God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen - Jars of Clay - listen now

Thursday, September 8, 2005


Oh no! Its scary urgent and nothing we are doing now is working! We're doomed, we're doomed!

Oh for god's sake ... give it a rest already. Look at some of the phrases they use:

  • "Our findings suggest the soil part of the equation is scarier than we had thought..."
  • "The consequence is that there is more urgency about doing something."
  • "These losses thus completely offset the past technological achievements
    in reducing CO2 emissions,..."
There is some good news here though, this study is further proof that the Kyoto Protocals are a boondogle:

International efforts like the Kyoto protocol, which came into effect in February this year, have been aimed at stopping climate change by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere by industry.

But those efforts don't take into account carbon trapped in soil, about 300 times the amount released each year by burning fossil fuels.


bp 9/08/2005 02:38:00 PM  

Perhaps the language used is over the top, but, what counter-evidence have you suggested? Yes, yet one more pile of scientific data pointing to trends that appear to be leading toward climate change. Yet more. Not less, not even uncertainty.

The scientific community (read: those who study the problem with an intent to find out what's going on, not those who are paid to find a way to re-explain the work that others are doing) has stopped discussing *if*, and moved on to *how bad* and *when*.

prismwarden 9/08/2005 04:34:00 PM  


It's not a matter if it's happening. It most likely is. What is important is trying to understand the human contribution vs historic climactic cycles. Even in the last few thousand years, we've had very erratic shifts in weather, whether its the warm period that allowed northern civilizations like those on the Orkney Islands to flourish, or the palpable chill that crossed the northern hemisphere during the Middle Ages.

People complain about fossil fuels, but as this study suggests, no matter what kind of treaty we pass, the earth is going to do as it will. If we suddenly stopped using all oil-based fuel tomorrow, there's a very real possibility that it won't make a dent in climactic shifts.

We don't know. And as long as we don't know, there is no reason to give in to the almost religious masturbatory fantasies of left-wing environmental groups by wrecking western economies (I say western, because no one's lookin to clamp down on China or India in all this, where quite a bit of the pollution comes from).

bp 9/08/2005 06:44:00 PM  

The economy! Won't someone please think of the economy!

Please. The economy knows how to adapt. I suspect the reason so much money is being put into anti-environmental activism has more to do with business models than anyone really doubting the impact of our actions on the planet.

Yes, there have been climate change "lately" in a geological sense. But we've got over 6 billion people on the planet now, and, I'd venture, most of us would rather there wasn't a mass die-off (if only because a couple of billion people desperate for resources can be a *tad* bit violent). Still, there's never been anywhere near as many greenhouse gases in the air as there are going to be in short order. We're on track for million-year records for parts-per-million of carbon, for example (see here for the first google result related).

Just as no one knows what'll happen for sure if we don't change our energy policies, we can't tell what will happen to the economy if we were to, say, adopt Kyoto. It's pretty likely, though, that a little would go a long way. And Kyoto *does* improve on operations in the third world.... even as we speak! (Don't believe me? Here's a recent article, but it's just one of the many many examples.). Perish the thought that some of the money we spend waging wars or just plain buying oil overseas might be put toward research... maybe we'd even find we don't need oil anymore, 'cause it's cheaper to use alternative, renewable, local energy sources.

In any case, this particular example is not an "oh please" situation. It's a research result, that's internally consistent with the problem. It points out that we might just be in a much *worse* situation than we're arguing about. But, I guess it's easier to ignore that, and just reframe the point of the article for your own good.

Kevin 9/08/2005 08:06:00 PM  

BP - You've exaggerated a bit. The article about the panel discussion on global warming (which impressively included the inventor of CO2, Al Gore) said we are on track for a 430,000 year high of C02 parts per million. Not the 1 million year high you referenced.

430,000 years out of 6 billion is a microsecond on the geological clock. For all we know we'll be shivering through an ice age in 50 years. In fact, if you do a bit of research you'll find that during the 1970's experts like Dr. Stephen Schneider warned of an impending ICE AGE because of atmospheric pollutants.

As for the article about Bangladesh, all it proves is that Kyoto is a boondoggle. It allows industrialized countries like Holland to go in and do some basic (relatively) inexpensive cleanup in a third world country and get rich selling the carbon credits to other countries so they can keep on polluting at the same level. Kyoto only shifts the so called CO2 pollutants around - it doesn't decrease them.

What is the moral of the story? Man is just as much a part of nature as anything else. So is C02. Mother Nature does as Mother Nature wants and our control and influence over her is negligible. Should we be good stewards of the environment? Absolutely. Are we a plague on the face of the earth? Absolutely not.

prismwarden 9/08/2005 09:10:00 PM  

Thinking of the economy means thinking about the world's poor. Many third world nations need to undergo rapid industrialization in order to drag themselves out of the pit of poverty and disease they currently find themselves in. As QC noted, the Kyoto protocols allow already rich nations to shift credits to their own benefit, neither cleaning up pollution, nor particularly improving the economic concerns of poorer states.

Unfortunately, the environmental movement engages in a religious-like hysteria, and has for a very long time. First, it was catastrophic starvation that was supposed to arrive by the 80s. Then it was a destructive ice age. Now, global warming will bring about a Day After Tomorrow scenario where billions are killed in storms of almost deific power.

Like most religious fanatics standing on the corner of Jackson and Fifth with their "The End is Coming!" signs, they are deterred neither by objective accuracy nor changing science. When we're not all under water in twenty to fifty years, we'll be under yet a new threat that will destroy us all! It seems there is never any shortage of Doomsday scenarios. And this from self-described secularists.

We have a far more thorough understanding of how economies work than we do of long term global climate change. Right now, we have a lot of educated and uneducated guesses. The earth has warmed and cooled at far more rapid rates than we are currently seeing. It seems the fact there is *any* change is cause enough for the alarmists.

On the issues of global warming, people speak with a lot more *certainty* than the science suggests. We don't *know*. And if we don't know, you cannot seriously suggest these nonsensical treaties with very real economic consequences. You may scoff at that, but when economies sink it is the poor, the impoverished, and the sick who die off first.

Now that isn't very progressive at all.

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