Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Carrying the Narrative

Sometimes I can only shake my head at the political parties, and those who follow the dogma of one party or another.  The lesson today comes from our Representative of the 1st Congressional District here in Florida who was on MSNBC, I assume to talk about the VA scandal.  In the course of his interview he was asked about climate change.  In listening to his response he provides the standard answers that the science is unsettled, and that it is foolish to believe man can appreciably affect the way the climate is changing.  He had me, up until he threw in the dinosaurs.  Of course, those who want to inflame the issue abbreviate his response to the GOP rep does not believe humans affect climate change, which is not exactly what Representative Miller said.
Such is the way we now talk about things, or rather not talk about things.  We take sound bites and wave them around to make whatever point we want to.  Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Carl Sagan of today’s generation, has weighed in on this whole debate now putting his stamp of approval on the science of Global Warming/Cooling/Climate Change.
So let’s talk about this as if it were in fact settled science, the world is getting warmer, the ice caps are receding and the ocean will rise and flood vast areas in the littoral regions.  What should we do scientists?  What must we do to stop this warming of our planet, and in fact return us to some prior condition?  In fact, can someone tell me what the ideal global condition is?
The climate has changed over the course of the 5 billion or so years we have had an earth, we have been there for only about 200,000 years or so but have grown to become the dominant species for now.  As we approach 7,200,000,000,000 humans I think it is fair to say we have an increasing affect on the earth.  What I don’t understand is how, with a net gain of one person every 13 seconds, and most of those coming in the underdeveloped countries, how the developed countries will come to some consensus that will magically stop the creation of greenhouse gases that seem to be the cause celeb for all this warming.
Coming from my vacation in Ireland I learned they have a European Union mandate to generate 15% renewable energy so they’ve built a lot of wind turbines, but at the same time it is perfectly clear that 90% of the countries rural homes are still heated with peat. I’m not seeing a net reduction with that strategy, but they can certainly feel good looking at the wind turbines making power, as they travel around in their motorcars fueled by petrol, and burn their turf in the fireplace.
How about China and India, with a population that accounts for roughly 30% of the world’s population?  Are they getting in front of this effort and moving to politically acceptable energy sources?  I don't think so, but what do you hear about their failures?
So lets talk about us, or really US.  In the eyes of the Climate Change advocates, because we are not universally on board with the forecasts -- we are the evil polluters of the world, causing all our glaciers to melt away.  For those who recommend we amend our ways what would you have us do?  What policies should we implement to save the world?
For example, should we stop all oil production?  Obviously that is not an option for we would have airliners and ships sitting idle and our vacations would all be within walking distance of home.  But, how about setting efficiency standards? What a great idea, if we double the required MPG for our cars can anyone tell me the cost of the new standard, and more importantly can anyone tell me what the net reduction in Global Warming/Cooling/Climate Change will be (assuming there isn’t something else like a volcano’s eruption the model missed)?  It would seem both those metrics should be understood before we go willy-nilly legislating (or in the case of our current President, decreeing) a change to an industry.
Maybe we can mandate all vehicles be electrical and then all we would have to worry about is how to make enough electricity without the carbon based fuels, and what to do with the toxic metals that make up the batteries.

I wonder how we reconcile the apparent insatiable need for more energy to produce the disposable devices the world economy seems to be building to, and not at the same time create environmental conflict?  Perhaps if the ardent doomsayers would come up with ways to reduce energy demands, rather than just push for the abandonment of carbon-based fuels we could have a serious discussion.  But that is a foolish dream for it is so much easier to demonize those who disagree with you.

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