Sunday, December 13, 2015

Climate Sunday: The Big Freaking Deal

I couldn't address a Climate Sunday post this weekend without taking a look at the COP21 Paris agreement, considered the best chance at saving the planet. You can consider me, personally, on board with the idea of all nations being responsible for reducing their carbon emissions and for any assistance wealthier nations can provide to get, and keep, a working array of renewable resources for the energy needs of poorer nations. I'm well-persuaded that the science of anthropogenic climate change is sound, and I recognize that good change does not come about for free. If anything of value is to be achieved, it will have costs. And everyone ought to recognize that not understanding the importance of climate change and the necessity of paying those costs, now, will mean having a higher price to pay in the future.

I like to look long-term. This is because, in temperament if not politics, I am basically conservative. I don't believe in letting bad bets ride. So when someone like Karl Rove scoffs at the COP21 deal, because in 2080 we'll all be dead--I don't know who he is trying to persuade. Rove might be dead by then, but I'll only be 108 years old, and still quite interested in seeing a healthy planet for those babies born in 2016, and their children born in the 2040's and 50's, and their grandkids of the 2070's and so on. Who in the world thinks nothing will matter after 2080?

But then again, we have a lot of short-term thinkers around, and this isn't new. Sen. Jim Inhofe, whose grandbabies once laughed at Al Gore while building igloos (and are probably wearing shorts this fine December weekend), made a statement that reminds us that the US Senate never ratified Kyoto. And even if all other participatory nations to that agreement signed on, besides the US, the emissions of the top economies cancelled out any of the benefits of an other nation's goodwill carbon-sparing.

My recent post regarding Senator Ted Cruz's complete imbecility on the subject of climate change suggests to me that rhetoric simply outpaces facts and comprehension. Cruz boasts that both his parents were trained in science, but sort of doesn't get that while aptitude is heritable, the actual studying is not. And he also seems to have a sort of ahistorical perspective as to the length of the timeline in which CO2 contributing to warming has been on the figurative "radar" of scientists, bringing up the mostly irrelevant "cooling" argument. It seems astonishing to me that current events like the astonishing rains and landslides in Oregon don't seem to be sufficiently momentous to encourage a re-investigation of whether one will take accepted science seriously, or that the air quality of cities like Delhi and Beijing are not persuasive enough that carbon fuels should be greatly reduced for the particulate quantities alone. With all the "Wow, man, I'm not a scientist" stuff going on with Cruz, Rubio, Paul, Fiorina, Huckabee, and basically all of them except Lindsey Graham, I sure would like to know how that admission of no expertise equals completely ignoring what the majority of scientists say--

But here is a fascinating backgrounder I've come across, courtesy of Cameron Muir, who I've just started following on Twitter, and maybe you ought to, also. He's looked into climate change as news, and history, and dug up articles from as far back as 100+ years ago to show that we have been talking about climate change as a result of industry for a long time. I think that is a brilliant way of showing that there has been a consensus developing over a long period of time, and that acceptance of anthropogenic climate change is anything but grasping onto some weird hoax--I mean, how can the majority of scientists sustain a hoax over 100 years or so without it getting caught out? That just makes no sense. Occam's razor--it's real and maybe it's only the people who are saying it's not that are mostly supported by think tanks backed by fossil fuel companies. (The whoring of the mental life, she is real.)

I'm cynical--I want to think this deal heralds real change. But I think a lot of "hearts and minds" change is needed to overcome the propaganda of  the oiligarchy.

1 comment:

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I think Rove's statement is the ultimate "I've got mine, screw you"- the species doesn't need a future as long as the oligarchs have a profitable quarter.