, Muskogee, OK

February 26, 2014

THE PEOPLE SPEAK - Global warming won’t have a good effect

— This is in response to Sam Whitely’s letter to the editor about climate change. A few months ago, I did some research on the subject. According to various sources, including glacial ice cores, the current warm period we’re having is highly abnormal. According to the pattern of short warm periods lasting 10,000 years or less, and lengthy ice ages lasting 100,000 years or more, we should already be in an ice age.

The reason we’re not? Human-caused global warming (HCGW), driven by agriculture and, later, fossil fuel usage. There is a clear correlation between the rise of agriculture and the continued warm temperatures for the past 8,000 years or so. So HCGW has been good for civilization, all things considered.

The problem is, HCGW is not guaranteed to have a good effect. What happens if the Greenland ice sheet melts, dumping all that melted ice water into the north Atlantic and disrupting or even shutting down the Gulf Stream, the flow of warm water from the warm regions near the equator? If rampant HCGW ends up triggering something like that, or worse, a disruption of climate that destroys worldwide crop yields for years on end ...

Civilization depends on steady food sources, and always has. Times in the past where those food sources were disrupted, civilization teetered. I trust I do not need to spell this out any further; while it is a disaster scenario and isn’t likely to happen, we still need to have plans in place to deal with it if it does.