Al Gore said a mouthful, the end is nigh and we'd better do something about it. But how much is myth, how much is Enron hangover, and how much is reality? The scientists squabble, the extremists are extreme, and the herd (that's the rest of us) are like spectators at an environmental tennis match. But what is really happening out there and what's causing it? Is it emissions from human activity or does the temperature on the Earth's surface really wax and wane over the years.
As a child of the 60's here in New Zealand the summers we experience seemed endless. A record high temperature was achieved one summer which hasn't been bettered, even with the help of Mr Gore. 42.5 degrees C, or for the rest of the world, around 115 degrees F. The following winter provided a dump of snow that closed schools, kept my parents at home, and generally made my day one of endless snow ball wars. This situation occurred again in the mid nineties and again last winter. Could this be a cycle?
While I struggled through my University years, and there were too many ales and meat pies to be any good for me, one of my Professors who lectured in geology showed me some interesting slides. Two were of paintings and one was a photo. They were of the same place, a bridge over the upper river Thames west of London. The first painting was from 1600 and depicted a frozen river. The second painting was of the same spot in 1800 (frozen), and the third (the photo) was from 1939 and the river was...frozen. Apparently we were heading into a freeze-thaw cycle and the earth was going to become colder. Yet two decades later we're told that the earth is actually warming up. Was my wise, old, and erudite Professor wrong, or was Al blowing hot air?
Al Gore talks about "An Inconvenient Truth" and that the argument is over. In New Zealand the Government appointed Minister for the Environment has stated that he will no longer debate the topic, it's time for action. Fine words, but who determines the action and has the Government really thought through the outcomes. Now you may not be worried out there in the greater world, but watch this space because the experiment here could be coming to a town near you very shortly.