My friend Tad, a travel-addicted-dimwit, goes everywhere with his companion, Guide. But Tad has grown increasingly worried by what he has heard the geniuses on TV say.
They must be geniuses. They live in New York and L.A. They look so good. And they are paid a lot of money to talk on TV.
Tad and his friend saw retreating glaciers in Norway, but before Tad could ask about climate change, Guide said those particular glaciers seemed to be on a fifty or sixty year cycle. They were growing in the 1950s when “Newsweek Magazine” proclaimed we were entering a new ice age.
When Tad was in Antarctica this year, he became quite concerned at the news an entire shelf of ice was breaking off one coast due to global warming. Aren’t you concerned, he asked Guide. But Guide only inquired if Tad had also heard that ice at the other end of Antarctica was growing thicker than ever before recorded.
At the Athabasca Glacier between Banff and Jasper National Parks in the Canadian Rockies, one of six on the Columbia Icefield ,Tad became very disturbed. Little signs marked where it has been in retreat for the last 125 years. One sign said it has lost half its volume and attributed the loss to man-made climate change. But Guide noted that the industrial revolution hadn’t reached the Canadian Rockies 125 years ago. And then Guide pointed to the one sign among all those doom predictors that said scientists had found the remains of a forest beneath the glacier, a forest that was growing there just eight thousand years ago.
When they visited Lake Superior, the largest fresh-water lake in the world by area, Tad produced a 2007 study by a University of Minnesota professor that showed the lake was getting warmer every year; at that rate, the lake would be ice-free by 2040. Guide countered with recent newspaper articles: the June water temperature was 37 degrees Fahrenheit; and during the 2013-2014 winter, Lake Superior ice was the thickest since 1897.
“Don’t you believe there is climate change,” an exasperated Tad inquired.
Guide replied: “I believe there is climate change today. I believe there was climate change when Europe was in a ‘little ice age’ from the 1300s to the 1800s. I believe there has been climate change for millions of years before there were humans on earth. But I have serious doubts about whether there is much mankind can do to cause or stop it.”