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The Gorilla in the Room: If You Break It You Own It

If you break it you own it. Where have we heard that before? Lots of places---our parents-- Colin Powell---the lady who owns the china shop.

The Gorilla in the Room: If You Break It You Own It

 If you break it you own it. Where have we heard that before?  Lots of places---our parents-- Colin Powell---the lady who owns the china shop.  But, are they just words that we have heard so many times before that they have lost their meaning?

 Climate change?  Are those words also overused?  Just ask the residents of the Midwest whose towns were destroyed this year by early tornadoes, for I can say with total certainty that if we would not have been warming up the earth those particular tornadoes would not have gone through those towns on those particular days at those particular times.  There would have been other tornados on other days in the south, but in other places at other times.  But people would be alive today that were killed by those storms if the earth hadn’t been warming up! 

 We used to believe devastating weather events were “acts of God” that were out of our control.  Now the chance events that lead to a killer tornado are not “acts of God” but acts of man for we have changed every bit of weather that would have happened by raising the earth’s temperature and adding energy to the atmosphere.  From here to the future we have changed the weather for better or worse.

 Now we are rolling the weather dice and countless lives will be changed in ways we will never be able to predict or understand.  The only simple truth is that we broke the weather, and now we own it.  We own every life that has been changed, every sorrow that is different then it would have been, every joy that is lost forever.  We own it all.

 I said we own the weather for better or for worse.  Even in the terrible tragedy of the tornadoes, some people did indeed do better.  An example is the increased orders for tornado-safe rooms, but do we want to keep rolling the dice and see who gains and who loses?

 If you could snap your fingers and change everyone’s life, would you do it?   It would mean that some people would be alive that would have died in accidents. Others would be dead that are now alive.  Some would be married to different people and some would have different kids.  If countless lives would be different----would you do it?  Even if you had no idea of how everything would change?

 In my next blog I’ll write about why any change in the climate will be bad for most people.

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Bob MacDonald March 28, 2012 at 03:42 AM
I'm not really on board with the whole climate chase, but I can explain the problems that the warming side is having right now and how to fix them. It's all about economics, as this is an economic issue. But maybe not in the traditional way of thinking about economics. I don't mean that global warming costs too much (or too little, or whatever). What I mean is, people are only concerned with the future when their present is secure economically. Global warming is a long term issue, no matter how you try to dress it up, and everyone gets that. There is really no argument there. Not only is it a long term problem, it's a VERY long term problem. As such, it is going to be virtually ignored in tough economic times. No matter what. People are worried about how they'll pay for child care this summer. Then after that, they are worried about how they'll pay the heating bill next winter. Until those economic issues are satisfied, no one has the time or money to worry about stuff like this. This is an issue that will get great traction in good economic times. So the solution to the current malaise in the great global warming battle is to help improve the economy. Or at least stop standing in the way of others who want to improve the economy. When people are economically secure, then they'll have the luxury of worrying about the planet's health 50 years from now.
Bob McCoy March 28, 2012 at 05:41 AM
Au contraire, Mr. MacDonald, you really are on board for the whole wild climate ride, unless you have located another habitable planet within your reach. The hypothesis that we have a household economics problem is probably inaccurate, as I first was informed about climate change in about 1971. Several of my fellow Navy pilots and I were discussing environmental sustainability, and whether flying an airplace that could burn 1000 pounds of JP-5 per minute at full afterburner made sense, seeing how petroleum scientists were talking about peak production and dwindling resources. Then one of the pilots said, "If you think the petroleum situation is bad, look into global climate change." Now we've had some good years since then, but continue to listen to the big money of deniers, whose short-term interests are inimicable to society's interests, near and long term. Taking a longer term view, probably the first climate-change paper of note was published in 1896 (eighteen ninety-six) by a Swedish physicist, Svante Arrhenius, who laid out the relationship between carbon dioxide, water vapor and climate. Arrhenius thought that the burning of coal over time would have an impact. Surely, in the past 116 years we've had a period of time when people were comfortable in their homes? Or, is the science subjected to the same treatment that prevented acceptance of the tobacco-cancer relationship for about 30 years after scientists established the relationship. We broke it, let's fix it.
Bob MacDonald March 31, 2012 at 03:53 AM
I wasn't really making a statement about climate change itself, other than to say I'm in the camp that is a bit more skeptical, Mr. McCoy. I was simply pointing out that things like this gain more traction with the public in good economic times, and less when the economy is worse. It wasn't a statement about how long global warming has been around, either. Sure, there are time in the last 116 years that people have been comfortable enough economically that they can afford to entertain this sort of nonsense. In just the last 20 years, we've seen the ebb and flow of consumer consumption of the global warming theory. It was a bit more popular in 2000, when the economy wasn't in such dire shape, than it is now. Why? Is it because people are better educated and are aware that global warming is a scam? Quite possibly. OR...it is possible that the economy is worse and people simply have more important issues at hand. I honestly don't think people have gotten smarter, so it's probably the economy :D

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