Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ain't Logic Grand?


Read the line before that.

When your car stops running and sounds like a cement mixer, who would you rather rely on for advice, a master mechanic or a pastry chef? When your air conditioner stops cooling, who do you want to fix it, an HVAC tech or a hair dresser? And when, heaven forbid, you wake up with an awful pain in your chest, who do you call, a doctor or a masseuse?

Now I have nothing but respect for the pastry chef, the hair dresser and the masseuse. But for the same reason I wouldn't visit a service station for brioche aux sucre, I don't rely on political hacks to judge the state of climate science for me.

And when you are counting noses, a lot depends on whose noses you are counting. CERN built the Large Hadron Collider at a cost of around 9 billion dollars on the advice of experts in a science not one man in a thousand understands. Yet the Europeans rose to the challenge and built it. At the same time, the Superconducting Super Collider, an American instrument which would have tripled the power of the LHC, wastes away less than half completed and overcome by weeds in a field in Texas.

Since when did it become de riguer for Americans to throw up their hands and turn away from a challenge because it is simply too large and complicated? That "the feeble actions of mankind" are not equal to "another misguided attempt to wrest away control of things which are clearly beyond our ability to manage..."?

What utter humbug that is! Steve, throughout our history as a nation, we are the people who have taught the rest of the world that no challenge is so daunting that we should not roll up our sleeves and get down to the dreadful business of overcoming it. Have we become too jealous of our own temporary comfort to undertake the risks required to solve the problems the future presents us with? Maybe we are just too tired, and would rather some other nation solve them for us.

And as for this conspiracy of yours, thus far 3 bipartisan boards of review have now examined the hacked CRU mails and interviewed the relevant witnesses and experts. All three panels have concluded that while Phil Jones, his associates and staff may have been guilty of relatively minor lapses in judgement, no serious wrong doing occurred and the science they have been pursuing is sound. You should have no trouble locating their reports online. Now if they had called for the same criminal indictments you did, I assume you would conclude their investigation was fair and balanced. But since they have not, I'll leave it to you to claim it was a cover-up.

Steve, that's the problem with conspiracy theories - especially bad ones. By their rules, no outcome of any investigation disproves the allegation. If the investigation agrees with the conclusions of the theorist, it must be accurate. But if it disagrees, why then, it must be a cover-up. This is the kind of thinking which takes us right through the looking glass and into Wonderland - where nothing is as it seems and everyone is out to get us.

I've said it before and it bears repeating. This country runs on fossil fuels, which have provided us all with a standard of living most people in the rest of the world can only dream of. You could even say with absolute conviction that 99.9% of our marvelous technological advances would not have been possible if someone, somewhere, had not burnt a few tons of coal or barrels of oil. Neither do I have anything but admiration for the skilled men and women who have combed the world over for new deposits of this diminishing resource. Instead of begrudging them their millions in profits, we ought to be thanking them. I mean, who really cares how much they made so long as they continued to provide us with an abundance of cheap energy? (a mia culpa: yes, I own stock in energy companies)

Now is not the time to demonize this vital industry. Why not consider it to be the necessary source of innovation and investment which will be required for us to get on to the next generation of clean energy? Steve, there are enormous potential rewards possible here those companies willing to accept the challenge and move forward. I don't see why government and private enterprise cannot act as responsible partners in this endeavor. Sooner or later, one way or another, the easy way or the hard way, its going to happen.

Its already happening overseas.


1 comment:

  1. Good post.

    In spite of the fact we're coming from opposite sides, I think we're starting to meet the middle on the Real World aspects of the issue.

    Yeah, let's encourage private and public research into viable energy alternatives. But let's agree that it's not necessary to turn the existing world economy upside until we find those alternatives. And let's keep the political agendas as far away as possible while we're at it.

    If there's money to be made, we'll find it. Or, as you pointed out, someone else will.

    - Steve