May I bring up climate change?

OCO_spacecraft-high1A few days ago, I drove up the Califonia coast to help my son move. The trip coincided with the attempted (3 am) launch from Vandenberg AFB of JPL’s Orbiting Carbon Observatiory — OCO-2 — which will nail down Earth’s CO2 cycle. OCO is part of a constellation of five earth-sensing satellites bring launched just this year. (The first OCO failed, weirdly, and others were canceled, back during the Bush Administration. Whereupon it took a while to re-start the earth-sensing programs.)

That late night – early morning – my son and I stood with 1000 invited onlookers, not very far from the pad. In fog that was deemed “no problem,” we murmured along with fellow True Believers in science as the count-down reached T-minus forty seconds… and the announcer called “hold-hold-hold – there’s no water!” Alas! Someone forgot to turn on the water sprayers near the rocket nozzles, meant to dampen the sonic vibration when they ignited, and – with the 30 second window lost – the launch was scrubbed. (This keeps happening to me!) We could have gone back the next morning at 3am, but we were already wiped…

Still — OCO went up! And civilization ekes another small step forward, against the screaming resistance of ankle draggers who want us wallowing in dark ages.

==The smart-rich stand up for their own long-term interest: civilization==

Recall a while back, when I cited Greg Page, executive chairman of Cargill, Inc., who leads a large group of very conservative agri-businessmen that — despite strong GOP bias — broke with the Fox Party Line on climate –– turning instead to face our desperate need to save the planet.

Climate-changeThey aren’t the only ones! Think. What businesses will be hurt most by the ever rising instabilities we face? News item: an insurance company is suing nearly 200 Chicago-area towns for failing to do more to prevent damages it says are linked to climate change. Farmers Insurance is asking the communities to return flood claims from the spring of 2013, which caused at least $218 million in losses. The towns should have done more to fortify their sewers and stormwater drains, the group argues.

So, as the smart-practical conservatives peel away, what is the Fox-Koch end game plan for when obscurant denialist delaying tactics hit the inevitable wall? It happened before, to “cars don’t cause smog!” And when — after 25 years and 20 million lost lives — the Tobacco Lobby finally surrendered and admitted “we lied.”

Will they declare “we NEVER obstructed!”

To hasten that day, here’s the bullet I find most effective, because your crazy uncle will not have an answerOcean acidification.

Roll the words over your tongue, and your keyboard.  Ocean Acidification.

It is blatantly happening. It has no other possible cause than increasing atmospheric CO2. Watch, when you raise this point, what happens next! As your crazy uncle quickly changes the subject by pointing somewhere else and yelling “squirrel!”

== Just how evil is efficiency? ==

CAFE-AUTO-FUEL-STANDARDSUnder the new, 2009 CAFE standards, the U.S. auto industry is required to raise the average fuel efficiency of its vehicles to 54.5 miles a gallon by 2025. But consumers have been slow to adopt hybrid technology, so car companies have to find other ways to get fuel savings. All automakers are pushing efficiency R&D hard. Fuel economy is right up there with safety. This article describes some of the innovative ways that the companies are making cars far lighter while just as strong and safe.

The GOP delayed raising auto efficiency standards for 25 years, shouting it would “destroy Detroit.” When the CAFE standards were finally raised, in Obama’s 1st year, guess what happened? (1) The GOP tried to destroy the U.S. auto industry by refusing loans to GM and Chrysler (loans that are now 90% repaid). (2) The mileage standards are working! Mileage is rising rapidly, American drivers are saving billions at the pump, the automakers are highly profitable, the air is cleaner…

And this is a perfect example of TWODA. Improvements in efficiency that are win-wins, that would help us deal with Climate Change and that would still be worthwhile, even if every single climate scientist turns out to be an insane idiot (as depicted on Fox!)

twoda-brinTWODA – Things We Ought to be Doing Anyway – whether or not climate change is real. (It is real, by the way.) In other words, there are scads of things we can do, without risk of “ruining the economy.” (Almost all TWODA measures would help the economy, in fact, not hinder it.)

Simple and relatively modest investments in R&D, in efficiency, in infrastructure and new technologies that would all be worthwhile, even if all the pointy-headed “alarmists” proved to be absolutely 100% mistaken.

Oh, and on the off chance that 97% of climate, weather and atmospheric scientists, and nearly all the science, prove to be right, after all? The guys and gals who gave us the ten day weather report, who successfully model climate on 6 planets and actually know the Navier-Stokes equations and cellular automata models… (do you?) What if — just maybe — the folks who actually know stuff turn out to be right?

Then we’d have taken prudent measures to save a world for our kids. TWODA.

So why have the masters of one of our parties propagandized like mad against TWODA? Against even modest measures to improve efficiency? Against even sitting down and discussing modest efficiency measures?

Because they are the only ones whose wallets would be hurt by TWODA ! Coal Barons and foreign petro-sheiks (including those who co-own Fox).

ClimateSkepticsUse this! As they backpedal from “there’s no warming!” to “yes the ice caps are melting and the US Navy is worried, but the SUN is doing it!” to “Okay it’s not the sun, but it ain’t a greenhouse!” to “Okay it’s a greenhouse, but it’s too late already and any effort to ameliorate it would destroy the economy!”… as they backpedal and dodge and weave, have one word in your hip pocket. TWODA.

But again. The most effective thing to raise is ocean acidification. It won’t convert them! No logic or facts can do that. But at least you’ll get a giggle when they point offstage and yell “squirrel!”

3 Comments

Filed under science

3 responses to “May I bring up climate change?

  1. Reblogged this on ENNUI, Personal & Political and commented:
    Climate change is still real folks. As the ocean acidifies from excess atmosheric CO2, we could decide to make changes, changes that would actually help the economy and lower CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, those changes might hurt the pockets of foreign petro-sheiks who co-own Fox News.

  2. Reblogged this on Norbert Haupt and commented:
    Some wisdom today from David Brin. Things we ought to do anway…

  3. “As your crazy uncle quickly changes the subject by pointing somewhere else and yelling “squirrel!”
    Sadly, so true….

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