Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Global Warming, circa 1922

D.C. resident John Lockwood was conducting research at the Library of Congress and came across an intriguing Page 2 headline in the Nov. 2, 1922 edition of The Washington Post: "Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt."

The 1922 article, obtained by Inside the Beltway, goes on to mention "great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones," and "at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared."
link

Well, duh. There had to be some type of run-up to 1934, which has now been identified as the hottest year on record.

6 comments:

Tony said...

First, let me get one thing out of the way. I believe in global warning. There. I said it. I also think we are contributing quite a bit to the problem. As much as the sun or volcanoes? I don't know. Nor do I care, because there are more than enough reasons to cut down on pollution without having to resort to somewhat dubious climate models.

It just makes good sense, from both an engineering and business standpoint, to maximize the efficiency of a system. Pollution is inefficient and costly. Then there are all the geopolitical reasons to cut back.

Are there a lot of Chicken Littles out there? Abso-freakin-lutely. But I think they may be a necessary evil, since they will provide the driving force for the calm rational middle.

Darren said...

I agree with cutting down pollution, and I also agree that the global warming zealots are Chicken Littles.

I don't agree that we need liars to make people of good conscience react. I don't know anyone who, given a choice between polluting and not polluting, would choose polluting, all other things being equal.

Mike said...

Does global warming exist? Of course it does. It's not a matter of belief, but something that can be, and has been, proved. The problem is in determing what, if anything, can and should be done.

If the matter is considered carefully, scientifically, one might reasonably conclude that the global warming that is occuring is merely a part of constantly changing global weather patterns, patterns that will not destroy the planet or us, that the planet has been considerably warmer in the past, and that a bit of warming actually might not be a bad thing, bringing as it will, such happy occurances as longer growing seasons.

But if taken as a matter of faith, we end up with Al Gore, and with others who believe that we must undertake immediately catastrophic changes that would have virtually no effect on global warming, but would fundamentally change civilization for the worse.

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Indeed. And don't people like Al Gore have any real work to do?

allen said...

That's the thing, they aren't equal.

If you're building a steel mill and you don't have a lot of capital you opt for older, cheaper technology so you can build your mill. Yes it's polluting but it's within your budget. The alternative is not building the steel mill, not producing the steel, not hiring and paying the workers, not providing a reason for supporting infrastructure to be built/improved, not doing a lot of things which are worthwhile. That's not a choice between newer, cleaner technology and older, dirtier technology it's a choice between remaining mired in poverty or climbing out.

You'll be happy to know that this is a temporary situation. The old technology, along with being dirtier is more labor intensive. When you're getting your employees right off the farm you don't have to pay them much. Subsistence farming is about the lowest-paid occupation there is so it doesn't take much to make your employees happy. That situation isn't permanent and, as technology advances and global competition intensifies, you'll have to replace your old, nasty equipment with newer, cleaner equipment which, conveniently enough is less labor intensive.

That works out because wage rates have risen, the increasingly sophisticated and comprehensive business environment provides alternatives to working in your steel mill. Your cost of labor goes up as your workers decide that working in a filthy, hot, dangerous steel mill is something they'd rather not do and nice, comfortable assembly line jobs are popping up, blah, blah, blah.

Case in point is the plant that manufactures the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child aka Hundred Dollar Laptop). It's sited in the west of China because labor rates in the eastern provinces have gone up fast enough to justify the transportation expenses. And in those eastern provinces? The populace is getting increasingly restive about air you can see and water you can't drink. So much so that various level of government are starting to address pollution of various kinds rather then put up with the drum-beat of public anger. Besides, the government officials have to breath the same air as the rest of the populace.

Ellen K said...

I would agree that there are probably climate changes that are due to human activity. I am not sure of the total impact, but I think it is prudent to conserve resources and recycle. I also think we should make the best use of the resources we have. But I also think that all nations should have to adhere to the same goals and the Kyoto Accord wants to give a free pass to India and China-two huge polluters. The best way to bring things under control is to bring up the standard of living. An article a few years back did a study on the pollution levels in comparison to affluence. Poor communities were always more polluted. So we must figure out if bringing power and industry to an area, which allows them to improve their own environment is worth the initial impact. And I don't think that is a decision many so-called environmentalist is willing to make right now.

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