At the Corner, Steven Hayward wonders if shifts in the earth’s magnetic field will be “The Next Big Thing among Eco-Apocalyptics?”
Several months ago, the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens offered up a column noting the inexorable collapse of the climate campaign and wondering what new eco-apocalyptic scare would be ginned up to replace it; he offered a steak or gourmet burger lunch to the reader who submitted the best idea. I suggested shifts in the earth’s magnetic field; Bret e-mailed back to say that several people had suggested this idea. (I’m not sure whether he ever declared a winner and served up the burger.)
The idea has been percolating among earth scientists for quite a while now. This NASA story from 2003, for example, shows how much the magnetic north pole has moved over the last 150 years. Looks like the idea is starting to catch on with the media, which means the popular imagination won’t be long in catching up. Maybe it already has: The first Hollywood movies about asteroids came out in the late 1990s, after astronomers began warning of their potential danger, and we’ve already had a couple of movies, such as The Core, that relate to the root cause of magnetic shift — changes in the hot molten-iron core of the earth. Trouble is, a complete collapse or sudden shift in the earth’s polarity might spell “game over” for life on planet earth (though this is in dispute).
There’s only one solution to rejigger the location of the earth’s magnetic field. Go ahead and jump:
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