March 12, 2009

The Coming Global Cooling Crisis followed by the Global Drying Crisis


By Grant Martin, Kansas City Star Midwest Voices columnist 2009

Has anyone asked what happens if we are "successful" with our efforts to combat Global Warming? Or have we already assumed we will fail and the best we can do is only slow it down?

Here's the scenario: years from now (hundreds or thousands?) our efforts to "go Green" actually pay off and the Globe stops warming. It is so successful that the Earth actually starts cooling (another possibility is that, as with most matters taken on by central authorities- we overshoot the desired end state and end up with a worse problem than before).

What temperature are we shooting for anyway? Do we want a cooling trend, a warming trend that is slower than today, or an absence of change (is that possible?)? Are we really sure that we can affect change on that large of a scale?

Has anyone done a cost analysis of what it will take to make significant change? In other words, take the "destruction" the majority think will happen from the path we are on now and compare it to the financial cost that it will require to keep it from happening. Of course, at some point we'd all have to come to a consensus on what level of "destruction" we are willing to accept.

All of this led me to think of another possible "crisis" we may face: A Global "Drying" Crisis. Imagine a consensus of scientists deciding the Earth is trending too dry. They recommend that to fix the problem, water must be rationed, conserved, and protected. No more washing cars, watering grass, or bottling water. They even suggest that old idea of "seeding" clouds. Anything to bring back the rain. Until someone asks what happens if flooding increases...

Seriously, though- has anyone stated a preferred end state to all this? If we are able to get over political hurdles and "attack" this problem, will we really "change the weather"? And how do we know we won't overshoot and cause the opposite problem? Or- do the scientists think it is too late already, and just want to "slow" the warming? Have we had any studies to show that is actually possible?

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