GAMBLING has consequences - whether it is a card game or making energy policy.
Engineers, scientists, and physicists around the world continue their efforts to define the role of carbon dioxide, or CO2, in climate change and wrestle with whether the condition is man-made or occurring naturally.
But first a quick reminder from our science classes: CO2 emissions come from bodies of water, the exhausts of cars and trucks, heating, power generation, volcanic activity, respiration, and deforestation, among other sources.
These emissions have been typically absorbed by land masses and oceans or transformed into oxygen by plants through a process known as photosynthesis.
Since the industrial revolution there are more emissions entering the atmosphere than can be absorbed or transformed; therefore, the level of CO2 has been on the rise.
Some will argue that recent levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, measuring 400 parts per million are a prelude to an environmental catastrophe.
Their climate models predict that rising CO2 levels will cause higher global temperatures which they assert will result in hurricanes, rising ocean levels, droughts, and other disasters.
On the other side of the argument, researchers contend that plant life hungers for CO2 concentration higher than at the present and that humans are able to accommodate greater levels.
These scientists also demonstrate graphically the flaws in their opponents' climate models.
Both sides agree however that 96 percent of all CO2 emissions occur naturally and man-made sources make up the rest.
The United Nations has been at the forefront of this debate and recently released an updated, fifth edition of their IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) findings. Portions of the assessment have sent shock waves through this debate.
For example, the IPCC and other experts have noted either collectively or independently that despite the increased level of atmospheric CO2:
1. Both the Arctic and Antarctica sea ice are expanding, not contracting,
2. For the next 70 years, i.e. until 2083, the benefits of climate change will likely outweigh the harm.
3. Since the mid-1970s, global temperatures have increased merely 0.25 degrees Centigrade despite the climate models used by environmental alarmists that forecast temperatures four and seven times higher.
To its credit the United Nations is walking back some of its previous environmental warnings embodied in earlier IPCC reports, lowering its alarm level, and suggesting more research is necessary.
In essence a "time out" may be warranted.
But this has not deterred the Obama Administration in its relentless pursuit of an ideologically motivated energy policy.
Just this month the EPA announced yet another controversial regulation that would prevent America from constructing any new coal-fired power plants.
This rule was proudly announced even though U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy acknowledged that enforcing its compliance would result in "negligible" reductions in CO2 levels.