Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"Climate change..." George Bush's clever euphemism for

Say it with me, George: global warming.

I'm not entirely convinced by the various doom-sayers who believe the Earth is headed for catastrophe because we have overdosed on making things that burn liquefied fossils and use other nasty products to keep ourselves warm and our lights lit.

But I'm not entirely unconvinced, either.

It strikes me that there are plenty of sensible things we should be doing to conserve our dwindling supply of natural resources anyway, and if that helps keep the icebergs from melting, so much the better. If pulling back a bit and becoming less dependent on oil, coal and things made from trees doesn't slow down the rising global temperatures -- and I'm not even convinced they are rising in an unnatural way -- it would still be an intelligent thing to do.

Which brings me to the lowest form of human life: politicians.

John Kerry keeps babbling self-righteously about the "Kyoto Accords," as if George Bush had torpedoed our last chance to Save the Planet all on his own. Which he didn't, since the Senate's vote against the "treaty" came during Bill Clinton's time in office.

But if the "Kyoto Accords" represent our "best hope," we are doomed anyway. While they would impose draconian rules meant to reduce "greenhouse gases" on us, gross polluters such as China and India would be exempt. Why? Because they are "developing nations," and we don't want to slow their march toward industrialization.

The hell we don't. China has many more coal-fired generating plants than we do, and is building more all the time. Major cities in China and India have air-pollution problems that make 1950s-era Los Angeles look like a springtime meadow. God only knows how much toxic waste those countries generate.

We pollute, too. But this particular plan, like almost everything the UN ever sponsors, puts the blame -- and the full bill for fixing the problem -- on us, while nations that are not only draining our money away but seem totally unconcerned about poisoning the environment get a free pass.

Another idiotic feature of the plan is a system of pollution "credits," which allow nations that pump more than their share of filth into the atmosphere to buy "points" from nations that don't. If they have the dough, they can keep on with their profligate ways until the supply of clean air runs out.

I dislike any government interference in our lives, and dislike it more when some agency beyond our borders lays down the rules.

Hence a personal dilemma: I despise the socialistic nanny-state ideas of the "liberal" wing of our government. When any of them want to enact laws "for our own good" (especially when some, like Kerry and even Al Gore, are conspicuous consumers of jet fuel and, in Kerry's case, gasoline for their SUVs and powerboats), I'm ready to lead the march to boot their "humanitarian" asses out of government.

By the same token, I do think we are draining the planet of resources at an unsustainable rate, and have, particularly since the modern era of micro-circuitry began, become an incredibly wasteful throw-away society. Some of the solutions are pretty simple, and wouldn't cause anyone too much discomfort. Others, like replacing gasoline with ethanol, are completely impractical.

But whatever we do has to be done by (and to) everyone. If we have to restrict industries that emit the most pollutants, so too do the Chinese, and the Indians, and everyone else in the world. If we have to pay more attention to recycling, so does everyone else.

Herein lies the basic fallacy in the way governments operate: they play favorites and rely on the Robin Hood principle of taking from the rich -- and the comfortable -- and giving to their favorite poor. In this respect, our government is no better than those of Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro.

And of course the politicians will be the last to cut back on air travel, scrap their gas-guzzling limos and SUVs or start taking broken electronic devices to a repair shop instead of reaching into the treasury and buying new ones.

Hell, I don't have any answers. Maybe expecting common sense from people used to being ordered around by politicians -- who, in all honesty, know little more about the subject than I do -- is unrealistic.

All I can say is that any solutions proposed by politicians and/or their pet scientists are probably wrong, and should not be trusted.


lowandslow said...

Once again, Scribbs, I'm in total agreement with you. When some egghead scientist says, "This is the warmest it's been since the 1700's" I think, "What happened back then to warm things up so much? It sure as hell wasn't the internal combustion engine!" Slow down our conspicuous consumption, sure. More fuel efficient cars? I'm there. But I don't feel it's my sole responsibility to save the entire planet! ALL nations need to chip in here. As my daddy used to say, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander."

Sally said...

That was a quick answer to the question in my journal! I also crown you the King of Rants. :) And here is your goodnight ((((HUG)))) :)

betty said...

Good rant. I'm with Sal, you're the best. {{{Hugs}}}

HarpO'Fly said...

I think it is a case of taking nature and a little bit of truth, and spinning it in to a crisis with political agenda in mind.
Rain forests and such have been d4estroyed more by 3rd world countries using it for firewood than anything we do. Much of the human contribution is from those sources.
There are unlimited alternatives if enterprise were really free.
Assuming that sacrificing standard of living is always the answer is a myth. There's more than one way to skin a cat, and that knowledge is not generally found in legislative directive.