June 28, 2013

The Case To Ignore Or Even Embrace Climate Change

This week, President Barrack Obama sent coal stocks diving, with shares of Peabody Energy falling 3.4 percent while shares of Walter Energy dropped 10.4 percent. While this might put a smile on the face of those in the 99 percent movement, stocks are owned by more than rich Wall Street fat cats.

Moreover, Peabody Energy has seen its stock prices drop by nearly 49 percent since November, and Walter Energy has lost 75 percent of its value.  Another President, this time Calvin Coolidge, knew and even stated, “What’s good for Business is good for America.” Driving down shares of energy stocks during an economy recovery is good for neither.

But that is what Mr. Obama is doing. As noted, he’s only living up to his second term pledge to drive against climate change. Perhaps it is fitting he chose to give his speech at Georgetown University in Washington and delivered it in shirtsleeves and had to wipe perspiration from his face. It made for a good photo opportunity, but shouldn’t it be warm in the capital in June?

It is summer after all, and the city is built on a swamp. If people didn’t sweat in June in D.C. we’d probably have reason to be concerned. And actually this comes after a cold, long winter and not-quite-pleasant spring. Can’t we enjoy the heat while it is here and not use it as a photo opportunity?

What is more worrisome is that Mr. Obama is acting to combat climate change by bypassing Congress. While the issue of climate change and what it might mean for the planet is debatable shouldn’t we be concerned on what executive orders mean for the Constitution of the United States as well?

However, let’s go back to climate change, which for years was called “global warming.” Accepting that there is indeed climate change, which to some has become a de facto religion, it is important to understand a few things.

First, isn’t the climate always changing? In fact, it is and the last major change in climate occurred some hundred years ago with the end of the so-called “Little Ice Age.” It is believed that the era of fossil-fuel in the industrial revolution may have kick started the end of the Little Ice Age, but as recently as 200 years ago there were so-called “years without summers” – and this isn’t exactly Game of Thrones stuff.

The fact is that climate changes, but shouldn’t be confused with weather. Two years ago, the Western Hemisphere had a winter with increased snow and the media suggested it was due to warmer temperatures that put more moisture in the air. Then last year (2012) the media proclaimed “Junuary” because of the warm winter, only to have winter return with a vengeance this year with lots of cold and a fair amount of snow.

This was weather, not climate.

Even if it was climate, is climate change such a bad thing? NPR noted that for much of the northern part of the United States it costs more to heat a home than to cool it. While it is true that the elderly can suffer in heat waves, the same older people can’t do well in cold, either.

The other part to consider is that a slightly warmer winter would mean less wear and tear on roads, less salt would be used; and that runs off in lakes and rivers. Warmer weather would mean a longer growing season. It might be bad for the ski resort industry, but it is fairly easy to produce excellent manmade snow these days.

Moreover, consider that the south of England was once a wine producing region, where grapes grew. That suggests that climate has changed before and will likely change again. However, a report from Network Rail and Natural England noted that climate change could spark a U.K. rail revival and be a boost to tourism. So, perhaps climate change can’t just be looked at for its negatives.

Cities have survived many changes, and people can adapt. This fear that climate change will make more extreme weather like “Super Storm Sandy” is just “fear mongering.” Hurricanes occur whether there is climate change or not, just as earthquakes happen (unfortunately).

So, should we try to change the change, or should we embrace it? This reporter, for one, wouldn’t mind a lot more warm weather.

Image Credit: Thinkstock.com

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Peter Suciu is a freelance writer and has covered consumer electronics, technology, electronic entertainment and the fitness sports industry for more than 15 years. In that time his work has appeared in more than three dozen publications including Newsweek, PC Magazine and Wired. His work has also appeared on Forbes.com, Inc.com, Cnet.com, and Fortune.com. Peter is a regular writer for redOrbit.com.

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