CLIMATE CHANGE FACTS: HUMAN BEINGS AND THE EARTH
- Planet Earth is approximately 4.5 billions years old. That’s 4,500,000,000 years old, give or take a few million years here or there.
- Human beings have been present on planet Earth for approximately 200,000 years.
- That means planet Earth existed approximately 4,499,800,000 years without any human presence.
CLIMATE CHANGE FACTS WITHOUT HUMAN BEINGS & FOSSIL FUELS
During those 4,499,800,000 years without any human presence, the global climate of the Earth changed wildly, radically, caused by many forces of nature and in ways so extreme they stretch the human imagination. If you doubt this, just ask the dinosaurs.
Should human beings ever cease to exist on planet Earth, we have many reasons to believe and predict that Earth’s global climate will continue to change, in ways that will be wild, radical, caused by many forces of nature and in ways so extreme they would stretch the human imagination if humans were present.
CLIMATE CHANGE FACTS WITH HUMAN BEINGS AND FOSSIL FUELS
The widespread human use of fossil fuels dates back a mere 250 years ago, when the Industrial Revolution was just starting.
There’s still much to learn about how human use of fossil fuels affects climate change facts, to what degree, and the timescale for when climate change might pose immediate, dire dangers for human beings.
Nevertheless, in the last two and half centuries, human use of fossil fuels has influenced the global climate, in some ways deleterious. It has to. It’s foolish to assume otherwise.
It’s also true that in the last two and half centuries, human use of fossil fuels has influenced human life. It’s foolish to think otherwise.
Among the human consequences of the widespread human use of fossil fuels are:
- Longer human life spans.
- Less human suffering and death caused by exposure to extreme natural heat and cold.
- Reliable sources of controlled heat and cooling.
- Less poverty worldwide.
- Less hunger worldwide.
- Great leaps in medicine and all kinds of human technology, including the smart phone or computer that you’re likely looking at right now.
- Safer and more reliable modes of human transportation.
- Better communication over longer distances.
- More education for more people all over the world.
- Comforts that were once beyond the dreams of kings became common for ordinary people in many countries, at least those countries decent enough to feature a modicum of freedom.
NO DENYING CLIMATE CHANGE FACTS
So let’s not be in any denial about climate change facts.
Let’s not deny that the climate changes. It does.
Let’s not deny that using fossil fuels might contribute to changes in the climate, including some harmful changes. It does.
And let’s not deny that the harmful effects of fossil fuels have to be compared to and contrasted against the remarkable human progress that has been inseparable from widespread use of fossil fuels, if we are to judge well the merits of fossil fuels.
And THEN we might be able to have a meaningful public discussion about climate change facts, fossil fuels, and the human condition we want for ourselves and our posterity.