CNN.com – Climate risk ‘worse than thought’ – Jan 30, 2006

It’s a wonder there are still humans around to destroy the earth anymore. How much longer can we possibly hang on?

CNN has two other stories today about how the human race is a blight on the earth. One on the Gulf of Mexico and how humans (primarily George Bush, of course) caused the hurricanes that have torn the coast up, and another on a climate scientist who is being “silenced” by the U.S. Government. You got to hand it to the US Government, they do a heck of a job silencing someone don’t they? “You shut up” they say. “I’ll go to CNN and tell the world you are shutting me up” he says. “Um, if you go to CNN, how are we shutting you up?” the US might reasonably ask. Somehow giving a person a global platform to talk about how he is being silenced doesn’t seem to register in CNN’s irony meter like it does in mine.

More and more I am convinced that today’s “environmentalists” are more accurately described as “preservationists.” They seem to believe that the earth was somehow pure and pristine and perfectly balanced just about five microseconds before the first human being evolved from that perfect muck and slime. It’s all gone to hell since that instant. And it’s all our fault.

As much as the climate doomsayers go on and on about global warming today (and most of the same voices were warning us about global freezing in the 70s and 80s) they seem to forget that once upon a time humans were blamed for the creation of the Sahara desert. Overgrazing by paleolithic herders led to the deforestation of the region now covered by sand dunes as I recall. Or at least that’s what the claim was. But if you were to come up with some miracle of technology that would flood the Sahara and restore it to pristine woodlands again, I can guarantee you that a hue and cry would rise up about the environmental impact on dune rats and sand fleas. Preservation, you see.

Of course I am concerned about potential negative impact of climate change, but I am not convinced that it will be totally negative. Nothing is totally negative, unless you are Howard Dean and are talking about GW Bush. In the real world though, there are always tradeoffs. Perhaps the gulf coast will flood somewhat due to rising sea waters, but will the Siberian wasteland turn into a massive wheat and corn factory? Will Canada become the world’s bread basket? If you look at a globe of the earth you should realize that the northern third of the globe has perhaps the highest percentage of land on the planet. And that third is currently dominated by pine forests and permafrost. Thaw it out a bit and bring some more rain to it, and it starts to look a whole lot like Iowa or Kansas.

So if global warming ends up doubling world grain output, is that a good or a bad thing?

Well, if you are a starving child in Asia, you probably think it’s good. But if you are a preservation obsessed environmentalist, you probably think it’s the end of the world.

But then again, if you are one who sees humans as the problem in the first place, perhaps you don’t mind so much if that starving Asian child doesn’t reach adulthood. After all, they might grow up to be a real estate developer.