Global Warming: Center Stage

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.

That is to say, I can be skeptical of all these things at the same time!
1) I don’t doubt a warming trend over the past century, but I doubt that it’s inexorable and that it will never reverse itself without human intervention.
2) I also doubt that humans are capable of significantly altering global temperature one way or the other.
3) I don’t think “warm weather is a small price to pay.” I think, rather, that warmer temperatures are more hospitable to human life than colder temperatures. I would rather have lived during the Medieval Warming Period, when temperatures were several degrees higher than they are today, than during the Little Ice Age, when temperatures were much colder. Both of these phenomena, incidentally, were not caused by humans, and humanity adapted to both periods; it will also adapt to whatever the future holds.
Daniel continues:
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.

No, I’m not. And you know why? Because I would argue that we should industrialize as many nations as possible as quickly as possible, carbon emissions be damned. I’d go into these struggling, backwater, corrupt little countries and encourage them to mine and drill and burn huge, belching smokestacks filled with fossil fuels to bring them up to pace with where America is today. To me, anything else smacks of “We’ve got ours; screw everyone else.”
The question is one of priorities.
Environmental zealots, like all zealots, see their issue as of paramount importance, and see no other competing values. So if it costs two thousand dollars a year or every man woman and child in America to lower the globe’s temperature by a negligible amount, then dammit! It must be done! Lower standards of living, lower life expectancies, and more disease and famine in the developing world? Those are a small price to pay to set the global thermostat to exactly where it is today, which is somehow the optimum global temperature for reasons I can’t fathom.
I see the lower standard of living and am appalled, regardless of the high-minded intentions of those who unwittingly contribute to them with their environmental zealotry.
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?

37 thoughts on “Global Warming: Center Stage”

  1. Sod global warming, the world’s population will have quadrupled in 100 years. And it’s your fault!

    Think of the famine in Africa the next time you have sex.

  2. The problem with debating political issues like Cap & Trade, is that they’re supported by Global Warmists who have an irrational emotional investment in the pseudoscience.

    For them, we have to do something, and cap & trade is something, even if those of us who are rational understand that it is in fact nothing.

    So the believers will instead argue to support their belief in a warming globe, because certain political factions have based so much of their platform on this house of cards. Without it, their platform comes tumbling down.

  3. 70 degrees sounds good to me. And you must post on Al Franken. I’m a little depressed over that, just because, and you make me smile. Who knew Steward Smalley would one day be in government. And THANK YOU dear Mr. Cornell, for the Beavis and Butthead video. It has been many years since I’ve enjoy those mind-nummers. I may have to torment my husband today with a Beavis impersonation or two…

  4. Where are you, SC? Out there having a lovely summer while some of us are suffering with pregnancy sickness and would appreciate the diversion that is your blog. Shame on you!! If you want to stay “in the hearts of all decent folk,” you better got on the stick, Mister! Sarah Palin! Obama care! Harry Potter, for goodness sake! There is plenty of fruit-meat, so please get blogging!

  5. “Abandoned blogs are directly proportional to honest work.”

    - Stumpy Skloozum’s Seventh Theory of Internet Immortality

  6. I must say, it’s fun to read all the miscellaneous comments that have been posted once Stallion stopped posting. I think this is Stallion’s diabolical plot to see just how loyal his followers are.

    So here’s my suggestion: clearly, people are checking back here regularly. Just how random can we get until Stallion returns? Come on, Stallion afficionados, I know we have it in us. Let’s get random and keep this blog alive until Stallion reclaims his legacy.

    My initial contribution: I challenge anyone to give me an example of an efficiently run government program. Lacking such evidence, what makes Pres. Obama think that government run health care would be efficient?

  7. Would you call the IRS efficient? I wouldn’t. In my dealings with them (which thankfully have been fairly limited), I found them to be cumbersome, slow, and difficult to deal with. Now, did they eventually get done what was needed in my case? Yes, they did. However, it was a tedious and painful process, which is what I’m afraid government health care would be like.

  8. Ah, but you were trying to get your money back. That’s not their problem. It’s your problem. While you were going through the channels, they were getting interest on your money.

  9. Actually, they paid me interest. They screwed up, took two months to correct it, and finally paid up, with interest. Definitely not an efficient organization.

    Still, does the IRS give you confidence that the government can run health care efficiently? It doesn’t make me confident at all.

  10. Interesting about the interest. My point is that I do believe that they are very efficient in separating you from your money and sniffing out any money you may have. Dealing with the public / customer service issues is not their core competency.

    If ICE were as efficient at finding illegals as the IRS is at finding our money, all the landscapers in the US would be out of business in a week.

  11. You still haven’t answered my core question: Do you think the government can run health care efficdiently? I don’t. And increased efficiency is one reason Obama is pushing government care.

  12. I love how global warming evidence always goes back to the late 1800s and points out the withdrawal of glaciers and the warming of the Earth and how it coincides with industrialization. No warmitologist bothers to point out that the start of this trend also happens to coincide with the end of the little ice age. I guess this means the Earth’s optimal temperature is that of an ice age.

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