Thursday, February 2, 2012

If this is global warming, count me in!

    It was a beautiful Feb. 2 in Oxford, Mississippi today. I switched from a long-sleeve shirt to short sleeves and did some outdoor chores.
    It's been a very mild winter in the lower 48 states. The Global Warming crowd seizes on this and similar weather events as "proof" of man-made global warming. Of course, these people were silent a few years ago when it was so cold all summer long that I rarely could take my kids swimming.
    Just to share my opinion, I think it makes perfect sense that carbon dioxide could cause temperatures to rise. I also believe cyclical heat patterns from the sun have a lot to do with the climate here on Earth. And there is evidence that we may be headed for a period of global cooling, not warming.
    But let's accept for now the claim that all the warm weather we've been having is "proof" of global warming. We often hear of the terrible things global warming will bring, but clearly warm weather isn't all bad.
    In fact, one of the terrible things global warming is supposed to be causing is melting in the Arctic. No need to worry about that this winter. It's 50 below zero right now in most of Alaska, so it will stay frozen for quite a while.
    Meanwhile, let's consider this year's mild winter. If it is indeed man-made, what a wonderful thing we've done! Flu and other infectious diseases thrive on cold weather. That's why we haven't had much of a flu season this year. We don't enjoy paying our power bills, but we've hated it a lot less this winter. At our house, savings are likely to be well in excess of $1,000.
    Let's multiply that out. The United States has more than 114 million households. Let's assume a savings of $800 per household. That's a energy savings of almost $92 billion this winter alone. And it doesn't include another $30 billion or so that's been saved by commercial customers.
    Add up the energy savings and the time not lost to sickness -- not to mention death -- and it wouldn't surprise me to find out that our warm winter has saved our nation $400 billion or more this year.
    I'm sure global warming has a downside. But sometimes that's all we hear about. For example, they tell us that the increased carbon dioxide levels are likely to make poison ivy grow more aggressively. Okay, but if true it is also likely to increase corn and soybean yields and make trees grow faster (which will reduce carbon dioxide levels). So the bad is offset by the good.
    The real truth is that as the planet gets warmer or colder some areas will benefit and others will suffer. For now, we seem to be doing pretty well!

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