Insomnia Log

This is what keeps me awake at night???

Who needs sleep? (well you’re never gonna get it)
Who needs sleep? (tell me what’s that for)
Who needs sleep? (be happy with what you’re getting,
There’s a guy who’s been awake since the second world war)

-- words and music by Steven Page & Ed Robertson

Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States

Everything you need to know about me can be found in my posts

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Global Hot Air Increases

In a recent column by Debra Saunders, she argues that our actions in the US on global warming should depend on whether India and China act first.

Conditioning our actions on global climate change to actions by China is like a giant global game of chicken. Our car is speeding along at record speeds, and China is accelerating rapidly in a head-on course toward us. Saying that we aren't going to slow down and swerve until China does so first is infantile.

Yes, China and India should be encouraged, very strongly, to act on this issue. However, whether they act or not does not change our duty to act ourselves.

Saunders also brings up one of the skeptics' favorite arguments -- the fact that scientists 30 years ago were warning about global cooling. In fact, in the 70s there was some scientific speculation about the possibility of a new ice age, and some of the popular press picked that up. But there was nothing like the scientific consensus today that global warming is real.

She also states, "I know many scientists who don't think the science is conclusive as to whether global warming is caused by man." But that is just word play, designed to turn the argument her way. In fact the scientific consensus today isn't that global warming is caused by man. The consensus position is that there is a 90% likelihood that human activities contribute to global warming. Very different.

And, I like those odds. This means there is a reasonable chance that we can actually do something about the issue. If global warming is not human-induced, even after all the junk we've dumped into the biosphere, there there is no way we can effect compensatory changes now. But, if we are helping it along, then we should be able to do less of what we are doing and lessen the impact.

Saunders says that global warming is about belief not science. That implies that anybody who thinks we should act is treating this as a religion and forcing their religion on her. But that is just wrong. The facts of global warming have been shown in hundreds of ways by many scientists around the world. There is no doubt that it is real. The only religion involved is the dogma that says trying to mitigate global warming is bad.

And the facts that Bill Clinton didn't push to have Kyoto ratified, that Democrats in Congress haven't done more, and that companies haven't recognized the true economy of climate change don't imply that these things aren't real. It only shows that markets and public institutions are very slow to react to a big force like this.

So, Debra Saunders, lead, follow, or get out of the way. The folks who are working to minimize the impacts of global warming don't need you to do anything right now except stop spreading your malarkey.

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