Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee has introduced a resolution in the House that is based on the premise that “women will disproportionately face harmful impacts from climate change.” This is parody come to life: world about to end, women and minorities hit hardest! Among the horrors that climate change will give rise to, according to the resolution, is the likelihood that “food insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage….”
Which gives one pause. The Earth is currently cooler than it has been around 93% of the time since the end of the last Ice Age, according to ice core data. Does this mean that the past was an orgy of “sex work”? Well, in some times and places it probably was.
But let’s take this prophecy of runaway prostitution as a typical example of the hysteria that surrounds global warming. Does such extremism make any sense whatsoever? Amid the hoopla, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that global warming theory argues that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will cause an increase in the Earth’s average temperature of 1 degree C. Alarmists rely on hypothetical positive feedbacks (the most important of which, an alleged increase in water vapor, has already been disproved) to magnify that 1 degree into 3 degrees. Actually, the feedbacks are likely negative, but put that to the side for a moment. The range of change we are talking about–1 to 3 degrees Celsius–is small in relation to temperature variations that already exists.
This site lists the average annual temperature for each of the fifty states. The variation is remarkable. In my home state of Minnesota, the average temperature is 5.1 degrees C. In Alabama, it is 17.1. That is a 12 degree difference, 12 times as much as the theoretical change in temperature due to a doubling of CO2. Would it be a tragedy if Minnesota’s climate were 1/12 of the way closer to Alabama’s? One wouldn’t think so. The widest disparity is between Alaska (-3.0) and Florida (21.5). That is 24 times the change that theoretically would occur from a doubling of CO2.
The point is that people, plants and animals thrive, and have thrived, across a very broad range of temperatures. Polar bears–to take one ludicrously-hyped example–have lived for millions of years under conditions both much warmer and much colder than any now in prospect. People, today, live under a far broader range of temperatures than any prospective change due to global warming, even if the alarmists are right.
I suppose it is conceivable that the particular 1 to 3 degree change forecasted by the global warming hysterics could somehow be different, and bring about catastrophic consequences that we haven’t seen from the much greater variations that now exist, and have existed in the past. But if the alarmists really want to convince us that more CO2 in the atmosphere will bring about an increase in prostitution, they had better present a highly convincing and very specific analysis. Which, of course, they haven’t.
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