Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

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The reason some popular posts are tagged ‘no title’ is not because they have no title—they all do—but because the old Blogger embedded the title at the top of text, and the new software does not see that. You can see the titles in capitals at the start of each snippet. (It would be nice if Blogger introduced an upgrade program that could fix this little problem.)

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Tuesday, 11 October 2005

DENIAL IS SUCH A PLEASANT DELUSION (AND SO PROFITABLE)

Victor Hugo said 'The malicious have a dark happiness.' Those who live in denial, who wilfully spurn the truth, however hard it may smack them in the head, have a dark happiness of a different kind. Not for them the happiness of malice, or of schadenfreude, or of savage delight, or of sadistic thrills. No, they revel in their unenlightenment, the bliss of their self-created ignorance, the manufactured joy of the artefacts they construct as their bulwark against reality, and in their lust for planet-killing profit. They are like the murdering billionaire tobacco-pushers, who for decades refused to believe, pretended to disbelieve, the mounting, and finally the overwhelming scientific evidence that smoking causes disease and kills. Not that any science was needed. No one in his right mind could ever have said that instead of breathing air it was good for human health to breathe pungent smoke, smoke that made people cough and short of breath, smoke that caused nasty sputum, smoke that stained fingers and ceilings.

So now we have those who deny the melting of the world's ice, even though their own eyes tell them, when they defrost their fridges or plunk ice-cubes into their drinks, that ice melts when the temperature rises, and therefore if ice is melting the temperature must be rising. The ice
IS melting.


So the only question, the only point of disagreement, is how fast? How soon will vast tracts of real-estate vanish under the waves? The optimists say we will get a rise of 2 degrees Celsius in average global temperatures this century, the pessimists say it may be 10-14 degrees. The truth is we do not know. What we do know is that at the moment the oceans are rising at about 2mm per year--on a rise of just 0.6 degrees. We also know that the reliability of the computer models has been proved by comparing them with the historical data and that the present data is tracking along the top of the model (page 66, National Geographic, September 2004). Not the middle, where the predictions are placed--so they do not predict the worst case, they do not predict the best, they stick to the middle ground. But if the data continues to track the top, the pessimists will be right. We shall get the worst. Prudence would do something about that. We are doing nothing.

O de nigh happiness!

If the worst happens the ice will melt at a furious pace. By doing nothing we continue, heedless, to conduct the biggest unplanned, uncontrolled experiment ever--an experiment on the only planet we can live on in the entire universe. We do not know how it will turn out. We know only that it is not turning out well. If we were doing it in a laboratory we would stop it. We are so stupid that even though we are living inside the experiment we refuse to stop.

Articles and books are being written praising that refusual and pushing the party line of the Boys from the Black Stuff. Some are wiser. But look at the sprinkling of loony comments at the end of the article. Some people never learn.