Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Local Benefits

To the Wall Street Journal, a missed business opportunity is the only real disaster:

Greenland represents one of the largely unrecognized paradoxes of global warming. In former Vice President Al Gore's recent film "An Inconvenient Truth," the melting of Greenland's ice cap, along with a similar cap in the Antarctic, is portrayed as one of the greatest threats of global warming. If the layers of ice and snow holding billions of tons of water were to melt, scientists warn that global sea levels would rise by 40 feet, submerging lower Manhattan, the Netherlands and much of California.

But to many of the people who live here in Greenland, the warming trend is a boon, not a threat.
You heard it here first: As worldwide disaster looms, a few self-obsessed sociopaths are excited at the prospect of cashing in. In the Never-Never Land of the WSJ, this is what passes for a ”largely unrecognized paradox.” In reality, of course, it’s precisely the same logic that brought us to our current state of affairs…the same logic that the WSJ has spent decades propping up with specious rhetoric, shoddy journalism, revisionist history, and moon-high piles of thinktank boilerplate.

After suggesting that a longer growing season in Greenland might be some kind of consolation-prize for the destruction of the financial nerve-centers along American and European coasts, the article goes on to concede that what’s good for the 57,000 people who live in Greenland may not actually be good for everyone else (the conclusion that it's accordingly not good for Greenlanders either remains tantalizingly out of reach):
Many climate scientists argue that any local benefits of the warming trend are more than offset by the global costs. One worry: That discussion of the benefits could undermine efforts to slow global warming.
Which benefits are scientists hesitant to discuss? The ones that are “more than offset by the global costs.” In other words, the imaginary ones.

How typical.
Still, there's no denying the good news for many Greenlanders. "If we are egoistic, we will be happy," says Mr. Motzfeldt.
Well, you can’t argue with that. No matter where in the world we look, we see that happiness follows egoism as surely as rain follows the plow.

It’s funny how the sort of self-aggrandizing superstition that makes people obsessively buy lottery tickets is ennobled when it becomes the basis of statecraft. Greenland is “determined” to profit from climate change. Telling these Greenlanders that climate change may not lead to stable, predictable weather – and that their fate remains tied to that of the wider world regardless - is like telling a "determined" lottery player that she faces the same odds every time she buys a ticket. It’s heresy against the power of human desiring, before which nature and facts are supposed to adapt or retreat.


@whut said...

Is that picture from Prague when they had the flooding a few years ago?

Phila said...


Not sure, actually...just dragged it off the Internets after doing an image search for floods.

Anonymous said...

damn. there are people in greenland?

i thought the wsj was going to go all lex luthor on us and recommend buying up inland real estate as it will soon be beachfront property.

juniper pearl said...

the man in the cubicle adjacent to mine told everyone he saw yesterday morning about the very interesting article he read explaining how global warming was great for reindeer farmers, which i assume was the same article you're kicking in the shins here. does anyone eat farm-raised reindeer outside of greenland? how can they present this situation as the other side of the global-climate coin? it's an entire planet vs. a bushel of apparent isolationists shouting "we won!" through mouthfuls of gamey fat. pretty lopsided coin. more like a cone, in fact.

that's not to say that i'm not in favor of reindeer. i'm squarely in their corner. but, you know, i like the other stuff too.

juniper pearl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Phila said...

it's an entire planet vs. a bushel of apparent isolationists shouting "we won!" through mouthfuls of gamey fat.

Oh my. I think I'm in love.

Anonymous said...

you are my hero.

Anonymous said...

pic is of budapest / flooding danube.