July 13, 2011
The Risk-Monger relentlessly holds to the belief that people do things for good reason. When reasons are unclear, he either admits that he doesn’t understand or judges that people are not very rational. With those determined to implement costly measures to try to stop global warming, he is beginning to judge towards the latter.
This is not a blog questioning whether climate change is happening or not. Climate science has been so swayed by influence and power games from both sides that it is becoming impossible to know where the facts lie. That doesn’t really matter. For the purpose of this blog, let us assume that the planet is being burnt to a crisp and man is the sole perpetrator holding the torch. Rather, the Risk-Monger is charmed by the total vanity of man and the powers he believes he possesses. Who convinced us that man, yes, magnificent man, could stand up to the sun (in Greek tragedy mode) and bravely yell: Stop! That man, with his infinite capacity, can stick his staff in the ocean and cool the warming tides. How did we get so convinced of our powers, so enamoured by our earth-shattering capacites, as to choose the occupation of planet transformation over other ones that could actually make a difference?
Let’s start with a reality-check.
- Anthropogenic or man-made greenhouse gases are very small (around 2%) in the total greenhouse gas mix.
- Greenhouse gases are pernicious – they stay in the atmosphere for a long time (some types of gases produced by our great grandparents are still suspended and can’t simply be ‘hoovered up’).
- Greenhouse gases are cumulative (like long-term investments, they compound). CO2 that we produce today to construct solar panels or cars with two motors and large batteries will weigh more heavily in the atmosphere than CO2 reductions we may achieve in 2050.
- Greenhouse gas emissions are global (cuts in the UK mean nothing if China and India continue to grow).
To stop this cumulative, pernicious, global phenomenon, we would have to cut our emissions to zero immediately and then wait 100 years at least to see if there is any impact from our efforts on the 2% of total greenhouse gases in the atmosphere we may be responsible for. Unless we stop breathing, eating and moving, this is so not going to happen and anyone who continues to push for such action either has ulterior motives, has been deceived or is not very rational.
As to the ulterior motives I have written elsewhere about the lobbying strength of the environmental-industrial complex. As people are in general quite vain, I don’t want to question their lack of intelligence in believing in their super powers. I am curious why most of us (with some intelligence and no personal interests) have bought this up and are going along with climate mitigation strategies that will do nothing, and may often exacerbate the situation. Why do people who should know better continue to follow the climate ninnies?
- Are they aware of the futility, but like Waiting for Godot, need to do something to pass the time? Are policy-makers just trying to look busy?
- Do they feel that in any case, fossil fuels are nearing the end of their peak, and it would be better to make the sacrifice now?
- Like a small country going to war against a super-power, do they feel they have no choice (is it a question of honour)?
- Even if it does nothing to halt climate change, isn’t cleaner air and more modest living beneficial and justifiable?
- Do they just feel better being green (morally, spiritually, inspirationally) and given that reason is a slave to the passions, just don’t give it any more thought?
- Are they unaware of the negative consequences such decisions can have on poorer populations, the overall state of the environment and our own future development?
- Are they so caught up in the planet-saving narrative that they are unable to separate fact from religion?
- Do they believe that some cuts are better than nothing? Stopping disaster is impossible, but what little that can be done won’t make matters worse.
- Are policy-makers more afraid of public outrage than of making ridiculous, unjustifiable decisions (we can call this the Angela Merkel Complex)?
The Risk-Monger feels that none of these justifications hold very much water (except that they may make some of us feel better) – especially given the overall damage certain climate actions cause on humans and the environment, but he remains open to other suggestions as why people who don’t appear to be stupid or self-interested continue to make foolish decisions.
Whatever reason, we must not succumb to the Greenpeace-WWF idea that there are heroes among us – great champions – who are there to save the planet. It is easy to be shamed by sham-artists into folding into their power games and personal ambitions. Sorry to throw a reality check into their feel-good fundraising tactics, but let’s face facts: we are small, insignificant beings on a fairly large planet with little or no ability to change its temperature (any more than we can change the speed of its rotation).
I am afraid that future generations will look back at the audacity of this period of human-kind and chuckle.David Zaruk