There’s good news and good news on global warming


Earth at the last glacial maximum of the current ice age.
Photo by Ittiz (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The upside of global warming is that we may have pushed back the next ice age. Bloomberg Business reports:

The conditions necessary for the onset of a new ice age were narrowly missed at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research near Berlin wrote Wednesday in the journal Nature. Since then, rising emissions of heat-trapping CO2 from burning oil, coal and gas have made the spread of the world’s ice sheets even less likely, they said.

The period between ice ages is about 50,000 years. But thanks to Standard Oil and the fossil fuels industry, one supposes, that threshold may have been pushed back another 50,000.

“This study further confirms what we’ve suspected for some time, that the carbon dioxide humans have added to the atmosphere will alter the climate of the planet for tens to hundreds of thousands of years, and has canceled the next ice age,” said Andrew Watson, a professor of Earth sciences at the University of Exeter in southwest England who wasn’t involved in the research. “Humans now effectively control the climate of the planet.”

Until the next errant asteroid comes knocking. Now that we control the climate, the natural progression is for arms manufacturers to turn climate into a weapon.

Still, we might need this planet a little longer. So having averted a new ice age, backing off on the CO2 emissions might seem prudent even if Donald Trump thinks that sounds politically correct. Thankfully, renewable energy seems to be thriving even in a low-carbon-price atmosphere:

Renewables just finished another record-breaking year, with more money invested ($329 billion) and more capacity added (121 gigawatts) than ever before, according to new data released Thursday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Oil, coal and natural gas bottomed out over the last 18 months, with bargain prices not seen in a decade. That’s just one of a handful of reasons 2015 should have been a rough year for clean energy. But the opposite was true.

Bloomberg Business reports that the world “is now adding more power capacity from renewables every year than from coal, natural gas, and oil combined.” Good thing, too, since just coincidentally we have a January tropical storm in the Atlantic for only the fourth time since 1851.

It sounds as if arms manufacturers will have to look elsewhere for planet-killing weapons. Of course, asteroids would make nifty planet-killers too. We’re just short on inhabited planets at which to aim them. Trump and Cruz would be all over closing the asteroid gap if only we could find Muslims in outer space….



  1. Joe Ebel says:

    “…if only we could find Muslims in outer space… LOL!