1) Is change occurring? How we can be even arguing about this one. The loss of polar ice is so overwhelming that anyone who denies change is occurring is sociopathically political.
2) Is change occurring due to manmade causes? The evidence suggests so. Scientific theory regarding greenhouse gases is valid. As greenhouse gases have increased, the number of large scale natural disasters has increased dramatically over the past 100 years from 73 per decade in the early 1900s to over 2,780 in the last decade, historically unprecedented. Is this as a result of release of combustion gases from fossil fuels that have resulted from captured hydrocarbon over millions of years? Perhaps so….
3) If the trend is not reversed, will it portend dangers for mankind? There is nothing to suggest that the number and intensity of natural disasters will reverse or that climate change will not continue to exponentially change. Once the polar ice caps are gone, their ability to help regulate earth temperatures will be gone as well.
4) Can mankind do something to help reverse the trend? If fossil fuel usage was eliminated worldwide immediately, the accumulating effects of climate change could be slowed, if in fact it is being exacerbated by manmade carbon combustion. However, even if we attempted to utilize all available technologies to replace all existing fossil fuel combustion, the process to replace fossil fuel use would take decades, and in the interim the crisis would continue to heighten.
5) The more important question is will mankind attempt to reverse or even slow the trend? The simple answer is most likely no. Human population is exponentially increasing and combustion will follow and exceed population trends. The Kyoto agreements were highly politicized and created wealth transfer from industrial nations to emerging countries. The politics of carbon cap and trade has attempted to punish last century’s polluters while giving newer polluters carte blanche to take over the helm. Yet, world power is concentrated in the hands of those that wield control of hydrocarbons and no one that has power gives that power up without a fight. No alternatives exist to allow those that currently have the power to keep it if they give up their control of hydrocarbons. Those that hold the hydrocarbon power are unlikely to relinquish it.
6) What then should be the response of the masses? Even if carbon use does not abate, we must support alternative energy development. Press forward for development of alternatives, even if they are currently more expensive than carbon energy. As carbon energy depletes, it will eventually cost more than alternatives. And as the data becomes clearer, if it in fact shows beyond all doubt that hydrocarbon combustion is destroying the ability of the world to support human life, the demand for change will overtake those that control hydrocarbonic power. If the world does not now develop financially sustainable alternatives to hydrocarbon economy, when and if the evidence eventually cries out for immediate change no matter the financial consequences, technology will not be able to meet the need and the world will suffer immensely. If America does not now lead the effort, our economy will be overtaken by those that do.