by Dan Smith
One of the hot button issues for 2013 is bound to once more be global warming. I'm not sure what they are being called these days, but in my youth the type of people who push such causes were called Yuppies.
Those were mostly pampered, over-educated young people who commanded a six-figure salary and had nothing better to worry about. I realize a lot of you take the global warming problem very seriously, but as for me, it is way down on my list of things that bother me.
The modern Yuppie types like to trot out the statistic that our planet has warmed a degree and a half since the year 1900. I have to wonder how accurate that figure really is? Back then the fellow who recorded those temperatures was still getting rid of the flu by applying leeches to his body.
But OK, let's say the numbers are accurate. It is well documented this old rock went through many dramatic weather changes before humans came along. Wouldn't it follow we are only on the leading edge of another weather cycle? The scientists like to blame all sorts of things for global warming, but everyone pretty much agrees carbon dioxide is the main culprit. All sorts of changes have been implemented to reduce those emissions. Factories and automakers have spent billions trying to control their carbon dioxide output.
When you think about it though, since the year 1900 we have added about 4 billion more people to the planet. That's 4 billion more carbon dioxide machines that are running at 98.6 degrees. Don't you think that adding all of those heaters to our earth might take it up a degree or so?
I know if you add five or six people to a 20-by 20- foot room the temperature rises noticeably. Maybe all of the additional people are at fault. If that is true, there is not much can be done about it. The mass genocide that is forever occurring around the world probably won't help. I don't think those thugs in the Sudan are killing people in the name of global warming, either.
There are two facts that allow me to sleep well at night.
One is that people are extremely flexible and able to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at us. The other is if the temperature increase was only a degree and a half over the past 100 years or so, it gives us time to adjust.
I know Al Gore and his followers are very worried about the polar bears in the Arctic. We have all seen the films of the disappearing ice flows. Each year hundreds of animals go extinct without ever a mention, but polar bears are just so big and cute they get a lot of press. I don't want to see them go, but if it is nature's grand design, so be it.
Oh wait a minute! This just in. Figures for the past decade show Alaska has cooled 2.4 degrees. Maybe we don't have to worry about the bears after all.
As I said up front, we humans are huffing around the planet emitting about a gazillion cubic feet of carbon dioxide a day. At the same time we are busy cutting down the trees that are the largest absorbers of CO2. Now think about that. Each year we produce more and more people who need more and more wood in order to lead a comfortable life. Ironic isn't it?
Practically all of the activities that humans do creates carbon dioxide. All combustion, with fossil fuels and wood fires leading the way, are contributors. Not much can be done. As I end this I have to tell you I remain skeptical of the accuracy of the century old figures that tell us we have added a degree and a half. I really can't worry about it for I am actually a bit chilly right now. Where's my sweater?
Dan Smith is on the board of directors for the Ormond Beach Historical Society and The Motor Racing Heritage Association and is the author of two books, "The World's Greatest Beach" and "I Swear the Snook Drowned." E-mail questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (386) 441-7793.