We need to find solutions to climate change today

Conrad Weiler /

Published Jan 12, 2013 at 04:00AM

There is continued world interest about climate change and/or global warming.

I’d like to try to compare both sides of the debate about climate change and the possible serious effects it may have today or in the future. Hopefully, this would either describe that there is nothing to worry about, or, there is some concern but it can be solved, or, the problem is quite serious.

I would like to suggest you read “Global Weirdness,” a book written by the Climate Central people and available at our local library (the Deschutes Public Library System). Hopefully, this would be useful material written by climate scientists.

On another note, I think I have been guilty of ethnocentrism in thinking about climate change only in my local situation, living in the United States. This would include our medical system, food availability, fuels, scientific community, transportation systems, and educational institutions among others. Since the United States makes up about 4.5 percent of the world’s population, and I live here, I can’t really say how climate change might have a greater, less or no effect in other parts of the world.

My thinking and bias, is that the greenhouse gases, water vapor, methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and tailing off with chemicals including chlorine and flourine in their makeup, offer challenges to life forms on planet Earth because of the climate change they bring about.

There are ways of ameliorating these changes but they can be costly and more difficult in many countries around the world.

So, what are the solutions? Do nothing — there is nothing to worry about. Or, let’s see what happens in the future. Or, let’s see what’s possible to do now and get started.

The latter, getting started, has some input in our country with solar power, wind energy, more efficient light bulbs, hybrid cars, electric cars, home housing heat pumps, etc. How widespread these choices are in the United States is probably on the low side due to cost, past behavior, and/or lack of interest, not caring, not knowing, or not worrying about any possible future changes in the climate.

Both climate and weather can fluctuate. When we step outside tomorrow and the temperature reads 17 degrees on our thermometer — one can laugh and say, “What global warming?” However this local weather measurement does not measure other world locations now, or for changes in the overall climate over a year, decade or century.

Some disturbing events on Earth that have been occurring more recently include severe storms, deadly heat waves, relentless drought, rising seas and melting at the polar ice caps. These events may be random fluctuations that one expects on planet Earth or a more serious warning of future weather changes brought about by climate change.

Thank you for reading this far. I must confess to my adding greenhouse gases to our environment and atmosphere. Driving a gasoline-powered car, burning wood, using ordinary light bulbs and insufficient home insulation, are just a few of my activities that may be involved in climate change.

The larger problem is what are 3 billion (or more) other folks also doing today on planet Earth and what will 10 billion (or more) people be doing in the year 2050?

I know, don’t worry, the reader may not be here to find out about 2050 or 2100 when there will be an estimated 15 billion people inhabiting planet Earth.

So, what shall we decide to do today?