(I’ve Got the) Global Warming Blues

(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.”

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12 responses to “(I’ve Got the) Global Warming Blues

  1. masteroftheuniverse

    I’m with these guys.
    http://www.minnesotansforglobalwarming.com/m4gw/

    Meanwhile, we’re having the coldest winter in 60 years according to our county extension agent:)

  2. Coldest winter in Florida 🙂 And don’t I know it; you forget I live here. But our anecdotal experience does not change the big picture.

  3. You might want to check this out:

    EarthTalk is a Q&A column from E/The Environmental Magazine

    Dear EarthTalk: If the ice caps are melting, what is happening to the salt content of the oceans? And might this contribute to weather patterns or cause other environmental problems? — George Boyer, via e-mail

    It’s true that the melting of the polar ice caps as a result of global warming is sending large amounts of freshwater into the world’s oceans. Environmentalists and many climate scientists fear that if the climate heats up fast enough and melts off the remaining polar ice rapidly, the influx of freshwater could disturb ocean currents enough to drastically change the weather on the land as well.

    Read more: http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/melting-ice-caps-weather-460210#ixzz0hRZ0NKxR

  4. masteroftheuniverse

    But does anyone really know what the big picture is? With all the data that doesn’t support global warming that has been tossed or otherwise corrupted, who knows. Anyways, my training in science will not allow me to do “science by consensus.”

  5. The earth is flat. Anyone with eyes can see that.

  6. Jeff…the data is there from all over the planet. It amuses me that people who don’t choose to “believe” in global warming hop all over any sign that it doesn’t exist, such as pointing to the zealous “scientists” in the UK who, it seems, did not actually fabricate data but left out some inconvenient facts 🙂
    But the whole concept of “belief” is what has me puzzled, truly. It’s as if you “believe” that global warming is occurring, you are somehow anti-human.
    Global warming is not science by concensus. I believe it’s called “replication”.

  7. And Steve, you are so right. Those pictures from space which seem to show Earth as a sphere are all doctored up. Personally I blame the CIA.

  8. masteroftheuniverse

    Phyllis, while there is no doubt that climate changes, as it has for the entire history of the world, the problem is that one cannot determine that the changes are man made. Anybody who says that they can prove that climate change is man made is engaging in hypocrisy and/or sophistry. And…the world wide data is flawed, there’s no doubt about that as the gurus of global warming corrupted the data.

    Still, I will follow the rule my adviser told me 29 years ago to always follow….Never argue or even discuss science with a non scientist unless they’re in a class you’re teaching.

  9. Jeff, I refer you back to the reality of the effects of carbon dioxide, which you, as a scientist–chemist, even–should understand better than most.
    That last sentence was beneath you, however 🙂 I don’t think you are really that elitist. I can think of many examples of your being egalitarian. Why does this subject annoy you so? It’s just curious to me.

  10. Here’s another way to think about it: whether or not global warming is man-made, if we have the knowlege and capacity to change it, shoud we not?
    We are the stewards of Earth and all its creatures.

  11. masteroftheuniverse

    But that flies in the face of what the anointed one, B. Hussein Obama said about nature.

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