Climate “who’s-afraid-of-a-little” change

The term “progressive” is typically synonymous with the word “change.” At every turn they are clamouring for change, supporting change, and sometimes vilifying those who resist change.

So one should naturally scratch their head when it comes to “climate change” because, rather unexpectedly, they are the strongest resisters of change. Why is that?

Intuitively, one would only resist change if one is changing from some kind of “better” set of circumstances to some kind of “worse” circumstances. This is common to all humans, not merely “progressives.” So to answer the question of why progressives resist climate change we need to ask whether the current circumstances are better, worse, or no different from the circumstance we can expect to come about down the road of climate change.

But we need to go one step further. Not merely is it enough to ask “better or worse?” we need to further ask, “better or worse for whom?”

Plants

First let’s ask ourselves what effect climate change has been having on plants and whether, if plants could vote, they would support or resist climate change. As I have argued previously, climate change has actually been extremely beneficial for plant life on planet earth. Farmers will actually pump CO2 into their greenhouses in order to dramatically increase the growth rate of their crops. Furthermore, multiple studies have confirmed that plant life on planet earth has been … shall we say, “blossoming” … much more recently than it used to. For instance, see this study, and this study, and also this one.

Scientific studies are one thing, but it’s nice to see how this is showing up in people’s backyards. For instance, last year Calgary had a news story about how our “plant hardiness” rating had changed as a result of the warming trend. What that means is that a wider variety of plants can now survive in Calgary’s ecosystem than could previously, and Calgarians can enjoy a longer growing season in the summer.

Or here’s another story; a desert in California is seeing a bloom like it hasn’t seen in a couple of decades.

In an effort to find some shred of “doom and gloom” in the world of plants, the Environmental Protection Agency produced a chart showing a steady increase in crop output per acre and pointed to the rare “down” years as evidence that climate change is bad.

The weight of evidence, it would seem, says that plants seem to be, quite literally, flourishing in all this climate change.

Animals

Ok, so plants seem to be doing well; what about animals? On the face of it, animals should (in theory) be doing better as well. After all, any animal that eats plants will have more food to go around. And animals that eat the plant-eating animals should have more prey to enjoy.

In theory.

But what about the polar bears? We have been told that polar bears are a case-in-point that this warming trend is having a disastrous effect. Well, first of all, a little common sense needs to kick in. This warming trend hasn’t even reached the kinds of temperatures that were experienced during the Medieval Warming Period, so if polar bears survived that warming period they shouldn’t be in that much trouble right now.

And common sense seems to align with the facts. Polar bears seem to be surviving just fine. How? Their usual source of food is associated with floating islands of ice, so if the ice disappears how can they possibly survive?

Simple; they move. In this case they moved to a human landfill, which is obviously not ideal, but the point is that they didn’t simply stick around where they couldn’t easily find food, roll over and die.

And this is one incredibly significant fact about animals that seems utterly lost on the so many alarmists; animals are adaptable. If polar bears are having a tougher time getting food on the floating ice, then they’ll find another way to feed themselves. As another example of animal adaptability, wild boars in Alberta are resisting efforts to cull their populations because – here’s a crazy thought – they learn how humans hunt and then avoid areas of danger.

The point being that animals (at least the iconic “climate change is destroying our planet” poster animals) aren’t doing nearly as bad as some people have been trying to persuade us.

Humans

So what about people? Well, there may be some risks for us. Let’s assume the forecasts of more severe weather are accurate. That could destroy some of our property, of course. Rising sea levels (assuming, once again, that those forecasts are right) could impact coastal cities. Higher temperatures could make life in some areas more challenging.

But, as with animals, we are adaptable. We can adjust. And so far the human population has been rocketing along just fine in the wake of all the climate change.

Though I cannot help but ponder the correlation between the fact that progressives are often found in coastal regions and the fact that rising sea levels are often cited as a cause for concern. I’ll be clear, rising sea levels don’t concern me, living in Alberta. Could it be that the greatest risk that progressives foresee is the impact that rising sea levels might have on their property value?

One can only speculate.

On the whole, though, plants are flourishing like they haven’t in a long time. Animals are either flourishing or adjusting. And most humans – excluding progressives – also seem to be adjusting just fine to the climate change. Change is unavoidable in the climate, as in many areas of life. But ironically it is self-described “progressives” who seem the most resistant to adapting to change. They seem absolutely enamoured with the climate status-quo.

The rest of us are willing to change.

Some winners, some losers

Ah, but I haven’t shared the whole story. It’s not all sunshine and roses for planet earth. For instance, the Great Barrier Reef seems to be suffering from increased warmth of the ocean. However, even that story has an odd twist. As this article shares, “This was the reef’s third and worst severe bleaching event – prior events occurred in 1998 and 2002…” Interesting. So back in 1998 – nearly two full decades ago – a very severe bleaching event occurred. And another four years later.

And then nothing for about 15 years? Why not? Weren’t the temperatures warming that whole time?

Putting those questions aside, the article alluded to a reality in the ecosystem that might be getting overlooked. (my emphasis in bold)

The likely result is that ever-more-frequent bleaching events will sharply change the composition of species living on reefs, creating a situation of “winners and losers,” Hughes said.

And therein lies a very real factor in all this that is being overlooked / ignored. Even if climate change is “bad” for one group, it might be extremely “good” for another group. Even if one species dies, if that clears the path for another species because there is less competition (perhaps a more hardy coral reef will arise that can handle wider temperature swings), then can we claim, in absolute terms, that such a change is “good” or “bad”?

Isn’t this, after all, exactly what Darwin postulated? In the face of various challenges (including, but not limited to, environmental challenges) there will be some species that die, and there will be the stronger, better, fitter species. Perhaps we should ask opponents of climate change, “are you anti-evolution?”

As an example, even if thinning arctic ice is detrimental to polar bears (which, as I said, the evidence seems to refute), other species are suddenly thriving because the ice serves as a barrier to their success. Killer whales have easier access to their food; narwhal. Good for killer whales, not so good for narwhal. Again, winners and losers.

So is “climate change” good or bad? Depends who you ask. Plants love it. Plenty of animals either love it or at least can live with it. Humans – other than progressives – seem to be getting along just fine on the whole. Perhaps the only groups that are concerned about climate change are those that are somehow competitively inferior – less fit for survival – per Darwin’s theory of evolution.

And we all know what eventually happens to those populations…

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