – not a man-made fire?

So often people mistake disbelieving in the causes or existence of climate change as a reason to ignore all environmental issues. That the issues are far more complex than what the cause is seems to escape a lot of people.

Pollution matters.

Even if one doesn’t care about the possibility of climate change, pollution should be a concern. That’s the garbage patch in the Pacific, for example. It’s the litter you see every day on the street. It’s the gunk contaminating our air that comes from cars, burning coal and so forth. It’s the runoff from chemical fertilizers causing dead zones in the ocean.

Limited resources matter.

This is another one some people just have trouble with. Even our oceans aren’t infinite. Our resources aren’t infinite. Potable water resources aren’t infinite.

Change means opportunity too.

A lot of people worry about what making the changes that environmentalists talk about mean to the economy. And certainly buying less means that there will be less consumption. But there’s opportunity there too.

Changing to renewable energy presents tremendous opportunity, for example.  Plenty of chances for businesses to make it big.

Finding ways to do just about anything more efficiently is an opportunity too.

Will it be enough? I don’t know enough to say. No one yet knows if improved technology can dig us out of the hole we’ve dug with current and older technology.

Which side to bet on?

Finally, for me it comes down to which side of the equation I’m willing to bet on.I’d love to be wrong about the potential consequences we’re facing. That would be wonderful.

But denying the possibility and then getting that wrong strikes me as the greater risk overall. Being wrong when denying climate change means risking it all, potentially, or pretty near to it.

I’d rather fight the fire than fuss about the cause or if it even exists.

One reply

  1. I have written about this as well and I agree it doesn’t matter why, all that matters is we fix it.

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