Thursday, September 20, 2007

Global Warming

Fith underling cause for consternation

  1. Observed changes in climate and its effects.

It has been observed that it gets real cold in the winter and pretty hot (well not real pretty but pretty enough for us cowboys) out here in the western wastelands during the summer months. It seems as though it snows in the winter, some winters more than others, and it doesn’t rain a lot in the desert during the summer but it does rain in the higher elevations we call mountains. The effect is that I put on more clothes in the winter and go to a higher elevation (the mountains) in the summer to cool off. Although the other effect of remaining at the desert elevations in summer is that I have to turn on the swamp cooler in town to keep from sweating a lot more than I do in the winter. Another effect of the precipitation around here is that things seem to grow better when they get watered once in a while.

Paleoclimatic aspects of past climate changes are quite noticeable in the strata of my surroundings in western Colorado. The record of the rocks indicates vast heating, cooling, weathering and water damage resulting in the topography extant in the whole of the western parts of the United States of America. I can only assume that we have the capability to duplicate such drastic changes in climate as those produced through millennia, nay even eons of time, and get anything similar to the superb results I see in my wanderings around this part of the planet or any other continent.

Perhaps ten thousand or so years ago the last glacial melting produced the U-shaped valleys near us in the 9,000 foot and above regions of this latitude. Since that time the landscape has changed little with exception of man-made features likes towns, roads and federal, state and municipal projects which supply us with energy, water and sanitation as well as transportation and recreation. If I might interject a personal belief that some of these projects, though noteworthy and perhaps even necessary, have created an illusion that we (mankind) have ultimate authority and expertise in reducing to plain perception the true nature our Creator intended. The fundamental laws of nature, physics and good sportsmanship, in no way, prove a thing in the way of omniscience or even good generalship let alone a positive attitude toward stewardship. As an example I offer two demonstrations of “wishing I hadn’t done that”.

  1. Glen Canyon dam, which impedes the Colorado River and its upper tributaries, stores silt, sand and salt and delivers energy for much of the southwestern United States. It also breeds large fish that were not there before and managed to kill off a species, which was. (Colorado River Squawfish and I have been guilty of the same both by accident and on purpose.) But what really gets me going is that I saw the river in its natural state before the dam was completed and I walked along the canyons, dried river beds and saw many of the Ancients’ inscriptions depicting the demise of their civilizations and the rise of ours. Of course it was necessary to cover those up with water and hide the truth beneath an oasis in the desert so we could enjoy the sun and fun of the great, western outdoors. Oops. Looks like that parade has ended.


  1. Congress required 1975 car models to emit no more than 10% of the carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons of their 1970 counterparts with the Clean Air Act of 1970. In 1973 the EPA introduced clean air standards which Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, Michigan was incapable of sustaining with their now infamous big block 390 engine. Because of the design in cylinder head combustion chambers and valve placement, the engine well exceeded recommended CO² output and was banned in California. Although Ford continued to make the 360 available for that year model in their F-Series trucks they were on board with General Motors in improving volumetric efficiency at the design and manufacturing levels. How appropriate that many years before, with the invention of mass producing internal combustion engines, a similar revolution took place. What was once known as “white gas" was found to lack certain properties necessary to prevent engine run-on or pinging (piston knock) or both. In 1922 a Thomas Midgley working for General Motors discovered an inexpensive way to raise the octane rating of gasoline and improve the efficiency of an internal combustion engine. He found that adding a teaspoon of tetra-ethyl lead to a gallon of white gas would eliminate pinging and increase performance as much as 20%. What a great time to change the name of white gas to ethyl and add a pink die instead of the bronze and raise the price. By 1975 General Motors had added stainless steel valves and seats in their cylinder heads, a catalytic converter to all cars and some trucks and an HEI (High Energy Ignition) system, which likewise contributed to raising costs of both manufacturing and end users. Now the refineries got it right once more and took out the lead, phosphorous and other expensive additives which made a no-lead/reduced ocatne rating, called it unleaded and raised the price an additional 9 cents a gallon! Couple this with the 1973 oil embargo of OPEC and we have the invention of a new bumper sticker: Ration Government – Not Gas.

Of all the observable changes in my lifetime none has been more demonstrative than man’s insatiable desire to include him/herself into the realm of omniscience. I’m not certain if that is the result of changes in climate or simple ignorance of purpose. I am not God and do not wish to dole out imperatives for any individual or any grouping of such with an agenda for self-righteousness. So if I do not know what is good for you then I probably had better stick to what I believe is good for me. And the humor of this is simple. I just did my carbon footprint testing which resulted in solving an unfamiliar problem. I have been compared to someone in The United Kingdom. I would never dream of trading places with someone from any other part of this planet. I love it where I am because I have a purpose here. I’m not here to create matter or destroy it although I am capable of neither. Who is? I have an idea. The only thing that has changed in the past 4,000 years is the amount of stupidity the smartest of our population can display at a given point in time. Examples:

  1. Make a law that says only lawmakers can make laws and only they can break them. Here! Break this law - GRAVITY! Newton was right but he’s dead, too. Last I heard the mortality rate on this planet is still 100%. I have heard record of only a few who have found other ways to leave. Most politicians/lawmakers are too intelligent to fall for that one.

  2. Change the meaning of words to be the exact opposite of their true intent such as: “Of course I’ll respect you in the morning.” Not! “The check is in the mail.” Hah! And the ever popular, “Hi! I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

  3. One of my all time favorites is from The Wizard of Oz. “Disregard that man behind the curtain.” Imagine finding salvation to be as simple as discovering the door handle is on my side, not the other!

  4. Which leads to this – I am responsible for my behavior.

So how can my carbon footprint be 7 in Western Colorado but over 5,000 when I get combined with a population more than 7,000 miles away not counting the loss of elevation to sea level?

I give up!

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