editor of A.M. Costa Rica
An estimated 150 world leaders and climate experts, non-profit organization representatives and others are starting today to meet in Paris to maintain a static world.
The problem is that the world is not static. It is constantly changing.
The climate conference is of major importance to Costa Rica because concern about a warmer earth has permeated national policy. And Christiana Figueres Olsen, the Costa Rican diplomat, is one of the leaders of the U.N.-sponsored gathering.
The Paris confab might better be seen as an anti-capitalistic, money-grabbing session. There is no doubt that there is a lot of money on the table. Even little Costa Rica has a $61 million deal with the World Bank over carbon and trees.
No one can oppose making the air cleaner. That goal needs to be considered outside the hysteria of climate change.
As this newspaper has reported previously, the studies over climate change have been polluted by scientific prejudice and money.
The concerns about climate change are basically three. First, there is fear about a rising level of the ocean. Second, there is fear that a warmer earth will cause more weather catastrophes. Third is the concern that the climate will change productive land into desert or worse.
The oceans have been rising since the end of the last Ice Age, and no one really knows why or why ice ages take place or why they end. The best scientific information on the topic suggests that the tilt of the earth is a factor.
Here’s how Discover Magazine put it: “Every 100,000 years or so there has been a predictable warming period during which polar glaciers melt and sea levels rise. Then another ice age arrives, and the process repeats.”
The magazine cited the work of Peter Huybers and Carl Wunsch who have studied the last seven world thawings.
Huybers is a MacArthur genius fellow who told Sky and Telescope that “I think ice ages are really the outstanding mystery in Earth sciences presently.”
Huybers, a former tank platoon commander, does have concerns about additional carbon dioxide, which he links to volcano eruptions in the past.
His work certainly has not been at the forefront of the recent climate craze.
The oceans have been rising some 120 meters or about 400 feet in the last 12,000 years, and they will continue to do so.
A lot of concern has been expressed by the Antarctica ice shelf, yet NASA just reported that the ice actually is increasing there although not on the shelf itself.
Between New York and New Jersey is a giant canyon. That is not obvious now because it is filled with water. But the Hudson Canyon can be seen extending 400 miles under water across the continental shelf. Much of the canyon was exposed during the last Ice Age where glaciers miles thick reached as far at lower Manhattan.
Another fear is that a warmer world will cause more weather catastrophes. This is pure speculation because the weather always has been unstable. Costa Rica is tropical and received some pretty good rains. But proponents of restricting carbon dioxide have tried to link every hurricane, freezing weather or cyclone to higher temperatures, which have risen less than one degree centigrade since pre-industrial times.
The third major claim is that higher world temperatures will create more deserts.
Those who say this fail to note that a warmer world will make more land productive. Still, the world’s history shows that changing climate can make great changes. Ask the mastodons. Ask the Anasazi who built the now empty Chaco Canyon pueblos in southwestern United States.
The U.S. Great Plains used to be dense cedar forests. The Sahara was fertile land at one time with many settlements until the area started to dry up about 7,000 years ago.
Southern California is suffering now because of lack of water. That area was a desert before the first Spanish settlements, so there should be no surprise now that it still is.
So with inevitable climate change there will be winners and losers.
The variability of the earth can be seen when one considers that 5 million years ago there was no Mediterranean Sea.
The major concern of this newspaper is that world leaders are acting on limited and sometimes incorrect information in Paris as they fail to heed to old dictum of King Canute that political power has no control over the waves of the sea.