Whose fault is global warming?

February 8, 2007

dry_riverbed_200×293.jpgI was 12 years old in 1984, the year I wrote a school project outlining the case for global warming due to “greenhouse gasses” as well as ozone depletion by CFCs* and how they were different issues but interconnected nonetheless. Of course there were no resources back then. It wasn’t in the scientific magazines or newspapers or anything.

I had to go out in the back yard and conduct my own experiments with weather balloons measuring emission levels at different atmospheric pressures. I took a 7 month trip to the antarctic, learning how to run a team of huskies in the process, to get ice samples down to 14 metres to measure historical greenhouse gas levels. Yes, I must have been an adventurous little 12 year old to have such startling, new science at my fingertips in 1984.

Being 12 I would not have used very big words nor would I have used particularily complex language in my description of the evidence. I realise, now, that global warming and rising ocean levels is my fault entirely. If only this irresponsible 12 year old had sent his simple report to the US Senate, Congress and business lobbies- written in terms they could comprehend, action might have been taken and the US might have used it’s international clout to effect international change in emissions. As it is, all they had was access to the very best scientists, technology and informational resources that money could buy (or could be threatened out of people with military action or torture).

“But everyone knows that scientists speak in odd and confusing terms. They have always got those funny sums and are so stupid that they can’t even do them with numbers- they have to put letters in instead. I mean, obviously the blokes at NASA need them, especially them ones that look at the stars, and were accordingly budgeted vast resources to hire 12 of the very best astrologers money could buy- one to specialise in each of the 12 signs of the Zodiac. But really, other than astrologists they’re all just guessing stuff. Really. Aren’t they?”

That, ultimately, turned out to be the problem. A scientist, unlike an astrologist, seldom claims absolute knowledge over a domain. They work in a combination of facts and probabilities. Fact: increased levels of carbon emissions in the air lead to the heating up of the planet and disturbance of it’s weather patterns. Fact: levels of carbon emissions in the atmosphere are increasing. Fact: we produce a lot of carbon gas emissions. Probability: is that we are affecting the carbon levels in the atmosphere, leading to global warming, rising sea levels, devastation in the third world and most tragically- another fucking movie sequel: this time to “Waterworld” by Kevin Costner.

Businesses didn’t want those to be the facts and talked to their marketing companies and, well, since when has marketing worried about facts? So “big business” are the culprits? Yes. And we were the culprits, too. The information was there. What of our consumer culture, the famous self-correcting nature of capitalism? We, the caring public, would of course stop buying items that weren’t eco-friendly, wouldn’t we? We, the educated 1st world masses would keep up to date with international news and scientific development rather than watch a rerun of Will and Grace! We would keep ourselves informed. We would save the day…

We have known for a long time about global warming, put it out of our minds and have leveraged our children and grandchildren for a $10 discount on a television. The same way we are leveraging the lives of people in poor countries for that self-same $10 discount on sneakers, footballs, T-shirts, iPods and DVD players. It is something we will continue to do for years to come. I, personally, see no way of stopping it.

The ideology of capitalism is no less entrenched than the ideologies of Christianity and Islam in our world. What will make people tell their legislators: “I will pay $10 more, I want to look after the interests of my neighbour today”?

*- and that ozone depletion may well be a cyclical thing merely exacerbated by CFCs.


5 Responses to “Whose fault is global warming?”

  1. Oscarandre Says:

    “The ideology of capitalism is no less entrenched than the ideologies of Christianity and Islam in our world” And when the heroes of capitalism, the mindless mentors of blind consumerism die alone in their hotel bedrooms? They become martyrs and are on all the news!

  2. Dear Oscarandre,

    Oh yes! Our dear Anna, how we will miss her wit, charm and original ideas…

    I am sure there are drug dealers crying in their soup wondering how they will afford their childrens’ college fees now!


  3. Sorry, but topic starter, you are sure?
    Good luck!

  4. rodryk Says:

    us could stop global warming anytime they want so im blaming government mostly for global warming they have all the factories not us we can work for them but not control them

  5. rodryk Says:

    but for right now lets just solve it by the end of this month so we can starty healing our natuaraul resources and revive our great nature of animals we need animals and plants so stop global warming by the end of this month lets all agree to that ok?

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