Save The Coal

Credit paralym – CC-BY-SA

It is good that we are reducing coal-burning. It is important that we don’t waste it because we are going to need it. Of course, there’s the point of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to curtail warming. We certainly don’t want to change the temperature of the atmosphere to the point where the climate regime changes. We humans have done very well in the current regime, which has been relatively stable during this ice age interegnum. We don’t know what a warmer climate will be like, at least not in any detail. We can look at past periods where the temperature was higher and form guesses based on what we can learn of what happened then. They will just be guesses, though. And even if we do manage to get close to understanding what happened in past ages where the temperature was higher, that won’t tell us what would happen this time. It’s not just the temperature that we need to take into account. It’s all the other factors, such as the shape of the Earth’s orbit around the sun, the inclination of Earth’s axis and the direction if its change, the inclination of the Earth’s orbit relative to the ecliptic and so on. All of those factors and more, and the various combinations of them go into creating Earth’s climate at any given time. For more detail see my series on the Milankovitch cycles, parts one, two, three, four and five. Or, if you want to save yourself some reading, have a look at this nine minute video.

So, it’s important that we don’t radically change the climate, but that’s not the only reason to save the coal. The real long-term reason is that we’re going to need it to prevent the next glaciation in this ice age. If we humans are to maintain our civilization beyond the next few years, we’re going to need a source of carbon dioxide to maintain a greenhouse effect sufficient to prevent the buildup of ice that is coming. If you read the Milankovitch posts noted above, you will learn that the factors involved in the cyclical changes in Earth’s climate are currently trending toward the next glaciation. The finer details show that it will be a relatively moderate one, but it will still be bad enough to severely affect the way we live. So we need to save as much coal as we can to keep ourselves warm.

So, please, save the coal.


About arjaybe

Jim has fought forest fires and controlled traffic in the air and on the sea. Now he writes stories.
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One Response to Save The Coal

  1. Anonymous says:

    That’s a fascinating idea. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone talk about that before.

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