Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Humor and Wisdom about Climate Change (Or is it "Global Warming"?)

Mark Steyn, columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, takes a critical look at global warming/climate change/whatever policies, and leavens it with humor:

Most of us aren't reading the science, or even a precis of the science. We're just reading a constant din from the press that "the science is settled," and therefore we no longer need to think about it: The thinking has been done for us. Last week's U.N. IPCC "report," for example, is not the report, but a political summary thereof. As David Warren wrote in the Ottawa Citizen:

"Note that the IPCC report's conclusions were issued first, and the supporting research is now promised for several months from now. What does that tell you?"

Indeed. However, when you do read the actual science, you quickly appreciate that it's not by any means "settled" -- that there all kinds of variables. To quote the Finnish-Dutch big shots:

"There is general agreement that variations in the global (or hemispheric) tropospheric temperature are, at least partly, related to those in solar activity (e.g., Bond et al., 2001; Solanki and Krikova, 2003; Usoskin et al., 2005; Kilcik, 2005)."

Therefore: "Variations of the mean tropospheric temperature must include stratosphere-troposphere interaction." However: "A detailed mechanism effectively transferring stratospheric heating into the troposphere is yet not clear."

Whoa, whoa, come back. There's no point skipping ahead: The illustrated excerpt on page D27 from Roger Ebert's Anthology of Great Lesbian Movie Scenes was swiped by the delivery boy.

Accompanying this humorous look at the actual science and the raving proponents of doing something to avoid what they are sure will be catastrophe, Steyn makes the point that all of us, ravers or not, need to keep in mind. If the change is relatively small, and if the human contribution to that change is also relatively small (compared to the natural effect of things we neither control nor add to, like the sun's varying levels of energy emission), then we should avoid wrecking our economies and instead prepare to adapt. We will need the resources of thriving economies to adapt to the change.


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