Wednesday, 30 September 2009


I was thinking about global warming yesterday. What are its consequences? Are they as hideous as some would have us believe? Polar icecaps melt, animals living in polar regions migrate (and probably evolve to cope with the change), sea levels rise, mass migration of humans from flood plains toward higher ground, previously uninhabitable areas become conducive to life in an equitable quid pro quo (much of the Sahara was once a fertile area), a proliferation of vegetation through a warmer climate, warm and shallow seas bringing a proliferation of waterborne life.

In other words, a return to the conditions which sucked carbon from our atmosphere in the first place and laid down seams of fossil fuels – coal and oil. Admittedly we won’t be able to utilise it, but our descendents millions of years in the future will – unless they’ve progressed well beyond burning the earth’s natural resources for energy and mastered the sub-atomic forces.

Releasing anthropogenic carbon merely creates the conditions necessary for the earth to develop the life that actually eliminates it again – it’s a simple feedback control mechanism. When you think about it, coal and oil are merely the earth’s way of converting and storing the sun’s energy – very inefficiently.


  1. Hmmm. Do you think, then, that all the fuss is just useless noise? Or that, even if what we're seeing is a simple feedback control mechanism, we should still try to save energy and resources, and reduce the carbon we're putting into the atmosphere?

  2. If you take the long view, i.e. millions of years then we can probably shrug our shoulders and say "it'll all come out in the wash"; but if you're one of the millions of poor buggers living on the flood plain right now, then the problem is a bit less academic.

    In any case probability would suggest that by the time all that anthropogenic carbon becomes available again we'll be in it! (i.e. extinct)

  3. Louise n Steve: Why on earth do these people live on flood plains in the first place? It's just asking for trouble. Thousands of people do it here in the UK - they simply don't learn from past events.

    In the final analysis Gaia will take care of it, but it might mean eliminating the cancer that is humanity.

  4. Should make the ecologists happy - the true meaning of "back to nature"!

  5. Chairman : people living in new builds on floodplains in the UK have not much excuse. But for those, say in Bangladesh, the floodplain soils are rich and fertile, and living and farming there could be the difference between life and death. So I understand.

  6. Louise: Well, it currently means the difference between death and death everytime there's a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal.