Some people see global warming, as a natural process, one that Earth has gone through countless times in its long history and they are right, it is. Climate change has happened in the past and will happen in the future. The difference is that we may be having an influence on our climate through the emissions that we produce. That is not natural. Most people will agree that our climate is changing. They disagree on why. They also disagree on the reversibility of climate change. We may or may not be able to do something about it. That’s part of the debate. Are we causing climate change? If we are, is there some way to reverse it?
As with every issue, there are two sides to consider here. Some people don’t think we have any effect on the climate. They say that global warming is not happening at all. They point to harsher winters and say that it is just a part of a natural fluctuation in our climate. I think they are a little naïve. They say that the greenhouse gases building up in the atmosphere are natural. Unfortunately, there’s a good portion of the stuff in our atmosphere produced by humans. To say that our air pollution has no effect on the atmosphere is naïve bordering on irresponsible. It can’t help but have an effect. It’s adding to the buildup of greenhouse gasses. That’s where I think those who say that it is entirely natural are wrong.
Are we totally to blame for the rise of greenhouse gasses? No, I’m sure that there are natural sources of greenhouse gasses, but we have to agree that we are having a cumulative effect on the atmosphere. Volcanoes produce greenhouse gasses but we do too. To say that ours is negligible is just silly. That’s denial. We have had an effect on the climate, maybe not a whole lot of an effect, but it is cumulative. Our input could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the tiny bit of whatever that tips the balance.
The second question of whether there is anything we can do about global warming and climate change is harder to answer. I don’t think we can reverse it. We might be able to slow it down or mitigate our input, but overall, we can’t stop it. It is a natural process; we are just helping it along. Whether we can halt, or reverse it, is moot. The real question is not whether we can stop the change from happening. I don’t think we can. The real question is can the human race adapt fast enough to survive the extinction event that is coming with the climate change?
As for whether we can do anything about climate change, I’m on the fence. Sometimes I feel optimistically confident that we can and other times I feel pessimistically sure that we can’t. We would have to work together to survive the coming change and we humans can’t even agree to disagree.