Global warming sounds awesome

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!

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3 thoughts on “Global warming sounds awesome

  1. After reading some of your comics, I will say despite having some great bits of work, overall, I am rather frustrated. I will give you credit, unlike many conservatives I have had experiences with (including one of my state senators), you don’t claim that science behind climate change is false, and you do seem to believe that it may actually be something to worry about. But There are a good deal of issues in this one in particular (at least from my perspective). Increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to an increase in carbonic acid in the ocean, which dissolves calcium carbonate. This causes corals and other ocean organisms to be weakened and possibly killed off. An increase in temperature may also release underwater methane traps which is 8 times more potent of a green house gas. Even a slight increase in water level will literally submerse many island nations off the map. I agree that many plans to do things about this are not really feasible (due to both international and economic reasons), but the amount of money and effort required to try and actually reverse it is worse. The US Navy is already planning for a ice free arctic, and insurance companies have lobbied congress to do something about climate change because it threatens their very business.

    I am sorry about the wall of text, but it kinda bothers me seeing an issue like this rather glanced over, especially when I can tell they author isn’t trying to say “its all lies” like some I have come across. I agree though, that often the “spectacular” catastrophes are unrealistic.

    • Sorry if I seem callous, but I really don’t think this is a big problem. Predictions are just that, predictions, and island nations being submerged sounds like one of the more spectacular ones.

      I think that renewable energy sources are going to happen sooner than most people think, on their own, and that any “damage” that takes place as a result of fossil fuel use in the interim is going to be negligible. And I maintain that regardless of what is accurate or not in terms of prediction, nothing our government does is going to stop global warming. “Global” is the key term, and no matter what the rhetoric is, countries like China and fast developing third-world nations are not going to cut short their advances because we “set an example.” It’s just not going to happen, and we need to stop pretending it will as a practical matter.

      What we need to do is stop punishing fossil fuel use (which is economic suicide, especially in a recession). Instead if we do anything, we should incentivize renewable energy research. Not subsidize it, because that quickly becomes political and you have debacles like Solyndra. But maybe approve some big bonuses to companies that manage to hit a certain fuel efficiency, or develop a certain type of energy at a better price. But the point is that companies should do it on their own.

      • Like a few of the other post of yours I read, I find I have some disagreements, but you are civil and reasonable, which is still odd experience for me on the internet. I agree that punishing fossil fuel usage is not the way to go (heck, I even work for a company whose primary function is to sell plastic products). When I was referring to “spectacular”, I meant more in terms of things like “The Day After Tomorrow”, which dumbs down the issue to utter nonsense, and throws physics out the window. I agree that companies should do stuff like this on their own, and I know that some have, but incentive is the tricky issue, as it could be fairly easy to game the system if the legislation was worded a certain way. I don’t trust the people who would propose/ compose something like this to make sure something like this can’t happen (regardless of political affiliation ).

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