Friday, February 09, 2007

Bad Sign

You know the kind of dead-brained tripe you're about to read when a article on global warning starts with:
In one of the coldest weeks on record in the Washington region...
It's like starting an article about evolution with:
Do you think that you could find a Lamborghini, fully-formed, in the middle of the rainforest and suggest that it just grew there by chance?"
Tom ends his comment with a policy suggestion that sure makes me glad that he got kicked out of a position of power in my government:
Here's a good idea. Instead of spending all that taxpayer money on a committee without any authority, the House Democrats should adopt a baby polar bear instead.
Riight. Good one, Tommy. And you want to influence how we raise our fucking kids? Get your goddamned hands off the vulnerable minds of this nation, you bastard.


  1. Well said. Your use of the term "bastard" is, as always, wonderful.

  2. DeLay's a tool, but he's harmless and discredited, so who cares. I think we've reached a point where the game is up for deniers of global warming, in both the scientific and political arenas. With a few exceptions, US politicians in the Senate and the House are now acknowledging that global warming is a problem; even Bush begrudgingly says so.

    I think the dialogue is beginning to shift away from the debate over whether global warming is a problem, and toward the bigger question of what to do about it. This is truly the space program of our time, and governments have a responsibility to tap the best scientific minds to tackle the problem. Unfortunately, that won't be enough. We will all need to make sacrifices, and that's the hard but essential message to get across--we are all complicit in global warming, and we all need to willfully adjust our behavior in order to fight it.

    A hard thing to do in a culture that views consumption as a virtue.

  3. I sure hope you're right - about DeLay being harmless and about the Bush Administration starting to listen to and acknowledge the evidence for global warming.

    Part of me feels that TomDelay is just another head of a evidence-denying, corporation-worshipping hydra, and that he is just now "of a body" with Michelle Malkin, Mark Noonan, Jonah Goldburg, Charles Krauthammer,etc, etc, etc, etc. Individually, they can be discredited over and over and over again, and yet their voices are still brought in to represent that perfectly-divided-in-half "both sides of a story."

    I'm assuming you saw Jonah's op-ed "Global Warming Costs Too Much?" In the LA Times?

    Still some work to do here.

    And very good point about how hard reversing global warming is "in a culture that views consumption as a virtue."

    And, one more link, here's a skeptical post from ThinkProgress about the white house's "Open Letter" the other day about how Bush has "consistently" acknowledges the human role in global warming...

  4. On second thought, that Jonah Goldburg article could be a herald of a new approach. No more denial of the existence of human-caused climate change ("but what these scientists don't realize is that nature moves in natural cycles! bwahahahah!!"), but a simpler shift to "yeah, but it's too expensive to fix."

    That seems like a much easier wall to knock down.

    Business has never been able to truly follow their "as cheaply as we can" dream. No more slaves, no more child-labor, laws against unsafe conditions, monopoly laws, etc. There's no conceptual shift at all for them to have to face the issue that carbon output is not an aspect of business that deserves laissez-faire.

  5. I agree on all counts. There's still a lot of work to do, and that former nay-sayers like Bush aren't exactly towing the line on global climate change.

    Jonah Goldberg's article is just silly, really, and I think even his most unfeeling readers would acknowledge that--not to mention LA's growing subculture of Prius drivers. He acknowledges that global warming is a serious problem (sort of), but suggests we do nothing about it until science magically solves the problem for us. Okay, let's just not spend a dime on this for now and wait until scientists working from their basements in their spare time develop cheap hydrogen alternatives. Is that how science works? Funding leads to progress, Jonah, and although ethanol may not be the answer, at least it's an idea.

    I also disagree with the way he characterizes technological development as a money-drain. The world wants non-polluting low-emission technologies, and there's a crapload of money to be made by US corporations, and our own government, if we can develop cheap energy alternatives. Why not help out these companies? The oil industry already gets sweetheart deals and tax incentives; what if we did the same (and more) for alternative technology producers? I can tell you this: California wants in.

    There's also the question of American leadership on this issue. It would be the height of hypocrisy for the US to chide India and China on global warming while it sits on its hands and does nothing about it. It's ridiculous to tell developing nations that the party's over and it's time to sober up while you continue to swig vodka in the corner. The richest nations in the world got us into this mess, and I feel they have a responsibility to lead the way in reducing emissions and developing clean technologies. Isn't it abundantly clear that there's going to be a massive market for this stuff? Hybrid, anyone?

    To take a break from Jonah, it seems like environmental causes gain momentum when people begin to associate human or industrial activity with negative consequences in their own lives. Maybe this is an obvious point, that people take notice when their lives are affected. The hard part, though, is identifying the cause. As evidence mounts that global warming is leading to an increased frequency of severe hurricanes, for example, I think the public starts questioning human activity and what can be done to avert catastrophe. Katrina may or may not be related to global warming, but the idea is out there that Katrina-like storms will become more common as global warming increases. Insurance companies are taking note, and so are politicians and the general public. The point is this: the devastation has already begun, and you can see it all around the world. I think that's a message that is beginning to be heard.

    On a humorous note, the current leader of the Liberal Party of Canada has a dog named "Kyoto." Kyoto is a big white husky.