Thursday, June 21, 2007

Weather, Water, Energy 6-21-07

  • I think I’ve made clear with the regular links to his posts at Grist that I think David Roberts is the best thinking and most entertaining commenter on weather, water, energy right now out there. But I do want to make this point about his recent post staking China’s claim that it’s unfair to condemn them for replacing the US as #1 in carbon emissions and that the US should being paying the Chinese tons of money to develop sustainable energy rather than follow a US-like course. The logic is defensible, although the warnings about the destructive path we created and the Chinese are on have been out there long enough for them to have gone a different route (say, like Sweden, which JMG at Grist extols for its foresightedness here), but when you start positing things that just are not going to happen as part of your syllogism, you get off track. The US is NOT going to help the Chinese become an even greater threat to its own world dominance. And a country in which people say, "Why should I apologize for slavery, prejudice, discrimination, etc.? I didn't have any slaves, kill any Indians, etc." is not going to accept culpability for getting to a big economy first. Even if we in the US were as prescient as Roberts truly has proven himself to be, the logic for helping China out applies to many, many more countries as well. Would we only help China? Or who else? Where does the line get drawn? You think those countries below that line will be impressed with the remaining logic for it when they can apply the same logic you just applied for China? I don’t really disagree with Roberts’ thoughts here, and it’s probably good to have them out there as a far anchor within which more likely actions can be considered. But China has doggedly, in the face of clear evidence of what’s happening to the planet, chosen and maintained an unsustainable path. Yes, we should develop models for EVERYONE on that path, including ourselves, but frankly, we aren’t even going to do that very well. The Swedens of the world will lead that future, and, if China is smart, it will use the financial leverage it has over us through its financing of our swelling deficits to force us to go with them as they follow the Swedes’ lead. What David does here is valid and interesting and a waste of time when we don’t have time to waste.
  • Greenpeace is targeting the Congressmorons holding up serious climate legislation. And guess what? Yes, they’re Democrats!!! Good thing we had those 2006 elections.
  • I love the Southwest landscape and the cultures are equally fascinating. There was a time when I thought I might like to live there, but (back about the same time China made its decisions for its current economy) it became clear that our course on this planet could not be sustained. Especially water use in the Southwest, which led me to turn down job opportunities and feel badly for the surprising number of people I know who live in Phoenix. Three decades later, here we are. At least it won’t be the first time climate destroyed settlements out there.
  • For all its occasional silliness in its op-eds on global warming, the Christian Science Monitor also pretty consistently puts up some of the most comprehensive reporting on the subject of any of the major media. Right now it has its second in a series up on how the planet adapts to warming, this time dealing with species survival after its first part dealt with human adaptation. The whole thing is exactly what ought to be dominating our discourse and what serious people would be talk . . . wait, Paris’ neighbors are dreading her return home!!!!

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