Ow. Hot.

July 12, 2007 at 11:50 pm (General, Politics, The Environment)

Ai, carumba! The last few days here in Vancouver have been hot. Way hot. Unseasonably hot. Stick-to-the-vinyl-upholstery, fry-eggs-on-the-sidewalk, screamin’ hot. Hot as Salma Hayek’s sweater puppies. Yeah, I know it’s nothing compared to Baghdad or even Phoenix, but hotter than I like, that’s what I’m saying here. And I know I should shut my pie hole and quit my whining. It’s hot in most places in the northern hemisphere this week. They say there’s this thing called “summer” going on right now. But when global warming really begins to kick in, this week will be fondly remembered as mild. And that leads me to write about this latest item from the BBC news site.

Al Gore - disco inferno - poor flamin' buggerIt turns out that global warming deniers have had another prop kicked out from under their smarmy, unscientific arguments. A recent study shows the sun’s output has actually been declining since the 1980s, but average temperatures on our green planet have risen nonetheless. The data continues to mount that our wanton flatulent discharge of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is the primary cause of rising global temperatures.

Forgive me for this, but – nyah. Big middle finger to the Rush Limbaughs and George W. Bushes who refuse to acknowledge that we are about to carelessly drown the world’s coastal cities, and drastically alter the climate in vast areas of the planet. Get a grip, stupid white men. Your grandchildren will need to live someplace, you know.

It’s a mixed blessing – I have a lot of ambivalence about being lucky enough to be a middle-aged white guy living in America, in a home well away from the coast. Some days I feel really embarrassed about that. This is one of those days, even though I try to do what I can to reduce my carbon footprint. I drive as little as possible, and since the mid-1980s I have driven smaller cars – ones that are relatively easy on gas. That’s partly because I am a cheap SOB, and I like to conserve my fundage as much as is practical. I have installed compact fluorescent light bulbs in most areas of my home. I don’t water the lawn, and therefore don’t have to mow it as often as some of my neighbors. I set my thermostat in the low 60’s (Fahrenheit) during the winter, and in summer I use fans. I don’t have an air conditioner. I installed a timer on my water heater. I try as much as possible to reduce my waste, reuse and refurbish household items, and recycle as much as is locally practical.

St. David.  Really.  There is one.  Who knew?Yeah, I’m a regular frickin’ saint, I hear you saying. Well, that’s not my point. My point is this – it may not be too late to reduce or avoid the eventual reckoning with global warming. It’s worth the effort to try. I’m putting my money where my mouth is. All you truck and SUV drivers – here’s the line in the sand – my throw down. Bring it, gas hogs, if you dare. If you can be troubled to care.

UPDATE: July 15, 2007

I stumbled across this video, which happened to be related to my subject, on YouTube. It’s wonderful example of how those who choose to deny global warming use ad hominem attacks and misinformation to wave aside scientific argument with emotional rhetoric.

UPDATE: October 10, 2007

A British High Court judge has found there were “nine factual errors” in the film An Inconvenient Truth.  For any global warming deniers who would like to seize on this as evidence that the whole concept of global warming is scientifically wrong – sorry.  You won’t be able to go that far any time soon.  From the article on the BBC:

BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin said the ruling would be “embarrassing for Mr Gore” but would not affect the government, which said it is happy that the judge did not dismiss the film’s mainstream argument. (emphasis added)

But, he added, this controversy could encourage the public to think there was scientific doubt about the facts of climate change.

Children’s Minister Kevin Brennan had earlier said: “It is important to be clear that the central arguments put forward in An Inconvenient Truth, that climate change is mainly caused by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases and will have serious adverse consequences, are supported by the vast weight of scientific opinion. (emphasis added)

“Nothing in the judge’s comments today detract from that.”

Please also note, Rush Limbaugh types, that the phrase “scientific opinion” also means “educated, informed opinion, backed by empirical data”.  This is radically different from “layman’s opinion”, or “political opinion”.  You got that?

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