“I thought you said that global warming wouldn’t be a problem,” said the frequent reader of this crusading blog.
“That’s right,” reply I. “Global warming won’t be a problem. The Earth has warmed up a lot more in times past, and the effects were salubrious, particularly where agriculture was concerned.”
It’s a fact that modern civilization began about 10,000 years ago when mankind evolved from the hunter/gatherer lifestyle to the more sedentary agricultural mode. It is no coincidence that the Holocene Climate Optimum began at about the same time, and that for several thousand years the Earth was as warm, and usually warmer, than today.
Also not coincidental: the intervening warm periods following the Holocene Optimum - the Roman Warm Period of roughly 2,000 years ago, and the Medieval Warm Period of 1,000 years ago – were periods of rapid human progress sandwiched between colder periods characterized by stagnation and even civil regression.
These colder periods – the Dark Ages about 1,500 years ago, and the Little Ice Age of more recent vintage – were times of crop failures and famine; bubonic plague, influenza, typhus, and cholera pandemics; and terrible weather including violent storms, blizzards, and enormous floods.
So today we’re told by the United Nations and other panels of climate “experts” that global warming will cause starvation.
Why would it do that?
According to the experts, global warming will cause storms and floods. I guess these experts haven’t looked at historical records and found that storms and floods were more frequent, more powerful, and relatively more damaging during cold periods than warm.
Also overlooked in their zeal, famine was much more widespread and deadly during colder rather than warmer periods.
So was disease.
However, if you look into the roots of current concerns about starvation, you will see that they really are caused by global warming. Sort of.
Global warming alarmists convinced many that burning fossil fuels will cause warming through the greenhouse effect. These concerns caused frantic searches for alternatives to fossil fuels, which unfortunately gave rise to such abominations as ethanol and biofuels.
What are the sources of these alternative fuels?
What are the primary sources of food?
See a problem?
Of course, there is another threat to the poor’s food supply.
Prosperity in developing nations is fueled by energy consumption.
Prosperous people consume more meat.
Livestock compete for the same agricultural products as the poor, and so do ethanol and bio-fuels.
The poor basically are left with two choices.
2) Or consume more energy and become more prosperous.
Global warming alarmists want less energy consumption, not more. In particular, they want developed nations to drastically reduce their energy consumption below current levels to the levels of an earlier period, a period when there were far fewer people, and far less energy gobbling high-technology industries.
In other words, to a time when there was naturally lower energy needs.
That’s like asking the parents of four children to cut back their food consumption and reduce their family car size to what it was when they only had two, and when the two were much smaller.
So, for the sake of discussion, the developed nations make the cuts.
However, so far only Germany and Great Britain have been able to cut hydrocarbon emissions, Germany because they got rid of old inefficient East German plants, and Great Britain substituted North Sea natural gas for their old coal-burning generators. It was like “found money.” They would have made these emission cuts even if Kyoto never happened.
But anyway, the developed nations will cut emissions, and thereby eviscerate their economies.
Only Al Gore and his Merry Band of Benighted Environmentalists are trying to sell energy cuts as painless and not as sacrifices.
Although I’m sure they know better. Big Al may sound dumb, but he’s smarter than he looks. And he’s fooling a lot of people who think they’re smart.
The big developing nations – China, India, and Brazil - will continue their rapid economic development fueled by prodigious energy consumption and increased emissions.
The undeveloped nations will stay poor and their people starve, because their source of markets and capital, the developed nations, have slashed their economies and dried up the options for poor nations to grow theirs.
So the poor now have two choices.
Which would you choose?
And where are they going?
Does anyone want to guess?