Ecological Spoiler Alert: If you think a cold snap in Miami Beach proves conclusively that there’s no such thing as Global Warming you might want to slap on some sunscreen and slither past this week’s offering.
According to the statistical wonks the average worldwide temperature has risen a full degree and a half Fahrenheit since 1884. For you metric folks that’s .83 degrees Celsius. Big deal. When I was growing up in Montana back in the fifties the temperature could go from -18F to +20F in 45 minutes. Booga booga. Oops. There’s a slight problem with this deft analogy. Temperature change over a brief period of time is called weather. Temperature change over several decades is called climate.
Still ain’t no big deal. Except when you realize that for each degree Celsius in temperature rise crop yield decreases by 10%. Rice pollination goes from 100% at 34C (90F) to 0% at 40C (104F). And the rate of temperature rise seems to be accelerating. The 21st century has 9 of the 10 hottest annual average temperatures on record. 2012 broke all the records. Yikes.
How about the argument that it isn’t our fault? We can’t be responsible for cow farts! Or that it’ll cost too much to fix? Or that we’ve already gone past the tipping point so why worry, just be happy? Here are a couple of salient talking points. Greed is primarily responsible for the mess we’re in. Even though Greed is what Capitalism is all about, when you come to think about it not many of us have profited handsomely from the global damage caused by a handful of greedy bastards who lavish praise upon their balding heads by media-blasting PR releases that patiently explain how they’ve gifted the world with jobs, fed the poor and housed the unwashed.
And don’t even suggest that some God is gonna pop down when everything looks so dark, click his heels, snap his infallible fingers and make everything okay. Nor need you shed a tear for the poor planet. The Earth is gonna be just fine. It’s your brothers and sisters in the human race that’ll be toast. Literally. A new species will rise from the ashes of our self-imposed immaculate immolation, one more suited to the newly crafted state of the planet. But humanity will have shown itself to be unique in at least one regard. The vast majority of lesser species refuse to foul their own nests. We have done so with relish!