NASA Offers New Twist on Climate Change

by Val Germann

As most Star Phoenix Base readers undoubtely know, the outlook for serious global action on climate change is not good. China, India and the U.S. have all three told the G8 nations, and by extension the whole world, that hard and fast targets for CO2 reduction are not acceptable. Other countries, such as Australia, have taken the same position. Without some kind of breakthrough it appears certain that it will be “business as ususal” on the CO2 front for the next decade, at least.

For this writer, and for many others, “business as usual” is not a good thing, at all. That is, all the available evidence seems to strongly imply that we are moving into a new world climate regime, one that will most likely not be friendly to human economic activity, comfort or even survival. However, not everyone sees it that way, obviously, and we have to add the current NASA administrator, Michael Griffin, to this list. In an article appearing on the TERRADAILY website Griffin makes some very interesting observations about the climate situation.

For instance, there is this quote concerning climate change and its possible effects:

“I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with.”

The “we” Mr. Griffin is using definitely includes more people than merely those at NASA because he goes on to say:

“I guess I would ask which human beings – where and when – are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take.”

And, you know, I guess he has a point. Who is to say what is “good climate” and what is “bad climate?” If the American midwest is converted into a desert over the next century while the Canadian tundra blooms, who is to say which is best? I’m sure there will be a lot of money to be made up there someday and we Missourians can simply head poleward if we want, grabbing our share of whatever bonanza awaits in the former Great White North.

Of course, I’m not sure that The New Canada will be able to export the vast amounts of grain that the U.S. corn belt does now but, who is to say whether that is bad or good? Who are we to tell starving foreigners that climate change has taken the food from their mouths? No, that would be a rather arrogant thing to do.

About Val

I am a long-time teacher of science and astronomy with a strong interest in resource conservation and the environment.
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