A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Environmental Brain Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

It is unfortunate but true; many environmentalists have a god complex. They believe in the omnipotence of Man`s destructive power, and disregard the fact that Man is a part of nature, uses the materials provided by nature, and is doing nothing which nature herself has not done on a much larger scale. Certainly, a belief in a Holy God who is in control does not enter into their worldview, and as a result they roam the Earth in fear and trembling because they are burdened with the duties and responsibilities best reserved for the divine. (This was, if I am not mistaken, the original punishment for Sin; Man wanted to be as God, and ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and was smitten with care as a result.) The burden imposed on environmentalists is weighty indeed; they know that the fate of All Known Life is in their palsied hands, and any misstep or slow reaction will bring doom upon us all! WE HAVE TO ACT!!! WE must save the planet, because the planet surely needs saving, and if we don`t do it who will? The concept that the planet has done fine for billions of years, and can get along fine without our intervention never seems to occur to many of them. Our brief tenancy on this old rock seems to them an abomination, and there are some who actually advocate human extinction ``for the good of the Earth``! The assumption of deity is too heavy a burden, and madness has set in.

That is what is wrong with the Global Warming hysteria; it presupposes that our every action (heck, breathing releases CO, and thus contributes to Global Warming) has disastrous consequences, and so we must be strictly controlled by the power of the State and the mental prowess of the intelligentsia. Al Gore has to scare the pants off of children and old people in order to force political action for something which has no solid evidence. We must, as Michael Crichton so eloquently termed it, live in a state of fear; if we aren`t afraid we will surely die.

To reiterate; this type of thinking leads to madness, and the Global Warming gurus are suggesting all sorts of crazy, overreactive measures-some of which could REALLY damage the environment. For example, there are several proposals for cooling the Earth involving planetary-sized parasols, seeding clouds to increase atmospheric albedo (that is, increase reflectivity), etc. Now, if they were suggesting ways to terraform Mars, say, it may be a worthwhile mental exercise, but they are talking about Geo-Engineering-about messing around with the fundamental mechanisms of climate and ecology.

Dr. S. Fred Singer President of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) and Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at George Mason University, has written the following regarding the cloud seeding proposal:

S. Fred Singer
Comments on the NY Times article (27 June) "How to Cool a Planet" by Wm Broad

I was appalled to read of the proposal by Paul
Crutzen to release vast quantities of sulfur
dioxide in the stratosphere to overcome "a
potential planetary crisis." (This and other
geo-engineering proposals will be published in
the August issue of Climatic Change.) It was
even more appalling to learn about the
endorsement by the president of the US National Academy of Sciences.

I am surprised to see such ideas advanced by
environmental advocates. They should know that
stratospheric aerosols, while reflecting
some sunlight, will also provide the surface
areas for heterogeneous reactions that destroy
stratospheric ozone. A few years ago, Edward
Teller told me about similar proposals to create
stratospheric aerosols. I was much too polite to
contradict him but I remember shaking my head
sadly. It shows how even great men can get
carried away by unreasonable climate fears.

Crutzen estimates the annual cost of his sulfur
proposal at up to $50 billion a year. Bjorn
Lomborg can tell him of much better ways to spend
such large sums of money. Skeptics of
anthropogenic global warming are correct to
dismiss this kind of geo-engineering as a "costly effort to battle a mirage."

The discussion prompted me to pull some old
calculations out of my files and review the idea
of a space-based solar radiation shield, combined
with a solar power supply. Here are the numbers, which should still be valid.

Assume a world population of 10 billion around
2050, requiring 5 kilowatt of electric power
per capita. Total power demand is 50 billion kW.

With a solar constant of 1.4 kW/m2 and
photovoltaic conversion efficiency of 7%, the
required collecting area is 5x10^11 m2, or 700x700 km2.

Compared to the cross-section of Earth of
1.27x10^8 km2, the collecting area is only
0.4%. However, a 0.4% reduction of solar
irradiance could offset a substantial amount of
GH warming. And if we choose to reduce the
insolation for certain critical areas, we might even initiate another ice age.

This is illustrative, of course. There are many
practical problems that must be solved. And it is
also necessary to establish a real need for such a combination project.


The reality is that we don`t understand enough to suggest such desperate schemes-especially about the interrelationship between the Earth`s ecosystem and climate to attempt such a feat; we`re more likely to kill ourselves with such harebrained efforts than to die from Global Warming. The Earth has been far warmer in past epochs, and has had far more CO in the atmosphere than at present, and life on this old planet got along fine. The law of uninteded consequences applies, and our efforts to stabilize something not intended to be stable will probably recoil in unforseen and devastating ways. As gods, we tend to do a poor job.

Furthermore, who is to say that the emergence of Terra from the current interglacial would not be beneficial in the long run? The main arguments, as I see them, are that the coastal areas will flood, and the rapid change will destroy biodiversity. If all the GW fearmongers believe is true, the loss of the current coastline would require us to move a bit farther inland, but we will gain so much land which is currently useless; Canada and Russia-the two largest nations on Earth-could become great agricultural producers, marginally habitable areas like Greenland could be settled, as well as the great islands of the Arctic Ocean, and perhaps we could open a whole new continent. (Of course, Lex Luthor`s scheme in the Superman movie from the late `70`s could be brought to fruition by an adequately enterprising real-estate developer...) The argument about loss of biodiversity may be a decent objection, but we, of course, will save many species from extinction through our efforts, and many of the species which will become extinct may not be worth saving, anyway. Life will adapt to the changes, and that cure for cancer that so many Green Beings worry over may not exist in the Rainforest now, but could appear through mutation as a result of the changing environment.

The point is that we just don`t KNOW where things will lead. The Green Beings fear any sort of change, because they fear a future not directed by themselves. Change is an unavoidable part of life, and one does not even find stasis in death; we have to accept this truth. Those of us who believe there is a God know who is in control-and it ain`t us! I needn`t fear climate change, because it is ultimately in the hands of a higher power.

There ARE things we should fear, things borne of evil and free will; terrorism, nuclear proliferation, socialist collectivization, moral degeneracy. These are things which can kill us, or ruin our lives and the lives of our children. Civilizations are far more fragile than ecosystems, and have collapsed numerous times in the brief span of human history. We are far more likely to die from a terrorist attack than from a 1* rise in world temperatures in a century. These are real, tangible, and can be dealt with by means at our disposal. If the left and the environmentalists need something to be afraid of, well, knock yourselves out!

But these are banal things, things beneath the cares of the god-man, or the green goddess.

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