If a person lights a fire in a fireplace in a small room, and the chimney flue is somehow blocked, the smoke will be trapped in the room, polluting it. If the fire is allowed to continue to burn eventually the smoke in the room will become toxic. If this is done in a large room the same process will take longer. If an area is finite, no matter how large, the same effect will eventually result. The difference will consist of a lot more toxic gases. The Earth is the largest physical finite space we know of; it would require a tremendous amount of polluting gases to make it toxic. But enough people over a large number of years releasing carbon-based polluting gases could and have achieve this. The current population of the earth was approximately 7.5 billion people in April of 2017 and growing with three people being born for every single person who dies. We may in some regions have currently reached the point of toxicity.
It has been argued that the planet goes through long warm and cold phases; and no doubt it does. There have been warm rich volcanic exploding ages and frozen ice ages. We are now in a period of gradual non-volcanic warming of the earth. The ice at the poles is slowly melting.
Is this being caused by mankind daily sending millions of tons of polluting gases into the atmosphere which gradually has blocked much of the sun’s daily heat from dissipating back into space or is it occurring by a natural cycle? The majority of people seem to blame man and his machines. Individuals like Donald Trump and the Koch brothers who deal in oil production argue for a natural cycle. Could it be a combination of the two? Both contributing to a warming cycle, with man’s burning of polluting gases exacerbating the extent of the pollution and greatly increasing the rate of global warming.
My wife and I live on the West Coast about 40 miles from the ocean. Recently in September we had a day when the heat wasn’t 100 degrees or hotter. My wife complained that while it wasn’t hot enough to run the air conditioning it was still very muggy with the air filled with water vapor. My comment was: Isn’t that what comes from global warming, moist air brought about by excess heat over the ocean? She ran the air conditioning to take the moisture out of the air in our house.
These gases are not allowing much of the sun’s heat to dissipate, thus continually warming the earth. The higher temperatures are generating storms by heating ocean currents and creating low pressure zones which absorb additional evaporation that create storms like Hurricanes Harvey and Hurricane Irma which, in turn, are redistributing moisture, flooding cities like Huston in Texas, the fourth largest urban area in the United States. Hurricane Irma has done the same thing in Florida and South Carolina. While Harvey was a category 4 storm, Irma started as a category 5+ storm. Winds of 157 miles per hour are considered a category 5. Irma had winds of 187 mile per hour. The East coast of the United States has never been hit by anything stronger than a category 3 storm. On Sunday, September 10, after doing devastating damage throughout the Caribbean it came ashore in Florida as a category 6 storm with winds well over 150 miles an hour.
Is Hurricane Irma being caused by a single force or by a combination of forces? Hurricane Irma has come up one week after Hurricane Harvey. We have Hurricanes Jose, which is currently forming into a category 4 storm. That makes ten hurricanes the United States has experienced so far this year. We can conceivably have Hurricane Karen, and others this year. Following Hurricane Irma by less than a week is Hurricane Jose. Hurricane Irma is over four hundred miles wide. It can and has covered the entire State of Florida. We seem to be getting more and larger hurricanes.
The pole’s ice caps are melting, causing the oceans to very slowly rise. The land surface very gradually decreases as the ice caps at the poles and glaciers decrease. Is it wise to definitively say that the burning oil in the automobiles and otherwise are not affecting the atmosphere? One can understand the position of the Koch Brothers and Donald Trump. After all, they are businessmen and make a good part of their incomes and profits through the sale of oil. One can even understand why Volkswagen cheated on the cars they sold, having the cars computer software purposely giving false information about the amount of pollutants each car was-throwing into the atmosphere. After all their bottom line is profits; they are not really concerned with the condition of the planet.
Practically all scientists believe in the theory of man-caused global warming. Because it is a theory and cannot be definitely proven there are global warming deniers. It’s been my experience that these deniers generally have a vested interest in global warming not being man- induced. Usually that interest is economic.
Historically there have been other scientific theories that could not be absolutely proven in the past. One is the theory of evolution. For a long period of time, when the Catholic Church had control of Europe the Theory of Evolution was heresy. It went against the Church’s theory of the earth centered cosmos. But as knowledge increased the Church rethought its theory. There are still some religious groups today that deny evolution because it goes against the Biblical theory of creation. I suspect the same thing will happen with the theory of man-made global change.
One can even understand why the oil companies are the chief financial supporters of the Republican Party, making generous continual contributions to them. By legal definition political contributions are not bribes. Consequently a goodly number of Republicans truly believe that the burnt oil pollution has nothing to do with weather conditions. Of course an equal percentage of Republicans know better. I suppose they are hypocrites. But money is needed for political campaigns and they are all practical men.
One of the political comedians recently came out with the comment that some of the global warming deniers own vacation property in Florida that may be destroyed or seriously damaged by Hurricane Irma. They may be facing a political or economic dilemma.
Not too long ago President Trump visited Europe. On the 7th and 8th of July 2017 the G20 2017 Summit took place in Hamburg, Germany. Over 20 heads of government and representatives of international organizations met to discuss global warming. President Trump, used this conference as an opportunity to directly communicate with Vladimir Putin, the Russian President. Also since he believes man’s usage of oil products does not affect the environment he withdrew his country from future Summits. The U.S. had been one of the leaders in this group; in essence under Donald Trump’s leadership it withdrew from a leadership position in the world.
However, people like Governor Jerry Brown of California and other leaders around the United States stated that they will continue the struggle to lessen pollution within the U.S. So the United States representatives both left the G20 and largely stayed with it, following its goals. If a Democratic President is elected in 2020 the country will be back officially in the G20.
Hurricane Harvey negatively affected everyone living in Houston, Texas while Hurricane Irma did the same for everyone living in Florida and beyond. It is estimated that 96 percent of the houses in the Florida Keys were damaged or destroyed by the storm. Someone commented that the area looked like the aftermath of an atomic explosion.
The cost of the damage is in the multi-trillions of dollars. The total effects of the damage may never be completely eradicated. Once all the water that covering the city and state is gone and the cleanup and building replacement is done all the structures that survived the flooding will have a mold problem. No matter how much cleaning is done the people doing the cleaning will never get rid of all the mold. All the inhabitants from these areas will be, among other things, breathing in mold. Will that shorten some lives?
From what is now known now Hurricane Irma killed, going through the Caribbean and parts of the United States at least 46 people, mostly in the Caribbean. In one old age nursing home six people died because of a loss of electric power.
Many people in the U.S. left the area before the storm arrived. The storm left about nine million people without electric power. Presumably all the power will be restored by September 22, ten days from now. The storms turned streets into extensions of rivers. People traveled by boat where before the storm they had walked or driven.
When any sort of pollutants are used that effect human beings in a negative fashion a factor that comes into being is the social cost of the use of that resource or resources. For example the burning of gasoline by vehicles produces impurities in the air that can cause respiratory problems when breathed in. In addition the burnt gas blocks a percentage of earth’s heat from dissipating, exacerbating the warming of the earth. This, in turn, causes an increase in global warming. The social costs would be an increase in medical costs for the increasing poor health of the people involved as well as the cost of the physical damage done by the hurricanes.
We have no way of ascertaining what the level of the storms would be if the pollutants had not been present. Hurricane Irma was one of the largest storms to ever come through the area. Would it have been a category 3 or 2 hurricane or would it have just been a storm if there had been no global warming? The fact remains that the storms, at least in part, are caused by the pollutants in the atmosphere. I doubt that a scientist can be found to dispute that.
If the social costs exceed the profits made in producing and selling the gasoline then the general public is taking a tremendous economic and health loss in the use of a particular resource. They are being forced to assume the social costs brought about by the use of gasoline. Alternate forms of energy that are harmless to the environment need to be found. One way to encourage this would be in the form of numerous class action law suits against the companies that produce and sell the gasoline.