Do we have anything to do with it, and can we even do anything about it?
Answers to both of those questions are far less clear.
What we do know is the globe was much warmer than it is now in relatively recent times, only about 1,000 years ago. That was in the Middle Ages. They weren't making much Greenhouse Gas then.
The recent warming is only relative to a particularly cold spell around 1600. It was rather nasty, and is called "The Little Ice Age". The warming since then corresponds, it turns out, to an increase in solar activity as measured by sunspots.
We're actually due for another Ice Age. Wouldn't that be just grand? Imagine Boston under a sheet of ice, oh, about a mile deep!
We'd be begging for a little global warming then, wouldn't we?
It turns out the famous academic paper that everyone latched onto, that seemed to show temperatures shooting up in recent decades, higher than ever before, was all wrong.
The authors were forced to issue a retraction in Nature magazine.
You can read all about it here and here.
But John Kerry says he's going to still go with junk science and reduce emissions that contribute to "global warming".
What that really means is, lower your standard of living.
What does Kerry care? He's got his "family" SUV. He can afford to have energy cost more without it affecting his lifestyle.
How about you? How much extra money do you have sloshing around, that you can freely spend on higher energy costs without caring?
They say Bush is the candidate of the Rich. Sure, Bush is probably like 50 times richer than I am. But you know what? Kerry is actually about 50 times richer than Bush! And it's only one more step of 50-times from Kerry to Bill Gates, the world's richest man.
That Kerry pretends to be the candidate of the common man, or the little guy, is something that can hardly be said with a straight face.
These dour Malthusians are always wrong, always have been, and always will be. They always want you to cut back and consume less. Look, if a resource is finite, there's no use conserving it, as it's just going to run out anyway, and no one's ever going to do anything about it until it's gone, so you might as well use it! Finding something new is always going to be somebody's problem in the future, what do we care exactly when that happens?
The fact is, there's actually more proven oil reserves in the world today than at any point in history! That's right, we have more and more supplies each year rather than less and less, because it's being found and exploited faster than it's being consumed. That's hardly what I'd call "running out". And there's lots more oil in the world than in "proven reserves"!
In fact, it's not accepted yet, but there is some evidence that oil in fact is not a "fossil fuel" like coal (of which we have gargantuan quantities), but rather a substance that is being continually produced deep within the Earth! Wouldn't that be something, if oil turned out to be renewable?
I'm always surprised that people when I tell them these things aren't happy, but rather disappointed, as they hoped we'd be running out of oil so we'd turn to "cleaner" sources.
One wonders just what level of immaculate cleanliness will finally satisfy them.
One often hears the "statistic" that the greedy, gluttonous United States, "with only 5% of the world's population, consumes 30% of the world's resources!" I got news for ya, that's deliberately constructed to mislead. As if our "consumption" of any particular "resource" prevented someone else from using all they needed!
You're supposed to imagine a fixed pie, you see, and we're grabbing a bigger slice than is fair, when everyone else goes hungry with the crumbs. That's not how it works! The other half of the story is we produce 30% of all the world's goods and services with those resources!
In a closed system, consumption equals production, by definition. I mean really, we only "consume" a resource in order to process it into something else. And if we didn't "consume" it, wouldn't the other countries that wanted to export it to us to sell for money so they could buy food be really unhappy if we stopped "consuming" what they had to offer? If we didn't "consume" so much, the rest of the world would fall into poverty!
But the "environmentalists" who dreamed up that saying know that, but they want to mislead you to thinking we're taking the bread out of the mouths of Third Worlders, just to make you feel guilty about being an American, and to despise the Capitalist system that creates enormous wealth and prosperity.
I've listened to many of these people, and in unguarded moments they always reveal the same wish: that 4 or 5 billion people would be killed off, preferably by something we were ourselves responsible for, and then the rest (including, presumably, themselves), would live in some fantasy pre-modern Eden, in tune with Mother Earth (oh, I'm sorry, "Gaia"), and in harmony with Nature, completely non-exploitively, whatever that means.
Somehow they imagine modern medicine will still magically survive, and that mana will fall from heaven, or the fields will clear and sow themselves.