Saturday, April 07, 2007

It was always going to come to this

With Ebell now the whipping boy of many blogs, and universally derided at every engagement that doesn't involve having dinner with Bjorn Crichton, what is this white-painted piece of petroleum ooze to do? Let's just listen to the tune here:
Climate change has ecological effects," Ebell conceded matter-of-factly. But he went on to question the assumption that nature is in some sort of permanent "balance," noting that long-holding temperature trends have also broken the other way, toward cooling.

"Frost-free Florida is no longer frost-free," said Ebell. The Sunshine State’s struggling citrus industry was one example of the environmental lobby’s selectivity in citing damaging ecosystem changes only when they point toward warming, he added.
Go on and overstate the opposition's case, why don't you? Nobody said anything about a "permanent" balance. The science says that there has been a temporary period of good stability, a window during which time human beings have been able to build up their awesome civilization. Nobody is sure if it will survive through a major disruption. Many civilizations don't, and many people will die off.

Also, we have the usual deliberate misinterpretation of the word global in the phrase global warming, which is to say that the total temperature of the ecosphere -- an entity which Ebell's economic theory bogusly assumes is infinite -- is rising, causing the climate to change. And don't forget, all examples of climactic effects are limited to mainland USA. Never ever mention anything in the rest of the world. It was unfortunate that his opponent had been infected with Ebellian economic theory, when he said:
"Do we do nothing?" Cannon asked. "Do we wait? Do we allow the economy to grow, to generate wealth for future generations so they can better deal with [warming]?"
without illustrating how the burning of oil today in order to grow fat and fly tasty lard in from New Zealand can do anything for the future generations. Reasonable people usually live frugally and invest in college degrees in order to pass wealth on to their descendants. "Wait for the economy to grow." How? By buying SUVs? That'll only make money for Exxon, won't it? They are the major component of what we call "the economy". How they being more rich improves life for anyone else is something that cannot be explained, only asserted.

Whether the "wealth" makes it to the generation beyond is another matter, particularly if life starts to turn hard.

None of this matters. Ebell has already won. He has managed to delay action for this crucial decade when something could have happened. The growth in oil profits has helped to lock-in the most regressive vested interests into positions of supremacy over our current state of governance. We now really are screwed. Our hands are tied behind our back, and our legs are buried in the sand, and the tide is coming in. It's curtains...
<<But the sea level is always changing, sometimes twice a day. You don't know everything about how tides work, particularly when the moon is on the other side of the planet, and cannot be pulling to water up. The actual rising of the water is not obvious. There are these waves going up and down, with much greater variability than the tide. If you are lucky, you can keep breathing in the troughs between the waves, even when your mouth and nose is below the average level of the water. Because of the disturbance, you cannot be certain that it was the tide that drowned you. It'll just be a wave that fills your lungs. And waves happen all the time.>>


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