Many scales of climate change are in fact natural, from the slow tectonic scale, to the fast changes embedded within glacial and interglacial times, to the even more dramatic changes that characterize a switch from glacial to interglacial. So why worry about global warming, which is just one more scale of climate change? The problem is that global warming is essentially off the scale of normal in two ways: the rate at which this climate change is taking place, and how different the "new" climate is compared to what came before.
Anthony D. Barnosky
Oh, there are no living poets, Miss Van Damn. We're not entirely sure there ever were. They've found some shreds of sonnets in England and, embedded in a chalk wall of a cave in France, some yet undetermined thing which might be the legendary inward eye. But all evidence, such as it is, suggests that, if there ever were poets, they were all burned into extinction during the interglacial period of despair.
Polar bears did very well in the warmer times. They didn't die out at all; they didn't die out in the last 10,000 years, nor during the previous interglacial, nor the one before that. So, they're just used as a deceitful heartthrob; you know, to pluck your heartstrings because the polar bears might die out.
The bleak truth is that, under normal conditions, most of North America and Europe are buried under about 1.5km of ice. This bitterly frigid climate is interrupted occasionally by brief warm interglacials, typically lasting less than 10,000 years. The interglacial we have enjoyed throughout recorded human history, called the Holocene, began 11,000 years ago, so the ice is overdue, Chapman wrote. All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead.
Philip K. Chapman
Uncouth, clannish, lumbering about the confines of Space and Time with a puzzled expression on his face and a handful of things scavenged on the way from gutters, interglacial littorals, sacked settlements and broken relationships, the Earth-human has no use for thinking except in the service of acquisition. He stands at every gate with one hand held out and the other behind his back, inventing reasons why he should be let in. From the first bunch of bananas, his every sluggish fit or dull fleabite of mental activity has prompted more, more; and his time has been spent for thousands of years in the construction and sophistication of systems of ideas that will enable him to excuse, rationalize, and moralize the grasping hand. His dreams, those priceless comic visions he has of himself as a being with concerns beyond the material, are no more than furtive cannibals stumbling round in an uncomfortable murk of emotion, trying to eat each other. Politics, religion, ideology - desperate, edgy attempts to shift the onus of responsibility for his own actions: abdications. His hands have the largest neural representation in the somesthetic cortex, his head the smallest; but he's always trying to hide the one behind the other.
M. John Harrison