The Corpus Callosum

James Robbins, contributing editor at the National Review Online,
thinks global warming is a good idea.  This is proclaimed in
his article, Hooray for Global Warming.

This is another version of the “CO2
is life” meme.  And like “CO2
is life,” it is utter nonsense.  Anyone who would say that
fails to grasp a critical point about climate science.  I’ve
never actually done a fisking, and I do not particularly care for it as
a literary form, but this one begs for it…

href="http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZTJmNWI4N2Y2NTBmY2E3ZTIzZjcxM2IzM2ZjNjRkYWI=">Hooray
for Global Warming
Surf’s up!

By James S. Robbins

Every time we have a summer heatwave invariably the media go crazy with
talk of global warming. You would think they would be used to the
phenomenon of seasons by now. But it is great fodder for the features
producers, and since the weather is on everybody’s mind you
might as well go with a segment on climate change. It’s a
nice respite from the real problems in the world.

Personally, I don’t know what all the shouting is about.
Global warming
is great. Granted, maybe it isn’t really happening, and if it
is there
are strong reasons to doubt that humans have anything to do with it.
But if the world is warming, I say “bravo.” …

…If the aliens were watching they’d conclude we were making
our planet more habitable on purpose…

Any alien race that was sufficiently advanced to be watching us surely
would know that it is not just the amount of change that is important,
but the RATE of change is important as well.

And imagine the land boom up the coastlines as people
rushed on up for
beachfront property. If global warming is real it is creating the
investment opportunity of a lifetime.

Sure, if the climate changes slowly enough, we could adapt.
 But changes occurring on a decade-by-decade basis would
present intractable problems.  In the case of beachfront
property, who would buy such property, if it is going to be underwater
in a few more decades?

True, there might be some dislocations as crops
shifted northward, but so what?

So what?  It takes farmers years to learn  how to
maximize the yields in a given area.  Especially given the
increase climate variability, agriculture will
become much more unpredictable.  

A warmer wetter world could very well mean more rain
forests — hence more biodiversity!

More biodiversity would be great.  But for that to happen, the
climate in a given area has to be stable long enough for organisms to
adapt and undergo speciation.
 It is a rate-of-change issue again.  

He seems to have a glimmer of insight, for a moment, but then screws it
up:

Granted, there will be some negative impacts in
marginal areas. Some
rare plant and animal species, hyper-adapted to highly specific climate
conditions or micobiotic zones, are already unable to cope with the
change. Many may go extinct; some already have. That’s tough,
but chalk
it up to bad evolutionary choices.

“That’s tough” is a value statement.  It is as though there is
some some of natural good that occurs, if a species makes a “bad
choice,” and becomes extinct.  But this is not about what is
right or wrong for a given species; it is about what is good or bad for
humans.  And if we loose — forever — valuable antibiotics or
cardiac medications, then we are all worse off — forever.  So
what if some sort of cosmic justice prevails over a species that made a
bad choice?  We still loose.

Basically I am questioning the premise of the
global-warming alarmists,
namely that this is a problem rather than an opportunity. And besides,
I distrust their motives. Many are simply panicky people in need of
some form of approaching eschatology. These sad folk afflicted with the
href="http://www.nationalreview.com/redirect/amazon.p?j=0060916125">true
believer” psychology require something large and
threatening to worry about in order to give meaning to their lives.

I do not personally know any climate scientists.  Would
someone who does, please find me one example of a
climate scientist for whom the above description applies?  

Another motive, sometimes open sometimes not, is to
end the free-market system as we know it. By linking the cause of
global warming to the activities of the most productive economies in
human history, they can take down capitalism by other means.

In point of fact, when global warming first became a concern, there
were economists — many of whom were ardently pro-business — who tried
to apply their newly-developed complex-systems theories to the problem
of climate change prediction.  As I understand it, that is
where the idea of “tipping points” came from.  They were
alarmed at what they saw.  They certainly were not trying to
“take down capitalism.”  

It is fine to sit around and engage in armchair musing regarding the
supposed motivations of others, except for one thing: it is almost
impossible to know what motivates someone else.  Plus, it is
irrelevant what motivation people have.  The question is: are
they right about the  science?

But change is natural. href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_theory_%28science%29">Gaia
is all about change. 

Arsenic is natural too.  But that does not mean it is good for
you.  Again, he gets into a moralistic type of argument that
is entirely beside the point.

There is no challenge posed by a slow-rolling
phenomenon like global warming that cannot be overcome…

Rate of change, again.  There is nothing slow about this.
 And where does he get the idea that there are challenges that
cannot be overcome?  

And if this threatens our cities one would think some
form of sea wall
would be in order. The Dutch have been doing this for years, there is
no reason why we can’t copy them.

He might want to review his geography.  The coastline of the
USA is a bit longer that anything the dutch ever had to deal with.
 

As with most fiskings, I could go on and on, but surely the point has
been made.  

Comments

  1. #1 Left_Wing_Fox
    August 9, 2006

    That’s tough, but chalk it up to bad evolutionary choices.

    Wow, talk about conservatism in a nutshell. That’s the exact argument they use against poverty. And it’s just about as appropriate and ruthless.

    “Hey, I know we changed the environment so that you couldn’t survive in it, but you should have made better choices to adapt to my choices. What? I made bad choices that affected you? I’m not the one who’s suffering here, why should I change? Take some personal responsibility, loser!”

  2. #2 natural cynic
    August 9, 2006

    These sad folk afflicted with the “true believer” psychology require something large and threatening to worry about in order to give meaning to their lives.

    Glad I have an industrial strength irony meter. Aren’t these the guys that had their panties in a bunch about the Evil Empire, Saddam’s nukes and are now so worried about Islamofascisms designs on Israel and the US.

  3. #3 Badger3k
    August 9, 2006

    I guess he thinks the sea-wall idea worked so well for New Orleans, eh? What a maroon…

  4. #4 Joel Shore
    September 6, 2006

    It is strange that he uses the Dutch as a positive example of why sea level change is so unimportant…because the Dutch themselves don’t seem to feel this way. In fact, that nation is very worried about climate change because of the sea level issue. Given that they have the most experience in dealing with dikes and reclaiming land from the sea and so forth, shouldn’t that give us pause?

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