So why do any of us care about climate change? National Geographic, September 2012, reported that within the continental USA 46 weather disasters occurred during the period 1980-1995 for total losses costing $339 billion. It got much
worse! During the ensuing 15 years ending 2010, there were an additional 87 disasters representing losses of $541 billion for the grand sum of $880 billion (Damages less that $1 billion each were not included). Have we identified the
causes of climate change and, if so, are we doing anything about it? This writer's response would be "No" to both questions. The increasing carbon footprint of mankind by the release of greenhouse gases (GHG) is no doubt an event of atmospheric
pollution to be addressed - but of the total GHG emitted into the atmosphere each year do we have any idea what percentage can be reasonably attributed to mankind compared with that caused by celestial forcing? Why do
we care how government labels the cause of climate change? Because, rest assured, it will be framed in such a way as to warrant additional taxation. Even if the contribution of GHG emitted by Canada and the United States is known, what about the contributions
of China or Europe, or natural emissions such as volcanic eruptions, permafrost thawing, wind and ocean currents, etc?
During the past 2.4 million years there have been approximately 104 systemic glacial cycles on planet earth each, in turn,
followed by a warm period called an interglacial or interstadial. The current interstadial is the Holocene, a warm epoch starting about 18,000 years ago. It is estimated to persist another 36,000 years before appearance of the next
ice age. Currently, mankind is experiencing devastating and costly episodes of weather, begging the question - is anthropogenic GHG for example, CO2 or CH4, the cause of such climate anomalies or are the controls
natural and/or celestial forces unrelated to man? It is an important question on several levels. For example, on Dec. 8, 2011 Thomas Walkom in a column for the Kelowna Daily Courier noted "in 1997 former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Cretien
signed on to the Kyoto Protocol then did nothing except to impose carbon taxes on its constituents and spent billions of dollars in government subsidies trying to comply with Kyoto". The attribution to mankind of GHG emissions appeals to politicians because
it entails people, whom governments control to some degree, and an opportunity to impose taxes on these polluting culprits. We would be well advised to recognize these glacial cycles (particularly the warm interglacials) for what they represent - repetitive
warm periods, naturally occuring over a period of 2.5 million years, long before the presence of "hydrocarbon man".
In my next blog I will discuss the work of Milutin Milankovitch, a Serbian engineer, mathematician and scientist (1879-1958) who
theorized that global climate change was brought about by regular changes in the Earth's axis, tilt and orbit that altered the planet's relationship to the Sun, triggering ice ages ---the "Milankovitch Cycles".