October 17, 2012

The Crisis of Global Warming Passes

It will hit 88 degrees here today in Northern California and 90 tomorrow, according to my usually reliable iPhone temperature app.  That's pretty warm for mid- to late October around here. Not that I'm one of those scientifically illiterate guys who think "weather" is the same as "climate" or anything like that.  I understand the difference.  Still, it's somewhat worrying, you know?  A little weird.

However, I think it must be my imagination because I watched the debate between the two presidential candidates who are allowed on mainstream television last night and the words "global warming," "climate change," or even "weather" were never mentioned.  Not a single, solitary time.

Since the Arctic ice depletion this year is the greatest in recorded history, and there are many other signs of warming, ocean acidification, collapse of marine life, and migration of infectious diseases and tropical insects into formerly temperate climates, one would think that in the course of such a debate climate change would at least merit a passing comment.  You might think about it this way: let us say that you're uncertain about the reality of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).  Shouldn't the issue at least be aired out?  It does have to do with the viability of Earth as our natural habitat, and that seems important.  Granted, you've been influenced by the dissenters, who at this most point are mostly Freeman Dyson, a very elderly mathematician who dabbles in atmospheric science mainly to irritate people (especially his wife); and Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric scientist at MIT.  Unfortunately for Denier Orthodoxy, the shock troops of AGW skeptics were dealt a heavy blow recently when Richard Muller, a prominent UC Berkeley scientist, changed his mind.  As reported by the Chronicle:

 "The hot issue of global warming got hotter Monday when a UC Berkeley physicist, once a loud skeptic of human-caused climate change, agreed not only that the Earth is heating up, but also that people are the cause of it all."
For the Denial movement, scientists can be very unreliable supporters since they have this distressing habit of changing their minds in the face of new evidence.  I suppose this is why there is such a perfect congruence between the base of Denialism and Evangelical religion, where Denialism is an article of faith (so to speak).  If you can believe that present life forms were simply placed here on Earth about 6,000 years ago by some Guy you read about in a book, then Denialism is the classic piece o' cake. Evidence?  What's that got to do with anything?

Still, one may deride the scientific bona fides of such skepticism, but one thing you gotta admit:  the AGW deniers are in charge in this country.  They don't need Muller, they don't even need Lindzen (who actually wobbles a lot - his argument seems to be that AGW is real, but it's not so bad).  They don't need anyone, since they disproved Evolution by devising their own "probability" science.

It works, too.  The heavily upholstered Candi Crowley, last night's moderator, certainly never brought the subject of climate change up.  Not a single questioner (the good citizens of Nassau County, N.Y.) were allowed to broach the subject (the moderator and CNN know, you see, what questions will come to the floor); and I imagine that the campaigns knew in advance that neither side would be "embarrassed" by a direct question on AGW because that would force them to commit themselves, one way or another.  So Romney can pretend to disbelieve in AGW, to please his salivating, know-nothing base; and Obama can be assumed to believe in such malarkey, to placate his "liberal" supporters.

It's just better, in this country, not to talk about it.  Maybe if we ignore it, it will simply go away.  Let's develop all these fossil fuel sources, coal, oil, natural gas, as fast as we can so we become "energy independent," and release all of that pent-up carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in a fevered rush.  That was the message.  Better yet, if Obama is in charge of the release, the greenhouse gases, as I wrote on another occasion, will be "Liberal CO2," which I've shown is much safer than Conservative CO2.

Among the civilized and educated nations of the world, the United States of American does indeed dwell within a cocoon of profound ignorance.  It is eerie to behold it on such brazen display as last night.  One candidate, Romney, proposes a mathematically impossible plan of getting rid of whole categories of taxation without, somehow, increasing America's $1 trillion per year deficits.  He pays no political price for such nonsense, of course, because the mathematically impossible is just as easy to believe, in this country, as Creationism or the existence of a stable climate.

No comments:

Post a Comment