(Thanks to National Geographic for the picture of the sleeping polar bear.)
Several things conspired this week to make global warming rise to the top of my list of fruitless preoccupations.
Back in the good old days, like 2008, the argument was whether or not it existed. The new PC position seems to be, Yes, it does exist, but it isn’t man-made. Although I think there are still several die-hard members of the Doesn’t Exist party. For the purposes of this blog, we will leave them barricaded behind the doors of their cabins in Idaho.
The new PC position causes Fakename to ask: If it exists, what is the big deal about whether or not it’s man-made? What difference does it make? There is the exact rub, isn’t it? Here’s Fakename’s understanding of the Not Man-made argument:
It’s happening, but this is a natural cycle, and there’s really nothing we can do about it.
As opposed to: It’s a natural cycle, but we have sped up the cycle, and since we caused it, we need to do something about it. Which might cost money.
Not to get too technical. Here at the Fakename Blog, our editors share a philosophy with those of the National Enquirer. Namely, never get too specific. Blurry photos of the half-alien, half-chimpanzee baby that Angelina Jolie recently birthed and is hiding in a secret compound in the Himalayas are as close as we need to get.
Fakename is completely baffled about how the science can be argued. It seems self-evident that there are a gazillion more humans on the planet today than ever before, all of whom are breathing out carbon dioxide, burning gazillions more tons of coal and rainforests than ever before, and raising gazillions more cows to eat than ever before. Cows are like a double whammy. They excrete, and also they breathe. Global warming coming out both ends, so to speak.
The real occasion for this post was an AP reprint in my local newspaper entitled Methane seen as a growing climate risk. To make a long story short, melting of the Arctic ice is releasing methane in concentrations that are “the highest in 400,000 years.” What? There were cows 400,000 years ago? In the Arctic?
Also there was the article by Dave Barry who said scientists have discovered that kangaroos don’t make methane due to some bacterium in their digestive systems. Research is now being done to see if that bacterium can be implanted in cows. If you think global warming is bad, wait until you’re confronted by a herd of hopping cows.
Finally, I’m reading a book about polar bears: On Thin Ice by Richard Ellis. The link takes you to the NY Times book review of the book. It’s an extraordinary book about an unbelievably extraordinary animal. They are so ubiquitous these days in images that even I get lulled into complacency.
The book opens with a quote from Kurt Vonnegut:
“Even as I speak, the very last polar bear may be dying of hunger on account of climate change, on account of us. And I will sure miss the polar bears. Their babies are so warm and cuddly and trusting, just like ours.”