In Octavia Butler’s novel “Parable of the Sower” the main character Lauren Olamina finds herself in the dystopia that the United States has become in the year 2025. The society is near collapse and Lauren and her family and neighbors are forced to live in a gated community in order to protect themselves from chaos that is outside of their walls. One of the reasons that Lauren mentions for the downfall of society is global warming. Fortunately we won’t be subjected to the fate that Lauren and her family and neighbors were because there is no such thing as man-made global warming.
Concerns about global warming were first raised in the 1980s. The phenomenom knows as global warming was also referred to as the “greenhouse effect” due to the fact that many scientists believed that global warming was caused by an increase in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere resulting from the burning of fossil fuels. In 1988 the director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, James Hansen, told the U.S. senate committee that there was strong evidence that global waring was being caused by human activity. He warned that if global warming was not reversed then there would be catastrophic climate changes.
When Hansen announced in the summer of 1988 that global warming was here, he predicted that the temperatures would increase 0.35 degrees Celsius over the next ten years. The actual increase was 0.11 degrees Celsius, an error of over 300%. In the scientific community an error of 300% is huge. This shows that James Hansen had no idea what he was talking about.
When NASA launched the rocket that was carrying the Mars Rover, they predicted that it would land on the surface of Mars in two hundred and fifty-three days at 8:11 P.M. California time. It actually landed in two hundred and fifty-three days at 8:35 P.M. That was an error of a few thousandths of a percent. The people at NASA knew what they were talking about and were able to make an accurate prediction. James Hansen was not.
The idea that it’s possible to predict the future climate of the Earth is absurd. Our most accurate weather forecasts can only make predictions for ten days. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has even stated that “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”
It may be true that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising and that It is due to the burning of fossil fuels. It is also true that the temperature of cities across the United States have increased withing the past 70 years; however, it is true that the temperature in smaller towns across the United States has decreased over the past 70 years. I believe that the increase in the temperature of cities across the country can be attributed to the urban heat island effect. The urban heat island effect is the idea that as a city grows the temperature of the city increases due to the increase in concrete and other urban materials that retain heat.
If there is no evidence for global warming and it is impossible to accurately predict the future climate of the Earth then why is there so much fear over global warming? In Michael Crichton’s novel “State of Fear” professor Norman Hoffman brings up an interesting point. He says that “For fifty years, Western nations had maintained their citizens in a state of perpetual fear. Fear of the other side. Fear of nuclear war. The Communist menace. The Iron Curtain. The Evil Empire. And within the Communist countries, the same in reverse. Fear of us. Then, suddenly, in the fall of 1989, it was all finished. Gone, vanished. Over. The fall of the Berlin Wall created a vacuum of fear. Nature abhors a vacuum. Something had to fill it.”
Global warming was the fear that filled that vacuum; however, it is true that we are in the midst of a warming trend that began around 1850, as we were coming out of a four-hundred year “mini ice age.” The fact of the matter is that nobody knows how much of the current warming trend is a natural phenomenon and how much is man-made. We also don’t know how much the Earth is going to warm in the next century. It is impossible for us to predict the future. It is only possible for us to make an informed guess, and an informed guess is still just a guess.
I believe that it is very unlikely that the future that Octavia Butler predicted in her novel “parable of the Sower” is going to take place. Global warming is not going to cause years of drought and the sea level is not going to rise. It is pointless to waste our resources over the fear of global warming. We should be concerned about things that are more important and certain… like who’s going to win the Royal Rumble this Sunday and get to main event Wrestle Mania. I hope it’s Wade Barrett. Go Corre!
Source: “State of Fear” by Michael Crichton