During summer solstice, many cultures celebrate the longest day of the year with festivities and feasts. In terms of energy usage, summer is definitely a season to be reckoned with – homes are running at full blast with air conditioning units, and factories are at full capacity.
In the winter, however, it’s a whole other story in terms of energy usage – many people simply don’t use their heaters or wear more clothing to stay warm. It seems as though we have everything pretty much balanced out when it comes to our energy consumption over the seasons, but where does all of this energy originate?
It’s been pretty clear for scientists that the earth is rapidly heating up and contributing to global warming, so are we just overheating on a massive scale? According to Dr. Tim Patterson, professor emeritus of geology at Carleton University in Ottawa and past president of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, the heating and cooling processes themselves are explainable without pointing fingers at humans.
In a CBC interview from 2009, Patterson explains that in studying ice crystals, he has found that the earth actually cools down on its own every 1,500 years by producing more ice crystals than usual during winter months, resulting in a “little ice age”.
The earth’s temperature is directly related to the sun’s intensity, which varies in a natural cycle. Over time, this variation will change the climate and cause an ice age or a “little ice age,” as well as warming cycles that have happened before.
Patterson believes that the Earth has experienced several ice ages and warming periods all on its own, and that humans certainly have not been around long enough to cause any of these changes.
“I have concluded we cannot blame either [the last two major climate shifts] on carbon dioxide,” Patterson explained during the CBC interview. “In the case of the Medieval Warm Period, that was a global warming and the climate then cooled dramatically in what we call the Little Ice Age, it probably did not have anything to do with us at all.”
When asked if he thought human activities could be contributing to these changes, Patterson said “No. I think they’re just simply ignoring natural processes.”
“We are just beginning to understand the implications of what those natural processes really mean, and how we should adapt rather than try to stop those natural processes,” he said.
We’ve also learned that Canada has a long history of energy usage. “The province of Ontario alone produces more power than the country of Ireland, and Canadian companies are major global players in the petroleum industry.”
It would seem as though Canada is doing its part to mitigate any environmental damage by using sustainable resources and harnessing our power here at home. However, the article’s main point is that human beings are not to blame for global warming – these changes have been happening long before we existed, and probably by natural causes alone.
“We have enough data available to us now,” Patterson says in the CBC interview, “so there is no need for us to go around thinking we can do something about it. Nature has been doing these things all the time.”
In conclusion, human beings cannot be blamed for climate change, it’s a natural occurrence that will happen regardless of what human beings do or do not do, according to Patterson.