Okay, No Consensus, And?

I’m big into the whole climate change concept, and we should do something about it. I admit it.  I’m no “modern messiah” on the subject, that would make me a hypocrite given that I personally am not as “green” as I would like to be, but on the other hand, it’s important, and I honestly find myself boggled by the uproar against the concept of climate change and the near hysterical fight against anything to work towards fixing the problem.

I bring this up because I just stumbled upon this article which refutes the idea that Global Warming is found to be both catastrophic and man made according to a global scientific consensus.  My response officially is, “and?”

I don’t get it.  I mean, I understand the idea that people might take umbrage at the tone and desperation of the pro-green warriors and the seeming condemnation of their own lifestyles.  This is natural, and well catalogued throughout human history.  We resist fundamental changes to our lifestyle vehemently and with great zeal.  So when someone tells you you’re a bad person for driving an SUV, of course you’re going to get up in arms.

But this is more a projection of our volatile and often self defeating political climate than it is anything else.  Just like everything, from gun control to Iraq to abortion, the focus of today’s debate is not how to approach potential problems from a consensus standpoint, but instead to bicker and argue whether someone is right or wrong.

It probably doesn’t help much that one of the leading front runners in the climate change movement is none other than Al Gore, a man loved by so many on the left and therefore demonized and vilified by the right.  By simply being who he is, Gore, who has I think taken a noble stance in using his fame and credibility to draw focus onto this issue, he has also inadvertantly polarized an issue that need not be polarized.

We don’t all have to agree about how severe the problem is for us to do something about climate change.

What I’m getting here is that there are many reasons for us to start taking action, and few reasons not to.  Of these, yes, there would be an economic hit as we reorient our entire economy around industries other than those that are based on oil consumption.  This is a huge deal, and I recognize this.  Also, America “going green” would indeed require significant lifestyle changes.

But the endeavor of going green can yield so many benefits aside from curbing the effects of climate change, and the changes to our lifestyle can be facilitated in such a way that I think it’s worth a try anyway.  I’m not trying to pick a fight on this one, really.

For one, I think it is important to understand the benefits of going green that transcend the catastrophic portents of climate change.  Among other things, it is important to note that while we are mired in the Middle East, most likely for the next few generations, dependence upon foreign oil greatly hampers our ability to effectively act within the region as an impartial actor. As long as our interests in that region extend beyond merely seeking peace and stability for the sake of a safer and stronger global community, our efforts will continued to be hampered.

Even now, the oh so vital Iraqi Oil Law is looked upon with great skepticism by the Iraqi people as it would greatly benefit oil companies outside of Iraq, such as those that can be found in the US.  It begs the question how on earth can we be trusted when it looks like from day one the only reason we are there is to get our grubby mitts on their oil.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg when we talk about the benefits that can be reaped from going green.  I explore even more here, in particular, the economic benefits that are just begging to be had.  At this point, I would like to recall sitting in a coffee shop in Pittsburgh with Mike, and my buddy from the Newshoggers, Fester.  Fester is what you might call an economics wonk, meaning, much of what he says goes way the hell over my head, but sitting in that coffee shop that cold and snowy morning, I did manage to pick out a few things that stuck in my head.

One of them was the nature of the American job market and where it was going in the future.  While in the past we have depended so heavily on manufacturing, he explained, this was going away, and going away very fast.  While in the past you could spend your entire life working in a textile mill or on an assembly line, today’s working class will often change jobs over a dozen times. Part of this is a result of globalization where it makes little sense for companies to pay American minimum wage for work they can just as easily outsource to countries with lower labor standards or weaker economies and therefore increase corporate profit.

That alone can be debated for days on end, but let’s just assume this is where we’re going and we aren’t going to change it as it is, we need an alternative.  I find it unacceptable that someone would have to flit from job to job throughout the course of their life, particularly, I worry about the stress and the ultimate societal ailments that would result from the utter lack of stability such a career path would provide.

But as I point out in the second Comments post I linked to above, going green provides a new industry with unlimited potential.  The potential is so great, in fact, to call it a single industry I believe would be folly, instead I feel it creates a kind of “super-industry” affecting hoardes of job markets at all levels of the income spectrum.  The effects going green can have on our economy is limited only by our imagination, the same imagination that has led to the trailblazing spirit that made the US such a strong player in the world economy in the first place.  We could retool our entire industry, and yes, even going green has the possibility of revitalizing our manufacturing industry as we see going green as not just something that hobbles industry, but instead as a marketing gold mine.

Again, I’m not a market or economy wonk, but to me and my layman’s knowledge, the potential for a virtually untapped market seems too good to pass up.  To this regard, shrewd entrepeneurs shouldn’t be condemning the the climate change meme, they should be embracing it and using it for all it’s worth.

But all of this still doesn’t address the significant and wide spread changes to our lifestyle.  But again, these don’t have to be so heinous and difficult as we seem to make it.  You can make a huge difference simply by changing the kind of light bulbs you buy.  Environmentally friendly light bulbs aren’t merely just good for the environment (I’m not trying to turn my not so eco-friendly friends into hippees, trust me), but make sence on so many more levels.  Though the initial cost is a little more than for traditional bulbs, their energy efficiency and lasting power makes them a better investment in the long run.

You like your SUV’s?  Fine by me.  I’m a small car kinda guy myself, but hey, some people just like riding high, and I’m not going to give you grief over it, but let’s see about trying to work on that dependence on foreign oil, shall we?  You don’t have to compromise one for the other.  Even now, hybrid SUV’s are hitting the market, providing an excellent halfway compromise for those who want to maintain their SUV lifestyle, but still want to have a positive impact on the nation’s dependancy on foreign oil as well as climate change.

Again, like the lightbulbs, yeah, you might be hit hard in the wallet up front, but think about all the money you’ll save in gas, especially with today’s gas prices.  Plus, you’ll have the piece of mind that can only be granted knowing that you are helping the American economy by buying American.

See?  It doesn’t have to hurt that bad, all you need to do is spend a few minutes on the internet finding those aspects of going green that fit your lifestyle, and we can work from there.

The point is this.  I don’t need a full on consensus from scientists to tell me that we need to go green or we’ll die.  That there is a considerable portion of the population that feels it’s a significant issue is good enough for me.  Further, I don’t see a whole lot of scientists saying that going green will result in the world ENDING as a result.  Which I think is the heart of the matter.  How bad it is is debateable.  It’s possible it’s a crisis, it’s possible that it’s not.  But the reasons not to at least try are far outweighed by the myriad of benefits to be had if we as a nation stop this petty bickering, and start working together to make going green possible, profitable, and easy for everyone involved.

9 Responses to “Okay, No Consensus, And?”

  1. BothEyesOpen says:

    My commendations on a well-considered post, Kyle. It is too bad that your green-compatriots are not as compassionate towards skeptics of man-made GW, as are you.

    The problem with mainstream GW zealots is that they are not satisfied with the call for voluntary support of environmentally-friendly technologies and lifestyles. Instead, they want to bludgeon those who are not appreciative of their particular shade of green. They want to shame others into paying for their guilt, with carbon-offset credits or worse, to impose taxes for the sins of purported polluters.

    Al Gore is expanding his fortune by selling his ‘credits’. John Edwards uses the fallacy to breathe life into his faltering run for the Presidency even while he drives his own SUV. Scum-bag politicians of both parties use GW paranoia to frighten the populace into giving up their freedoms of choice and to cough up more of their money in forced support of ill-conceived solutions.

    By all means, live GREEN. Recycle, be LIBERAL in your conservation of the earth’s resources…but do not attempt to force half-baked ‘solutions’ on the citizenry, until you have solutions that do more good than harm. Check out the overall footprint of your hybrid car. Is it’s manufacture, use and ultimate disposal really less polluting than your neighbor’s SUV? You might be surprised.

    Regardless of the truth or fiction behind global warming theories, let us address the issue of clean energy with something that might actually work, instead of just lining the pockets of scammers. Let’s get behind an initiative to provide tax-credits to those who invest in promising new technologies, such as effective use hydrogen. power.

  2. Thanks for the comment, BEO. One thing that has to be done is to break the cycle of vitriole on both sides. Edwards is Edwards, and I can’t really defend him. Between you and me, I’ve never been a particularly big fan of his in the first place.

    Al Gore, and I’ve read both his most recent book and watched his movie on Global Warming, and you know, i think he is unfairly vilified. It is true that he is something of an alarmist, however, it is also clear that he has done his homework on the issue, and he keeps his own vitriole to a very small minority, usually high level players in Washington, and in Corporations, both of whom I really can’t feel particularly sympathetic towards.

    At this point, I think it would behoove us to take the information that is provided, and if need be, attempt to assimilate that information outside of the message in which it is wrapped up in. Both works by Gore are crammed with good information, and it would be a shame to let it go to waste (though I warn you that Assault on Reason does levy some severe charges on the Bush administration).

    Whether you think tax credit or tax increases is a matter for the wonks, as far as I’m concerned. What I do think is essential though is that the free market needs to test its mettle here.

    Anyway, thanks for the comment, sorry the reply wasn’t very coherent, I got hijacked midway through by a bunch of other people.

  3. BothEyesOpen says:

    Since you have read Al Gore’s book and watched his movie, may I sugget you obtain a copy of the BBC documentary ‘Global Warming Swindle’ so that you have a comparison to judge Mr. Gore’s opinions?

    It is interesting that you reference “vitriol on both sides.” Perhaps I’m guilty of occasionally allowing one or both of my eyes to blink…but I’ve failed to witness true vitriol from more than one side. Ridicule from some perhaps (myself included,) when a squeaky voice proclaims that there is no evil in the world, except for people who drive SUVs…oh yes…and George Bush.

    BTW, the forced-font in this comment box is too small. Going to go recline in my SUV now…and rest my eyes.

  4. HAHAHA!! All tech comments go to Mr. Tedesco.

    Well, of course vitriole and antagonism appears from one side or the other more clearly. To your credit, as the global warming folks are the proactive part of the debate, and the antis are the receivers, it could seem that way. But from day to day I see a whole helluva lot of people getting pretty vicious in the anti climate change speech.

    Further, I did want to ask. Are you applying this vitriole to Gore himself? I’m curious, I don’t recall him doing that, other than Bush, and you won’t find much Bush sympathy here, sorry bout that, just the nature of the beast I guess.

    As for the documentary, I’ll check it out.

  5. BothEyesOpen says:

    ahh…I feel better now. I thought my eyes were failing me when I last visited your site, but no…it really was just your spelling.

    You say vitriole, I say vitriol. In this, as in our global warming perceptions, I think that I will be proven correct. But since you seem open minded enough accept the truth if given exposure to it, I urge you to follow up on your promise to check out the BBC documentary.

    Regarding Gore: No, I don’t feel that he is particularly vitriolic, although many of his followers clearly are. Actually, I think that Gore is a mediocre intellect, tossed into a position of prominance by luck of birth. His book and film deal predominantly with innuendo, scare tactics and reliance upon purported experts. The reason todays news of the vanishing concensus of scientists (about global warming,) is importatnt, is that the ‘concensus’ was the only thing that the activists had going for them in their crusade against man-made pollutions.

    Last week, Norwegian scientists reported that hoofed animals emit more green-house gas in a years time, than does the average automobile. Their example showed that the average moose (presumable this means all moose, not just Norwegian moose,) through belches, burps and farts is roughly equivalent to a car driven 13000 kilometers. See: http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,501145,00.html

    Who knows what additional discoveries await those with an inquiring mind? Maybe we will even find that the SUN might have some influence on our climate?

    That’s it, Kyle. I will check in periodically to see if you report on your reaction to the BBC’s Global Warming Swindle…and to make sure Mr. Tedesco has enabled a readable font in this comment stream.


  6. BEO,

    I am confused, the font in the comment stream is the same typeface and pointsize as the font of the posts. What browswer are you using? What OS? I have not checked the site with every combo…

    Also, regarding the hooved animal comment, it is arguable that that they could still be considered man made polutants. Hear me out. The mose numerous hooved mammals are most certainly pigs and bovines, which are domesticated for our consumption. This domestication has changed drastically over the past 50 years or so with the introduction of factory farming. Without human influence cows would have died off long ago, now they outnumber us.

    Just a thought.

  7. BothEyesOpen says:

    Aw…thought that this might be an introspective forum…but clearly I was wrong.

    Mr. Tedesco, do you realize how sophomoric is your response? Or were you just soporific?

  8. Sophomoric? Are you serious? Do you realize that the article you cited links to the following article also from Spiegel in the second paragraph?

    Agriculture is responsible for producing 37 percent of global methane emissions, a gas that is 23 times more potent than CO2 when it comes to global warming. And much of this gas comes from the burps of ruminating animals such as cows and sheep. If a cow’s manners could be improved a bit, then the world might just stop warming quite so fast. And it could be as simple as getting them to graze on different types of plants. Scientists at the University of Aberystwyth are now working on using plant-breeding methods to develop new diets for livestock.

    Across the world, people have increasingly turned to meat-rich diets — in fact methane concentrations have increased by around 100 percent since 1900.

    Or take this piece from a recent Christian Science Monitor

    As Congress begins to tackle the causes and cures of global warming, the action focuses on gas-guzzling vehicles and coal-fired power plants, not on lowly bovines.

    Yet livestock are a major emitter of greenhouse gases that cause climate change. And as meat becomes a growing mainstay of human diet around the world, changing what we eat may prove as hard as changing what we drive.

    What is sophomoric is to think you can defuse an entire scientific debates with one silly headline.

  9. BothEyesOpen says:

    Aha! Perhaps you are not so sophomoric after all! But it appears that my second guess may have been accurate. Fortunately, you seem to have awakened from your slumber and have done a bit of research!

    My previous comments focused on hoofed animals (moose,) that are not normally domesticated, but you chose to twist that into an indictment against mankind for the food-animals that some have cultivated. Should you care to continue your research, I think you will find that wild animals (fervently protected by those most vocal about global warming,) are major contributors to the purported problem that was the genesis of this commentary.

    In addition to wild mammals, I suggest you do a bit of reading about the massive emissions from insects such as termites and ants. Recent studies indicate that termites alone contribute more that 15% of all of earth’s greenhouse gas.

    Now, before you take off on another tangent, please understand that my entire point in this ‘discussion’ was to respond to the fanatical lunacy that possesses so many, regarding mankind’s usage of fossil fuel as being the primary contributor to global warming. Yes, we might reduce some types of emissions if we revert to Conestoga wagons drawn by horses and if we all become vegetarians, but try eating a meal of beans and cucumbers tonight and find a horse stall to sleep in…and then see how much more earth-friendly your combined vapors are.

    Bottom line…before we willingly flush our economy down the toilet by following the gospels of Al Gore, Michael Moore and John Edwards, let us look skyward to understand the real cause of the (cylical) warming trend that is currently visiting our planet because, (as we now know from the study that prompted Kyle to write this post,) the majority of scientists disagree with the teachings of Gore, Moore and Edwards.

    Sleep well, Mr. Tedesco!

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