The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Der Spiegel on Global Warming Hysteria: NOT The End of the World as we know It
Climate change will undoubtedly have losers -- but it will also have winners. There will be a reshuffling of climate zones on earth. And there is something else that we can already say with certainty: The end of the world isn't coming any time soon.Got that, Al?
Largely unnoticed by the public, climate researchers are currently embroiled in their own struggle over who owns the truth. While some have always seen themselves as environmental activists aiming to shake humanity out of its complacency, others argue for a calmer and more rational approach to the unavoidable.
One member of the levelheaded camp is Hans von Storch, 57, a prominent climate researcher who is director of the Institute for Coastal Research at the GKSS Research Center in Geesthacht in northern Germany. "We have to take away people's fear of climate change," Storch told DER SPIEGEL in a recent interview. "Unfortunately many scientists see themselves too much as priests whose job it is to preach moralistic sermons to people."
Keeping a cool head is a good idea because, for one thing, we can no longer completely prevent climate change. No matter how much governments try to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, it will only be possible to limit the rise in global temperatures to about 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. But even this moderate warming would likely have far fewer apocalyptic consequences than many a prophet of doom would have us believe.
For one thing, the more paleontologists and geologists study the history of the earth's climate, the more clearly do they recognize just how much temperatures have fluctuated in both directions in the past. Even major fluctuations appear to be completely natural phenomena.
Additionally, some environmentalists doubt that the large-scale extinction of animals and plants some have predicted will in fact come about. "A warmer climate helps promote species diversity," says Munich zoologist Josef Reichholf.
Also, more detailed simulations have allowed climate researchers to paint a considerably less dire picture than in the past -- gone is the talk of giant storms, the melting of the Antarctic ice shield and flooding of major cities.