Battle lines: Is global warming a crisis?

Tom Costigan and RaeLynn Ricarte

This week the Statesman-Examiner installed a new feature to its opinion page called Battle Lines, where two writers express their opposing opinions about a hot-topic issue. The opening topic is around climate change.

Tom Costigan – Deer Park Tribune Editor
It is hard to not make the case that our planet is in the grips of the dire impact of global warming and its appearance has had an across-the-board negative impact.
Despite the bombastic boasts by a few who dismiss global warming out of hand, an overwhelming number of scientists worldwide agree that the planet’s climate is being influenced by what some people would consider a slight rise in temperature.
Most countries have also expressed global warming concerns since the United Nations’ first Earth Summit in 1992.
The biggest reason for the temperature increase, according to most scientists, is the surge in planet’s human population and the increase in subsequent human activities, mainly the burning of fossil fuels.
It would be hard for anyone to argue that more fossil fuel is being burned today than at anytime in the earth’s history.
It is calculated that the earth’s atmospheric temperature has risen by 1.4 degrees in the last 100-plus years.
The rise in global temperatures have severely impacted sea levels. It is hard not to argue that the 12.5-inch rise in sea levels along the Texas coast since 1963 can, in part, be attributed to the rise in the earth’s temperature.
More than half of the rising water levels are tied to melting land ice. Unfortunately, most of the melted ice finds its way into the oceans and not into freshwater sources.
The lack of freshwater supplies has been tied to new and expanded desert biomes and the increase frequency of large wildland and large vegetation fires.
The Union of Concerned Scientists said there were about 140 large (more than 1,000 acres) wildland fires in the United States in the 1980s. The number grew to 160 a decade later. Currently, the annual average is around 250.
The average wildland fire season has also grown from 5 to 7 months over the last 40 years.
The National Interagency Fire Center reported that from Jan. 1-Sept. 12, 2019 there have been 36,286 wildfires. Those fires have consumed about 4.3 million acres.
Nationwide, property loss attributed to wildland fires has totaled more than $5.1 billion over the past decade.
Fire is not the only part of society impacted by the rise in global temperatures. Agriculture is also feeling the effects, especially in less-than-developed countries.
The rise in temperatures, especially at night, has negatively impacted rice yields. While this may not seem like a big deal in the United States, more than 1 billion people worldwide depend on rice for their main food staple.
Mosquitoes will also become more prevalent worldwide. While the insect is seen as little more than an irritant in this country, in less-developed countries, they are one of the main carriers of diseases.
The make-up the oceans have started to be altered. Plankton blooms, a major food supply to many fish species, are becoming less common in some areas, disrupting food chains and normal carbon cycles.
Global warming has also had impact on the polar bear population. Earlier this year, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) estimated that there were only 22,000-31,000 polar bears left in the world, with the main factor in the decrease being the loss of the bears’ sea ice habitat.
Currently, polar bears were listed as a threatened species in the United States under the Endangered Species Act.
All of these environmental concerns have a direct link to global warming, a situation that is becoming harder to ignore almost daily.
— To reach Thomas Costigan, email

RayLynn Ricarte, Statesman-Examiner Editor
Stop eating cheeseburgers if you want to help end global warming, at least that’s what Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic presidential hopeful, and the activist left are saying.
Apparently, replacing red meat in your diet with insects is a much better option to lessen greenhouse emissions. Imagine calling the family to the table for a delicious stew of spiders, flies, ants and other household pests. You might be able to order more exotic insects online, but then you’d wipe out the carbon savings with transportation, so stick to what’s lurking around the floorboards.
There is a saying, “If a million people say a foolish thing, it’s still a foolish thing,” and that is exactly the problem with the climate change agenda. Yes, I said agenda. This politically motivated alarmism is causing real stress, people are actually seeking counseling to cope with fears about the end of the world. 
Shame on the socialists responsible for engineered science and all the malarkey being dispersed over the airwaves. Their true motivation is to end the free market system and give more power to the government for wealth redistribution.
The lies work because people seem to believe whatever they are told. If they bothered to check out the facts, they would quickly learn that climate alarmists HAVE NEVER BEEN RIGHT.
Remember Al Gore, the chief alarmist who lives in a mansion and flies around the country on a private jet telling people the sky is falling? His prediction on Dec. 14, 2008, that the North Polar Ice Cap would be completely ice free within five years obviously failed to come true. 
And then there was the warning by Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the United Nations Environment Program. He claimed that governments had a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it went beyond human control? That warning from 1989 was also completely wrong, but sounds eerily familiar, right?
Warnings about climate change causing extreme heat can also be discounted in the Northern hemisphere, where records for cold summers are being broken in some states, such as Minnesota, Colorado and Wyoming.
In fact, North America had one of its highest snowfall years in 2018.
The cooling trend isn’t just confined to the United States. India experienced snowfall in the Himalayan mountains during the first week of June, a very rare phenomenon for the middle of summer.
Japan’s monthly mean temperatures have shown no significant warming in 40 years.
In fact, satellite measurements have indicated no notable warming in the last two decades — unless you are to believe dire reports funded by Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg, top supporters of the Democratic Party, and other ideologues.
Eliminating fossil fuels and transitioning to a 100% renewable electric grid could cost as much as $5.2 trillion over two decades, according to a study by the conservative Heritage Foundation.
All of that expense would prevent .01 degrees Celsius of warming, admitted former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy when former president Barack Obama came up with his plan to “save us from an apocalyptic atmosphere.” Of course, that was before he bought his mansion on the beach of Martha’s Vineyard, which makes it difficult to take his predictions of rising seas to heart.
Climate change is a natural cycle and it is evil that elitists prey on fears to obtain their political agenda, especially when they don’t live by the standards they seek to impose on the rest of us.
— To reach RaeLynn Ricarte, email

Next week's topic will be on the impeachment inquiry leveled at Donald Trump. Find it in the Oct. 2 issue of the Statesman-Examiner.