Commentary: Climate conversion
Agreed: We could argue for days on the subject of climate change.
But in the end, we’d be arguing about the impact of an indisputable fact: The burning of massive amounts of fossil fuels. That is what’s responsible for the sudden increase in global production of greenhouse gasses, at least by historical standards.
All of the culprits blamed for global warming—transportation, animal agriculture, industrial activity—are ultimately driven by the burning of coal and oil.
On that much, hopefully, everyone can agree.
But those who deny that climate change is happening at all, or who insist that it has little to do with human activities, have to explain how thousands of scientists from dozens of countries could be dead wrong in their measurements of atmospheric CO2, average ocean temperatures and satellite imagery of mountain glaciers and Arctic sea ice. And why and to what end they would perpetuate what some want to believe is a giant hoax.
Hard to convince anyone that all the scientists are all wrong in their data collection; harder still to explain to what end they would fabricate such an elaborate fraud.
The idea that all the research, all the data analysis, all the scientific scrutiny of objective, measureable data points can simply be dismissed because they don’t align with one’s political posture represents a rejection of the same science that supports animal breeding, livestock nutrition and veterinary medicine—the cornerstones of modern animal agriculture.
Yes, there are natural “climate cycles,” as critics are fond of noting, but they occur over centuries, or even millennia, not in the span of a single generation. We are approaching a crisis, even if we turn our backs and pretend it isn’t happening.
What’s known and what isn’t
But before getting bogged down in argumentation, let’s stipulate what we don’t know:
- We don’t know and cannot precisely predict the extent, the progression or the short-term impact of climate change.
- We don’t know exactly how warming temperatures in the oceans and across continents will affect weather patterns, rainfall or crop production.
- We don’t know which strategies would be absolutely the most effective countermeasures to mitigate the growing presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The list above is all a matter of speculation—not as to whether those dynamics exist or not, but as to precisely how and when their impact will be felt.