Search This Blog

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Seventy Miles

As I mentioned in the last post, I was surprised to see, after taking several months off from reading the news (or much of anything), that global warming and climate change are still hot topics (so to speak). I rather thought that it was just another fad and that by now, it would be time to cycle on to the next passing fancy. Isn't it time to lambast some other global evil like the World Bank or something like that?

These topics really have legs! And while I think the overall topic itself (meteorology) is a real snoozer, I do find it fascinating that climate change has such perseverance in the media, especially since it's fairly clear to me that we're really not going to do all that much about it. You know, everybody's an environmentalist unless it costs them something.

I think this is case of an irresistible force meeting and unmovable object. The irresistible force is the combined efforts of the climate change fanatics and the unmovable object is the general population that just doesn't much care.

Why doesn't the public care? Because warmth is perceived as a good thing. Americans are continually moving to warmer climates. They're voting with their feet for global warming.

All other things being equal (like altitude, for example), moving south 70 miles causes the average temperature to increase approximately one degree Fahrenheit (I know climate change is usually specified in degrees C, but I'm a Fahrenheit kind of guy). I've personally moved about 15 degrees worth of distance south in my lifetime, and if I hadn't run out of country (I'm in San Diego), I would've probably gone a few degrees worth even further south. Global warming? I say bring it on! If it gets too warm, we'll all just start moving north. Canadian and Siberian property values will skyrocket! I'm intending to go buy a few acres in the great frozen north next week as an investment vehicle.

I've been told that in my lifetime, the average temperature has risen about one degree (Fahrenheit, of course). It's a good thing I've been told that, because otherwise, in all honesty, I would've never noticed. One degree over nearly a half-century isn't much. One degree over a decade isn't much either, and that's what they tell me will be approximately the rate of change this century. If we just move seventy miles north each decade, then global warming won't be noticeable at all to us.

Over local distance and short time horizons, global warming doesn't mean much. Most people, I think, live in the here and now. I certainly do, at least with respect to the weather. That's why the population as a whole is an unmovable object.

The irresistible force is just caused by the usual True Believer/State of Fear phenomena. Most people have to believe in something with religious intensity. If not one of the typical religions, then radical environmentalism will do. In this case, we'll all be in global warming hell if we don't carry the tune of the climate gods. I find it rather funny that the climate change fanatics refer to earth as Gaia, who is some random Greek god (goddess, I suppose). They apparently all subscribe to ancient Greek mythology in addition to radical environmentalism.

The good news is that I now know what happens when an irresistible force meets an unmovable object: nothing much happens but there's a lot of noise for a long time.


Susan's Husband said...

Isn't it likely that to be precisely because the bad effects are so slow (if they occur at all) and nothing is going to be done that the topic persists? Otherwise, it would have to end with actual action or disaster. AGW as a "crisis" can be milked for decades.

Oroborous said...

Canadian and Siberian property values will skyrocket!

Even if not for habitation, the increased melting that we're seeing in the Arctic Circle is already causing commercial property values to skyrocket, (not that there's much of it up there), as businesses look to explore and evaluate the natural resources now unlocked from the ice, including what might be many tens of billions of barrels of oil.

Bret said...

Ahhhh, good point, oroborous, I may be too late for that particular investment. I read once that with Siberia starting to melt, natural gas is already starting to freely seep out of the soil.