Due to the move of the blog to Wordpress posts from Jan 2012 onward will have commenting disabled (when I remember to do it)
Cheers - AE

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Genuine environmental tragedy.

Let's stop worrying about CO2 and the prospect of the sea level rising in the next 100 years much the same as it did in the last 100 years when this sort of thing is happening. And no, I'm not bothered just because that's a shitload of petrol being wasted that could be used to blat my car along the Great Ocean Road this summer. I'm bothered because warble gloaming has been sucking all the publicity oxygen out of environmentalism so for many people the only issue is the poster child of the past three decades: carbon bloody dioxide. That oil's been leaking for weeks and they're comparing it to the Exxon Valdez, but as far as I know the MSM in Britain have only just picked it up (my emphasis):
Millions of litres of oil are pouring into the Timor Sea from a well that ruptured more than two months ago, according to environmental campaigners.
Check the date on that Times article - 24th October. I remember when the Exxon Valdez ran aground, and I remember the media went batshit crazy about it right away. But of course twenty years ago CO2 wasn't the bugbear it's become in more recent times, and the people most likely to give a shit about it were, well, green* kids like me. But still, it was a big enough event that I stopped worrying about carbon dioxide and warming for a while to worry instead about the Alaskan shoreline and local wildlife.

And this is the big difference. With warble gloaming the reliance is on computer models to predict how much warming there'll be, and other computer models to predict what other climate and weather effects that will have, and other models for social and economic effects. But you can put anything you like into a climate computer model and there's no guarantee that it accurately reflects reality, particularly with something as complicated as the climate. How do all the factors interact? We just don't know enough so the models have to make assumptions. There's simply no choice. In turn that means that any work based on them is in turn based on those assumptions, and if they're wrong the whole lot is as worthless as a computer model of a planet's orbit would be if they'd used an assumed, and wrong, value for G. When some cunt cuts down a rain forest you don't need to fuck about with computers when you can simply go and count the tree stumps and dispossessed orang-utans. With the Exxon Valdex or the Montara rig you can map the size of the oil slick and measure the speed and direction it's drifting and make a reasonably precise estimate as to how much is going to end up where. With warble gloaming everything is based on an assumed positive feedback, the value of which is not known and which, for all we know, may turn out not to be positive after all.

So when deforestation that can be measured directly and seen for oneself occurs, especially if it's cut down to grow biofuel crops, or if the media fail to make noise about an oil slick that they'd have had fits over two decades earlier, but people still bang on about an unproven effect of a trace gas that feeds plants, forgive me for getting hugely fucked off.

* In more than one sense.

1 comment:

Rob Farrington said...

I'm going to have to shamelessly steal 'warble gloaming' - it's even better than 'glowbull wormening'!

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