Of course today it’s 30 degrees and foggy, even more foggy than when I made this cartoon.
I have a very distinct memory from my childhood: Sometime early on in high school (around 2004, 2005, 2006, I dunno), in one of my science classes, we were watching a Bill Nye the Science Guy video. I remember it being about the rainforests. Anyway, at the end of every Bill Nye video they have a music video that’s usually so cheesy you can’t help but enjoy it. In this video, you had some Eminem wannabe rapping about protecting the rainforest. And one of the lines about the rainforest ended with “Cause by the year 2000 they’ll all disappear!” and the class broke into peals of laughter.
People have pretty short term memories, but dire predictions about global catastrophe are nothing new. And I’m not talking about the Mayan calendar, I’m talking about modern scientists who in their time were considered the best in the field. The first rule we learned in Statistics class (after “correlation does not prove causation”) is that extrapolation is always dangerous. So pardon me if I’m not panicking over global warming predictions just yet.
I’m not saying global warming may not be happening, or that it might not be a serious problem by 2006, but instead that the catastrophic, worst-case scenario predictions are likely not going to be as dire as they are made out to be, or at the very least are not going to happen as fast as many are saying they will. It seems like the deadline of no return keeps getting pushed back by the same people who say that absolutely nothing is getting done to solve the problem. Well which is it: are we not addressing the problem or is it not as bad as you told us?
We’re going to move to alternative energy sources eventually, simply because at some point they will actually be cheaper than fossil fuels. And not artificially cheaper by being propped up with subsidies, but legitimately cheaper, on their own. I’m not a fan of forcing technology on people and businesses that just isn’t economically viable yet (Solyndra, anyone?). There’s no point in making our lives suck in the interim. It will lead to all sorts of problems, since energy use is connected with just about every type of economic activity you can think of.
I just don’t see the sense of radically changing our lifestyles over something that, when lined up against all the other predictions throughout history, seems to me to be one of the more far-fetched ones. Especially when the only way you could really effect a significant change in behavior is by legislative or regulatory fiat, and not just in our country, but globally. Forget a liberty standpoint, think practically!
And even if global temperature is rising and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing, who says that’s necessarily a completely bad thing? Doesn’t higher temperatures and more carbon dioxide mean we could grow more food, for example? Worked out pretty well for the dinosaurs, the largest land animals in earth’s history (if you take away the meteor, of course). Plus warmer weather and less coastal blue states. Win/win!