Monday, March 10, 2008

Unrealistic

via Slate Today's Papers:
The task of cutting greenhouse gas emissions enough to avert a dangerous rise in global temperatures may be far more difficult than previous research suggested, say scientists who have just published studies indicating that it would require the world to cease carbon emissions altogether within a matter of decades.
...
"People aren't reducing emissions at all, let alone debating whether 88 percent or 99 percent is sufficient," said Gavin A. Schmidt, of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "It's like you're starting off on a road trip from New York to California, and before you even start, you're arguing about where you're going to park at the end."
...
When it comes to deciding how drastically to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, [Brian O'Neill of the National Center for Atmospheric Research] said, "in the end, this is a value judgment, it's not a scientific question." The idea of shifting to a carbon-free society, he added, "appears to be technically feasible. The question is whether it's politically feasible or economically feasible."
Which is kind of funny. I'd use the analogy instead that you're told that you need to affix your parachute with four stays, and you argue that you can really only manage three. "You simply can't expect me to do the absolute minimum required for my survival."
No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.
Again, we have a critical need for leadership that we're not getting. Barbara Boxer is touching in her faith in the Democrats.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who is shepherding climate legislation through the Senate as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said the new findings "make it clear we must act now to address global warming."

"It won't be easy, given the makeup of the Senate, but the science is compelling," she said. "It is hard for me to see how my colleagues can duck this issue and live with themselves."
I'm glad I'm not alone in that and all, but I don't see how changing the makeup of the Senate would help. Of course, I'm interpreting that as Barbara Boxer wanting a veto-proof majority of Democrats. For all I know, she'd like deeper change.

But, articles like this always have a laugh-out-loud line. I think it's a rule of journalism that you have to break up downer pieces with jokes, and this article has a pretty good one.
European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, in Washington last week for meetings with administration officials, said he and his colleagues are operating on the assumption that developed nations must cut emissions 60 to 80 percent by mid-century, with an overall global reduction of 50 percent. "If that is not enough, common sense is that we would not let the planet be destroyed," he said.
I don't think that's what common sense says. Common sense is heuristic problem solving based on your previous experiences with analogous problems. Common sense says we're all going to die.

2 comments:

nephos said...

I read a an article trying to persuade me that economic inflation was bad because it left no incentive to save, encouraging instead blowing all money today.

Offhand, that sounded rather fun. So if common sense says that at some indeterminate time in the near future we're all going to die, regardless, then why not blow it all now in a big burning man party.

Monetary inflation or bodily death - these forms of devaluation are really all one and the same, and a fine excuse for a dance party.

Rionn Fears Malechem said...

You've more or less nailed my overall investment philosophy.