“Global Warming” has been in the news a lot over the last few years. It’s not an easy subject to distill into the evening news, or even a whole series. Understanding Global Climate Change starts with using the right language. Global Warming is too simple a name to describe the changes that are occurring on our planet. Global Climate Change works much better. Take Europe for example. Most of Europe lies at the same latitudes as Canada. No one thinks of France as the Great White North, though. Why? Mostly because of the Gulf Stream. This current carries water that has been warmed at the Equator up to the western coast of Europe. This water creates a warmer than normal climate in Europe. That’s not the warming they mean when they talk about “Global Warming”, though. What worries scientists is that ice at the top of the world will melt as the overall temperature of the planet rises. This cold, fresh water will enter the northern Atlantic. As the North end of the Gulf Stream gets colder, it will no longer reach all the way to Europe. Without the warming waters of this current to prop up temperatures, Europe will revert to a climate more consistent with its Latitude. In other words, more like Canada. “Global Warming” will actually make Europe a much colder part of the world. Where would those people go? Most would have to migrate away from Europe. There’s a reason why there are no cities larger than 5 million people in northern Canada.
Global Climate Change isn’t just about the planet getting warmer. It’s about the planet changing. As humans, we rely on the planet maintaining a relatively narrow temperature band to survive. Looking back over Earth’s history, we’ve been incredibly lucky to have 10,000 years of stable, warm, weather. We shouldn’t be so worried about blaming or absolving ourselves for Global Climate Change. Frankly, it doesn’t matter why the planet’s climate is starting to change. What matters is that our climate is changing and there are concrete things we can do to mitigate those changes. Unless we change as a species, we will have to deal with much bigger changes, in ourselves and our planet.