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The Great Global Warming Hoax

July 17, 2009

I’m going to start out by saying that even though there is a consensus among the vast majority of scientists that human-driven global warming is real, I do understand that, in the past, the scientific consensus has been wrong.  The beauty of science is that the majority can be overruled by the truth, but sometimes it takes a long time for the truth to come out.  When Wegener first introduced the plate tectonics theory, the majority basically called him a heretic, and now plate tectonics is generally accepted as real.  But if something comes along in the future that disproves plate tectonics, science will allow for the new theory (after much wailing and gnashing of teeth).

***A short aside-A theory in science is not just a guess.  A theory in science is the closest thing to a law.  It drives me nuts when people say “Evolution is just a theory” as though it’s just something scientists pulled out of a hat. (I’ll save my rant on evolution-deniers for another day)***

Moving right along, and back to global warming.  For now, the consensus says that global warming is real.  It is possible that they are wrong.  I will concede that.  What I don’t understand is why the people who deny global warming are so angry about it.  They act like its some grand conspiracy, and I constantly hear that “Global warming is a hoax.”  Here’s my question to them, and this is a legitimate question.  If you have an answer, I am interested in hearing it.  Who is hoaxing global warming, and why are they doing it?  The first person to say Al Gore gets a kick in the teeth.  I want a serious answer.

***Another short aside-Cool weather in May (or July for that matter) or a blizzard in November does not disprove global warming.  (a) Global warming is something happening over the long term.  It doesn’t mean that it will always be hot or that there will never be snow; (b) It may be more accurate to call global warming, climate change.  A warmer atmosphere can cause all sorts of extreme weather.***

One other question for the global warming deniers-Why do you hate America?  Just kidding.  But seriously, why is conservation such an issue for the so-called conservatives? Even if global warming isn’t happening, doesn’t it make sense to try to use our resources more wisely?  Why is it a bad idea to try for a more sustainable lifestyle?  I do get that for some actual conservatives it’s a matter of not wanting more government control in our lives, and up to a point, I completely agree.  I’m not a hard-core libertarian, but nor do I think government has all the answers.  But if you don’t want the government interfering, how about practicing a little self-control?  Isn’t that the basis for conservatism? I remember last year during Earth Hour (cities all over the world turned off their non-essential lights for one hour-a largely symbolic gesture to be sure), I heard right-wingers talking about how they were going to turn on every light and appliance in their house and maybe burn some tires for good measure.  That’s got to be one of the dumbest god-damn things I’ve ever heard.  That’s not a protest, it’s a temper tantrum.  And here is what the Ayn Rand Institute (they are hard-core libertarians) wrote about it:

“Participants spend an enjoyable sixty minutes in the dark, safe in the knowledge that the life-saving benefits of industrial civilization are just a light switch away… Forget one measly hour with just the lights off. How about Earth Month… Try spending a month shivering in the dark without heating, electricity, refrigeration; without power plants or generators; without any of the labor-saving, time-saving, and therefore life-saving products that industrial energy makes possible.”

Ayn Rand meet Straw Man.  No one is saying we should go back to the literal dark ages.  I haven’t done the research, but I’m willing to bet cities didn’t shut off power to the hospitals.  I fail to see how using less energy is a bad thing, especially if it’s non-essential energy.  My dad taught me to turn off the lights when I leave a room, and I still do it to this day.  Is the Ayn Rand Institute going to say that I should turn off all my lights at all times?  Maybe they’ll call me a socialist. For Pete’s sake, people, consumption is not a virtue.

***And one last aside (can they still be called asides at this length?)-I hear global warming deniers say that CO2 couldn’t possibly be a pollutant because it is natural and is used in life processes.  It sounds good to say it, but it’s just not true, and really is kind of ridiculous on the face of it.  For example, humans need water to live.  However, you can die from water poisoning.  Too much water in your system will upset the normal chemical balances and kill you.  With CO2, it’s not that anyone is saying its poisonous (although try breathing CO2 and see what happens).  What they are saying is that too much of it in the atmosphere upsets the balance and contributes to the greenhouse effect.  Notice I said “in the atmosphere,” which is why people talk about sequestering CO2 in the earth. (Of course, I’m always willing to hear from those with more knowledge on the subject)***

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Caleb permalink
    July 19, 2009 9:26 am

    Ab,

    Might I ask what was the inspiration for this latest blog? Has the Global Warming Hoax been making the circuit on right wing TV lately? And yes, I agree, why would anyone think this is a hoax? Who in the world has anything to gain from this being a hoax?

    • ajhagg permalink*
      July 19, 2009 9:44 am

      The inspiration was just a conversation I had with a friend. But the “global warming hoax” is always part of the right-wing talking points. You know, science has been wrong before, so it’s possible that it’s wrong about global warming (I tend to think it’s better to be safe than sorry in this regard). I just don’t understand the hoax part of it.

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