Friday, May 24, 2013

It May Not Technically Be Too Late, But...

In reality, there is little chance that we will undertake what is necessary to stave off all but perhaps the absolute worst that global warming is likely to bring.

My biggest frustration is the astounding mistrust of science that has been engendered by pro-corporate (fossil fuels companies) shills, primarily among the right wing(nuts).  A somewhat close second is the fact that, even excepting global warming as a real and present threat, most of the things that we should be doing for that, we should be doing anyway!

Fossil fuels are problematic above and beyond carbon emissions: they are limited in quantity (no matter what "peak oil" is we will at some point be past it), they are not equitably dispersed on the globe, they require extraction which has anywhere from mild to severe consequences (coal mines catching fire/exploding, flammable drinking water, mountains of coke from tar sands, mountain top removal, poisoning drinking water, oil spills...), and they contribute to pollution above and beyond CO2.  Any one of these things should be reason enough to try and reduce consumption of fossil fuels and to push hard to develop and put in place alternatives.  But it is the first reason that makes sense no matter your opinion on the environment or geopolitical problems.

Because there is a finite quantity (well, the replacement rate is << the consumption rate) we should be doing all we can to make sure we are not dependent on these fuels. No rational, thoughtful person looking at the energy situation would do what we are doing.

It seems to me that much of the right wing push back against doing anything succeeds in large part because "environmentalist" has become a tainted word for them, and "things environmentalists want" are inherently considered bad, or frivolous, or otherwise unnecessary.  Sometimes it is all and good to state right and wrong, but this debate is more emotional than rational (indeed, the rational part of the debate is almost exclusively concerned with the best way to convince people of the facts, and how to fix the problem). 

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