Umbrellas don't cause rain. That would be silly. What I was trying to point out what that announcing conclusive scientific proof of a relationship between greenhouse gasses and the greenhouse effect is pointless redundancy. The reason why they're both called 'greenhouse' is because they are intrinsically related.
The levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere today are lower, IIRC, than a few tens of thousands of years ago. Yes, the flora and fauna have changed since then. They will continue to change, both because of and despite our influence. But our effect on global temperatures does not concern me as much as the many more tangible and immediate things we are doing.
CFC's are a real problem. An even bigger problem are oil spills, and the release of manufactured chemicals and heavy metals into the soil and waterways. These things have a very quick impact on the biosphere, and I see them as a much greater concern than CO2 and Methane.
Frogs are going extinct the world over. This will surely upset the balance much more, in the next few decades, than a few extra feet of water on the coast. The hole in the Ozone, while a Liberal myth, is certainly true as well, and the additional UV exposure is not something that can be compensated for by evolution in the space of a few decades.
There are many significant effects of global warming. I wouldn't dare dispute them, but I think that we put too much emphasis on that - it's something we can not effectively observe, unlike our other damages which we conveniently fail to address since "the planet is getting warmer".
CO2 will feed plant-life and algae. The increased evaporation will contribute. Eventually, we'll be ankle-deep in moss, with plenty of oxygen to go around. If anything, global warming is a good change since it will feed the herbivores pretty well. The increased evaporation will increase cloud cover, which means an increase in planetary albedo, which will reduce temperatures, and the amount of light hitting the surface - throttling some of the excessive plant life. The seas will rise and expensive beachfront property will become an attraction for snorklers. Those of us in the now temperate zones will get to wear shorts and polo-shirts for a few more weeks each summer. So what?
This will happen slowly enough for organisms to adapt, for the most part. Weather will get more violent, and global temperatures will actually become more mild instead of extreme. That's the global warming forecast.
As I said, I'm more worried about the near-term impact of our environmental habits. The pollution, not the climatic changes, are the dangerous thing. We stand to eliminate pivotal species out of the ecosystem, and the ability of Gaia to compensate for that is much lesser than for a few extra degrees.
No one is claiming that we should run around with careless abandon because the only one's we're hurting is ourselves. That's trivializing a very valid perspective on the bigger issues. The claim is that our role in global warming is not something we can cleary define. While we should remain actively aware of our greenhouse gas production, we should focus more energy on the 'un-natural' pollutants. The environment has no contingencies against these. We should loosen our fixation on those phenomena which, by all thorough scientific analysis, appear to be macro-cyclical and dwarf our civilization in their periodic nature.
Chastising society for causing global warming is arrogant. We don't know what part we play in it, or which way the temperature trends are actually going. We do know that we are killing various river, delta and coastal life with Mercury. We do know that we have DDT in our soil and water and animals. We even know that all the hormones we are feeding to our cattle are having all sorts of interesting effects on our own children. But, global warming is a nice, fluffy subject that lends itself to 'expert analysis' with absolutely no proof or verification. It's the soap-opera of enviromental crises, and the media and grant-seeking researchers are milking it for all it's worth. Enough hand-waving.
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