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On climate change, the drought & the carving of Yosemite Valley
dennis mug

Extreme weather is bad, right?

I disagree.

And I do so when I'm:

• standing atop El Capitan overlooking Yosemite Valley.

• eating almonds grown in the San Joaquin Valley.

• hiking water-carved canyons in Death Valley.

Extreme weather married with other forces of nature much more powerful than anything man's imagination can come up with created the earth as we know it today.

Yosemite Valley was created in part by massive glaciers pulverizing granite ever so slowly over nearly 300,000 years.

The Great Central Valley - originally well below sea level - was formed by the forces of severe weather grinding down the Sierra.

Periods of violent weather provided the pounding needed to help sculpt Death Valley's seemingly endless canyons.

Keep this in mind as the debate heats up over global warming and the report issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that a La Nina weather oscillation derived from water currents and temperatures is the driving force behind California's current three-year drought and not manmade greenhouse gases.

For the past year or so climate change alarmists have been manning soapboxes contending the current drought is the result of our fossil fuel consumption. Even more rationale voices such as Gov. Jerry Brown have made references to global warming and climate change triggering the drought.

They've ignored long-established university studies based on tree ring research that shows California and the West Coast have been visited by numerous mega-droughts lasting as long as five decades during the last 500 plus years.

Such details didn't matter. Hysteria, after all, is more effective at getting people to stampede into action than education.

There are a lot of good reasons to reduce greenhouse gases including human health and the health of the environment.

That's not to say manmade greenhouse gases can't move nature's needle a bit. But back when the skies were much more sooty the weather wasn't going into the proverbial toilet.

Scientists can model all they want but they can't predict the exact course of nature over millions of years.

If they could, that means they could project exactly how the planet will look two million years from now whether it is geological shapes, temperature, or air composition. They can't.

Scientists predict one day the sun as we know it will cease to exist. That's based on research involving astronomy and physics. At the same time, though, earth will also cease to exist at one point as well.

In all likelihood this is something that no one is going to have to worry about any time soon.

But it does underscore the fact man isn't really as smart or as in control of the world as we think we are.

If we were, we'd be able to delineate with certainty how the earth will change and just when it will die with pinpoint accuracy.

The San Joaquin Valley's air - by federal research - is almost 50 percent cleaner than it was in 1990. The drive is on to make it even cleaner. The strategies being embraced under Assembly Bill 32 will make living a lot more expensive in the San Joaquin Valley - a region that the Congressional Research Office has dubbed America'a "New Appalachia."

Assembly Bill 32 was not a blueprint on how to go about reducing greenhouse gases. It was more like a blank check to government bureaucrats who answer to no one to drastically change our lives as we now know them.

It is not good to pollute. Almost every farmer knows that for without being a good steward of the land and resources they can't grow crops and support their families. Yet the hysteria caused in part by the Chicken Little contingent that is among those concerned with global warming threatens to impose rules that will not only undercut farming but how many earn paychecks to support their families.

Scientists will argue it makes no sense to put full faith in divine providence.

The faithful would counter entrusting science with all the answers is dangerous.

There is a middle ground.

The drought was being used by some to argue that global warming must trump all other government policies. And like true zealots they will continue to argue that's the case even as scientific research significantly downplays any connection between the state's severe drought and global warming.

There is little doubt water conservation must become a 24/7 thing for everyone, drought or no drought.

And taking steps to continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is critical for a repertoire of reasons that also induces global warming even if some scientists argue it has little or just a minuscule impact.

Moderation makes sense whether it is how we consume resources or how we regulate them.

And real lasting change in people's behavior and consumption habits is not brought about by running around screaming "the sky is falling down."
It is obtained by educating.

And as such, it is wrong to continue hammering away at the false claim that our current drought is the result of the "sins" we have visited upon the earth through global warming.

As for extreme weather of which some climate change alarmists contended the drought was the result of, bring it on.

It was extreme weather that ultimately gave us glacier-carved Sierra valleys and the fertile Great Central Valley.

This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Courier or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.