Climate Change

Published by Randell Hynes on

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This article started as a non-scientific perspective of the politically charged issue of Climate Change and Global Warming. It evolved while I wrote it to consider Climate Change and Global Warming as a label used to give us the perspective that we should be good stewards of the only known habitable planet. Regardless of whether the supporting science is and has been questioned, we all must agree that working together to maintain Earth as a healthy place for humans to thrive is a priority.

Even given that, I still want to share what I wrote when this article started with a focus on Climate Change.

Simply stated, climate change is the result of global warming. Global warming is said to be caused by human activity that has increased carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere. One human activity that increases carbon dioxide is the use of gas, coal, natural gas and other fossil fuels for energy. The carbon from exhaust combines with oxygen which collects in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide CO2, unless it is consumed by plants. CO2 allows plants to create food from the sun.

Let’s start with points we can reasonably agree and step through scenarios and their likely barriers to success.

  1. Our planet is 4.5 billion years old and in continuous change.
  2. Scientists say humans burning fossil fuels have caused an atmospheric increase in carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas. Those gases are essential to maintaining a healthy planet, but an increase in carbon dioxide is not healthy because it’s a barrier to the sun’s reflected heat escaping back to space.
  3. With available data, scientists have hypothesized the average temperature on Earth has increased by 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880 and that average might increase to 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit by 2036.
  4. Testing of ice cores has determined that carbon dioxide levels were relatively low for 1000 years. Levels increased since 1950 and caused the conditions scientists say are not ideal for planet and human health.
  5. Measured increases in carbon dioxide have, not coincidentally, kept pace with burning more fossil fuels as an energy source for the world’s population, that has increased by 500% since 1880.
  6. It seems relevant to consider nearly 8 billion humans breathing out (respiring) carbon dioxide would account for a substantial increase over the volume respired by about 1.6 billion in 1880. That 500% increase in population. The counter to that thought is that humans are simply recycling existing carbon dioxide. Burning fossil fuel is releasing new carbon that has been buried for millions of years into the atmosphere.
  7. The counter to number 6 seems counter-intuitive. If we’re recycling carbon by respiration, then how could anything that we actually do reduce carbon dioxide? It seems that burning fossil fuel will continuously increase the volume. If we stopped burning fossil fuel on Earth today, the same level of carbon added to the atmosphere would always be present.
  8. Forest management to minimize the size of forest fires is an essential mitigation tool that’s within our reach.
  9. Cutting down forests that consume carbon dioxide also contribute to higher levels. It seems that a substantial increase in planting around the world would be a solution for keeping carbon dioxide busy while it’s being used by plants.

Suppose we agree with everything the scientists claim and that politicians are advocating, the media is amplifying and that social media is calling a priority? We eliminate our 15% contribution to the increase in carbon dioxide. Obviously if we do everything right and the rest of the world doesn’t, then succeeding with our part would not reduce carbon dioxide to levels scientists are calling “net zero”. It’s hard to predict what level of participation there will be. It’s safe to say that it will not be near 100%. It’s also reasonable to say it will never be a priority for most of the world’s governments. Far from it. Most countries that will receive US tax payer dollars to mitigate carbon output will do what is needed to get paid, regardless of their real commitment.

The Biden administration has proposed setting an example by changing the way the federal government operates to reduce its carbon footprint. Namely replacing all government vehicles with electric ones. And commit the US Government to mitigating and reporting efforts for the least developed countries.

Should the US Government: 1) prioritize Climate Change, 2) provide leadership by example that doesn’t erode our way of life, 3) simply do nothing, or 4) continue being good stewards of our planet, encourage activities and development that promote a healthy planet.

We should be good stewards of the only known habitable planet. Leadership by example to promote a healthy planet should be an on-going US Government priority, regardless of what we label it.

-MIDDLE PARTY

When Middle Party is running the government we’ll operate sustainably with all of this article’s questions in mind. The questions included in the following start generally, then with more pointed concerns, then move on to questions that weigh the real seriousness of climate change and challenges the destruction some advocates claim.

What might our efforts to reduce carbon dioxide look like in the short term?

What might those efforts look like long term?

What would happen if we did nothing to actively mitigate carbon dioxide level increases and instead reactively dealt with the results of global warming before they caused harm?

Our actions to reduce carbon dioxide levels, or any actions that we take that ask Americans to drastically change must be metered. There is a real concern for our top priority of national defense. Fossil fuels are the keystone for our armed services to keep us safe. And we must consider whether the resources required for replacing fossil fuels are sufficiently abundant and available to us to move forward.

  1. Will people, especially Americans, accept a move away from the incredible convenience of fossil fuels? It seems doubtful.
  2. Is it even possible to move 100% away from fossil fuels?
    • Can solar power and other renewable energy ever energize grid systems around the world enough to meet the ever increasing demand for electricity? Plus regularly charge over 10 billion batteries in 1.4 billion vehicles? It seems implausible.
    • What will we do with billions of old batteries? It would be a massive recycling project.
    • Are there enough resources to manufacture needed batteries or other new storage systems?
    • Are there enough resources to produce the solar panels we expect to need, and are those resources available?
    • Will our military transition to all electrical vehicles? What about the massive costs to upgrade the military to sustainable vehicles. It’d be like building a whole new Armed Services. What about response time? Or, charging time. Or, the logistics for transporting substantially more batteries?
    • At what point will the oil industry simply decay, or prices reach such astronomical highs that make remaining fossil fuel operations impossible to maintain? Without a fuel industry how can we maintain an air industry or Air Force?
    • If the fossil fuel industry ceased to be viable, then maintaining a fossil fuel powered defense could only be done by controlling fossil fuels.
    • Is increasing nuclear power an acceptable alternative to produce electricity? No carbon, but a whole different list of harmful concerns.
    • It’s seems likely given these questions, that we’ll continue to depend on natural gas for centuries.
  3. As the biggest contributor to carbon dioxide levels, what motivation would China have to change? What could we possibly do if China refused to change? Any military power that chose to maintain a fossil fuel powered defense would easily overpower any country that didn’t. Control of fossil fuel would give any country global dominance.

Will we be able to protect Americans in a fossil fuel free country that would be vulnerable to attack by any country that didn’t embrace our concern for increased levels of carbon dioxide?

Would or should our concern for reducing levels of carbon dioxide raise to “defend” the world from countries that refuse to comply with planet health actions?

Outspoken Climate Change advocates have been saying and continue to say that non-compliance of carbon dioxide mitigation actions will destroy Earth. So, is the destruction of Earth a real possibility? If what they say is true, then surely non-compliance would mean war. Unless advocate’s warnings are really just meant to scare us. Otherwise, how could war be avoided. It will destroy the Earth!

I’d be interested to hear a Climate Change advocate’s response about how serious this impending danger is to the planet.

It seems that political push back on Climate Change is against the wild claims that dooms day is coming and that Climate Change’s impact should be funded by all governments.

Questions Summary

  • Is climate change real? Scientist’s best guess indicates carbon dioxide levels have risen enough to increase average temperatures 2 or 3 degrees F. We rely on a study that revealed a historical trend for about 1000 years before 1999. Like anything, a scientific claim is accepted, until it isn’t. In math, the answers are always the same. Science has never been perfect. By calculating CO2 in ice cores, other proxy data, averaging temperatures from limited 19th century data, 20th century weather devices, and observing the ice sheets melting, science says, Yes. For now.
  • Why haven’t we considered studies that have disputed the 1999 findings. Advocates want to continue with anything that supports their claim. More simply, I believe that humans won’t push back on efforts to maintain a healthy planet. It just seems that people will more likely push back on things they are force fed, like climate change.
  • Can humans do anything about Climate Change? Yes. We should do everything within reason to keep our planet healthy.
  • Will Americans accept the changes suggested? Seems unlikely that most countries will prioritize the changes and most Americans are unlikely to accept the urgency claimed and push back on changes that are inconvenient.
  • Will it destroy the Earth? Absolutely not.

Humans are Innovative and Resilient

If or when global warming causes sea levels to rise, we’ll figure out how to deal with the inundation of water and the coastal erosion. The Netherlands are seven feet below sea level and figured out 400 years ago how to keep the sea back and claim land. If it causes droughts in previously fruitful regions, we’ll figure out how to irrigate it. No one is in danger.

We can continue to do better, maintain a healthy planet and react as well as possible when the planet speaks.

Middle Party will implement government policy to improve a healthy planet that includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Nationwide Community Solar Co-operatives that allow any American to add one or more North American purchased solar panels to a community solar farm that feeds the grid. The electric output for each panel is recorded and the owner will receive a wholesale payment, or earn a retail credit from electricity generated by their solar panels.
  2. Investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  3. Rapid elimination or conversion of all coal-fired power plants. Natural gas is a likely replacement. Increased use of Nuclear power should be considered.
  4. Homestead Act of 2021 will include a requirement to power newly developed federal land with renewable energy, mostly Community Solar Co-ops.
  5. Home Owner Associations are in a unique position to organize their members into Community Solar Co-ops.

Much of this article was focused, of course, on Climate Change. It’s clear that it’s merely a simplification of the overall requirement for humans to be good stewards of the only known habitable planet. We like to label things. As we move forward and common-sense prevails, we’ll work together to keep Earth happy and abundant.

Each Common-Sense, Common Ground article will be published between now and Labor Day. Subscribe below to receive Middle Party News or follow Us on MiddlePartyUs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.

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