Tuesday, March 06, 2007

"Lifestyle Control"

The Guardian's science editor believes in Global Warming but is worried that it is being used to regulate every conceivable behavior. "After decades of waiting, the green movement has found the cause of its dreams: a crisis that gives them carte blanche, they believe, to rule our lives." He goes on to write:


Consider emission controls. This is now assumed to be as much an issue of individual responsibility as of international negotiation. Petrol-guzzling 4x4s must be taxed, foreign holidays discouraged, TVs unplugged and lavatories left unflushed. After decades of waiting, the green movement has found the cause of its dreams: a crisis that gives them carte blanche, they believe, to rule our lives.

Hairshirts are being knitted and the self-righteous are gathering. The Observer's travel desk already gets hate mail merely for highlighting interesting destinations that might seem to encourage carbon-producing air travel. No wonder those poor old deniers cringe. ...

Indeed, if one looks at the world's last great ecological scare, the dwindling of our protective ozone layer, it is intriguing to see how we dealt with a threat that seemed as apocalyptic then as climate change does today. Ozone depletion, caused by CFC chemicals used in fridges and deodorants, was not contained through individual sacrifice. We were not asked to sell our Hotpoint freezers or go smelly to the office. Governments and industries agreed to replace CFCs with safe substitutes. So there was no need for an army of self-appointed greenies to sniff our armpits to check if they were suspiciously non-malodorous. The crisis was contained at an industrial, not a consumer, level, as it should be with greenhouse gases.

Commentary

It's interesting to note that even the Guardian's science editor is alarmed at the excesses of "environmentalists" But really why is "lifestyle control" going too far if Global Warming is, as the Greenies claim, a greater threat than terrorism? Don't we already submit to body searches when traveling? Liquids are now banned from aircraft cabins; our shoes are poked and x-rayed; our baggage and persons examined for explosive residue. The discovery that mini-grenades can be concealed in body cavities suggests what the next development will be. Looking forward to your next trip? So if Global Warming is a greater threat than terrorism why is it unreasonable to call for "lifestyle control"? Maybe because Global Warming models aren't precise enough to let us correlate any particular behavior with a climactic outcome. Maybe because there exists no reliable correlation between say taking a foreign holiday and any predictable climate change. Maybe because the Global Warming model isn't reliable enough to allow us to make any rigorous prediction about human behavior and weather. Then it would make sense to reject "lifestyle control" because we have no idea what such lifestyle control would actually achieve.

Consider what would happen if all tourists were stopped from traveling to Bali. The Balinese economy would probably nosedive. The Balinese Hindus, already a minority in a predominantly Muslim country, might experience monumental unemployment and be marginalized. Be forced to resort to slash and burn farming in the countryside. And what would be the net effect on the Gaian climate? What exactly? I don't know. Nor, I suspect, does anyone else.

The reason why the "last ecological scare" (his term not mine) did not lead to restrictions on bathing is not that science proved the "depletion of the ozone layer" a lesser threat than "global warming". It probably has no quantitative way of ranking either of these two threats comparatively. If the ozone layer scare did not create "lifestyle control" it was only because the Greens failed to reach the heights of hysteria which they have managed to whip up this time.

How about this for a proposition: resolved that the threats to the world can be ranked in this way. The Environmental Hysteria Movement, Islamic Terrorism, Ozone Depletion and Global Warming. Readers may disagree on the ranking. But the question is, on what basis would one disagree? How can one prove that Environmental Hysteria is less dangerous than Islamic Terrorism or vice versa? And we if can't prove the ranking then QED.

19 Comments:

Blogger Tony said...

It's 2016... Global Shaking is the greatest threat to Mankind's Survival... and former VicePresident Dick Cheney has spent his years out of office becoming an amatuer geologist.

He has determined through his Nobel-worthy scientific studies that the greatest danger to mankind is Global Shaking, caused by cars, trucks, buses and even planes, which shake the ground when they take off and especially when they land. Oh, and also fat Americans, just walking around in their disgusting shopping malls.

He has a famous movie showing dust all over the place, and glasses of water shaking on the subway, and hot coffee shaking in tractor-trailer rigs, and precious sawgrass reeds shaking under the rumbling roar of the Space Shuttle.

He has taught us all a special exercise that we can do that will prove to each of us, deep down, inside ourselves, that the world is shaking more than ever. You stand on one foot, hold your breath, and squeeze your butt cheeks together - and sooner or later, you are shaking! There's no way to deny it! You are feeling Mother Earth shaking!

And of course, all this shaking is predominantly caused by Americans, especially the fat ones at McDonalds. It doesn't take any proof or science for all of us to know that America alone causes 87% of all shaking throughout the world. Cheney declares that all of civilization is going to be destroyed within ten years unless we immediately stop this Global Shaking.

In fact, it turns out that Global Shaking caused the huge tsunami in Indonesia. Global Shaking was actually responsible for blown up levees during Hurricane Katrina, and that damnable George Bush should have ended Global Shaking before that ever happened. It has come to light that those planes crashing into the World Trade Center on 9/11/01 were only a coincidence, and the buildings were going to fall down that day anyway, due to Global Shaking.

Around this time, Cheney starts driving around in nothing smaller than an Abrams tank, usually preferring those house-sized earth-moving dumptrucks to get from place to place. But that doesn't matter, because Cheney has started up a new company, actually a new division of Halliburton, that sells shake-absorbers. Cheney doesn't put these shake-absorbers on his own tanks or earth movers. Rather than that, he buys Tremor Credits to wipe out his Shake Footprints.

The Tremor Credits are sold by the new division of Halliburton, Still World Enterprises, of which Cheney is Chairman and CEO, as well as Founder. Still World Enterprises manufactures and sells shock absorbers for bicycles and rickshaws in Africa, China and India. The Tremor Credits absolve all of Cheney's own shaking.

Cheney issues an edict that forbids any publication that dares to suggest earthquakes, tremors or volcanoes are caused by anything other than Global Shaking.

3/06/2007 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

I think Al Gore's Oscar and the subsequent revelation about his Nashville palazzo may have been the moment when GW jumped the shark.

3/06/2007 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

For all of the concern over global warming, there aren't very many people keen to indulge in atmospheric engineering. Somehow, the idea of pumping the atmosphere with cooling agents won't be popular, especially if they turn the color of the sky green.

Once man-made causes of climate change are accepted as fact, the key question won't be whether global warming can be stopped, but whether it should be stopped. I could even imagine wars being fought, not over territory or resources, but over who gets to control the climate. Some people would prefer a runaway greenhouse effect, others would prefer a new ice age, and yet others (perhaps the "green conservatives") would desire the climate to be set at the level of the early twentieth century.

With water becoming a scarce resource for an expanding population, control over the rainfall patterns would be crucial to maintaining the political balance of power. With military coalitions forming based upon their preferred taste in weather, one could legitimately talk of environmental nationalism.

Although "green" activists may think they are promoting world peace by warning of climatic catastrophe, they may unwittingly succeed in turning environmentalism into a justification for war.

3/06/2007 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

I think the most effective means to stop deforestation in the Third World is to find tribes that rely upon a rain forest ecosystem for their livelihood and with a vested interest in keeping the local environment intact. Then, arm them to the teeth and recognize their right to blow the heads off loggers who try to move in.

The fact is, real environmentalism involves a willingness to ensure that those with a vested interest in preserving an environment have more firepower than those with a vested interest in destroying it.

Likewise, true eco-warriors who fight on behalf of the rain forest would wage war on SLORC.

3/06/2007 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

alexis,

Although "green" activists may think they are promoting world peace by warning of climatic catastrophe, they may unwittingly succeed in turning environmentalism into a justification for war.

In principle they already have, and although others have fought over resources before them, the Greens are the first political group in history to claim sovereignty over the environment. They get to control the weather; get to tell everyone what the weather should be.

The Guardian correspondent can't see that far, but even he notices the creeping claims of his "friends" over every aspect of life. In the beginning over little things, then gradually over more and more. And somewhere deep down inside a little presentiment of fear is stirring. He vaguely recognizes in this something he may have read or heard about before, but he pushes his misgivings aside and thinks, "no it can't be, all will be well". And so they pass signpost after signpost, all lettered with the words streng verboten and delude themselves into thinking they are on the road to freedom. But no, they are on the road to where they always suspected they were going, if they but listened to themselves.

3/06/2007 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Tony said...

It's 2016... Global Shaking is the greatest threat to Mankind's Survival... and former VicePresident Dick Cheney has spent his years out of office becoming an amatuer geologist.
\\\\\\\\\\\\\
This humor is way too euro/German. The humor is heavy as Buildings in Brussels. It would be much more appropriate-- and you would be much less burdened & pissed -- if Cheney were replaced by some Brussels Bureaucrat or Chirac

3/06/2007 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Using up all the water, is that like launching all the taxes into space?

3/06/2007 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger Rune said...

That's one of the reasons I'm deeply suspicious of the whole global warming crowd. I suspect many are using it as a little more than a convenient excuse to get at their real agenda; anti-capitalism and control. A puritan life-style is all good and swell – if it's a personal choice.

To his credit Al Gore doesn't seem to be one of them. What he seems to be advocating is not a cut back in consumption or energy-usage, but a switch to non-polluting ways of consumption and energy usage.

3/07/2007 01:36:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Thanks for the helpful criticism, Charles. Perhaps my satire too directly tracks Al Gore, point for point, up to and including his admonition to the press that all dissent must be eliminated, for the good of the people.

But I must say that massive, herd-like scams like this one are peculiarly American. Did the Euros go crazy over Pet Rocks? Would a similar farce attract so many devoted believers, an Oscar, a Nobel nomination in Germany or Belgium? I think not.

We credit (falsely, of course) our patron saint P.T. Barnum with the ultimate truism on humanity: "There's a sucker born every minute."

As surely as "fer sher" begat "fo' shizzle" this is an American comedy.

3/07/2007 04:47:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Several years back a friend of mine was worried that the stock market was getting too high (the Dow was at 5000 and looked to go higher). I asked him if he would feel better if it had been going down for years.

The same question applies to global warming. Would you feel better if it was shown to be getting cooler? The last full-fledged ice age lasted something like 100,000 years; some think a series of meteor impacts were the only thing that stopped it. Cooler might be nice in some ways for us folks in Florida but I think that worldwide it would make that last big tusnami look like a fun day at a water park.

And no one seems to be remarking on an interesing bit of data that recently was reported but not tied to global warming - because it was not descibed in that fashion.

People have been observing the Sun for centuries and there have been serious scientific observations underway for over 100 years. And the latest observations of the Solar currents that bring the heat from deep within the Sun to the surface indicate that they are AT THE LOWEST LEVEL EVER OBSERVED.

So, circa 2020 things are going to be getting cooler. If we actually succeed in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, that can only amplify the effects of lower solar output. I can hardly wait to see the huge initiative they will come up to respond to THAT crisis.

3/07/2007 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger Raoul Ortega said...

Adding an extra hour of sunlight a day for three weeks, by lengthening Daylight Savings Time, even in March, surely will make "Global Warming" even worse.

3/07/2007 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger SnakeInTheWoodpile said...

The control issue is troubling, but if these green people think that they will change the nature of climate in the universe and set the earth's thermostat for us I don't think their control will ever be a problem. What a bunch of egotistical over-schooled, undereducated terrorists. Hey, is it raining or are you peeing on my leg?

3/07/2007 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Good Captain said...

Global warming has become this century's first imminent cataclysm. Irrespective of its cause, the hope for change in human nature is pitiful folly. Like a Malthusean warning a century (or two?) past, any potential solution must come as a result of man's ingenuity.

3/07/2007 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Good Captain said...

Sorry, I meant to say "imminent cataclysm".

3/07/2007 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger j willie said...

Hate to break up the pc party here, but where I come from, people call a spade a spade. Accordingly, global warming is a crock of shit.

3/07/2007 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Hello kind people!

Global warming is all about breaking the sovereignty of the United States by way of the clause in our Constitution that gives Treaties equal footing with the Constitution itself. However a vote of congress can break a Treaty as well as enact one.

Tony,"Global Shaking", that was fun!

J. Willie sounds about right.

Al Gore is a dangerous man. Do not have pity on him. He is self embalmed. His Dad was Armand Hammer's bitch.

This thing reeks of the occult. Who, exactly is putting up the BILLIONS to do this promotion.

Global Warming is a TAX on your cookout campfire and cattle farts and electric tooth brushing. That it has gotten this far is a warning of the forces that are arayed against America. They want us to voluntarily turn our government and our lives over to them as a sort of a fun thing to do. This stuff is deadly serious. Pop goes the weasel inside the Chicken Little suit. Gorbachev is in on this.

Heads-up!

3/08/2007 02:41:00 AM  
Blogger metaphysician said...

Sparks Fly-

Actually, while treaties are equal with the constitution, per se, they are *not* equal with the Amendments. After all, amendments by definition supercede and take priority over that which comes before them.

So, while a treaty could theoretically achieve coequality with certain elements of the constitution, it can *not* override the Bill of Rights.

3/08/2007 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Sparks Fly,

If Al Gore was selling Mood Rings for World Harmony, and the NYT mentioned them 5,721 times like they have "global warming" - half the people in the US would be wearing Mood Rings right now.

3/08/2007 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Sparks Fly,

If Al Gore was selling Mood Rings for World Harmony, and the NYT mentioned them 5,721 times like they have "global warming" - half the people in the US would be wearing Mood Rings right now.

3/08/2007 06:54:00 PM  

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