Sunday, January 17, 2010
Global Warming, unMelting Glaciers and Greed
From the "Is This Really News?" Department:
Himalayan global warming claim 'based on dated, obscure source' in the New Zealand Herald, reveals that reports of the demise of Himalayan glaciers were premature. This rumor, as it turns out, was one of the core positions of the IPCC, buttressing their claim that the Earth is spinning into catastrophic global warming, predicting all manner of dire effects from loss of water sources to the spread of malaria.
Furthermore, governments have used these rumors to spread fear among the populace, claiming that the only answer to global warming is to deal in carbon trading schemes.
"Almost all governments accept the findings of a UN report," the article states, "which concluded in 2007 that warming of the climate was 'unequivocal' and it was more than 90 per cent likely it was being caused by human actions."
Of course, it's not governments that profit from carbon trading schemes, is it? It's those same corporations that are producing the CO2, and a raft of other real pollutants fouling our air, water and land.
Odd it is that the chief proponent of global warming and its prime economic response, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, has used his platform as chair of the IPCC to advocate for economic and technolocratic climate policy.
In an article in today's Telegraph, Christopher Booker and Richard North write: "The head of the UN's climate change panel - Dr Rajendra Pachauri - is accused of making a fortune from his links with 'carbon trading' companies."
According to the authors, "Dr Pachauri has established an astonishing worldwide portfolio of business interests with bodies which have been investing billions of dollars in organisations dependent on the IPCC’s policy recommendations."
The question is: Does this normal turn of capitalist events discount the science of climate variability and does it mean we can all relax and go blithely about our polluting, consumerist ways?
The answer, of course, is no. With a world population of 6 billion humans and counting, we have clearly exceeded the carrying capacity of the Earth for profligate human societies bent on consuming every last ounce of raw materials on the Earth and shitting it out in every conceivable corner of the planet.
The prevailing economic attitude of unlimited human growth is, quite literally, insane. No one who has ever raised pet mice would doubt the Malthusian concept of limits to human growth and consumption. It's common sense. In a closed system, there is only so much room, so many resources and only so much time until mouths overcome plates and the whole thing collapses into chaos.
Two things must be changed very soon:
1) Our cultural unwillingness to consider controlling our own population, and,
2) our economic and political inability to forget the whole idea of continuous growth as a bad idea that will never get any better.
Of course, population and growth control mean we also have to get over the idea of capitalism as the only possible economy. Capitalism requires continuous economic and population growth to provide new consumers and new products to consume. It's a treadmill to extinction. The sooner we cast the whole sorry scene onto the dustbin of history, the sooner we'll be able to get on with the job of building real, sustainable economies.
And, as it turns out, we'll lower CO2 production as an accessory detail, so we really won't have to worry about it any longer!