Monday, October 15, 2007

Global Warming and The Prophets of Doom

Primitive man (and woman too) was terrified and mystified by the natural changes in their environment, and powerless to do anything about it.

However, some of their brethren noticed patterns in environmental changes, and in a while were able to anticipate and even to predict their occurrence, and recurrence.

It didn’t take long for the sharpest blades in the stone knife drawer to realize that they could use this knowledge to their advantage. If you knew something would probably happen soon, wouldn’t your fellow tribesmen, ignorant of that possibility, be very impressed it they thought you could make it happen, or facilitate the process?

If it was a good thing, they would want to give you something to bring the good to them. If you could warn them that something bad might be coming, they would be glad to give you something for the warning. Soon you would accumulate great wealth (comparatively), and wouldn’t have to work hard and do dangerous things to survive. You would be able to spend time thinking, observing, and accumulating wisdom as you lived to an unusually ripe old age.

Your riches would, of course, greatly heighten your desirability in the eyes of your tribe’s most delectable darlings, and in the eyes of their parents. Eventually you would groom a son to succeed you, passing on all your knowledge and position (remember the wealth) in the tribe to him.

Eventually tribes grew and coalesced into states and nations, and the knowledge of the tribal wise men was incorporated in an organized religion and a hierarchy of priests. But through it all, there was a constant. Priests safeguarded and added to a body of knowledge that translated into an apparent ability to influence the gods, and thereby future events.

Years passed and scientific discoveries peeled away the layers of the realm of God, leaving little He could do except reward goodness with Eternal Life.

Which ain’t chopped liver, but it’s not the same as the old system, where you could put your money down and expect the gods to fill your wish basket.

Now the Kingdom of God was “up there,” and earthly life was supposed to be spent in suffering and sacrifice.

About that time, life on Earth started getting a lot easier, and man felt imbued with God-like abilities. God was no longer needed (or trusted) to stem the tides, stop the floods, turn the winds, bring the rains, make fruitful the harvest, make fertile the womb – in fact, mankind felt that it was not only capable of doing all these things, but at fault if they became a problem.

More skin cancer in Australia? Not the result of more skin exposed for longer periods in Australia, Mate. It’s the bloody hole in the ozone layer, caused by chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) compounds, don’t you know?

Why are there more chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) compounds in the atmosphere? Because we’re use air conditioning to live comfortably in places that summer heat and insects used to make unlivable.

Like Australia.

Why are respiratory problems such a big concern now? (Obviously, they have always been a problem ever since man built a fire in a room to help fend off the cold.) Just look at all the smog caused by burning fossil fuels to generate power to run air conditioners – and to power vehicles, run factories, communicate quickly and effectively, and to conduct medical research into detecting and correcting things like respiratory problems.

Progress today is like taking medicine – along with the benefits there are always undesirable side effects.

“We’ve cured his erectile dysfunction, but he has to spend too much time on the pot to appreciate the cure.”

Today modern man, just like primitive man hundreds of thousands of years ago, is again mystified and terrified by changes in his environment, but this time around is certain they are mankind’s fault. Instead of petitioning God, or the gods, modern man feels he can solve the problems by reversing his actions.

A modern messiah like Al Gore copied the wise elders of antiquity and identified a cause for alarm, the potential in the not quite distant future for environmental devastation due to man-caused global warming. All evidence of previously greater and more dramatic climate changes was thrown aside or ignored, and like the preachers of old, Al Gore laid the blame for our future environmental woes on our sinful drive to improve our material condition.

There you have it. Greed, sin, consequences, and then salvation through Al Gore by returning to a state of Grace; i.e., reducing energy consumption to pre-Industrialization levels.

You may say “Nay, that’s not what Al wants,” but the physics of energy production are very simple and won’t be wished away. Over 80% of all energy production is from the combustion of fossil fuels, and there is no viable alternative or substitute, not even nuclear, that can fill the gap in energy production vs. need if the draconian cuts required to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide to pre-1990 levels could actually be made.

Of course they can’t, and they won’t, but that doesn’t stop Apocryphal Al and his Acolytes from preaching that mankind’s salvation depends on us doing just that.

Now for a dose of reality.

Wind, solar, and/or wave power generation are all very expensive and unreliable, require huge areas on land or sea, and cause an enormous amount of environmental degradation (which the Environmentalists are loath to admit). Biomass, even if it is a by-product of current agricultural or industrial processes, creates more environmental damage than benefit. It takes more power to produce hydrogen for fuel cells (usually provided by coal-fired generators) than the fuel cells generate.

And it will be a very long time before we can find a substitute for aviation fuel that is not produced from oil. In the meantime, we’re flying ever more often and farther. Just ask Al Gore and all of our environmental activist celebrities about their own travel histories and plans. Also don’t forget to ask them about the heating and cooling needs of their mansions, summer and winter homes, and apartments. Many of them have at least one of each.

Oh, that’s right, they’re all playing the shell game of purchasing carbon offsets.

Isn’t that sort of like the Indulgences that the Catholic Church used to peddle to expiate sin?
(For an in-depth, insightful analysis of Indulgences and Democrat leaders, click here.)

No, not exactly, because the Indulgences were to pay for past sins, and were not licenses for continued sinning. However, the purchase of carbon offsets allows the buyer to be environmentally guilt free while continuing to add to atmospheric carbon dioxide, smugly confident in the belief that somewhere, at some time, trees will be planted to grow and to eventually absorb the evil CO2.

Just like the buyer of Indulgences was sure he had safeguarded his soul from Hell.

What a boondoggle, all smoke and mirrors.

Just like a modern-day Elmer Gantry, Al Gore and his ilk preach a path to salvation that they themselves don’t follow, one that requires that the poor of the world remain poor, incapable of generating and amassing wealth that would enable them to cope with the effects of climate change, or any other disasters that might threaten them.

Catastrophe always falls heaviest on the poor because they don’t have the means to forestall it, or to minimize its effects, or to recover in its aftermath. Therefore, the best way to prepare for whatever calamity Nature has in store for mankind is to encourage and facilitate increased productivity (which will obviously require increased energy consumption and higher CO2 levels).

Only then will the poor of the Earth be able to build the dikes, desalinate the water, eradicate disease, and do all the other things that wealthier mankind already does.

Then they’ll they be like the rest of us, and will no longer be terrified and mystified, powerless to cope with the changes in their environment.

Increased wealth from industrialization will enable them to break unremitting cycles of disaster and deprivation.

And to banish the Prophets of Doom.

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