Skidaway Institute’s Dr. Herb Windom has offered the following comment on “Global Climate — Comment and Reponse.” (See below.)
Just to enter the fray on Rick’s side, I offer the following:
The first research project in which I participated determined the age of the ancient corals which form the Florida Keys. The results, published in 1965, indicated that they formed about 130,000 years ago and their elevation indicated that sea level must have been 10 meters above the present, indicating that the earth was considerably warmer then and most of Florida was under water. When the first ancestors of Native Americans first came to North America about 12-15 thousand years ago, sea level was about 100 meters below its present level. This allowed them cross a land bridge across the Bering Sea which is now under water. In the geologic past sea level has been much lower than this and has been much higher than the 10 meters indicated by the age of the Florida Keys coral, indicating that the earth has experienced much warmer and much colder periods in the past.
Today, we live in a world with a climate and global temperature we deem to be acceptable. Folks like Al Gore, argue that it should remain this way (even though present conditions are not necessarily the average or norm for the past earth), and that we should do all that we can to keep it that way. The implication is that this is what we consider to be the “natural” state of the earth. A similar logic, used closer to home, has to do with barrier islands. We see the “undeveloped” ones as “natural” and work to see that they remain that way even though they were virtually all used for farming from colonial to reasonably recent times. On others such as Tybee Island, which are develop, we wish to keep them in their present state and spend considerable amounts of public funds in efforts to do so, even though all barrier islands, left to nature, will continually change; erode in one place accrete in another. This will be an unending battle.
Turning to global warming, I think that efforts to decrease the use of petroleum and other fossil fuels and turn to other energy sources such as nuclear fission make a lot of sense for a lot of reasons. I just don’t think trying to control global warming is one of them. Such action, I suspect, would be embarking on a fruitless effort of keeping Nature from doing what Nature always does, change.