A few days ago, I posted the following as a status update on Facebook:
“Stallion Cornell thinks Cap and Trade is a nifty opportunity to kick a moribund economy in the gut in order to have a negligible impact on the warming of a globe that’s been cooling for the past decade.”
As of this writing, there are 99 responses, and I have no doubt we’ll be breaking triple digits soon.
What’s interesting to me is that the vast majority of the responses focus on the third part of status – the one that questions the reality of global warming in the first place. In hindsight, that part was a mistake, because even if the globe is superheating and it’s all my fault, Cap and Trade won’t fix it. It won’t even put a tiny dent in it. It’ll cost two trillion dollars over the next ten years and accomplish nothing – best-case estimates concede it will slow warming by less than a tenth of a degree over fifty years. Nobody’s offered any rebuttal to that part, because there is no rebuttal. Cap and Trade will throw boatloads of money into a huge, fiery pit in order to make greenies feel good about themselves. Maybe yoga would be a better answer. It would certainly accomplish just as much.
But okay, let’s get back into the underlying assumptions about global warming, because that’s where the interest is. Daniel, who’s been the most articulate, passionate advocate for man-made global warming in the Facebook thread – and, I might add, the least ad hominem arguer – has posted the following cartoon on his Facebook page:
Consciously or not, he references this cartoon as he responds to one of my old posts on global warming, found here. Here’s what he said:
First stage: global warming isn’t happening. Second stage: global warming is happening, but humans aren’t causing it. Third stage: even if global warming is happening, and we’re causing it, there’s nothing we can do about it.
I refuse to accept this premise that these “stages” somehow reflect an appropriate way to think about global warming, or that one of these stages follows another.
We could argue whether it would be possible to cap emissions in already-industrialized nations, develop cleaner energy sources, and then export them to the developing world (which emits carbon in the meantime), and whether this would be possible without overly hurting the economy of the industrialized nations. But I get the sense from other conversations that you aren’t past the first stage anyway.
So what’s the point? If you want to have a discussion on whether global warming is really happening, or whether humans are causing it, I’d be happy to point you to some good sources of information.
The problem is that the science is almost always accompanied by an agenda – on both sides. Nobody ever questions the central premises. Isn’t a belching smokestack in Africa that provides fuel, jobs, and opportunity to hundreds of people a better thing than starvation accompanied by a low carbon footprint?