Found a great take on global warming the other day that i wanted to share. Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars sums up my position on global warming almost precisely. So much so that I don’t even have to write a post. Just excerpt his and send you on over!
Let me first say this: the consensus among qualified scientists certainly is that global warming is real and it is substantially man-made. Yes, there are some dissenting scientists who argue that global warming is a natural, perhaps cylical process, that has little to do with human activities. Because I haven’t really done the study necessary to really be able to evaluate such arguments, I don’t make strong claims either way. I have no strong reason to doubt the consensus opinion, but by the same token I have no strong reason to dismiss the dissenters out of hand either.
Easy enough. The consensus certainly is what it is. The skeptics by and large to me appear to have corporate interests and money in their pockets (those that I’ve checked up). The right sure touts them very heavily – as if to almost say that their sheer volume of posts of such scientists could somehow outweigh the consensus. No matter. Here is the important part:
But here’s the key for me: I don’t think it matters. I know that probably seems like an odd statement given some of the doomsday scenarios some have offered – a vast increase in destructive weather patterns, global water shortages, rising sea levels destroying coastal cities, etc. But it seems to me that whether those worst case scenarios happen or not, and whether they are caused by human activity or are natural processes out of our control or not, have little effect on wise public policy choices.
Exactly right. I made the point to fellow blogger Tom Blumer at one point (not sure whether it was via email or commenting) that who cares what the science says really. Let’s assume for a minute it did actually cast doubt on human induced global warming. Do we then just fire up the Hummers and ride off into the sunset at ten miles per? Of course not. Tom is a money management guy. I likened the situation to sound financial planning. You wouldn’t say to yourself “you know honey, the jury is out on whether or not we’ll hit the lottery or not”…”some say we never will, some say we might”…”let’s run up some debt and spend like crazy”. Of course you wouldn’t. The way to proceed would be to manage your finances wisely no matter what you might see ahead. If things go good, so much the better. If they go bad, you’ll be ready.
[Aside: damn, I wish I could follow that advice!]
Now, same for the planet and how we use it and it’s resources. Who cares if sea levels don’t rise two feet, or the polar bear ends up liking jacuzzis! We should be conserving and finding the best ways to use resources – and we are not. Period. If you do add to that the consensus view of what we are creating for our future, well…then the to do list becomes ever so much clearer. Unless, of course, you are currently reaping unheard of profits from the short term status quo. Then pillage and plunder would be the name of the game. Hence the present status of our commitment to renewables and sustainable practices. That there might be some doubt should not persuade us one bit away from developing a sustainable future – and we must lead the way.
Ed clearly gets it:
Developing solar or wind power generating technologies means less pollution, less reliance on fossil fuels, new technological spinoffs that can create new industries and jobs, more economic security due to lower inflation and much more. Even if global warming is the biggest myth anyone has ever dreamed up, the solutions being proposed are no-brainers. We should be doing those things for a thousand other reasons anyway. [empahsis mine]
I’ll add that the “job killer” and “economy killing” doomsday scenario claims are overblown. It’s ironic, given those who make such claims continually demean those who talk about the catastrophe of global warming itself. They should know best the economy is flexible. There is always pain in shifts, but rarely have we gone up in flames because we converted from an agrarian society to a manufacturing one, or a manufacturing one to an information one. Next step is a sustainable, information-based, hyper-economy. Imagine great things and take steps to make them happen. Don’t be the guy asking why in the world every household would ever want a computer…