It seems to me in recent years the discussions on topic of Global Warming and Climate Change is intensified. If this is true or not, it's difficult to determine for me. For all sort of reasons - like US stepping out of global agreements, China developing at record pace, Western world starting wars in the middle eastern area to control oil, Social media, Internet - I have been hearing and reading more about this topic then ever before. But maybe it also has to do with growing older; Maybe I'm getting more concerned with the communities/societies I'm part of; Less focused on myself.
Last months to half a year, we have a LOT of debates around air pollution and global warming in my country the Netherlands. These debates are triggered by our supreme court after they ruled our government is not following the EU and national rules with regard to maximum allowed air pollution levels for nitrogen and micro particles. Our government reacted immediately by bring construction to a complete halt, forcing down the maximum speed limit for cars, by imposing new laws around cattle farming, by arranging a fund from which cattle farmers are paid a (big) sum of money when they stop their activities and hand back their license to the government, and a few other - pretty harsh - measurements. Added to that Greta Thunberg: her UN speech went viral; A little later her World Economic Forum speech as well. Lot's and lot's of triggers for the media to report - almost - on a daily based. Obviously all this fuels our populist politicians countering with: Pollution and Global Warming is Fake news; It's a HOAX!
With the president of the richest country in the world - Trump - legitimising fake news, it becomes increasingly clear to me it is damn hard to believe whatever someone says, whether they are scientists, activists, politicians, media or whomever, making it impossible for me to determine who is right and who is not, what is true and what is a lie.
Is the global average temperature rising, or not?
image: published at Pexels by Pixabay (source)
My own experience is that temperatures in my country as well as neighbouring countries, are rising. As a kid in the 1970s and 1980s I played many winters in the snow, went skiing in Switzerland and Austria every year on - mostly - a BIG pile of snow regardless the time of winter, in the middle or at the end of it. Today we hardly have snow in the Netherlands and the amount of snow in aforementioned ski countries is reduced a lot as well compared with a few decades ago. Of course this in itself doesn't mean this is a long term trend; Weather cycles happen all the time. On a grand scale we humans dealt with large temperature and climate fluctuations going from ice age to ice age.
Some believe we are heading towards another ice age again. Others believe quite the opposite.
When Michael Crichton - the famous thriller author - published his State of Fear novel back in 2004, immediately I bought the book and finished reading it in just a few days; Such a great thriller. Although I wouldn't expect it from him, this book was not just another great novel, but one to tell his own believes about global warming. He created a great storyline while making gazillion references to scientific articles and papers explaining global warming is not real. He tries to make his case by stating parts of our planets are getting warmer, while other parts are getting cooler. Global temperatures between the 40s and 70s of last century lowered instead of raised. People and - more specifically - urbanisation is the cause of - local - temperature increases. I never took the opportunity - or time - to check up on his references, but apparently the temperature drops between the 40s and 70s is a fact.
Read the article "Michael Crichton and Global Warming" by David B. Sandalow (here) for a good summary and analyses of mister Crichton's State of Fear thriller.
Who is correct and what are the mid to long term realities? Will the global temperatures continue to rise? Is this a natural effect? Is the CO2 we bring in our atmosphere by burning oil and coal, the cause of a global temperature rise?
All good questions which are difficult for me to answer without in-depth analyses of all the research and information out there. The vast amounts of documents and information available makes it impossible for me to form my own opinion based on own research, hence I have to go with whatever makes sense to me.
I'm biased towards the beleive that global warming is true, and humans are driving this effect.
My opinion is based on the fact that most of the scientists today inform us global warming is not a hoax; Its real. More specifically, the research and publications by proponents of fossil fuels - Exxon and Shell - stating their activities will lead to a global increase of temperature and a rise of the ocean's water with a meter or more in a relatively short period of time, influences heavily my opinion. In 1991 Shell released a half an hour documentary about the effects of oil and global warming; Mainly for educational purposes to be shown at school and universities. This is f*ing unreal! One of the largest oil companies in the world telling the world to stop using oil! Very persuasive to believe we humans contribute to global warming and global warming is as real as it can get. And what about the studies these companies done in the 1980s in which they concluded very similar effects already?
Read the article "Shell and Exxon's secret 1980s climate change warnings" by The Guardian (here) for more information regarding these private research projects and results.
The Climate of Concern documentary by Shell is on YouTube hence easy for me to present it to you. Simply hit the play button and be amazed how the 'enemy' to environmentalists is warning mankind back in 1991 already...
But even if all of this does not convince you global warming is happening and we humans are - at least - a contributor, wouldn't you like to see we loose our dependencies to oil? The world reserves are getting smaller and smaller. Wars are fought over oil, constantly. Energy becomes more expensive over time because oil prices increases over time. How cool would it be we will get our energy for a fraction of the cost of oil, through all sort of renewable energy sources: Sun, Water, Gravity and even CO2.
Scientist already demonstrated the possibility to convert CO2 taken from our atmosphere into synthetic kerosene; The fuel used by airplanes. Read about this (here).
Fortunately, the number of people thinking in terms of large scale, those who like to contribute to a better world, a world with less pollution of any kind, is growing in numbers. But, this growth doesn't mean we are close to a critical mass; A critical mass to bring us to the tipping point; The so needed transformation from the we'll take whatever we can from our planet, no matter the consequences to we'll live in balance with our planet to safeguard a long future together.
I actually believe the critical mass will never be reached by just organic growth. At least not as long our capitalistic and financial systems are in place as they are. At best - or worse: depends how you look at it - these systems will be here for a considerable time still. Too long to wait to know what will come after in order for us to make some changes in how we live more in harmony with our planet.
Since organic growth is not getting us to change our behaviours on grand scale, we need our governments and multinationals to drive these changes. I believe, our governments shall run investment programs of any kind (funding, tax benefits to companies and people, assisting in connecting projects, companies and people etc) for the private sector to get a boost to innovate in environment friendly energy production as quick as we possible can. The larger the push is going to be, the quicker we will be able to leave the oil behind us.
We've seen so many examples whereby our governments triggered a transformation. We shall use this instrument as much as we can. For once it'll be something positive coming out of our institutions and politicians :) You know the saying: If you can't beat them, join them... I usually extend this with ...and make use of them.
1953: Province of Zeeland flooded by many broken dykes with more than 1.500 deaths as a result
image: published by Omroep Zeeland (source)
Since I'm living in a country with dykes protecting us from the seawater; And I really like living in my little country of the low lands the Netherlands; I'm personally invested in preventing seawater level rise. True: We build large scale water protection systems last half a century. It'll support higher seawater levels, but not more than half a meter more than we have today. Predictions of seawater level rise we will have to deal with, is more than a meter by the end of this century. Only 80 years from now, we'll likely have wet feet in my city of Amsterdam. Unless we do something about the global warming; We may be able to buy ourselves a few extra years, decades or even centuries before the water breaks our dykes again, like it did not so long ago, in the 1950s.
In case you think global warming is a hoax; Why not still support the energy transition towards 100% renewable energy, leaving the oil where it is way down below us, to give yourself a place to live with less air pollution; with a great fresh smell to it, even when you live in a city?
How cool will it be when we can walk the streets in our cities without the smell of burned oil. How cool will it be when we can sit anywhere with our white trousers, dresses and skirts without getting dirty from the black stuff coming out of exhaust pipes of scooters, cars, busses, trams, trains, factories and power plants?
Lets think of all the good and support the energy transformation. We will all benefit; Am pretty sure about that. Hope you do too?!
Carpe Diem :)
a STEEM original
an article I wrote for upmewhale writing contest
"Global Warming and Climate Change"