Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

The popular press (and “settled” science) has made us all chemists with the increasing contemporary discussions of carbon dioxide. Well, we are only sort of chemists.

We are supposed to understand just enough to be afraid of rising levels of carbon dioxide. We are also supposed to blame ourselves – humankind – for the rise in carbon dioxide levels. It was those nasty old steam engines that started this march toward doom, roughly 200 years ago, so goes the popular dialogue.

We are also supposed to accept that the measurement of carbon dioxide, going back about 800,000 years or more, can be accurately calculated from trapped gas bubbles in old layers of ice. Of course, this presupposes you accept the idea that the Earth is at least 800,000 years old. Some of us don’t.

Concomitant to that, one must also believe in evolution. Again, some of us don’t. Now, I did up until about 20 years ago, but my personal studies since then have led me to believe that many things accepted in the modern world need further questioning.

I don’t think that makes me less of an engineer; for instance, I still believe many things of physics, such as Force = Mass x Acceleration and I even believe E = MC2 because these are matters that can be calculated in the here and now.

As humankind, we are hanging a lot of the things we do today on a prediction of a future that is just as uncertain as the aforementioned trapped gas bubbles.

First, we are assuming that more carbon dioxide is bad for the planet and bad for its flora and fauna. Well, wait a minute. It is not bad for the plants. Plants breath in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. The corn crop, the soybeans, the trees love the carbon dioxide.

No less a modern scientific organization than NASA, in a year-old article (Nov. 23, 2020) titled, “The Greening of the Earth Mitigates Surface Warming,” states: “A new study reports that increased vegetation growth during the recent decades, known as the ‘Greening Earth,’ has a strong cooling effect on the land due to increased efficiency of heat and water vapor transfer to the atmosphere.” (https://www.nasa.gov/feature/greening-of-the-earth-mitigates-surface-warming). Of course, the article, as an SOP to the climate change crowd, says that this isn’t enough to stop global warming.

What is the harm of global warming?

If the temperature rises (and I am not ready to accept that yet), Saskatchewan (and Alberta, Manitoba and so forth) are going to be far more pleasant places to live. Likely Siberia will see an influx of people, too.

If the seas indeed rise by any amount, a lot of rich people’s beach front property is going to take on an island like quality and diminish in value (perhaps this is the real issue?).

The water has already risen 10 feet or so in the Houston and Galveston regions in the last 100 years. The rise there is anthropogenic (human caused) for sure. How did this happen?

Actually, the Gulf of Mexico did not rise, the land sank due to draw downs of water beneath the land for human uses. Obviously, they have learned to deal with this.

As some of you know, my wife and I go to Guatemala on mission trips. The town we go to is Panajachel, on the shores of Lake Atitlán, a beautiful natural lake created by a ring of volcanoes. For the last 40 years, Lake Atitlán has been rising. In fact, it has risen about 25 feet.

Evidence of this is abundantly clear at one restaurant we go to eat on the shoreline – deep under the water at the shore you can see manmade structures that were built at the water’s edge in the 1970s. What caused this water rise? The belief is the natural outlet of the lake, deeply submerged and hence unseen, became plugged with something in the early 1980s. Since this is a rain forest area, with no outlet, the water keeps rising every year.

Are the people running around wringing their hands about this? No, they are adapting to the conditions, as we all do when conditions change.

Don’t freak out. Adapt.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at jthompson@taii.com.