REGISTER VIEWPOINT: A change in the weather

Attention politicians and partisans: This global warming thing is apparently more complicated than you'd like it to be.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Attention politicians and partisans: This global warming thing is apparently more complicated than you'd like it to be.

The conventional wisdom runs like this: The earth is getting warmer and the icecaps are melting, so the oceans will rise and the Miami beachfront condo will soon have a boathouse instead of a garage.

This simplistic argument brings the wags out every time it snows, of course, ignoring the scientific arguments that the increase in average temperatures messes with ocean currents that moderate the climate.

Now comes the claim that warming, while it raises the levels of the oceans, will drop the levels of the Great Lakes because they'll evaporate faster than the ice-melt and stream runoff that traditionally feeds them, can keep up.

It's more than a little confusing for those of us who like their science sound-bite simple in the face of mounting evidence that this old world really is a complicated place.

But it does seem this sort of thing has been going on for far longer than humans have been trying to understand it. However, humans' understanding of the world is better than it used to be, and increases daily, so today's science gospel might be merely a quaint notion in a few decades' time. That's the beauty of science, though: if the new facts don't fit the theory, you face the facts and fix the theory.

One of the big arguments right now is whether human activity is contributing to global warming -- sorry, "climate change" -- or whether this whole temperature swing is simply part of a natural cycle we haven't been looking at long enough to understand.

Regardless of which turns out to be true, it only makes sense to figure out how to get what we want while doing the least amount of damage. You can call it tree-hugging if you want, or just simple efficiency. But if we have a chance to avoid screwing up, we ought to take it.