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Monday, March 12, 2007



Chablis and Brie? Horrors. Always red wine with cheese.


No, no, no,whatfor. Just you try a sweet white with a blue cheese. Wonderful.


This constant banter about whether global warming is/isn't happening is beyond silly now, it seems. Even if all of the scientists that have been studying this for decades are wrong and global warming is a fantasy based in false science (bit of a stretch to believe, but for the sake of argument), no one on earth can dispute the fact that this carbon filth that we spew into the air by the millions of metric tons a day is poison. If they don't believe it, they can wrap their mouth around my tailpipe for a few minutes while I rev the engine. If they are still alive afterwards, *then* they can tell me that it's harmless. It is in our air, our food, our animals, our plants, our bodies--everywhere. Poisonous, noxious filth.

Why would we continue to bolster and even encourage an economy that is, literally, poisoning us? One needn't be a hippie liberal tree-hugger to see the madness in that. And Easterbrook talks about Inuits getting cruise ship money and longer harvests in North America? He's approaching insanity if he is at all serious. "Sure Tokyo, Miami, New York, Venice, London, Shanghai, Amsterdam, and Sydney are going through mega-billion dollar efforts to save their cities from destruction, the nation of Tonga is all but gone, and we've lost thousands of miles of shoreline, but Hey! we have more poisonous corn and Inuits can sell dream catchers to tourists!"


just the messenger

I, for one, am glad there is so much "carbon filth" in the world:
(disclaimer: joke above)

Someone (who will remain unnamed) missed the point of the article. There was no banter therein about whether global warming is happening or not, so I'm not sure where you're coming from. The remaining question, according to Easterbrook, is what the probable effect of global warming will be. The real irony didn't come until you asked skeptics to breathe exhaust from the tailpipe of your car, which I assume sits unused to avoid spewing "poisonous, noxious filth" into the air.

The Lounsbury

First, for Clive, it seems to me Easterbrook rather badly mischaracterises the problem - as well as engages in more than a slight bit of idiocy in this characterisation:
One fear about artificially triggered climate change has been that global warming would lead to scorching summer-afternoon highs, which would kill crops and brown out the electric power grid.

Well, perhaps in the illiterate Left Sky is Falling In circles, but otherwise my understanding from a science-literate POV has always been problems arising from increased variability in rainfall (drought and flood extremes), too rapid climactic zone change causing cascading eco-sys failures.

None of this deadly for the planet as such, highly likely to have nasty and expensive consequences for the human comfort zone.

Instead, so far a good share of the warming—especially in North America—has come in the form of nighttime and winter lows that are less low.

First, it's navel gazing, second to my knowl. it's also bollocks. Significant melt back has come in the Alps, e.g.

Snowpack is a key source of balanced release fresh water.

Non-trivial problem if it disappears.

Nevermind the summer highs on average, as I recall, are indeed climbing.

And fewer freezes allow extended growing seasons, boosting farm production. In North America, spring comes ever earlier—in recent years, trees have flowered in Washington, D.C., almost a week earlier on average than a generation ago. People may find this creepy, but earlier springs and milder winters can have economic value to agriculture—and lest we forget, all modern societies, including the United States, are grounded in agriculture.

This is just plain illiterate - yes step-wise change so far hasn't been catastrophic, but even in the good old navel gazing US of A there are disturbing trends in the Western states to lower snowpack accum, which is a significant source of hot-season water flow.

It may have escaped him that desertification of California, Arizona etc. as well as the central plains region would have a certain impact on agriculture.

In short, the argument as quoted is pandering bollocks.

I have no patience for the panick-mongerers, but this is equally rubbish

And of course the investment issue - well I do this for a living. In a theoretical world yes, it would make sense for much investment in efficiency to occur in India and China - but the capital has to come from somewhere, and needs to be mobilised. In a theoretical world, capital flows should be greater to emerging markets - but they aren't for the same risk reasons that make investment in alt energy easier and more productive in the West.

Again, deliberately paralytical faux criticism.

no one on earth can dispute the fact that this carbon filth that we spew into the air by the millions of metric tons a day is poison. ... Why would we continue to bolster and even encourage an economy that is, literally, poisoning us?

Certainly, anyone with a passing degree of literacy in science. It's not poison at all, merely inconvenient in terms of some atmospheric side effects. Positively nice for certian plans.

But that has nothing to do with Global Warming. It does reflect on the commentator's utter illiteracy and sheer idiocy. Pity that frightened bunny like panic-mongering takes the place of reasoned response. It gives credence to the misplaced sceptics, as well as drives irrational and futile respones.


Uhg. The "idiot" responds:

I suppose what I was trying to say (rather poorly, I will admit--not a writer), is that the focus on global warming, though certainly important, is really a pedantic and short-sided way of discussing pollution in general. I didn't miss Easterbrook's point (if that's what you want to call it). My point is that I think he has no point. He's proposing a rather snide, sophomoric hypothetical--though I suppose he may well not have intended it that way.

And true, he is not dismissing global warming, he is saying "gosh, maybe it wouldn't be that bad." And, truthfully, maybe it wouldn't be so horrible--I understand that approach. But as such, it's still banter about global warming. Further, it still doesn't address the issue of the poisonous crap we keep throwing up into the air. Yes, poison.

There are days when my eyes can't stop stinging and watering because the pollution levels are so high. My sister decided to move away from our fair, smoggy city because her son couldn't play outside on many days without severe respiratory problems. Though I'm sure I and many tremble in the shadow of "The Lounsbury's" soaring scientific and cerebral prowess, I doubt that he would slight me much for making the deduction that, perhaps, this isn't the most healthy thing for animals to breathe. Perhaps, as well, he could understand that my meager intellect has a hard time grasping how a significant erosion of our ozone layer is but an "inconvenient atmospheric side effect." It sounds kinda bad, actually.

Mostly, however, I should hope that my intellectual superiors could please understand that my entire intention was to say "forget about global warming for a moment. Could we not agree that this is toxic filth and that, as such, it's probably not all too good for us?" Guess I'm not going to get there today.

As for my tailpipe...yep, I spew crap into the air out of it almost every day. That's why I used the pronoun "we", so I fail to see the irony. But I keep asking my representatives to find another way to get me down the road so I can have a job and not continue to add to this filth. I haven't had a lot of luck so far, but I suppose that's what "frightened bunnies" with "utter illiteracy and sheer idiocy" do. Gosh, I hope I can grow up to be as charming, intelligent, and well read as you are someday. In the meantime, I'll tell my nephew that he's not breathing poison, it's just an atmospheric inconvenience that's actually good for certain plants.


The Brit Kyoto nuts are going to send England down the tube! I've been reading the horrorific measures they plan to impose on you. Please read, "Gobal Warming every 15,000 years". The earth warms and cools on a constant basis and the warm periods are very beneficial. And CO2 is good for crops!! Most of the American Push for this is money drive and yes, Al Gore will make big bucks if laws can be passed!!!

The Lounsbury

Oh bloody hell.

Listen Travis, you stupid git, confusing pollution with bloody carbon effects on the atmosphere is part of the bloody goddamned illiterate problem. Using carbon emmissions as a short-sided way of discussing pollution in general merely underlines you understand fuck-all about the problem.

Particulates, nasty soot if you want, from cars, is an utterly different issue from carbon. Carbon is good for plants, for example. Without carbon dioxide in the air, no plants, mate. None. Dead.

Particulates, on the other hand, are actual pollution and as an emissions problem like say sulfur, an utterly different issue - you do in fact choke on particulates, ruins your lungsies, etc., can choke off plant growth, etc. etc. etc.

Different fucking thing. Also utterly different to control.

In theory, for example, a massive planting program of long-growing trees would sequester carbon, and the buggers (the trees) would be happy as ... well whatever trees are happy like with the extra carbon. It ain't (carbon) toxic filth you stupid illiterate git. It's merely a greenhouse gas, one in a certain quantity that is damned good and permits life on this stupid little planet, but too much too fast can cause some serious problems for people. Not for the planet, it will get along fine, but people.

Now, the idiocy spewed above by Yvonne is hardly any better as "earth warms and cools on a constant basis and the warm periods are very beneficial" is a fucking moronic observation. Yeah, it bloody well cools, and warms over periods - but that doesn't mean that human driven warming by rapid escalation of the amount of carbon is something to cheer. Quite the contrary - again for humans and for human economies over the reasonably middle-term it is going to be a big problem.

Warming is reducing ice and snow pack accumulation, which in turn reduces available fresh water (at low cost) for all climates - especially stressful for Mediterranean climates I'd note, climates where a massive amount of agri and other human activity occurs globally (Europe, North America, potential in North Africa, other zones).

To spell it out for the dimwits - that means droughts, escalating agri and industrial costs for water recycling, potential desertification, etc. etc. etc.

These are economic costs that are clear, non-controversial and impact not just the poor brown fuckers you don't give a flying fuck about.

Now, the rational reaction to the reality of global warming and the large human contribution is really quite clear - heavy investment in alternative fuels and energy sources, in energy efficiencies in industrial and consumer sectors and R&D for future technologies.

What's beautiful about this is this (i) dovetails with long-term interests as cost-effective oil is going to "run out" or escalate to punitive extraction cost levels within 50-70 years, (ii) increased energy efficiency is an economic good and increases wealth, (iii) sustainable energy sources (nuclear, solar, wind) are probably long-term excellent economic payoffs for humanity.

It puzzles the bloody fuck out of me why so many of my business colleagues fear Global Warming reaction.

I am all for it - get on the goddamned bandwagon and start proposing pro-active, market oriented solutions - with Governmental support certainly for R&D and to compensate sectors with large stranded sunk costs. A clear win-win for long-term economic growth and wealth creation.

If one doesn't, the whole issue is left in the hands of illiterate naysayers and equally illiterate panick mongers.


That's the spirit, Lounsbury! Now you're as pissed off as I am. Still not the most charming, but I don't think you're here looking for a date.

Further, though you may well not agree, we're actually saying the same basic thing. It seems that pollution, which as you noted, covers a broad expanse of things, is being reduced to "cars and global warming." All the talk is about carbon, carbon, carbon and the warming of the planet.

I don't mean to dismiss carbon emissions or global warming and do believe that it is a serious problem, but it is only one aspect of pollution and--when put in those terms--tends to frame the issue of pollution as "we need electric cars or we will all burn up." It leaves aside all the other forms of pollution and doesn't ask the question of where the electricity for all these electric cars is going to come from. The most common source of electricity production in North America is still coal, I believe--which is far from perfect in it's environmental "footprint," if I'm going to be Al Gore hip. More efficient than an internal combustion engine, but still...

I shouldn't have mentioned my tailpipe in the beginning. Because, believe it or not, I can and do read, I did take some science classes, and though not a scholar in *anything* by any stretch, am not irretrievably stupid. I've even toured coal mines, power plants, done a bit of research and (stay seated) know the difference between say, sulfur and carbon! In fact, I already knew that trees like CO2. (They don't like CO very much, but hey--minor detail). I know--bloody amazing, isn't it?

Anyway, that is why I originally suggested putting global warming to the side just for the sake of argument and look at poison we keep throwing into the air and water (from power plants, building materials, pesticides, mining, animal waste, etc., etc.) and at least agree that this is filthy and not good for us or most anything cellular in structure. Not that we could ever get rid of it all, but that it needs to be controlled. Maybe we (the larger we) could at least agree on that.

Otherwise, we keep recycling this "global warming is happening"/"no it's not" banter which doesn't seem to do us much good. Because then the issue becomes insanely simplified as global warming=pollution, which becomes if no global warming/then no pollution or, as Easterbrook seems to be saying, global warming not so bad, therefore, pollution not so bad. Even a "stupid git" like me sees that as deranged.

Further, even if global warming was/is a fantasy, we should take strong action based upon the toxic filth element alone. Take ammunition away from those that want to dismiss global warming entirely. I am not a "panick [sic] monger." Nor am I illiterate, my dear Lounsbury. And before you retort to the contrary, ask yourself why we see the problem and solution in the same basic way.

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