Thursday, January 11, 2007

Weather, Water, Energy 1-11-06

A multi-national report led by the World Economic Forum is calling out the world's governments for their basic inadequacies and failures of leadership regarding global warming, terrorism, pandemics, and oil prices--in their words, "a fundamental disconnect between risk and mitigation." Two out of our four topics here. We'd expect the moron brigade to condemn them like the Limits to Growth folks, only these guys are among the world's business leaders. A good summary of prominent concerns and scenarios of how they could play out. Take your anti-depressants before reading, though. I didn't and, well, at least they didn't warn of Guinness shortages. . . . A WA state study outlines the costs of global warming to the state's governments and businesses, including drought and crops, forest fires, and water. And "the impacts of climate change could multiply in the distant future." In the meantime, small-town school boarders in WA have banned Al Gore's movie unless teachers provide the "other side." I swear to God, these are some of the stupidest people on earth. Don't believe me? Here are some quotes:

  • "Condoms don't belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He's not a schoolteacher," said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who also said that he believes the Earth is 14,000 years old. "The information that's being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is. ... The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn't in the DVD."
  • "Somebody could say you're killing free speech, and my retort to them would be we're encouraging free speech," said Larson, a lawyer. "The beauty of our society is we allow debate."
  • "What is purported in this movie is, 'This is what is happening. Period. That is fact,' " Barney said.
    Students should hear the perspective of global-warming skeptics and then make up their minds, he said. After they do, "if they think driving around in cars is going to kill us all, that's fine, that's their choice."
  • Asked whether an alternative explanation for evolution should be presented by teachers, Barney said it would be appropriate to tell students that other beliefs exist. "It's only a theory," he said.
  • "From what I've seen (of the movie) and what my husband has expressed to me, if (the movie) is going to take the approach of 'bad America, bad America,' I don't think it should be shown at all," Gayle Hardison said. "If you're going to come in and just say America is creating the rotten ruin of the world, I don't think the video should be shown."
  • "The principal reason for that is to make sure that the public schools are not used for indoctrination," Larson said.

At least one person in town has a brain: Joan Patrick, Kenna's mother, thought it would be a good idea for students to see the movie. They are the ones who will be dealing with the effects of a warmer planet. "It's their job," she said. "They're the next generation." But apparently it takes more than one vote to elect a school board that can find its butt with both hands in small town WA state. . . . You Bill McKibben fans, here's a summary of a talk he gave in Montpelier. His usual stuff, but informative as usual as well. . . . Yet another Australian government meterologist, working for that nation's idiot PM Howard, says that things really aren't as bad, the El Nino (tilde challenged) is weakening (although it may get stronger before it gets weaker, or it may not change at all, and it'll be months before we know), and rain is coming, maybe, someday, so don't worry. Uh, okay. . . . CA's giving refiners and gas stations until 2020 to get the carbon content of the gas they sell down 10%. Since it's CA, success here would be gigantic for the rest of the nation. It's pretty clear that Schwarzenegger has realized, if he can't be president under our Constitution, he can be king of one of the bigger nation-states in the world and basically set this whole country's agenda from there. If it works on carbon emissions, maybe he can try something hard, like the state's and nation's prison population problems. . . . He's obviously not going to get help from this nation's car companies. Although Chrysler's guy promises he was just quoting people in his company, not his own ideas. Fine, no problem then. . . . Despite the temptations, Germany gets it about the long-term implications of going nuclear and has decided not to do it. One of the things about the nuclear priesthood among physicists for decades has been their insistence that they have the scientific means to overcome the waste-fuel storage problems that people like those silly Germans and other people with sense have. And they always have turned out like this. If nuclear were the only option, okay, let's accept the dangers. But it's not and we don't have to. Unless we stall so long that, given the time frames, it becomes the only option. Surely that couldn't be part of a plan . . . .