November 18, 2007

The IPCC lays it out

As part of my ongoing quest to fulfill the twin goals of my blog, that is, (1) to be as informative and entertaining as possible while (2) being as sharp a thorn in the side of the Bush Administration as possible, I commend to you the report of the Intergovernmental Report on Climate Change, linked right here at the Pond. I continue to think that those guys and gals, 2,000 scientists from relevant disciplines, deserve their Nobel Prize just as much as Al Gore, even though, unlike Al, they do not have seats on the Board of Directors at Google and Apple, and are not partners in a Palo Alto investment banking firm. Nor do they necessarily own a condo in a San Francisco high-rise, as Al and Tipper do, a pied-a-terre convenient for Al's show-and-shine appearances at Silicon Valley Internet events. Forget the "Draft Al Gore" malarkey; the guy is not going to take the pay cut and the step-down in stature. From Patron Saint of the global warming movement to just another sullied politician is a long fall indeed.

This report is such big news that it made the front page of today's San Francisco Chronicle, the Voice of the West. The Chronicle's account ran to a second full page, which, however, contained this puzzling observation: "Despite the exhaustive work by the U.N. Panel, much is still not known, the scientists said. For example, it is not clear whether the planet is more likely to be 2 to 3 degrees, or 10 degrees warmer by the end of the century. Other unknowns are the amount of sea level rise and how precipitation will be affected in different parts of the world."

Just as a style note, I wonder why the writers (Jane Kay and David Perlman) would refer to "the planet." It's Earth we're talking about; it's true we live on a "planet," but for now the only planet where global warming is an issue for us is the one we're trapped on. A cavil, true, but this "planet" stuff, which is intended to sound so Universe-hip, kind of grates on my classicist's nerves. Beyond the trivial, however, I have to say that's a helluva "for example." I assume that the writers are referring to the "scenario table" laid out by the IPCC, where they contrast different outcomes depending on the response of humanity to the crisis. (Of course the Chronicle writers also use constructions like "the data supports" [sic], which also grate on my classicist's nerves, but for different reasons; I think Bush's chronic difficulty with noun-verb agreement has infected common usage.) Back to the scenarios in the IPCC tables, which in fact answer the "mysteries" the Chronicle seems baffled by: Business as usual leads to an outcome known as humans-are-shit-on-toast, e.g., where global average temperatures might be 6 degrees C. higher by 2100. This would represent a continuation of the policies of the Bush Administration, world leaders in seeking human species extinction. White House flacks are busy eviscerating the IPCC Report as we speak, seeking to make it consistent with a world view that holds the Earth (our "planet") is 6,000 years old on which Man was given Dominion over all the beasts of the oceans and the fish of the world (or the other way around, it doesn't really matter), and the best thing that could possibly happen would be to speed up our ascension to Glory. So if those ideas go on...I still continue to maintain that Bush runs a very serious risk with his intransigence on this issue. It is becoming increasingly obvious in places like, oh, Atlanta, that this climate change problem is not some futuristic, sci-fi dystopia, but something you think about now when you turn on the water tap. He keeps talking about the need for more money, huge amounts of it, to send to a desert country busily installing an Islamic theocracy while Bush pays no attention to the imminent collapse of a second major Southern city during his presidency. Where Bush is most obtuse (and it is a characteristic which came back to haunt other rulers who mistook transient invulnerability for lifetime immunity) is in thinking that if things go really, really bad, an aroused American mob won't be looking around for people to blame and punish. Suppose that the good folks of Atlanta are forced, within the next 6 months, to begin dispersing to other parts of the country where they can finally take a shower. Why isn't this a realistic danger? They're down to 80 days of water, and Governor Sonny Perdue is now holding prayer meetings on the state capitol steps. I hope he has better luck with Divine intercession than indicated in all the controlled experiments on the practice. Shouldn't the USA be engaged in yet another "Manhattan Project" (so many Manhattans, so little time) to develop desalination using solar power to run a reverse osmosis system? And figuring out useful ways to handle all the osmotic sludge you pile up from doing so? Atlanta (and Los Angeles and Phoenix and New York City) are not that far from huge reservoirs of water (known as the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans) that are positively brimming with H2O, and which, in fact, are getting deeper every day! Research and industry like that could make the USA a world leader in...something again. Is ensuring a thriving Kurdistan really more important than all that? Do people down in the Peach State know how badly they're being neglected by this regime they, more than most states, put in power?

Another 14 months of this clown. While Atlantans pack up and move to Manitoba, Bush wants to keep sending all the taxpayer money he can get his hands on, and all he can borrow, to Baghdad. Of course, Georgians will have to cross a lot of decrepit bridges and overpasses to get there, and it will cost a fortune, what with $4 or $5 or $6 a gallon for gas, if, in fact, OPEC still accepts the greenback for oil. We may have to start laundering our money through a hard currency, like the Mexican peso.

I suppose one kind of prison for environmental criminals could be built on a remote and low-lying Pacific island. Suppose the jail is built right at (present) sea level. But the sentences are long, 20 or 30 years, and the inmates are told that no matter what happens, they won't be transferred somewhere else. The cells are only a few yards from the surf, and they're all on the ground floor. And what's worse, the world has chosen that very first scenario, business as usual...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:50 PM

    You are a very smart person!