Are you sick of hearing from the global warming whiners and climate change moaners? I know I sure am. I’m sick of reading gloomy sob-stories like the one titled “Time to tax carbon” that appeared in the LA Times on May 28, 2007:
If you have kids, take them to the beach. They should enjoy it while it lasts, because there’s a chance that within their lifetimes California’s beaches will vanish under the waves.
Global warming will redraw the maps of the world. The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that sea levels will rise 7 to 23 inches by the end of the century; as the water gets higher, the sandy beaches that make California a tourist magnet will be washed away. Beachfront real estate will end up underwater, cliffs will erode faster, sea walls will buckle and inlets will become bays. The water supply will be threatened as mountain snowfall turns to rain and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta faces contamination with saltwater. Droughts will likely become more common, as will the wildfires they breed.
Global warming is happening and will accelerate regardless of what we do today, but the scenarios of climatologists’ nightmares can still be avoided. Though the cost will be high, it pales in comparison to the cost of doing nothing.
“Oh noes! Global warming iz teh suxx0rz! Everybody go see nature right away, because tomorrow it will be gone! It’s time to PANIC!!!!!!”
Well, maybe not.
Yes, there is a chance that California’s beaches will vanish under the waves because of rising sea levels caused by global warming. But there is also a chance that California’s beaches will vanish under the waves because of a huge tsunami caused by a massive meteor strike in the Pacific. I can come up with all sorts of horror stories, but what is the actual chance of global warming causing the sea level to rise sufficient to remove California’s beaches? The news article doesn’t say. But we must get crackin’ at doing something, the article says, because any cost we might have to pay now is better than the cost of doing nothing. Thus saith the LA Times.
The more I hear people moan about global warming, the more it sounds like the Red Queen in the last chapter of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:
‘No, no!’ said the Queen. ‘Sentence first–verdict afterwards.’
‘Stuff and nonsense!’ said Alice loudly. ‘The idea of having the sentence first!’
We don’t need no stinkin’ verdict that humans are causing global warming, we need a sentence first. It’s so important that we need to start now, Now, NOW to fix the climate. We can’t wait until we really know the cause. News articles like the one from the LA Times are “sentence first, verdict afterwards” articles. And they are “stuff and nonsense,” to quote Alice.
Have we actually proved that the earth is warming? There are people debating the methodology of getting a global-wide temperature of the Earth (“Open wide, Earth, and say, ‘Ah.’ Now keep this thermometer under your tongue for three minutes.”), while others claim to know the average temperature of the Earth down to .0001 of a degree, as displayed on this USA Today graphic. Pray tell, how does “scientific analysis” derive the information that the average temperature from 200-210 was 56.7302 degrees, and from 210-220 it was 56.7896? And what was the “scientific analysis” used to detect the difference of 0.0594 of a degree and not, say, 0.0595? And why does the USA Today graphic show no peaks for the Medieval Warm Period of the 10th – 14th centuries, or troughs for the Little Ice Age between the 16th and 19th centuries? Puzzling, isn’t it? The omission of these two time periods in the graphic is as startling as a hypothetical discussion of Louisiana events of 2005 which fails to mention Hurricane Katrina.
But if we say that global temperatures are actually rising, have we answered the question of whether the rise is caused by man’s actions? Well, no. I have often asked people to name the primary cause of global warming, but so far no one I’ve asked has ever answered correctly. [Answer here] If global warming is the result of human action as is so often stated, why are Mars and Neptune simultaneously warming up? But back to the LA Times article — what is their solution?
A well-designed, well-monitored carbon-trading scheme could deeply reduce greenhouse gases with less economic damage than pure regulation. But it’s not the best way, and it is so complex that it would probably take many years to iron out all the wrinkles. Voters might well embrace carbon taxes if political leaders were more honest about the comparative costs.
The world is under a deadline. Some scientists believe that once atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have doubled from the pre-industrial level, which may happen by mid-century if no action is taken, the damage may be irreversible.
Irreversible? Really? How is it that the Earth has had periods of much higher carbon dioxide levels than there are now, without irreversible damage?
What would be the real result of the LA Times‘ beloved carbon tax? Well, the simple answer is that you get less of what you tax, which is the real goal of the carbon tax. But what produces carbon in the first place? The answer is “just about everything,” including human production of goods and services. So a carbon tax will effectively limit all human production of goods and services. Are you ready to live in a world with fewer goods and services? If you approve of a carbon tax and the resultant drop in production, prepare to give up your car and never to fly in a commercial aircraft again.
I am really sick of hearing naysayers whine and moan about climate change. They remind me of others who have mastered the skill of complaining:
Gloom, despair, and agony on me!
Deep dark depression, excessive misery.
If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.
Gloom, despair, and agony on me!