Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

There is no environmental “point of no return”.

Posted by sanityinjection on October 26, 2009

Amid all the discussion about climate change, one point that is made frequently by the global warming hysteria lobby is this: The earth will soon reach a “tipping point” or “point of no return”, at which time the amount of damage that has been done by man to the earth’s ability to self-regulate its climate will be beyond the possibility of repair and our planet will be irrevocably doomed.

That’s a pretty effective argument in favor of taking hasty action without thinking it through, because there’s no time. (You may recall a similar argument being used when the economic stimulus package was rammed through Congress.) This is an emergency, so just do what we tell you and don’t think, we are told.

 But in fact, if you *do* stop and think, the argument makes little sense. We are being asked to simultaneously believe that 1) Man is so powerful a force for change that we can easily overwhelm ecological systems that ran for billions of years before we arrived, and 2) Man is not powerful enough a force that we can reverse the effects that we ourselves supposedly have caused.

It is in this context that I offer you the inspiring story of the resurrection of the Aral Sea. For those not well versed in geography, the Aral Sea was at one time the fourth-largest inland sea in the world, located smack in the middle of Central Asia. However, the Soviets diverted the waters that fed the sea for irrigation, creating a man-made desert and destroying the area which used to depend on fishing.

In recent years, however, part of the Sea is coming back and with it the fishing industry, thanks to a dedicated program of environmental reconstruction including water diversion. There is still a long way to go, since not all of the Sea’s neighbors are cooperating. But the instructive point is that the rate at which the damage is being reversed is faster than the rate at which it was caused. In just three years the total fish catch has risen from 52 tons to 2,000 tons!

Al Gore’s crowd will object that the example isn’t valid because the Sea never disappeared completely (only about 90% of it vanished), so it wasn’t necessary to start from scratch. True – but our climate isn’t 90% destroyed, either. They will also complain that the Aral Sea project is much too small to provide relevant lessons for global climate change. But in fact, the AP article explains how both the death of the Sea and its rebirth have had a significant effect on the local climate. And by normal standards, it’s not small – we are talking about an original sea area the size of Ireland and a surrounding climate zone bigger than that.

What I take from this is that even *if* anthropogenic causes are exacerbating global warming to a degree that will ultimately be problematic – and so far the evidence suggests otherwise – even then, the suggestion that we must hurry up and act NOW without calculating the potential impact of our actions is not supported by the actual experience we have with environmental restoration and climate change. You wouldn’t sign a contract without having read it, but they would have our legislators sign environmental legislation without undertsanding what it will do either environmentally or economically.

Ultimately, it’s independent thought, and not runaway global warming, that the hysteria lobby fears most.

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3 Responses to “There is no environmental “point of no return”.”

  1. Following up on that last sentence, the Canadian National Post’s Peter Foster explores the links between socialism, authoritarianism, and the global warming movement:

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/11/05/peter-foster-from-berlin-to-copenhagen.aspx

  2. jack said

    Before I say anything you should know that I’m not one to insite fear into people for personal gain…
    Now, As for the Point Of No Return, (PONR) Your arguement is invalid. Heres why; Refering to your point about man kind and our ability (or lack thereof) to change things on a global scale, I’ll give two easy to understand counterpoints. Imagine there is a round boulder right on the top of a hill that slopes down at 45 degrees… Now imagine you and your friend push the boulder untill it starts rolling down the hill. Do you think once the boulder had started rolling at a good speed you and your friend could stop it again? sure maybe if you caught it in the first coulple of meters, but sooner or later the rock would pick up momentum and you would be powerless do stop it.
    In the above scenario, all the elements for the rock to roll down the hill are there well before the men are… The rock, gravity, a path of less resistance.. all that was needed was a push. the two men are quite capable of getting things moving with effort exerted over time, but once it comes to reversing the effect, the two men are incapable of slowing the rock’s progress.

    Another scenario;
    In the underwater world, There is coral. Coral is not a plant but an entire collony of tinny animals.
    the animals that inhabit coral build the coral structure around themselfs. there is another organisim the lives in the structure with the little animals that build it, they are a type of plankton. the coral animals cannot survive without the plankton, the plankton CAN survive without the coral. It simply picks up and goes somewhere better. the plankton requires quite specific conditions to live in. Things like water temp and acidity. so the thing is, once and area of ocean is affected by temperature rise, the plankton will leave. ovcourse the coral can’t just go somewhere else so without the plankton it dies. This is called “Coral bleaching”. when that happens all the fish in the area either leave and find a new home, or they die too. If the water goes back to normal within a short enough time span, the plankton with come back, the coral will stay alive and everything generaly turns out ok. if the water doesn’t go back to the way it should be the plankton will not come back, the coral with stay dead and its structure will break down so that even if the water where to change back, there would be no place for anything to live so the area stays dead and the whole process must begin again.

    I hope this helps you to understand that there is absolutly no reason that a PONR for the entine global ecosystem is impossible.

    yes i know there is spelling and gramatical errors in there but I’m sure you could read it just fine 🙂

  3. Csabi said

    nice examples Jack!

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