Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Week in Denialism

Those of you who are worried about climate change clearly don't have Dan K. Thomasson's grasp of the imaginary past:

Not so terribly long ago most everything bad seemed to be blamed on one of three things -- the press, the atomic bomb or sunspots. But that changed when someone discovered global warming, aided of course, by computers that spewed out the dire consequences as toxic as the greenhouse gasses the true believers saw as the major culprit.
Yessir. I mind it was back in ought-six, folks 'round here was all het up 'bout sunspots. Said it was a judgment on us for havin' a pianny in the church. 'Course, all us old-timers knowed it was magnytism what had reduced convection in part o' the photosphere, but they turned a deef ear to us. Burned down half the churches in the county, 'fore we finally rounded 'em up and hung 'em to a tree.

These here computers is no differnt. Once they gits an idear, they take it for God's Own Truth. I tell you what, I wouldn't have one o' them things up my ass if I had room for a sawmill.

Just in case this homespun wisdom hasn't convinced you to be "cautious" about assessing AGW, here's another good stiff dose:
It seems to be accepted theory that unless the industrial nations of the world unite to plug the holes in the ozone, we are all going to end up toast.
Thomasson's thinking of CFCs, which the industrial nations of the world united to phase out some years ago, with heartening results. Things have come to a pretty pass when journalists can't even remember which environmental problem they're trying to downplay.

The Delco Daily Times notes that human beings exhale CO2. Why is this important? Read on, and find out.
Given that CO2 is the stuff that every human being on the planet exhales with every breath we take, mark us up as concerned about what the EPA might propose....

[I]t is no more reasonable to call carbon dioxide a “pollutant” than it is to refer to the human race as “a virus.”
Absolutely right. Anything that comes out of a human being is harmless in any amount, which is why we should be allowed to dump raw sewage in rivers and reservoirs. Anyone who says otherwise clearly hates humanity.

The DDT isn't actually stupid enough to believe that the EPA is going to regulate breathing, of course. But isn't it fun to imagine that sort of behavior, and then get angry about it? (This reminds me of my gay neighbors, who often rape children in their basement. Although I invented this accusation just now, and have no evidence for it, it does communicate the severity of the problem, don't you think?)

Congress will probably not impose any strict regulations any time soon. But what if "the mere threat of the regs will cause any economic recovery to be slower in coming"? Why, that'd practically be tyranny!
Such power, in the hands of one agency and one administration, is breath taking.

Maybe that’s the idea.
Fighting a conspiracy of this magnitude will require uncommon imagination, foresight, and self-sacrifice, so it's only natural that we should turn to the Detroit News for guidance:
Congress should take due notice of the EPA's finding about carbon dioxide and then write legislation that saves jobs and the economy.
I like this approach a lot. I believe I'll take "due notice" of my doctor's advice on reducing my alcohol intake, and then pour myself another glass of bourbon. In parlous times like these, sticking with robotic fixity to business as usual has become a revolutionary act. I know not what others may choose, but I prefer to die on my knees, drunk and retching and free, than on my feet, sober and thirsty and resentful.

Richard A. Epstein doesn't believe that more is always better when it comes to CO2. However, the conclusion he draws from this may surprise you.
[M]ost people find it a bit odd to take after poor CO2 as a pollutant when its presence in the atmosphere is a necessary element to sustain life on earth. The rub is that too much carbon dioxide might choke the environment--assuming we could find that tipping point, which looks more uncertain with each passing day.
Despite the difficulty of finding this tipping point through any other method than trial and error, the fact remains that "no sane libertarian favors death by asphyxiation." This is excellent news, because it means that we have a pretty good chance of reaching a bipartisan compromise.

The IPCC wants to avoid disastrous warming by stabilizing CO2 at roughly 450ppm, and "sane libertarians" want to avoid asphyxiation by keeping it below, say, 80,000ppm. Obviously, a politically acceptable number lies somewhere in between. All we have to do now is find it.


Jazzbumpa said...

Ah, Phila -- perhaps you are too young to remember the 70's, when fear of sun spots really was all the rage. Some even thought it would be the demise of CB radio. However, I think CB died a slow, quiet death of natural causes.

And, can we be sure - I mean really, totally sure, to the very depths of our hungry souls - that the human race is not a virus? I mean Susan Boyle has gone viral. Can Henry Purcell be far behind?

Well, it's getting late in my time zone. I think I'll leave the consideration of the vague possibility of "sane libertarians" (oh, my - that is so cute) for another time.

Larkspur said...

Oh noes. Will we have to "triangulate" between the IPCC and the libertarians to find a "number". I add square quotes because those are math terms, and math is hard, and also I'm not sure math even exists.

By the way, I am commenting on Earth Day (Earth says Howdy) and the happy little Google sprites have made a pretty Earth Day logo out of Google, as they often do, and I think that in the water portion, there are fishes and coral...but maybe, maybe a nudibranch.

Finally, the little girl in the dandylion photo: the dandylion fluff is trying to spell something, some kind of message. But I am not sure what it is. How will the fluff fulfill its destiny? Oh wait. It will possibly germinate or something. Dandylions don't really exist for me me me. It's a Earth thing.