Saturday, February 10, 2007

We all love a good freakout now and then

It's hardly worth getting out of bed these days. What's the point? After all, in just 93 years, the climate may warm up by 3 to 7 degrees. The oceans may rise by up to 17 inches. Oh, sure, some people are harping on the fact that 6 years ago when the last "official word" on warming came out, they were predicting a 3 foot rise in the seas and now it's 17 inches. And yes, there are people, like Al Gore in his movie, who keep saying the seas will rise 20 feet, but today the experts at the UN agree the figure is 17 inches. Can you imagine the specific impacts of a 17 inch rise in sea levels? Well, neither can I exactly, but it seems like some things might get wet. So if imminent doom (or if not doom, at least discomfort, and probably a certain amount of mildew) is only 93 years away, I don't see why I should spend half my Saturday working on my taxes. And then there's the fact that someday (in a million years? Or was it a billion? Trillion?) the sun will go supernova anyway and we'll all be little black crumbs like what falls out the bottom of the toaster when you start shaking your Eggo out. I mean, really. Why bother.

So now you know. I am a doubter. I won't go so far as to say I'm a denier, but for sure a doubter. There have been just too many "end of the world" scares for me to jump on the global warming freakout bandwagon. Consider, in just the last 10 years we've had bird flu and ebola feakouts - before that AIDS was going to kill us all for sure - and I guess we've already forgotten how horrible the Y2K disaster was going to be. And in terms of scenarios that would wipe us all out purely as a result of human behavior, it's only been a generation since Paul Erlich's "Population Bomb" panic. And a couple hundred years ago there was Malthus. I'm sure he would be surprised to learn we're all still here, and not only are we not starving but we're fatter than hell. The lesson: you can make a pretty good living predicting the end of the world. Keep making the same prediction and eventually you'll be right, too.

But even while I'm doubting, I'd feel good if the air was cleaner, and when they make the alternative fuel car that lights my fire I'll buy it. I even have some compact flourescents burning (dimly) around here, and am seriously considering some solar panels. How about we do all the right things we ought to do, see if we can talk the Chinese into turning off a few of the smokestacks over there, and in the meantime, keep the freakout on the down low. I mean, these taxes aren't going to do themselves.

3 comments:

Heather said...

Barry, We have a wonderful source of investigative reporting on this issue which lies within a publication we have trusted for more than 175 years. In this years "The Old Farmers Almanac" there is a solid discussion of the "The Good News about Climate Change". To begin, you don't have to move to Florida anymore to stay warm, warmer temperatures save energy, arctic shipping routes will save time and energy, and lastly but so important, there will be more water for the earth.

So next time someone in a SUV passes you give them thanks....

Heather said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Al Gore said...

The Chinese have better emission standards than the U.S.