–What good is global warming?

Mitchell’s laws:
●The more budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes.
●Austerity is the government’s method for widening the gap between rich and poor,
which leads to civil disorder.
●Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.
●To survive long term, a monetarily non-sovereign government must have a positive balance of payments.
●Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.


Unless you’re an ultra right-winger, you probably agree with the scientific consensus: We are in a period of global warming, which at least in part, is caused by humans

But that brings us to the question(s): Is global warming negative for the world and the life on it – including humans – and should we should do everything possible to slow it, if not stop it, altogether? The media have answered, “Yes,” and have focused on the claimed negatives, which as a result, are well known. Increases in:

1. Number and severity of storms – hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, rain, lightning, tsumanis
2. Droughts, heat waves and (ironically) cold waves, desertification
3. Flooding, pollution
4. Volcanic activity
5. Wars
6. Food shortages
7. Species extinction
8. Spread of tropical diseases
9. Wildfires

But global warming is more than a simple recitation of presumed negatives. The world is enormously complex, and not only are these negatives far from certain, but perhaps too little attention has been paid to the potential positives of global warming.

For instance, global warming could help prevent future glaciation periods and could open millions of acres to agriculture. Maybe.

Tellingly, few people know that today, we live in an ice age:

An ice age, or more precisely, a glacial age, is a period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers.

Glaciologically, ice age implies the presence of extensive ice sheets in the northern and southern hemispheres. By this definition, we are still in the ice age that began 2.6 million years ago at the start of the Pleistocene epoch, because the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets still exist.

Much of the earth’s history has been warmer than today. Discussions of global warming often begin with the Arctic. Here are excerpts from an article in NewScientist Magazine:

Industries make a dash for the Arctic
03 October 2012 by Fred Pearce, Sara Reardon and Catherine Brahic

Last week, the Inuit-owned Nunavut Resources Corporation hit Wall Street asking for $18 million to help prospect half-a-million square kilometres of the Kitikmeot region in northern Canada. They expect to find gold, diamonds, platinum and lithium.

. . . the shrinking ice cap will have profound consequences for the rest of the planet – including changed weather patterns and water distribution – and the region’s biota has undergone vast transformation.

Most commentators expect the Arctic to play a key role in meeting the world’s energy needs in the 21st century. The US Geological Survey (USGS) says the continental shelves are the largest area on the planet not yet explored for oil and gas. It estimates that the Arctic contains 30 per cent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas, more than 80 per cent of it offshore.

From the geology, the USGS reckons that the biggest oil and gas reserves will be off the north shore of Alaska, and beneath the Kara and Barents seas. Russia’s Yamal Peninsula already supplies around a fifth of the world’s natural gas.

Exploration and mining activities are booming, bringing infrastructure such as roads, ports and new settlements. London-based insurers Lloyd’s earlier this year forecast that up to $100 billion of investment would pour into the Arctic in the next decade.

Extracting hydrocarbons in the Arctic is scarcely new. Coal has been mined there for more than a century. But a combination of global shortages, rising prices, technical advances and the exposure of wide areas of the Arctic Ocean during summer melts, are triggering an explosion of activity.

Inevitably, as global warming melts the ice, industry will enter – and pollute. On balance, will this prove to be beneficial? And, “beneficial to whom?”

Nearly a million visitors go to the Arctic each year. They account for more than 80,000 hotel-nights on the Norwegian island of Svalbard. Even greater numbers visit Greenland, where they easily outnumber the local population of just 55,000 people.

Canada’s Cambridge Bay – a stop on the North-West Passage – has seen a 30 per cent jump in tourists visiting the town in the past five years, with six cruise ships dropping anchor annually. The World – a giant residential vessel calling itself the world’s largest private mega-yacht – sailed through the North-West Passage for the first time in August. It was the largest passenger vessel to make the trip without an icebreaker to escort it.

As the sea ice melts, sailing passages open, and more people not only will visit, but live in today’s remote northern climes.

Warmer waters and a 20 per cent increase over the past decade in the volume of algae that sustain the marine food chain means there are more fish in the Arctic than ever before. And less ice means more open ocean in which to catch them.

The number of voyages by fishing vessels in the Canadian Arctic increased sevenfold, to 221, between 2005 and 2010. The Inuit of Nunavut now run six factory ships trawling for turbot and other species in Baffin Bay and the Davis Strait, up from none 10 years ago.

Climate change is altering the region’s fish population, as warmer water temperatures further south push commercial fish stocks into the Arctic circle. According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries service, six species of fish have recently extended their range north through the Bering Straits into the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic. They include the Pacific cod, walleye pollock and Bering flounder.

New fishing waters will open, providing relief to currently overfished areas.

Burning oil helped melt Arctic ice in the first place. Now the estimated 90 billion barrels beneath it – 13 per cent of the world’s remaining total – promise profit to anyone able to reach them. Oil companies have operated onshore in every Arctic nation for decades, but the new frontier is offshore . . .

A melted Arctic pushes back the date on which we will “run out of” energy, giving us more time to develop new sources.

Mining is big business in the Arctic. Russia’s Norilsk mine is the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium, and Alaska’s Red Dog mine is the world’s largest source of zinc. More record-beaters are set to break ground.

Last month, the Nunavut environmental assessment agency gave the green light for the Indian metals giant ArcelorMittal to dig an open pit iron-ore mine on 170 square kilometres of tundra at Mary river on Baffin Bay, Canada. The $4 billion project will be connected to a port in Baffin Bay by the world’s most northerly railway.

The south-west coast, around Kvanefjeld (Greenland), probably holds the world’s second largest deposit of rare earth elements and huge reserves of uranium and zinc – all together valued at almost half-a-trillion dollars. Last month, Greenland Minerals of Perth, Australia, announced plans to carry out a feasibility study. The project could keep miners busy for 100 years.

It seems like only yesterday when we read about shortages of rare earths threatening computer development.

Receding sea ice is opening up the Arctic to shipping. The North-East Passage, linking the North Atlantic to the Pacific via the Arctic waters north of Russia, was open for five months in 2011. More than 30 ships passed through, including a 120,000-tonne Russian gas tanker and Nordic and Japanese iron ore carriers taking Arctic minerals to China.

The shortcut to Asia halves the shipping time from northern Europe to China to roughly 20 days, and avoids pirate-infested shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean. Russia expects a 40-fold increase in shipping along the route by 2020. American analysts say it could be carrying 5 per cent of world’s shipping by 2050.

Bottom line: No one knows what the long term effects of global warming will be, and not knowing, no one can say whether on balance they will be beneficial or not. Even the concept of “on balance . . . beneficial” is shaky. “Beneficial” for whom and for what?

Even if we focus on “beneficial for humans,” are we talking about long term or short term? Survival? Life span? Society? Progress? Happiness? Is there something about global warming that will help humans to better health in the short term, but give us less ability to survive in the long term? Will it assist tribal society at the expense of “modern” society? And what do we mean by “progress” and “happiness”?

Robert Burns wrote: “. . .foresight may be vain: The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, gang aft agley,” and the longer we try to peer into the future, the more “agley” our best-laid schemes become.

The universe and our world in it, are victims of chaos, where: “Small differences in initial conditions (such as those due to rounding errors in numerical computation) yield widely diverging outcomes for chaotic systems, rendering long-term prediction impossible in general. (Wikipedia)

We can’t predict what volcanoes will erupt, nor what wars will be fought, nor the status of the stock market, nor the next coronal mass ejection, nor the next pandemic, nor scientific progress in a thousand areas. And we can’t predict the effects of global warming.

At best, we can try to address our immediate problems and hope our efforts will bode well for the long term. We can and should try to reduce air, water and ground pollution. We can and should try to find cures for diseases. We can and should try to prevent wars and to make cars safer to drive, and to improve the education of our children and to explore the solar system and to save our forests.

But, I suspect our efforts to reduce global warming are misplaced. We simply do not know what we are doing. Global warming very well could be what saves the human species.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty


Nine Steps to Prosperity:
1. Eliminate FICA (Click here)
2. Medicare — parts A, B & D — for everyone
3. Send every American citizen an annual check for $5,000 or give every state $5,000 per capita (Click here)
4. Long-term nursing care for everyone
5. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone
6. Salary for attending school (Click here)
7. Eliminate corporate taxes
8. Increase the standard income tax deduction annually
9. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99%

No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. Monetary Sovereignty: Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia. Two key equations in economics:
Federal Deficits – Net Imports = Net Private Savings
Gross Domestic Product = Federal Spending + Private Investment and Consumption – Net Imports


13 thoughts on “–What good is global warming?

  1. There is an interesting temperature chart: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ice_Age_Temperature.png

    It only goes back 450,000 years, not so far as the 2.6 million to the beginning of the last ice age, but it does show several cycles of warming and cooling, and we are now near the high part of the cycle.

    The most interesting thing, even given your assumption that human activity has influenced temperatures at the very right edge of that graph, is how much of an efffect human activity might be having, and how much we are capable of changing the effect we are having.

    The last few thousand years are different from previous peaks in that the warming seems to have stalled out a few degrees short of previous high levels.

    Looking at 450,000 years instead of just 100 years, one might even conclude that human actiity might be tending to thwart the non-human natural warming cycle.


  2. In the mid-1980s, an oceanographer by the name of John Martin posited that phytoplankton blooms could be triggered by seeding with iron. “Give me half a tanker of iron, and I’ll give you the next Ice Age,” Martin once playfully boasted.

    In 1993 and again in 1995, The Iron Hypothesis was tested and proved about 250 miles southwest of the Galapagos Islands: dropping a few thousand pounds of iron filings successfully produced a 30-fold increase in chlorophyll-loaded, carbon-consuming critters within the span of about a week.

    Just dumping a little bit of iron dust in the ocean results in huge plankton blooms that suck out carbon out of the atmosphere, reducing the greenhouse effect that causes global warming. Plankton are small plants and just like plants on land, they require minerals and metals like iron to grow. Plants on land get it from the dirt, and plankton get it from the dust that drifts off the land and onto the ocean.

    Martin’s theories have been proven right by experiments. So if we ever wanted to reverse global warming or return to the Ice Age, we can just dump a relatively small amount of iron into the ocean.


  3. A most fascinating and common-sense view, but one of the most important aspects of pollution caused global-warming, was omitted; the extinction of much of the earth’s biomass. These same climate scientists have warned us about a looming mass-extinction event, and a good chance we’ll be one the defunct.


    1. Global warming is a fact. Some global warming is caused by humans; we don’t know how much. No one knows whether Hurricane Sandy, its strength or its path, were caused by global warming, much less the human input to global warming.

      Last week was pleasant and warm in Chicago. Shall we attribute that to human-caused global warming? This week is cold in Chicago. Is that an effect of human-caused global warming?

      Scientists are careful not to attribute every storm or other weather condition, to humans.


  4. Tyler Healey recommended a report by an organization that calls itself “Climate Commission.” I’m not sure whose “commission” they are, but the conclusion of the report was:

    “All the evidence suggests that climate change exacerbated the severity of Hurricane Sandy.”

    This conclusion was based on several factors, one of which was:

    “The temperature of the surface waters from which Sandy drew energy were 3– 5 degrees C warmer than average (NOAA, 2012). Climate change has contributed to the observed long– term rise in surface water temperatures of the world’s oceans.”

    Now, 3-5 Celsius is a gigantic temperature difference, equal to 5.4 – 9 degrees Farenheit. How much of that gigantic difference is due to global warming? The report provides only a hint:

    The globally– averaged ocean temperature tied with 1997 as second highest for September, just behind 2003, at 0.55°C above the long–term average.

    So this year, ocean temperatures were tied for second with fifteen years ago, behind nine years ago — 1/2 degree higher than the previous record.

    There are other factors, and I recommend you read the report. But these factors are not definitive in proving that human-cause global air warming –> ocean warming –>Hurricane Sandy.

    I do believe there is human-caused global warming, but I think it is a step too far to attribute Hurricane Sandy to humans or even to imply that humans worsened the damage.


    1. “The temperature of the surface waters from which Sandy drew energy were 3– 5 degrees C warmer than average”

      Comparing a single data point to an average, without mentioning standard deviation, can only be intentionally misleading. The temperature this morning where I am is 30 degrees below the average of the past week, or the average for this date over the past 30 years. And it’s totally normal.


  5. There are several catastrophic scenarios involving runaway climate change that make it not worth the risk. Briefly, methane from the permafrost, methane hydrates (clathrates), Amazon forest drying up, Arctic and Greenland ice sheet gone. You would be gambling human civilization. Plus, a domestic sustainable energy and transportation infrastructure is better than what we have now. And a global equity framework is better than what we have now. We will have to ditch some of our unsustainable institutions, but this would clear space for free thinkers such as yourself to develop new better ones. I would have thought you’d want to be part of that exciting opportunity, rather than supporting the oil and gas forces aligned with the 1% banker elites.


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