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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Climate change: the current epitome of the human comedy?

Trying to summarize the Hydra-headed beast that is climate change is a challenge, I'll admit.
    Although the topic is a chronic invader of my brain, and, after picking up a "News & Opinion" section of a newspaper one morning and finding the issue is rampant upon its eight pages, I can still stare at the damn computer screen for 15 minutes trying to get the familiar herd of elephants in the room into some semblance of order.
    It isn't just that the facts of global warming are mind-bogglingly complex (which they are). A huffer and puffer upon climate-science could simply point to the rapidly shrinking Arctic ice-cap, and thence to the Stockholm protesters on p.A23 with their eloquent "#debateisover" sign (hm, has the Guinness Book of World Records registered the world's first placard employing a hashtag?) and shout, grumble or quietly insist that it is clearly time to DO something. Cut the damn CO2 emissions already!
    Ah, if only the solution were so easy. Then surely some bumbling attempt, at least, would already have happened. What?--you say several bumbling attempts HAVE been attempted? My gracious, then WHAT could be the problem?
    Well, we all know the rogues' gallery: politicians beholden to big energy companies, stinking right-wing media-people and opinion-leaders also probably directly or indirectly on the payroll (that would be me, minus the followers and the payoff), misguided lay-folks in thrall to these politicians and sophists--in short everyone who can be lumped under the "denier" rubric. Refute these weaselly obstructionists, or better yet just knock them out of the way, and we will quickly get the CO2 under .400 again.
   As I say, a very pleasant vision, and there are bleak days when I wish I could subscribe to it. Beats the hell out of getting a nano-second into a "but" and getting lumped with the deniers. For thus goes and thus has gone the "debate" now declared over. Be part of the problem or part of the solution, and God's mercy on anyone who thinks there might be any middle ground in this clear-cut Manicheism.
   The Holy Grail of the climate-believers, as you probably know is an international agreement to reduce those CO2 emissions; my fundamental critique of this Grail is that we have no politician gutsy or foolhardy enough to play King Knud (aka Canute) and point out that things don't just happen because our omnipotent dictators order them to happen; and where the economic rubber meets the road, reducing CO2 in any significant way will likely necessitate some harsh and violent braking, harsher than was seen in the 2008 slowdown.
    Do this thought-experiment..