Originally Posted by cmitch
It is a trend, pure and simple. It could last 50 more years or correct itself in the next 5 or 10. Don't kid yourself into thinking the planet is so damn fragile that us little peons could destroy it driving cars. ...G'day!
It is not something that started with the advent of SUVs or mcmansions. What many fail to recognize on both alarmist and denialist camps is that the earth's atmosphere began to get contaminated with the advent of Industrial Revolution. Global Warming is a result of at least three centuries of emissions. Unfortunately, there is no consistent recordkeeping of weather that goes that far back so there is no way of scientifically quantifying the changes in climate brought on by increasing human reliance on combustion.
On the other hand, studying the polar ice caps, scientists can date the ice strata much like that in geology. Starting about 17th century, they could see evidences of atmospheric pollution trapped in ice formation (soots and other products of combustion).
Our lives are too short to discern in our lifetime if the climate inconsistency we're experiencing is just one of those cyclical trends or if it is something that is getting more and more off-kilter. Unfortunately, I think it is the latter case.
Ecosystem and nature are robust, but it only takes a few nudges to steer anything off course - think of a very large and heavy spinning top: it is difficult to bring it to a complete stop, but it does not take much to make it wobble off axis. I tend to see global warming as such - the global climate is increasingly becoming extreme.
A flat-out denial is irresponsible, but being alarmist is impractical. Personally, I do within reasonable bounds what I can do to repect the environment - separate the trash, use low-phosphor detergents, CFL lights whereever I can and instead of cranking up the heat or A/C, we opt to put on additional layer or invest in a window fan and use strategic ventilation (in the summer, once I get the entire house to begin thermosyphoning, AC is hardly necessary as there is always a pleasant airflow in the house).
Mitch, you are intelligent person, but sometimes you surprise me with such adamant convictions and outright rejection of opposing ideas, like your decision to not vaccinate your daughter (which I respect but cannot agree with your reasoning - too small a data you base your decision upon comparing with only the kids you know (whereas there are millions of kids who get vaccinated who are just as healthy or healthier as you claim your daughter to be) - much in the way you accuse Global Warming advocates who base their ideas on fantasy).