Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Whether Al Gore's full of an undetermined amount of shit or not...

Who cares?

Here's a newsflash to all the "Global warming is a myth!" people:

Pollution is bad. Bad for you, bad for me, bad for everyone, bad for everything.

The crap that gets into the air -- crap that we put up there -- hangs out for us to breathe, contribuiting to all kinds of respiratory problems. It also comes back down again when it rains or snows, polluting the earth and the water. That affects what we drink and what we eat.

So when Al Gore's PowerPoint presentation on global warming wins an Oscar, the artist in me thinks, "You've got to be kidding me! Did you not see The U.S. vs. John Lennon? The horror!" But the human being in me, the one concerned with a trivial thing I like to call "health," thinks, "If this compels some people to rethink some of their behaviors regarding waste and environmental impact, where's the bad in that?"

Seriously, where's the bad in that? If you don't believe in Al Gore's theory of global warming, fine. Step back from that higher concept for a minute and bring it down to us here on the earth today. Tell me what harm would come from us putting fewer pollutants into the air, water and earth. At the very least, it will make for a healthier life, which benefits everyone, even capitalists. And maybe, just maybe, if there is something to this whole global warming thing, it might help reduce or even reverse that.

That just doesn't seem like a bad thing to me.

75 comments:

Nobody said...

So when Al Gore's PowerPoint presentation on global warming wins an Oscar

Okay, I know there's a Serious Message to this post, but this cracked me up.

As for the capitalists, they drown as good as anyone, and my last gurgling breath when the seas rise and take us all will undoubtedly come out "Itoldyaitwasreal."

Jeff K said...

I always gotta drop the comedy bombs, even when I'm Being Serious.

Wiggy said...

RIGHT ON HOMEBOY!!

Sour Grapes said...

Pollution control is not in the interests of capitalists, because it eats into the profits. That's why Russia and China are so lax. They think they'll get very rich and that'll make everything fine, so long as it's only the Solomon Islands that are sinking into the briny.

And global environmental catastrophe doesn't bother the likes of Bush because they're Christers, and they care not for this world, and they may even think it's a good thing because it was prophesied in Revelation. Anything that speeds the Rapture along is good in their book.

I know it's nuts, but it's what they believe. You dismiss it at your peril.

Anonymous said...

Tell that to the people in Africa and other 3rd world underdeveloped countries who are starving because of our "global warming" issues. We are spoiled here. They don't have electricity to heat themselves and take care of themselves.

Jeff K said...

Who's "Anonymous"? Are you someone I know who didn't sign in, or are you a newcomer to Boiled Dinner? And when you say "We are spoiled here," do you mean here as in the U.S.? I have people from all over the globe who read my blog, as well as from two other solar systems according to Site Meter, so it would be very shallow of me to assume you're a My Fellow American.

I'd love to have you elaborate on your comment, because I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. Are you saying people are starving because we're (meaning Americans) concerned with conservation?

venessa said...

I will never understand how a clean environment became a Rep. vs. Dem. issue, or a US vs. The Rest of the World issue when really it is a human issue. We don't even need to change our standard of living (much) according to Al.

Looney said...

The problem is that the purported solution (Kyoto, say) isn't any sort of solution at all. The economic impact on the most developed nations (i.e.: The U.S.A.) will not in any way justify the impact on the environment, which is virtually nil. Any possible impact a radical shift in output by the US would have is already more than made up for by the relatively unregulated output of the "underdeveloped" nations, which include the two most populous nations in the world, China and India.

If you really want to impact the environment for the better, you'd accomplish more by killing all livestock than you ever could by conforming to Kyoto. Al Gore isn't wrong, but his solution really isn't going to have the impact they're trying to get you to believe it will.

If Russia and China and India and all really got on board, then there'd be something to talk about.

Nobody said...

Looney, I agree with you that Kyoto is upfucked, and as it was, I doubt I'd have signed it either. Wouldn't it have been nice if our administration had gotten more involved in trying to come up with something that was workable, rather than throwing a token here and there and then turning up its nose.

Meanwhile, I disagree with the "It's okay for us to be bad cause China's like a billion times worse" argument, which I hear a lot from folks in "real life" when I have this discussion. China's actions don't excuse America as a country or Americans as individuals from stepping up to the plate. What ever happened to doing the right thing, cause it's right? Or having the ingenuity and the balls to be leaders?

And if the economic impact of the changes we need to make is too great for us to bear, let's do what we've always done: find a way to use that change to make a buck, and let our entrepreneurs lead the charge.

Paula said...

I agree with Nobody. And with Jeff's premise that you don't have to like Al Gore not to be a fuckheaded litterbug.

Jeff K said...

"What ever happened to doing the right thing, cause it's right? Or having the ingenuity and the balls to be leaders?"

Yup. We're supposed to be the "Leaders of the World," aren't we? So let's lead.

Jeff K said...

I agree with Paula's agreement with me.

Don said...

Let me add, with all due sobriety, Yay for Looners! Kyoto was a feel-good do-little solution. And Al Gore a talented mockumentarist, like that other Oscar winner. He wasn't wrong, just a bit loose with the facts. (Or so I've heard, I've not seen it.)

It is absolutely true we must do something. The question is, when we say we, we really must mean we. Not just Americans.

Next question, what harm in us just doing the right thing? Nothing ... but. If we further burden our economy, we compete even less well with the Chinese etc, and send even more of our cash over to them, and that's bad for the world. Why? Well, over there I saw multibillion buck skyscrapers being gawked at by workers who make under a dollar an hour, and an enormous population of completely unregulated badly-smogging automobiles. China is not a free country -- environmental activism is dangerous -- and handing them even more rope is going to get us all tied up, especially when they have another semi-revolution, change policy again and decide to use that growing military of theirs.

Maybe I'm too fanciful.

Anyway, the solution as always will be a technology that a) is more profitable than what came before and b) pollutes less. Maybe some sort of easily-produced biodiesel additive ... ?

PJ said...

Anyone who still persists in saying global warming is a myth is ignorant, plain and simple. Good God, even most loud-mouthed skeptics of the past have grudgingly had to admit that it exists, even if they're too pig-headed to face that it's a major problem that's growing worse all the time. Is climate change completely caused by human pollutants? No, nature plays a role in it and always has. But humans are speeding up the natural process at a frightening rate. No, the solutions won't be easy, but neither is living on a planet that we've fucked up without taking drastic measures to fix the fuck-ups.

Alan's right, it is all about the profits. The people who have been screaming their fool heads off in protest about whether or not global warming is real have been lying all along and they know it.

Da Wench said...

"And global environmental catastrophe doesn't bother the likes of Bush because they're Christers, and they care not for this world, and they may even think it's a good thing because it was prophesied in Revelation. Anything that speeds the Rapture along is good in their book.

I know it's nuts, but it's what they believe. You dismiss it at your peril."

You have no idea what the hell you're talking about. What is a "Christer?" Oh, you mean a Christian or a charismatic evangelical Christian? You see, Christians come in all varieties. The ones who believe in the end of the world stuff are charismatics. You know, "holy rollers."

Bush is Methodist. They don't believe in "end times" junk. So stop confusing the two issues.

DangerDoll and I have beaten each other up over this subject. Gore's information is based on unreliable data and he's only using it to stay in the limelight.

Does the earth go through periodic climate changes? Yes, primarily due to an increase in solar activity. That's not anything new. That's why there was a Medieval Warm Period and a Little Ice Age 700+ years ago.

Do we add to it? Maybe but not as much as the doomsayers say we do. If that were the case, the temperature would have risen more than it did during the height of the Industrial Revolution when we burned coal like mad. I do my little part to conserve energy but I'm not running around like the damn sky is falling.

Looney said...

Meanwhile, I disagree with the "It's okay for us to be bad cause China's like a billion times worse" argument, which I hear a lot from folks in "real life" when I have this discussion.

And this is certainly not my argument. My argument is that a solution needs to be a solution that 1.) Actually has real impact on the problem, and 2.) Spreads the weight of the problem around equally.

The USA is right to refuse to implement a plan that will have no measurable impact on the problem while giving competing nations an unreasonable advantage because they don't have to play the same game.

It's stupid.

For myself, I do believe that there is a global warming trend. I also believe that the drastic consequences of this trend are overstated and believe that there is more "nature" than "nurture" in it, to misuse a phrase.

That said, I think Jeff's right. Addressing pollution issues just makes sense, period, regardless of the impact on global warming.

But everyone's gotta be in on it. Doing it our way slowly and alone would to have nearly the same impact on the environment of doing it their way radically and alone.

The impact on our economy would be another story.

The outcry from other nations wasn't really that we weren't doing our part. It's that we weren't fooled into hamstringing our own economy for their benefit under the guise of environmentalism.

Looney said...

Oh, and I should go see that Lennon movie.

Looney said...

Oh, and Jeff? Try again. It seems the commenting thingie oughta be okay now...

Looney said...

Oh, and...

Just kidding.

Wiggy said...

Is this the wrong time to mention that I like Al Gore and the documentary he made?

Oh. Yeah - of course.

Well - sorry.

Jeff K said...

"Gore's information is based on unreliable data and he's only using it to stay in the limelight."

While this strays from then intention of my post (I know you were responding to Sour Grapes), I do want to address this. Do you really know that his info is based on unreliable data? I mean, you can't. He has scientists who back him -- lots and lots and lots of scientists. Yes, the naysayers have scientists who say Gore and his scientists are wrong, but that doesn't mean they are. Because I'm not a scientist, I have to choose which scientists I believe, just as you do. So I choose to believe one set, you choose to believe the other. See where I'm going? That was really the impetus behind my post. In the end, we've polluted the shit out of the world we live in, and that's irrefutable no matter which set of scientists you're believing. Truth be told, I don't really know whether Gore's data is unreliable or not. But I truly do not believe he is doing this to stay in the limelight. Gore has been a staunch environmentalist since his earliest days in government, and he's never wavered from that. While countless politicians will blow in whatever direction the winds of favor tell them to go, Gore has always held to his convictions that protecting the environment is paramount. I admire that, and I believe that he believes strongly in what he is doing. That's the kind of integrity you rarely find in politics.

Jeff K said...

Looney, the Lennon movie is available on DVD, so rent it!

Jeff K said...

Of course not, Wiggy. I'll do you one better:

I liked Farenheit 9/11.

Gasp!

Nobody said...

And this is certainly not my argument. My argument is that a solution needs to be a solution that 1.) Actually has real impact on the problem, and 2.) Spreads the weight of the problem around equally.

I agree with 1 but not necessarily 2. We're innovators and leaders. At least I'd like to think we are.

Paula said...

Also, wasn't Gore for a big gas tax? I think that's a great idea, as long as the money's going toward finding alternative sources. Pinch our wallets short-term to come up with a long-term solution and then we can give the finger to Saudi Arabia & Co.

Looney said...

I agree with 1 but not necessarily 2. We're innovators and leaders. At least I'd like to think we are.

But the solution wasn't about innovating. It was a crippling requirement with an unreasonable timeline. And innovation, especially on that scale, requires massive investment. If the world is so damn interested in our carbon footprint, if that's *really* what's going to make THE difference (which it's not, but I digress) then let them help fund the innovation, then when we all get it figured out, we'll show them how to do it, and they must implement it themselves or be blown to oblivion. Okay, just kidding about that last part. That would be cooperation. It wasn't like that at all.

Nobody said...

But the solution wasn't about innovating.

Oh, let me be clear I am not talking about Kyoto. As I said earlier, I agree with you about that. I'm talking about what we do now. If we can't get the cooperation of certain members of the international community (and if certain other members can't get ours, sorry), so be it. Let's show some moxie and find a solution that will work. Preferably and presumably while also making us money, cause that's really how things get done in our system.

Joe the Troll said...

I'd rather find out in the long run that the environmentalists are wrong than find out the hard way that they were right. And how do we know that the predictions about what would happen to our economy are accurate? I mean, every time someone suggests raising the minimum wage you get predictions of higher prices and greater unemployment leading to economic ruin, but that crash never seems to happen, so how do we know that these claims aren't as overblown as people say the claims about global warming are?

I think it just comes down to what you CHOOSE to believe. I'd rather err on the side of caution, rather than on the side of Exxon.

PJ said...

"You have no idea what the hell you're talking about."

Hmmm. Boiled Dinner's respectful discussion meter seems to have just dropped a tad. For a minute there I thought I was back in Usenet.

PJ said...

"Yes, the naysayers have scientists who say Gore and his scientists are wrong, but that doesn't mean they are."

They do indeed. Check them out. I think you'll find quite a few of them have vested interests in coal operations. And are involved in Cato. Whoops, they're the same thing! Silly me.

Don said...

that crash never seems to happen

Thanks, possibly, to ever-increasing numbers of undocumented immigrants working for less than minimum wage. WRT the environment we have no such safety valve.

Law Wench is right to point out both the global-warming type trends that preceded the Industrial Revolution and the fact that Bush, for all certain people's rhetoric, really is not an end-timer. All that talk of Rapture driving foreign policy has been unworthy of response.

Anyway, I have to argue with myself (I do that a lot) and point out that the U.S. can do quite a lot, even working alone. We are for example a huge market for automobiles. When we unilaterally require low emissions, we force high-volumes of low-emission automobiles to be made. This makes it much easier for other localities to do the same, for now the low-emission cars already have the high-volume prices (i.e. low). China could require low-emissions cars tomorrow, and Japan would be all set to provide 'em.

Don said...

... respectful discussion meter seems to have just dropped a tad. For a minute there I thought I was back in Usenet.

Careful. If you point that out to the person who said it, she might get all huffy again about how rude we are. So watch it, Peggy Peep Lady.

Lucyp said...

Your spot on Jeff, maybe we can argue about how we got here but it is undeniable that we are here so let's sort the mess out.
Then we can go back and look at all the accounts of the scientists in pay of the oil industry. That shouldn't take long, they are the one's saying climate change isn't man made.

PJ said...

Just for the hell of it, I thought I'd throw a few quotes in here from two of the most vocal "doomsayers."

"Because of all of the atmospheric greenhouse gases emitted by human activity, we have progressed to roughly a 60% increase in the equivalent natural carbon dioxide greenhouse effect." Dr. Pat Michaels

"Pundits, politicians and the press have argued that global warming will bring disaster to the world, but there are good reasons to believe that, if it occurs, we will like it ... People like warmth. When weather reporters on TV say, 'it will be a great day,' they usually mean that it will be warmer than normal." Dr. Thomas Gale Moore

See, even the "doomsayers" are starting to backpedal on their previous assertions that global warming is a myth. Now they say it's not a myth, but hey, it might be good for us!

I have others, should anyone be interested. I sorta wrote a book on this here topic.

PJ said...

Oh fuck, is my face red. The guys I quoted aren't doomsayers, they're skeptics. You knew what I meant.

Well fuck.

Don said...

No one, scientist or not, who says that man-made climatic change could be a good thing is worth listening to. "People like warmth." What a f**kin' idiot. Does he know NOTHING? There are unintended, unpredictable consequences to everything. How the hell can such a numbskull be certain that it won't get TOO warm, flood the coasts, displace two billion people, spark war on an unheard of scale, etc etc? Yeesh. Skepticism is all right but not that sort of grinning justification. Good Loword.

Looney said...

I'm talking about what we do now.

I totally agree with you there. After all, the company that comes up with the first 400mpg automobile that doesn't cost a fucking mint and doesn't require a massive carbon spewing electrical grid to charge up them bat-trees is going to make a whole new set of billionaires.

It's short-sighted not to *really* work on the issue, even if it were simply the pollution issue and the crying Indian, and not the supposed "planet-killer."

Nobody said...

the U.S. can do quite a lot, even working alone. We are for example a huge market for automobiles. When we unilaterally require low emissions, we force high-volumes of low-emission automobiles to be made. This makes it much easier for other localities to do the same

the company that comes up with the first 400mpg automobile that doesn't cost a fucking mint and doesn't require a massive carbon spewing electrical grid to charge up them bat-trees is going to make a whole new set of billionaires.


EXACTLY what I'm talking about. Extra cookies all around.

Paula said...

Green cookies? ~suspicious~

Nobody said...

Oh fine. You can have a cupcake. Everyone else gets cookies.

Jeff K said...

Cookie!

C is for cookie, that's good enough for me!


C is for cookie, that's good enough for me!


C is for cookie, that's good enough for me!

Cookie cookie cookie starts with C!

Cheezy said...

Looks like I've shown up just in time for cookies :)

I think people are correct in looking at the source of a lot of these 'global-warming denying' scientists. Very often there's an identifiable audit-trail that leads directly back to vested interests. These interests are usually companies who have historically 'externalised' the cost of their polluting and carbon-emitting activities - i.e. not cleaned up themselves, but have left it to us to pay the price. The minute we make these companies 100% responsible for the mess they make, is the same minute that we'll start to see more responsible corporate behaviour.

Joe the Troll said...

"Thanks, possibly, to ever-increasing numbers of undocumented immigrants working for less than minimum wage."

Possibly. Or perhaps, it's because greater wages give the employees more money to spend, which they do in those same neighborhoods and businesses.

Will stricter standards cost corporations money? Sure. Will it cause them to lay people off? They're doing that anyway, it helps the CEOs get those astronomical bonuses. So everyone loses money? No, the CEOs will clean up as always (but they do appreciate all those people who don't get a dime, but supported their cause)and I'll be buying stock in Safety-Kleen.

Jeff K said...

Here's something for you: We all love to hate Wal-Mart (and there are a great many reasons to), but that hugely ginormous behemoth has made the commitment to going completely emissions neutral, building "green" stores, and carrying more environmentally friendly products and packaging. And because of Wal-Mart's size and influence, it's already working. They've demanded that all of their suppliers reduce their packaging size by something like 10 or 20% -- that's huge. My client, Proctor & Gamble, is also a hugely ginormous behemoth, right? You'd think they could decide for themselves whether or not they want to put Tide in a smaller bottle, right? Nope. P&G needs Wal-Mart, not the other way around. So P&G is reducing packaging on everything. Other corps are following suit. This is a good thing.

Jodie K said...

Props, Kos. You found a topic other than stem cells, WMD or the Dixie Chicks and are well on the way to a 50-reply post ;)

Nobody said...

put Tide in a smaller bottle

Someone needs to explain this to me, though no doubt I'm just being stupid and don't see it right now. Smaller bottle = less Tide in the bottle = me buying Tide more often = MORE plastic being used. Wouldn't it be better to put the Tide in a BIGGER bottle that uses 30% more plastic rather than have me buy 2 using 100% more plastic? I can obviously see the benefits of smaller packaging for lots of things, like how they put the toys in those stupid impossible to open plastic sleeves that are twice as big as the toy and then wrap the whole thing in a big box. But liquid goods that are generally filled up to the top? Why?

Jeff K said...

I wasn't very clear on my explanation about the smaller packaging, Jen. Wal-Mart's dictate was for the manufacturers to decrease packaging without decreasing loads/cups/whatever. In the case of Tide, it's more concentrated, so you use less per load.

Jeff K said...

Yeah, Jodie, I'm pretty proud of myself too. It's been quite a while since I had a 50-comment post, and this one had 40 in one day. I wonder how high it'll go...

Jeff K said...

And yes, all of Looney's comments count! (mine too!)

Jodie K said...

50!

whooooo hooooooo

Paula said...

I haven't gotten 50 comments on a post in a long time. Maybe it's time for a post about DOGS again!

Looney said...

Here you go, Paula :-)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUKL0362802220070403

PJ said...

This is #53

PJ said...

This is #54

PJ said...

Woo hoo!! Your comments equal my age.

Don said...

Some of these DON'T count! Huff!

who have historically 'externalised' the cost of their polluting and carbon-emitting activities

Al Gore has been in the news for doing exactly that, something to do with his interests in zinc mines and carbon credits and the energy cost of his ginormous house and I don't know, it all runs together, but the point is, is, what it is.

Joe the Troll said...

"Wal-Mart's dictate was for the manufacturers to decrease packaging without decreasing loads/cups/whatever."

That probably means that Wal-Mart can then warehouse more product in less space. I'm not denying that it's a good thing, just that Wal-Mart is doing it for purely altruistic reasons.

Jeff K said...

"I'm not denying that it's a good thing, just that Wal-Mart is doing it for purely altruistic reasons."

Exactly. Something that's good for the environment AND good for business. Hmm...

Nobody said...

Woo hoo!! Your comments equal my age.

I first read this as "your comments equal my rage."

I wasn't sure what to make of that.

Lucyp said...

Congrats on the big 60 comments.

Don said...

61 is a prime number but it doesn't look like it should be.

O' Tim said...

Damn comment spikers!

Set the wayback machine, Sherman:

da wench - I agree with you about Methodists. They take a more Dalai Lama-like approach to the end times, as in "occupy until I come."

I'm not so sure I can agree with you on the
Industrial Revolution coal use, though. In 1900 (an arbitrary "median" of coal use aka "height of the IR"), there were 1.6 billion people on the planet and approximately 6,000 automobiles (virtually no trucks or buses). In 2006 the earth's population was 6.5 billion and there were 600 million motor vehicles (conservatively I'd say about 15 percent trucks and buses).

Regardless of how much coal was burned back then, I have my doubts that it could compete with modern harmful emissions.

O' Tim said...

Oh, and if anyone is wondering, I subscribe to the philosophy that we humans couldn't possibly cause this planet to disintegrate. I mean yeah, nuclear winter would be a bummer, but give ole' Gaia a couple/three centuries of bed rest and she'll be fit as a fiddle! I think it was George Carlin who said, "This planet could shake us off like a bad cold."

I say, "Don't forget, kids - Mother Nature bats last!"

SIXTY-THREE ! ! ! !

O' Tim said...

What the hell -

Will you still need me? Will you still feed me? (EVRBUDDY) When I'm sixty-four ? ?

Joe the Troll said...

O'Tim,

You're wrong.

Carlin said "like fleas". So there.


Of course, I agree with the rest.

Don said...

Ever seen an old dog shake off fleas? Can't be done. Just drags his ass around on the ground until he's got a bloody sore spot where the itching is worst. Until someone comes up with a big can of pesticide. There's a lesson and a warning for us all right there.

Al Gore's not-so-evil twin said...

The lesson must be that George Carlin is full of shit.

Joe the Troll said...

"The lesson must be that George Carlin is full of shit. "

No, he was spot -on. The planet will eventually be fine. The PEOPLE may not be.

Besides, he's a COMEDIAN, FFS. Who the fuck are YOU?

Jeff K said...

69!

We gonna hit 70 or what?

PJ said...

Yes! We hit 70! And I win the prize! Take me out for an incredible wonderful seafood dinner when I come to Denver THE WEEKEND OF MAY 11!!! Yippee! Exclamation point!

O' Tim said...

Exclamation point!

Okay, what's up with this?

Don said...

2^3*3^2, a most auspicious number.

Joe the Troll said...

I don't know what Jeff's been telling you, PJ, but "Rocky Mountain Oysters" are NOT seafood! :-)

Sour Grapes said...

Methodists don't claim to get communications direct from God. That's strictly for yer Christofanatics.

DirtyBitchSociety said...

Excellent and thought provoking post. It's time we stop bitching. Gore got an award but I sure as hell don't see other people making all the effort, especially the ones who criticize, the global warming theory. I don't care what it takes, we need to look at this. My theory is this, money talks louder than anything else. Can we speak louder than money? Follow the trail, on every issue and why it has not changed. It is either we don't have the money to change it, supposedly or somebody will lose money, if we do. Can we speak louder than money, that is the question.