Is the Cause of Global Warming in the Stars?
Global warming seems to be one of the most significant long-term problems (along with terrorism) the world faces today. Thus, I always keep my eyes peeled for new insights into the issue. There are ultimately three questions we must answer:
- Is the current global warming in fact a long-term trend or a short-term blip in millions of years of temperature swings the earth has experienced?
- Is the current global warming caused by human behavior?
- Are there positive externalities (to use an economic term) to global warming? In other words, are there benefits to global warming that no one mentions?
The linked news article addresses only the second issue, suggesting that cosmic rays are the cause of today's global warming:
University of Ottawa science professor Jan Veizer says high-energy cosmic rays, originating from stars across the expanse of space, are hitting Earth's atmosphere in ways that cause the planet to cycle through warm and cold periods.
Dr. Veizer goes on to say:
"Empirical observations on all time scales point to celestial phenomena as the principal driver of climate," Veizer wrote in his paper, "with greenhouse gases acting only as potential amplifiers."
The cost of assuming that people create global warming when that assumption is mistaken could be enormous. Billions of dollars of new government programs, new restrictions on economic growth, population control programs, ... . Where it would all stop is difficult to say.
Imagine everyone's standard of living in steep decline as job #1 worldwide becomes stopping global warming. Then picture the world as an overcooked french fry even after all those frantic efforts to send a "chill out" message to the planet.
I'm old enough to remember the predictions by scientists in the 1970s: a new ice age. Will global warming eventually fade from memory the way those predictions have?