Global Warming Debate is a Big, “So What?”

What if the Conservatives are right and climate change has nothing to do with human activity?  The Conservatives dispute the scientists who assert that post industrial generation of CO2 is warming the atmosphere.  Perhaps Conservatives are correct that the scientific evidence amassed isn’t conclusive.  Perhaps it isn’t possible to know with absolute certainty that human activity is the sole cause of the increasing temperature.

So what? 

1.       If we are the cause and we do nothing, the Earth may heat up. 

2.       If we aren’t the cause and we do nothing then the Earth may still heat up.

3.       If we are the cause and we make changes to reduce our output of CO2 the Earth may not heat up.

4.       If we aren’t the cause and we make changes to reduce our output of CO2 the earth may still heat up.

Pick the option that makes sense regardless of whether you believe humans are the cause.

What if Liberals are right and climate change is caused by human activity?  The Liberals dispute scientists like NASA Scientist Roy Spencer who dispute the computer models used by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Dr. Spencer asserts these models are flawed and show more warming than can be validated.  Perhaps the Liberals are right and the scientists who believe that global warming is actually happening and that humans are the cause.

So what?

See 1 – 4 above

Pick the option that makes sense regardless of whether you believe Conservatives or Liberals.

Does it matter if anyone is right?

So if humans only have a choice between action and inaction and if only taking action produces a possibility of reversing global warming, then why the debate? 

The Liberals have taken firm and early hold of the only safe high ground on global warming if it is in fact a real phenomenon.  Liberals can only be wrong if nothing is done and the Earth does not warm up.  Since changes are already being made, Liberals can’t be wrong on the issue.  The only hope left for Conservatives is to disprove that global warming is real and caused by human activity.  Given the complexity of the issue, explaining it to the average Walmart shopper is a tall order.

The debate reminds me of the past when scientists could not agree on the shape of the earth – flat or round – or when scientists debated the rotation of the solar system, earth-centric or sun-centric.  In briefly reading though some of the online arguments for and against, it immediately becomes apparent that someone like me is entirely dependent on the scientists to figure it out.  Complexities in the debate include cloud variations over time, positive and negative solar energy feedbacks, radiation cooling measurements; frankly, all of this stuff is too much for my brain and I’d just as soon go to Walmart.

If no scientists can mount enough evidence to convince the entire scientific community that the issue is either flat or round, then let’s stop the debate until there is evidence and let’s simply take the most prudent approach from a human survival perspective.

This is my graphic take on the politics of the situation.

 

 

A View from the Trenches in an Economic Siege

It isn’t hard to describe the scene on the ground here in California.  There are countless empty store fronts, empty houses, more people roaming the street than I’ve ever noticed before.

The news programs seem to be trying to make reality change by NOT reporting on the level of difficulty that so many people find themselves in.  It’s a mess out there and people are afraid.

Lack of health care is rampant.  People are simply ignoring health issues because they cannot afford to pay for preventive care, medication or early detection.  I suspect there will be many early deaths within the current population because of neglected health care.

Unemployment is terrible.  One town near me has over 20% unemployment!  One in five people unemployed among about 40,000, that’s 8000 people without jobs, wow!

Housing prices dropped 19% compared to the same quarter in the previous year I heard on the news the other day.  In California it is worse than the national drop of 33%.  My house sold in 2005 for 263,000 and in early 2009 was put on the market after it was foreclosed for 119,000, that is a 55% drop in value.

More people are losing their credit and therefore their ability to get credit and therefore their ability to survive for any period of unemployment.  And the bank response to this is sad and shameful; after taking federal money, the banks respond to people getting behind by jacking interest rates up so as to make even catching up impossible.

The California state government is broke with a growing deficit.  Huge numbers of state workers are about to be laid off and programs will be cut.  This raises the numbers of unemployed people, the numbers of businesses that will go under due to lack of people with money to spend, the number of people who are suddenly without health insurance, and all this just among the employees.

Every person who goes under financially deepens the crisis.  There is no doubt that sales taxes will continue to drop as people spend less.  There is no doubt that property tax will continue to drop as the property values drop and as property tax assessments are lowered.

Government receiving less money employs fewer people and supports fewer people via programs.  The poor get poorer, the middle class gets poor and the rich, well who really knows except the rich, the poor-rich gap probably won’t proportionately change much as the entire scale slides downward.

Within the business I work in, the chart has been steadily falling since last October.  Less work each month comes in and is contracted.  Fewer crews are getting fewer hours each and every month.  Business is dropping and dropping and dropping.  We’re all openly worried now that the business could go under.

So where I ask is the stimulus?  Where is the upswing?  Are we in fact backing away from the edge?  Or is this “positive propoganda” all fiction to make us feel better about the money thrown at the large companies and the money about to be thrown?  The only good news is when a particular metric slows its deline slightly, smoke and mirrors.

I can tell you from the trenches, from my own personal perspective on the ground level of this economic earthquake, that the stimulus isn’t stimulating anything.  The rhetoric on Capitol Hill isn’t true.  Things are getting worse, not better.  Things are bad, real bad.  I would not be shocked at another stock market crash sometime in October.

Other Economic Note:

A news report the other day indicated that the California State Teachers’ Retirement System within the next 12 months will ask the Government for a bailout because of all their bad investments.  That is incredible to me since they just built an enormous glass tower across the river from Old Town Sacramento and bought a highrise in Manhattan.  I think they ought to be forced to sell those buildings and other investments if they’re cash-poor.  Why should the taxpayers bail out a fund that tax payers paid for because the fund was over-leveraged with bad investments?  Adding insult to injury are the enormous bonuses paid to STRS investment officers in spite of the loss in value of the fund recently. (CalPERS, CalSTRS award big bonuses despite losses, sacbee.com)

To quote Paul Newman’s movie son in the movie, Road to Perdition, “It’s all so fucking hysterical”.