Global Warming vs. Nothing to worry about

September 22, 2008 at 1:56 pm 5 comments

give way sign

A convenient lie..?
I was chatting with an intelligent and affable colleague the other day about global warming. I tended towards the orthodox view that we’ve had it, he believes global warming isn’t man made; just one part of a long history of normal global variations.

Despite the weight of evidence, even then perhaps we cant be absolutely sure, but this apparently absurd counter argument made me realise something important and settled the issue in my mind. I said this:
The thing is, if the global warming argument is wrong then we all clean up our acts and nothing changes then so what? But if we don’t change anything and they were right then it’ll be way too late to fix the problem. You don’t gamble with the ground beneath your feet or the air you breathe so there is really only one choice. Act.
You and I know that most people would rather NOT change if confronted with a choice. So on that basis which theory would you think will be most supported for the wrong reasons?
Trouble is we are mostly still debating it (and i include myself in this category) when its really action time. I do three not particularly common significant things to cut down my CO2 usage on top of the things you’re supposed to do anyway but I dont really do enough either.

Entry filed under: environment. Tags: .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Free Environment Blogs » - “global warming”  |  September 22, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    […] Global Warming vs. Nothing to worry about By icesculpture I was chatting with an intelligent and affable colleague the other day about global warming. I tended towards the orthodox view that we?ve had it, he believes global warming isn?t man made; just one part of a long history of normal … Rob’s Weblog – […]

  • 2. mick  |  September 22, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    The problem is that cleaning up involves forcing people to change their lifestyles and regulating every part of their lives, as almost everything a civilized person does involves carbon.

    And somehow i dont think the regulations will end with the crisis.

    It is important whether the co2 connection is real because we are facing a dramatic and permanent reduction in our liberties and standard of living if we must act

  • 3. icesculpture  |  September 23, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Yeah fair comment Mick, the change will be profound and I airbrushed over that a bit. But perhaps there is a “third way” between doing nothing and going back to the Middle ages.

    Perhaps the rich bit of the human race can “shape up” a bit. Less luxury such as junk food, cheap flights loads of cars, disposable everything. We have too much stuff anyway. I’d miss it but I’d adjust. Hang on to the good stuff, access to information, 21st century healthcare etc.

    Finally we need a way of saying to the developing world – look we got it waaay wrong, so here’s what not to do without being patronising.

    But talk (and text) is cheap. I cant imagine modern carbon crazies surrendering all their status symbols. How you make less seem like more to people is something i have no idea how to achieve without resorting to extreme measures. I hope there are smarter people than me thinking about it.

  • 4. Jeff  |  September 25, 2008 at 2:19 am

    You’re asking people to accept as true, the unprovable hypothesis that man causes global warming. The planet has been hotter in the past, colder in the past. It will be hotter in the future and cooler, as well. That’s factual. Yet, you’re asking people to voluntarily pay huge increases to their cost of living, to make major adjustments to their way of life, ‘just in case’ the GW science is right.

    And while telling us to accept unprovable truths and pay our money, you deride anyone who speaks out against what they see as flaws in the science. Mainstream GW research is funded by billions from government grants to support the unprovable hypothesis. No ‘acceptable’ funding exists for reserach on alternative hypothises (assumptions) as to the causes of GW. Thus, if an Energy company or a ‘conservative think tank’ throws a couple of million into this void to search for alternative causes, you reject the motives of the scientists who use such money for research. It’s tainted, and thus so must be the research it paid for. ‘Let’s turn out these rogue scientists! They also probably said that second hand smoke doesn’t really kill thousands of babies every year!’

    And for the past ten years, as CO2 has risen, global temperature have NOT….that is, unless you rely on Hansen’s numbers while ignoring many other sources which disagree with Hansen.

    And while telling us to accept unprovable truths and pay our money, only energy companies and their puny contributions have supported research to look for other possible causes of GW. All we hear is ‘shut up and pay up… us’, from government, scientists, environmentalist, the media, as well as from companies out to make fortunes in the new GW industry

    If GW turns out not to be real, it will be impossible to dismantle the industry that has us paying through the nose to stop that which we have no control over. We’ll be stuck. Locked in and paying trillions to the monster created to tilt at the GW windmill (…’just in case…’). We’re told we have to rush into the dismantling of our cheap energy sources as a solution to the unprovable truth because, although we cannot prove it, GW COULD get out of hand…GW MIGHT be unstoppable, GW MAY kill us, IF allowed to continue…, GW studies SUGGEST, INDICATE, APPEAR TO BE, SPECULATE, POSSIBLY, PERHAPS, or INDICATE that we we are doomed unless we act quickly. We hear that thriving Polar Bear populations COULD be endangered, that cow farts MIGHT (with their potent methane gases) make GW even worse, or that some species MAY not be able to expand their range for food as they have done in the past.

    The net result to most people is that you guys don’t seem too certain of what you’re talking about, else why the whimpy hedging on these scary pronouncements? Most people believe that GW science can’t support definitive statements. We know that the science cannot prove these alarmist claims…but can only SUGGEST that they are true.

    ‘Ah, shut up and give us your money. Now.’ Most people think it’s baloney. They don’t say so, they just go about their everyday lives. Alarmist’s cries of doom become even more shrill in an attempt to get people to cross over to their cause.

    By the way, I heard that the new edition of Farmer’s Almanac says it’s VERY LIKELY POSSIBLE we’re in for a hard Winter. Yikes! The ‘Almanac is usually right.

  • 5. Rob  |  March 17, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Hi Jeff,

    Didnt respond immediately as you raise so many points that deserve a reasonable response – then i got busy and it didnt get done. Hope i didnt appear rude.

    You’re obviously a smart guy with reasoned agruments – my point though is essentially a gambling scenario, a human situation not a scientific one. THere is a phrase; “reasonable doubt” we’ve both indicated this on both sides of the argument. My point is if there is even a shread of doubt we cant risk it.

    Nobody really knows for sure. Global warming has become a paranoia whipped up by the media and based partly on guilt for some people – 1 Porsche = 1 Ford plus $30,000 you could use to save the lives of your fellow man. Deep down even in the most cynical hotshot that guilt just takes a fraction of 1% off the fun of swinging the pen*is extension in public.

    So my point is you and I and most other people dont know enough about the facts – for every argument there is a counter argument – we are information poor. This is why we have no choice but to trust our scientific community who presumably have more information. And that should bother anyone because although I trust science to keep the plane I sit in out of the sea we as a race dont do so well when it comes to seeing the big picture. I readily concede that public opinion does effect the amount of money available to research that opposes the conventional view.

    Finally all I know is this, forget science. In order for us in the west to over-consume somebody else has to go without, for us to be rich somebody else has to be poor – its economics. And we all know, we learn by experience, if you over indulge in any way there are ramifications, its a universal rule. You dont have to be a scietist to know this. In the back of our minds we know that there will one day be consequencies, social, scientific, environmental.

    Oh and beware the argument about cream rising to the top or the religious tendency to say people get what they deserve: The human world is not a meritocracy – poor doesn’t mean stupid or less able, its a consequence of where on the planet you are born.


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