The recent Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen accomplished very little except for the consumption of much fossil fuel by those who attended it.
Whether global warming is human-enhanced or not, does anyone truly believe that allowing atmospheric CO2 concentrations to increase will make the world a better place? I trust not. So whether we are, or are not, contributing to global warming, wouldn’t the world be better if we start acting conservatively by reducing emissions from the burning of fossil fuels?
If we are contributing to warming and do not mitigate the problem, most atmospheric scientists believe the world faces, among many dire consequences:
(1) shifting climates, (2) more intense storms and droughts resulting in (3) lower food production which in turn (4) increases starvation, (5) rising sea level with concurrent flooding,(6) major dislocations of people, all of which (7) increase international strife, etc.
But what if our fossil fuel emissions are not contributing to global warming? Won’t the world still be a much better place if we decrease CO2 emissions and other polluting gases including sulfur dioxide, ozone, and methane? Consider, for example, how urban livability and health improve (respiratory disease decrease) as air quality improves. And because demand will soon outstrip production of oil and gas, remaining reserves of these fuels should be saved for more valuable uses such as the chemical and food-producing industries. Unfortunately, the atmospheric problem is compounded further by the presently unchecked, explosive growth of world population which also needs immediate attention.
It makes no difference if one is a liberal or a true conservative, more efficient use of energy in all consuming sectors will help everyone. Yes, some jobs may be lost during this time of transition, but so were those in the buggy whip industry — to the delight of baleen whales — when automobiles became common at the beginning of the 20th Century.
Ian M. Lange