Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A quickie on Global Climate Change (aka Global Warming)

Just a couple of centavos on Global Climate Change. For one thing, as the linked article points out, the GCC term (Climate Change) is a better one than "warming." The average temperature change isn't so much the problem as the increase in variability of weather and concommitant increases in severe weather events. So the arguments of former GCC skeptic Gregg Easterbrook, that most people enjoy warmer weather, where's the harm in that, don't hold water. Not that they ever did. While, in all fairness, Easterbrook has recently decided for himself that the debate over the existence of GCC is effectively over, he seems a bit late to the party for me. (But then again, he would.) He has the same annoying triumphalist, knees-bent, breathless giddy excitement over his own discoveries that blogger Mickey Kaus does (and no, I'm not going to link to freakin' Kaus), that their occasional protestations of "but maybe I'm wrong," don't dispel. (Imagine something in the vain of: "Your idol is an idiot, this other guy is a sleazebag, everything Paul Krugman says is wrong in some way, the Dems suck goat ass, and your Bible is a lie. But maybe I'm wrong." Though Easterbrook is a devout religious guy, so that last (James T. Kirkian) Bible thing is just for color.)

Easterbrook did take advantage to a tactical problem, George Lakoff-style, in the original phrasing of Global Warming: Warming sounds pleasant. It's also not a very complete picture of the problem, so there you are. Go forth and say only GCC my children! (Only you probably shouldn't just use the acronym without spelling it out for people first.)

My quickie note was on the factoid that many of my very intelligent friends have espoused, especially in response to Gore's "An Incovenient Truth (starring Al Gore, by Al Gore, on a topic discovered by Al Gore, featuring Al Gore, with Special Guest Al Gore)." That is the "natural cycles" argument, that the earth has large natural fluctuations in temperature and carbon fluxes. Ok, A) True. B) Mostly irrelevant. The human body has natural fluxes in temperature, too, but when an outside force is increasing or decreasing these fluxes, it's cause for concern, if not alarm. And people say, "well, the amount of carbon we're adding to the atmosphere is minimal compared to the natural fluxes." Even accepting that, the "natural fluxes" were closer to equilibrium before the human Industrial Revolution released bunches more. That is, about as much was released as was absorbed. And, as with human body temperature, a couple of degrees, which is what we're talking about as an average, can be very concerning and deadly -- especially when it's indicated that it's not going to stop. We don't understand the whole eons-long cycles of global temperature changes, but tell you what -- rapidly felling the forests of the world, huge carbon sinks, will only exacerbate the imbalance, and just as with the human body -- a small change can be a huge problem. Just food for thought, throwing it out there -- though most of the people who read this blog are my friends and already know this, so.... well, I'm not sure where to go with that. Tchau tchau...

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