Personally, I have no problem with the observation that the earth is, figuratively speaking, moving along a graph of temperature. This is the normal course of events. This will continue. The changes are minor, and slow, as always. We will, as long as we are residents unable to leave, have to deal with them. Our presence is certainly not without consequence, and the (probably totally swamped by other effects, such as precipitation) output of considerable CO2 lately is one of them.

So if, and it’s a big if, the ocean rises significantly due to warming (or any other reason) in the next hundred years, we’ll have to (very slowly and without much concern) move our businesses and persons from here to there. Not that this is a serious issue. We move around all the time. I’ve lived in Pennsylvania, Florida and Montana so far, for instance, over the course of just a few decades. Some move around more, some less. But we *can* move if we need to.

Docks and wharves don’t generally last a century; they’re rebuilt or overbuilt with new infrastructure or they are let go to the sea, depending on the local situation. Beach erosion is normal, as is the formation of new tidal areas (and the loss of same.) This is change, and change is normal. The planet is not static, and if it were, you’d be deep trouble. Some people, and businesses, will have trouble moving, and some will not. Again, as per usual. Surely when nations can spend trillions on bombing each other, they can just as easily spend a little moving mom and pop from here to there over extended time scales. BigCorp can move itself, most likely (and probably will long before any of this becomes an issue, along with other wealthy nodes of society.)

Now if, and it’s a big if, the temperature curve continues upwards, some land will become more amenable to cultivation (to the delight of the local landowners) and some less (to the dismay of same.) Fishing will get better in some places, and worse in others. Some ports will get better, some worse, some will fail, new ones will be created. Technology may put a huge crimp in any prediction there; ships may be entirely obsolete, as may activities like fishing. It doesn’t do to presume that anything remains static in the face of an attempt to predict consequences (and that’s where many predictions fall right on their faces.)

We’ll continue to watch and see if there’s anything that we might do about any portion of a warming trend we might have caused (like reducing carbon output) and if we’re insanely capable, we may, just may, be able to have a very slight effect on the process as a result of Herculean effort. Not today, of course; anything we do today is totally swamped by natural systems, and will likely remain so unless new technology or an entirely new global political unity manifests itself. Or both.

Now, as global warming panicmongers, (aren’t nasty appellations charming?) you folks have a vested interest in jumping up and down and proclaiming your (a) sensitivity to the issue and (b) the importance of the issue because (c) if the issue isn’t important, your much trumpeted sensitivity isn’t worth much. So I think I understand you quite well, and I accept your shrill, manufactured panic for what it is — shameless self-promotion, well meant, if rather high-pitched. As a direct consequence of some varying dose of actual concern, of course.

But the scientific facts contain many items panicmongers like to bury.

For instance, the effect of CO2 as a mechanism for inwards heat sequestration is a tiny fraction of the effect of precipitation to bring about outwards heat transfer. The idea that a change in the tiny amount of CO2 that makes up the atmosphere can swamp the established ability of precipitation to moderate heat transfer is both radical and untested.

For another, the simulations that have been run to “predict” the future climate fail calamitously when applied to all global regions (for instance, they don’t predict the poles correctly if they somewhat predict the mid-latitudes, and vice-versa.) This pulls the rug directly out from under those that rely on said simulations for their predictions.

Another interesting fact (not theory) that seems to rarely make it into the panicmonger litany is that the last few years haven’t been on the upward side of the graph; they’ve been downward. Severely downward.

Measurements have been corrected. The hockey stick has been shown to be incorrect. The hottest years list was wrong. Many of the talking points for the panicmonger set have been invalid for some time.

Historically speaking, CO2 increase lags warming, it doesn’t lead it; so while the theory that Co2 sequestration will lead to warming is interesting, it is in no way confirmed by the historical record — it is, in fact, a completely untested and unverified theory that counters the historical record, which shows that increased CO2 is a co-existing datum with cooling.

The Co2 sequestration = warming theory is fine as far as it goes as a theory — we will see if it is correct — but it is far from being an established fact, as the common panicmonger likes to present to anyone who will listen.

Now, should we reduce Co2 output? Sure. We should do that for the same reason that we should not litter… because that’s a change applied to the world that would not normally occur, were we not here… and we kind of like things as they are, natural change is not viewed with great fondness.

It’s the same reason we should reduce all particulate and gaseous output; it’s the same reason we should not overfish; it’s the same reason we should not wipe out animal species when we perceive them as being in our way. These general ideas are obvious (unless you’re one of those poor demented souls that thinks “gawd” gave the planet to you to do what you like with it) and to a degree, they should be the basis for all human activity.

But there are a lot of us and that equates to lots of people-oriented inertia; once we move in, we don’t like seeing wolves in the yard, streams flooding, and tree roots compromising our building’s foundations. Change is natural, we are natural, and to that extent, we are natural agents of change.

Is global warming a problem in the sense that we’re causing it, the pedantic AGW? That’s not been established. Is the globe warming? Not at the moment, no. Is that definitive? No. Are we in control, either way? That has certainly not been established. Is the Co2 sequestration = AGW theory valid? That has also not been established. Is that theory backed up by the historical record? No, in fact, the historical record argues against it (temperatures dependably drop when CO2 increases… and right now, temperatures are dropping… hmmm.) Should legions of people be joining together, asserting that AGW is “fact”, and calling anyone who disagrees a “denialist” or similar loaded appellations? Well…

My message to the panicmongers is basically that you’re far too sure of yourselves in the service of a completely untested theory; and that your use of “deniers” isn’t so much hurtful as it is self-destructive. There is more than adequate reason to take a skeptical view on the predictions of your pet theory, and like *any* theory, the theorists and their supporters are making the claims, consequently validation is on your shoulders, not the shoulders of the skeptic.

I will now discontinue the use of the term “panicmonger”, optimistically presuming that at least some of you are not so dense that you have failed to take my point, even though it be made by someone you’d consider at least a borderline “denier.”

In closing, whatever is happening, is actually happening, and opinion – yours or mine – isn’t going to be the deciding factor. The one constant is change. I suggest a moratorium on both the name calling and the assertion of stone-cold certainties, and a retreat to observing the progress of the validation (or not) of the AGW/CO2 theory. The reality may lie somewhere between the two pole positions, as it often does.