Last month during an episode on the Discovery Channel that dealt with eroding beaches on Hawaii, the following part of the narrative made me sit up and take notice. “Global warming can take a lot of the blame but……you don’t have to look to far for the real culprit.” The real culprit was sea walls that were built to help prevent erosion. These walls prevented the replenishment of sand to the beaches by wave action. Throwing blame at global warming for the trouble with these beaches is like saying that global warming can take a lot of blame for a car accident even though the driver was drunk and travelling at 120 miles an hour in an unsafe car. The comment illustrates the philosophy that the more an opinion is voiced regardless of context, the more it will be believed.
There are a lot of educated people with high foreheads out there who argue that climate change is not necessarily caused by the human generation of greenhouse gases. They note that there have been multiple cycles of global warming and cooling all well before we showed up. It is part of the life of the earth, not people. The main point here is that we only have so many resources. If we expend our resources on the assumption that human generated greenhouse gases are the culprit and we’re wrong, there are two possible consequences. The least of these is that we will have spent trillions of dollars on a non-existent problem. The worst is that we will have spent these dollars under a false assumption and won’t have enough resources to cope with the effects of climate change caused by something other than human action. It would be like spending all our money putting in an alarm system on the front of our house and the burglar comes in the back. We have to make the right decisions here.