Tuesday, January 7, 2014

All Grown up. (no not me)

 Greetings. I am revisiting the Big Kids table.  A mythical world where  policy discussions start with a science primer.

This is not an exercise in rigorous science based writing.  This is an opinion piece, where hopefully I am not grossly wrong and that my opinions can at least stand up to a visit to wikiwikipedia.  That said lets get started.

At time of writing much of North America is experiencing a cold snap.  Currently it is raining in Vancouver.   This cold snap has caused the adult children in the pundit class to declare global warming a hoax or that it is over.  Meanwhile various branches of government in various places are trying to pass off natural gas as a clean and or sustainable fuel.  Deeper into the internet people stare at this century's end with a morbid fascination. Wondering if 4 degrees or more of warming is something we should encourage just so we can see what happens next.
Yet at the same time resist branding any current event, as non attributable.  Even the green and left leaning media climate change is spoken of in the future tense, which worries me.

So what I delve into a fiction where direct denialism and willful ignorance are unwelcome and politics has a tutor.

You are here to have a real conversation about climate change, to discuss the far reaching problems that the world faces, and the tough solutions you are looking for.  You show up at the fancy resort surrounded riot police and encased in a thin film of protesters.  Aides with laptops and tablets buzz around. You mingle with other men in suits.  A very well dressed man whom you know to belong to the fossil fuel lobby (I mean burning stuff lobby), is chatting with a equally well dressed man from A think tank parroting media conglomerate.

You hear Think Tank say, "Well it's -10F in St Louis, I guess we should not worry about Global warming." His accent is very american and his teeth are too shiny. Global warming comes across in the same tone as his distant relations may have said 'Those People' when speaking of an undesired ethnic group.   The Burning stuff lobbyist agrees. Think tank is on script.

The first event of the conference is about to start, you follow Think Tank, and Burning Stuff into the lecture hall.  Michael Mann, is giving a climate science primer.  You take notes there will be a test later.  Failing will cost you your vote. Think Tank attempts disprove the speaker, his points are tired and have been debunked thousands of times before.  You and the rest of the attendants give Think Tank dirty looks. After the third disruption several heavy set men in far cheaper suits escort Mr. Think Tank out of the hall, his job is done.

You and your colleagues pass the science primer tests, and are admitted to the conference with full voting privileges.  You see the Canadian and Australian delegations in a heated argument with the referees.  From the published test scores you know they abstained from answering the climate science questions, and have lost their vote.  Both delegations argue that they are too important to the world economy to kept out of the debate.

The referee calmly informs them that we are not here to have a debate but to actively seek solutions to well defined problems. And if they would kindly review the literature and demonstrate a working knowledge of the material they would be most welcome. You think to yourself if they wanted to sit at the grownups' table they should follow the rules.

The Canadian delegation turns to leave. As they do so a once well known environmental researcher makes eye contact with you and shrugs defeatedly, her handler quickly steers her back into the hurd.
Above is a little fantasy, in a world where science and politics have the close ties they should have.  It centers on the belief that we should be working from agreed upon facts not debating those which have already been proven false.  Politics like engineering should work with current but not necessarily bleeding edge knowledge. That knowledge base should be updated regularly .

To prove ourselves smarter than Yeast we have to address the very real issues facing the environment and the societies and animals that live in it. In this day and age it appears unethical to make policy not informed by up to date research.  I want to know we are smarter than yes, and currently we are showing signs of not being so.

Yeast one of our oldest companions, the secrete behind many drinks and foods. Yeast, a single celled life form that will if given the chance poison itself in its own Carbon Dioxide waste, a fate we have the ability to create for ourselves.  A scientific note, I don't believe we will drive the carbon Dioxide concentration up to the 2% or so it takes for gas exchange in human lungs to be compromised.  We don't have to we only need to warm things enough to remove the foundation our civilization is built on. Destroying the world is not on the agenda, destroying our world is.   So lets go back to my day dream.

Taking a closer look at what might be on the agenda for a this mythical conference. Or lets be frank, what my eco-socialist biases want there to be on the agenda. This is my fantasy after all.

Energy, its not just about burning stuff any more.  Global and regional power solutions.

Advanced nuclear power, Because sometimes you just really need a lot of megawatts and you don't have the room to do it any other way.

Don't like nukes, don't have enough light, wind , water to make traditional renewables work, consider investing in space based solar. Its like Wifi for electricity, FROM SPACE.

Don't let the foreigners take all the best beaches, a guild to the post modern fishing village, now with Wifi.

Biofuels and synthesized petroleum, because sometime you still need to burn stuff to get the job done.  Here is how you can do  with the least cost and mess.

Natural gas, its still stuff you burn. Don't trust the PR.

Low car urban design.  Building so you don't miss your car.

Learn to be happy through non consumption. Often being green is as simple as doing nothing.

That's all I can think of for now. This has as often is the case came out quite differently from what I planned to write.  Which goes to show I should plan better.

The NSA key words for today are. Sponge Bob Square Pants, Urey Teller mechanism, and Anton Knows about the gadget.

1 comment:

Ien in the Kootenays said...

Sometimes I am just so damn proud that you are my son.