Climate change: Chicken Littles, Yosemite Valley & ostriches

obama“Climate change is no longer a threat’ it is a reality.” — President Obama speaking in Yosemite Valley on Saturday

President Obama — had he uttered those words on the same spot 20,000 years ago — would have been buried beneath 2,000 plus feet of ice.

With all due respect to the President and agreeing climate change is real, it’s time we all stopped parroting the pitchmen on both sides of the global warming debate. Acting like Chicken Little is not any better than being an ostrich with one’s head stuck in the sand.

There is little doubt that Lyell, Yosemite’s largest glacier, is in retreat and likely to disappear in the coming decades due to what experts who keep their noses to the grindstone of research and refrain from engaging in public debate attribute to both the natural evolution of things and man’s influences. Pallasides, the Sierra’s largest glacier above Big Pine, is also retreating.

The President made note of Lyell Glacier’s retreat in his speech as well as evidence there are meadows within the national park that are drying up. He’ll get no debate there.

But where there deserves to be a serious exchange is whether it should be a national priority to stop climate change or try to make sure that man isn’t accelerating it beyond the natural cycles that give us ice ages and then extended periods of what we might characterize today as super droughts.

When the glaciers that last covered Yosemite from Tioga Pass beyond the mouth of Yosemite Valley, you could not have lived on the ocean in San Francisco as the sea was miles away.

The President’s speech was designed to sell his administration’s game plan regarding climate change policy. The hook was making the pitch national park gems such as Yosemite are in danger because of climate change. That is only true if we hold onto the self-serving view that Earth with some 4.54 billion years under its belt should remain forever as it is today.

The beauty of Yosemite that the President found so inspiring during his weekend visit would not exist today if it hadn’t been for climate change and its series of ice ages followed by drier periods of higher temperatures and drought. Climate change in concert with geological forces shaped all land masses as we know them today.

Saturday wasn’t the first time that climate change — that in its purest form isn’t the work of man or some platform of a political party — has been rolled out to get blame for changes in weather patterns.

It’s been blamed for the current drought California is in. That’s like blaming climate change for the Great Dust Bowl in the 1930s.

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