This is an interesting article on businesses facing the realities of climate change, because they’re feeling early effects.
This makes capitalism a curiously bracing mechanism for cutting through ideological haze and manufactured doubt. Politicians or pundits can distort or cherry-pick climate science any way they want to try and gain temporary influence with the public. But any serious industrialist who’s facing “climate exposure”—as it’s now called by money managers—cannot afford to engage in that sort of self-delusion. Spend a couple of hours wandering through the websites of various industrial associations—aluminum manufacturers, real-estate agents, wineries, agribusinesses, take your pick—and you’ll find straightforward statements about the grim reality of climate change that wouldn’t seem out of place coming from Greenpeace.
I can tell you who isn’t interested in debating the reality of climate change and faked data. Upper managers at my state agency are not at all interested in an argument over whether climate change is real. They don’t have time for that. They’ll argue over how bad it might get, or whether we can get moving on mitigation fast enough. They’re as happy as anyone to work on strategies for shifting the burdens to someone else. But they’re acutely aware that climate conditions have already shifted. They know that the plumbing we have now won’t work half so well if we lose the snowpack. They can’t pretend that we might not lose the snowpack, because angry water districts are going to show up with pitchforks if we promise water we can’t deliver. (They also might show up with pitchforks if we admit that we can’t deliver water.)
You know how denialists say climate change is all a faked-up conspiracy? I’ve never really understood what the conspiracy is for. Like, who gains? I’ve heard different answers. Thousands of university researchers are carefully faking data, in tandem, for grant money that will keep them employed. (But they’d get grants doing other science if they weren’t studying climate change.) Environmentalists made up climate change because they want to enforce their tiny-car and cloth bag-bringing ways on red-blooded Americans. (I suppose, I guess.) I’ve heard that The State is making up climate change to support a land and water grab for billionaire farmers. (But, we don’t actually get to have that land and water. The land will be undersea or retired, and any re-allocated water will be spread finely over the next ten billion people to live in our cities. It isn’t like we bureaucrats get awarded cute little cabins with pure cold springs, mores the pity.) I guess the story below points to beneficiaries for the conspiracy. Starting in the early Eighties, university scientists started making up climate change so that thirty years later, the Bureau of Reclamation would buy un-needed new turbines from turbine companies in North Carolina. That was far-sighted of them. They’re probably related to the turbine company owners. It’s the only explanation.
8 responses to “A shadowy cabal, let me tell you.”
I would argue the best explanations are far more cynical and depressing.
1. If liberals believe it, it must be a lie. They hate America and God. The book of revelations does not mention global warming. They would know this if they could put down the Marx and pick up the bible.
2. Its good politics for a certain political party to deny it because it helps them raise money from certain industries, fits their general worldview of detesting the pronouncements of science, and it makes their core constituency happy (see reason 1).
3. A small group is legitimately skeptical of theories that smack of group think and also predict doom and is either unable to grasp the idea or has not had it explained to them in a way that works for them.
4. Hippies suck.
Like I said, cynical and depressing.
Good post, thank you.
Bill Maher remarked not too long ago on one of his shows, “The thing I don’t get about conservatives is: Don’t they want to live, too?” Who knows?
The current band of deniers seem to be working on an inherited belligerence, which stemmed originally from clearly identifiable camps — virtually every industry involved with fossil fuels that didn’t want to re-tool, upgrade, adapt. But the funny thing was, back in the day when climate change was spoken of in terms of “greenhouse effect,” opposition was far from all conservative. In the 70s, there was also blithe disregard and even downplaying of the threat from the then quite powerful anti-nuclear energy crowd, who pooh-pahed the prospect of climate change because they saw it as propaganda from promoters of nuclear energy. (Yes, all those physicists sitting up nights trying to figure out how to poison us, forever.)
Today the deniers seem to simply identify climate change as a political rather than scientific issue and there is no fathoming their thinking or vapors.
I think my parents, strong conservatives, believe that the world is just too dang big for us to fuck up. I remember my Mom actually asking me one day if I realized how big the Earth’s atmosphere was.
I think there was a time in my parents lifetime when America was big and full of open space with plenty of everything to go around. I don’t think they can contemplate scarcity of anything. (With one exception: My mom, having lived through the depression, understands economic scarcity, but not resource scarcity.)
I have taken to saying to my mom, after she gives me her latest Hannity-Limbaugh inspired rant on how bogus climate change is, that I hope that her generation is right, because if they’re not, the rest of us (who will be here long after you’re gone, Mom) will be totally screwed.
She also says that if we enact all this climate change legislation, it will be bad for the economy. I also point out to her that the whole population frying to death is bad for the economy, too. If you kill off your consumers, than what?
Of course, it has no effect. I am just not as suave, well spoken and sophisticated as Hannity and Limbaugh, I suppose.
There is fathoming their thinking. Kindly. Nice point, Chris.
Your bosses don’t pay attention b/c their jobs are not at risk. No incentive, no action.
It is all about the first 10 feet above the ground or so in which almost all of the greatest energy exchange takes place. It is this thin layer that keeps use from catastrophe. This is our microclimate level and can be accounted for by the net radiation equation. That equation is S+A+M+P+LE = NetRad or the energy left over from the sun. The soil temp, plus the air temp, plus a misc value that is low, plus photosynthesis, and lateral evaporation is what we get to use. The key point in climate change is the increasing moisture in the air and that means there is more energy in the air too. This is the major imbalance.
As far as I can tell this is not taught in any school K-12 curriculum, so I am not surprised at the level of ignorance that abounds.
My theory on this unseasonbly cold weather is because the less ice storage means the moisture now in the water and air has to go somewhere so it has heads south. It is a rebalance at our cumulative expense. Nature always bats last.
David Zetland’s comment makes sense, but in reverse. Unless I am missing something, isn’t the point of your post exactly that your bosses are paying attention and that they do have incentive to do so?
Yes, I meant that the way you understood it, Mr. Bass.