Global warming - should we welcome it?

Global warming is a bad thing. Or is it? Compared to the status quo – which is all we have to compare things with - it would seem to be fraught with problems.

But the status quo is not an option, because the climate is always changing if you think in thousands, rather than tens of years, and very recently – only twelve thousand  years ago  - it was very cold indeed with ice-sheets covering the UK. Most of Europe had a climate not dissimilar to Greenland today.  This was preceded by a warm phase that was in turn preceded by another ice age. If this pattern of oscillation between hot and cold is a regular one then we should now be looking down the barrel of a cold phase that would leave most of the world outside the tropics marginal if not uninhabitable.

What has stopped this happening? Well it looks as if might well be the man-made carbon emissions that started with the widespread introduction of agriculture and which has dramatically accelerated since industrialization and the global burning of fossil fuels. It is probably this warming that has prevented another Ice Age.

Is that such a bad thing?

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