Heat? What Heat?

As North America and Europe are sweltering with record temperatures and an increased number of forest fires, I’ve been thinking about the next ice age. The one that didn’t happen.

Back in the early 1970s climate scientists were concerned that volatile weather patterns were a harbinger of another ice age like the one that froze the woolly mammoths about 12,000 years ago. Given the temperature surge since then, such thinking seems hard to believe.

Memory is a funny thing. I can remember reading an article about global cooling in Time Magazine when I was a teenager. Until today I would have insisted it was a cover story.

I went looking online though to share the cover with you, but couldn’t find it. There are Time Magazine covers about global cooling. They are from 1977 – and they are all fakes, which is why I am not reproducing them here. None of them is the cover I remember.

There is a remote possibility it was a Canadian cover and I just can’t find it online, but it is more likely a false memory. It seemed so real though. At least the article is available. One of many on the prevailing climate thought at the time.

Right now there’s little doubt we are seeing global warming, perhaps like never before. I’m not sure which is easier to deal with – extreme heat or extreme cold – but I know that much of the world is unprepared for the temperature extremes we are seeing this summer.

Maybe the soaring temperatures will help the climate change deniers to understand that they have been fighting the wrong battle and they need to shift gears. Forget about global cooling or that scientists have been wrong before. What if this time they are right?

I am not convinced that the changes we have been seeing are man-made. That doesn’t make them less real.

If they are a natural occurence, I’m not sure if human effort will be enough to stop or reverse the effects. Climate science by its very nature involves a lot of guesswork, and results aren’t guaranteed. People sweltering in 40 degree Celius (100 F) temperatures don’t need convincing that something needs to be done now. Just because I’m not sure we can succeed doesn’t mean I don’t think we should be trying.

Given human nature though, I am wondering if people will get serious and make the sacrifices current scientific experts say are necessary to stop irreversible climate change. Or will we be like the man on the cover of that old Supertramp album pictured above?

What do you think it will take to get people’s attention? Is it too late?

5 comments

  1. “Unsettled’ by Koonin, a former undersecretary of Energy in the Obama Administration challenges the simplistic science we read in the newspaper. It is very wonky though. He is a scientist, and deplored the press releases that he saw from organizations he was a member of. Meanwhile, Greta Thunberg for some reason doesn’t like nuclear….

  2. Phil Allan · · Reply

    Have you read any of the comments from Bjorn Lomborg? Instead for playing this useless game of carbon reduction, we should be working on a gradual transition away from fossil fuels (guess what, natural gas and nuclear options are considered “green” in Europe< but I digress) and instead of wasting billions or trillions of dollars to make green companies, rich, we should invest the money to address the consequences of the changes, natural or partially affected by puny humans.

    1. I have not read Bjorn Lomberg – I’ll check him out.

  3. Neil Remington Abramson · · Reply

    It’s always “almost too late.” If it was already too late, then what could you do?

    1. If the problem is man-made, it won’t be long before someone suggests reducing the population by any means necessary.

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