As some of my readers may know, I am actually rather attentive to environmental concerns. For several years, I have put my money where my mouth is and volunteered for local cleanups (including ocean cleanups our krewe specializes in – we have a special focus on the ocean), helped out at local animal sanctuaries, and spread a message of good stewardship with regards to our home. My wife is even more attentive than I am to these matters. She has spent most of her career working in zoos, aquariums, and veterinary hospitals.
So for me the fanaticism of Global Warming proponents is particularly irritating. Last night, my wife was watching a documentary on the Great Barrier Reef, and the mass coral bleaching event that happened in 2016, and the spin was obvious from the very beginning. Cameras panned over rows of crying academics, watching the coral turn white, and then die, pieces of flotsam carrying off into the current to music that sounded like it belonged in a funeral.
Marine Biologists and Climatologists (all on government payrolls) went on a series of adventures collecting the raw camera footage of dead and dying coral. It was explained to the viewer that even a 2C degree shift in water temperatures was sufficient to kill most of the Great Barrier Reef, and if we did not act soon, it would surely die. The rhetoric in the media was particularly extreme. The reef was declared “dead” in scare quotes, even though most of the reef survived the event intact.
By act, of course, they mean to have government regulations and taxation schemes put into place that would make things more expensive for the average Joes of the United States. It is, you see, always America’s fault. And it is thus America which must be taxed and penalized for the environmental problems somewhere else. Governments have, historically, been excellent polluters and destroyers of the environment. Why they should be trusted on this matter is beyond me.
The hole in this logic was immediately apparent to me. If a 2C shift in temperature was sufficient to wipe out the reef, how has this 18 million year old reef system (the current iteration is approximately 8000 years old) survived so long?
Here are two graphs which illustrate my point:
Notice that in both graphs, during both the 18 million year period, and the 8000 year period, temperatures have been higher than 2016, the time of the Great Barrier Reef mass bleaching event. So how is this reef still here? Why did it not die long before man starting dumping CO2 into the atmosphere? If a mere shift of 2C is sufficient to kill it, why is it there in the first place? Did similar mass bleaching events occur in the years when temperatures were higher than today?
This is only one of many inconsistencies which bother me, both in the climate models and the data itself. Correlation, as any idiot knows, is not necessarily causation. Perhaps there is an explanation for the why the Great Barrier Reef has survived previous warm periods, but is having trouble with this one. I cannot say. But so far, the explanation of the warmistas is insufficient.
Simple fact is, I don’t trust them. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb would say, these people don’t have any skin in the game. Indeed, it’s quite the opposite. They are paid by the very agency which wishes to push this agenda for its own benefit. Conflict of interest is readily apparent.
Thinking of this, I decided to peruse Taleb’s opinion the matter, which I located here. The thrust of the brief article is that the climate models and scaremongering are not required, nor are the specific policies espoused to correct them. Taleb’s skepticism of such modeling techniques is a matter of record. But, he tells us, the risk of global catastrophe from screwing around with Mother Nature shouldn’t be ignored. We have only one Earth, after all. It sounded sensible to me.
I’ve often thought that, were the Left truly honest about their concern for the environment, this would be the position to take. In other words, the models don’t work well, and the data is conflicting and, in any event, not accurate over a sufficiently long amount of time to be particularly useful. But, polluting the Earth is bad on general principle. Put simply, we have one planet (for now). Don’t fuck with it.
Instead, the warmistas have taken very specific policy positions but have failed to live by those same principles themselves. They will tell John Doe to give up his car, use less A/C, and to have less kids, but they will fly around in private jets, cool 14,000 sqft mansions, and do whatever they like with regards to their own families. If they really believed the Earth was doomed unless drastic measures were employed to alter human behavior, they would alter their own behavior as well.