Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Global Warming - it might get up to minus 10

I got braced by a global warming alarmist on the street the other day, who wanted to know if I liked polar bears.

"Uh, not in my neighborhood."

"Excuse me?"

"I said I don't want polar bears in my neighborhood. They eat people."

"Oh but I mean in the Arctic. Global warming is destroying their habitat and they're in danger of extinction."

"How is global warming going to threaten polar bears? I've seen them in zoos as far south as San Diego and they looked just fine to me."

She on the other hand, looked upset. "Global warming is threatening all life on earth!" she said accusingly, as if it were somehow my fault.

Since she had a clipboard, I assumed that she wanted either a signature or a donation from me, neither of which I was in much of a mood to give. So I temporized.

"Listen, I'm a little busy right now but I'd be happy to speak to you at length another time - if you can answer me a few questions."

1) Why is global warming happening on Mars now? I'm reasonably sure it's not from industrial pollution, but if it keeps up Mars' mean temperature (currently minus 46 degrees C) might get as high as minus 10 degrees Celsius in a few centuries.

2) Since the average temperature of the earth is four degrees short of the Climactic Optimum of 10 thousand years ago (when agriculture was invented) - can you tell me why global warming would be a bad thing?

3) In my youth, the fashionable world disaster was the Next Ice Age - could you please make up your mind? I look forward to hearing her answers. At least I'll know whether I should think about moving to Mars.


  • At 6:55 AM, Blogger Jabo said…

    Excellent! I once saw Nobel Chemistry laureate speak at a bookstore. His main refrain was that the very idea of global warming is "hubristic." It's hubristic to think that Man could have a real impact on the earth's weather systems. But even more so to think that we could actually understand these effects!

    A philosophy of science prof. of mine at used to like saying that, "It would take more than all the energy in the universe to predict the weather." (No doubt, tho, that he is "anti-global warming," just as he is "anti-Israel apartheid.")

    Anyways, I like that you turned the questions on the lady. Is she not perplexed that more than 99.9% of CO2 comes from water vapor?

    And, btw, I enjoyed the Patraeus article. It was nicely done-- no New York Times-ish foppery or useless metaphors. Keep linking to new stuff!

  • At 7:09 AM, Blogger Jabo said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 8:06 AM, Blogger gun-totin-wacko said…

    Nicely done. Love the polar bear part!

  • At 6:31 AM, Blogger dobson said…

    While there are plenty of good reasons to remain skeptical of anthropomorphic global warming, your questions betray what seems like confusion around this complex issue.

    For example, on point 1 - relatively little is known of the climate of Mars compared to our own planet. You imply that there is some kind of common-causation between *apparant* warming on Mars and well-confirmed warming that has been shown to be taking place.

    Clearly there are no men on mars, but there may also be chemical processes that exist on that lifeless-planet that bear no resemblance to those of Earth. Thus, your curve-ball about mars represents little more than a smokescreen, a somewhat dishonest debating strategy. I'm sure you can do better.

    I agree that taking an indignant tone with complete strangers is impolite, and this fund-raiser could have approached your skeptical spirit in a more sympathetic way.

    Of course, you got your own back with the 'zoo' comment - clearly anybody can see that a zoo is not an environment where polar-bears can live a self-sustaining life. Comparing a species in the wild with one in a zoo might be something like comparing you in fine health with an unfortunate person in an intensive-care ward.

    I think the question is not so much whether global-warming is happening or not, more is it caused by human interference and if this is the case is there anything we can do with it.

  • At 4:34 PM, Blogger dchamil said…

    The global warming narrative follows a familiar pattern, as follows: "Something is terribly, terribly wrong. In order to avoid disaster, you voters must give me political power." It's all about the aquisition of political power, rather than a technical argument about climate change.

  • At 7:57 PM, Blogger Galt-In-Da-Box said…

    Global Warming is almost as ingenious a scam as the Police-Action On "Terr", installment 3 of which Khazari pseudo-Conservative pundits and propagandizers have been pushing hot and heavy for, going the last fortnight.
    Good thing for the thinking that global warming's chief proponent is a mental flyweight from Tennessee who couldn't even carry his home state when he ran for President in 2000!

  • At 5:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Pages of many web site contains global warming pictures. But that pictures not give enough information of global warming. Global Warming myth is very deep ozone has doubled since the mid-19th century due to chemical emissions from vehicles, industrial processes and the burning of forests, the British climate researchers wrote.

  • At 8:31 AM, Blogger gun-totin-wacko said…

    Actually, in thinking more about this I think you missed the most crucial question: What would be considered sufficient evidence to prove that global warming is false?

    To my knowledge, it's completely impossible to disprove it. No matter what the weather does, it "proves" global warming... er, "climate change".

  • At 1:28 PM, Blogger Mark said…

    Okay, so the world appears to be heating up. I'm willing to accept this. I am also willing to accept your proposition that a warmer planet will be bad for humans if we go on thinking that we're living in a world where it's not quite so hot.

    Next question: even if we're the ones causing it, what makes you think we can do anything to reverse it? It's an absolute fantasy to think that emissions of that sort can be reduced on the scale that seems to be necessary, especially given the current status of China and India. And it'll be China and India who need to do it!

    There's nothing wrong with reducing pollution, not by any means, and that's one of numerous reasons why cleaner alternative energy sources should be pursued. But rather than trying to stop it altogether and then pretend as if the world economy will magically just keep running, we should figure out in what ways, exactly, this brave new sauna-world is going to be dangerous to us, and counteract those specifically. It's easier that way, and we don't have to shut down the industrial processes that do good things for the entire world.

  • At 7:47 PM, Blogger Galt-In-Da-Box said…

    *Buries face in hands, lets out long, disgusted sigh*
    Is it just me, or are the kooks really coming out of the woodwork on this?


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