W Vs. The Environment II: Global Warming

If you recall, this article was completed for roughly one day in mid 2005. It was thereafter lost alongside two other articles in AmericanEarth's first online attack. Evidently my security was not tight enough to combat such a breach.

However, one year later I rekindled the incentive for a rewrite. And because I don't remember what I wrote last time, I will begin this essay with the take-home message of the last one: motivation.

What do you think motivates a person's belief or disbelief in global warming? What motivates some people to accept and fear it while others discredit it entirely? And most of all, what could possibly motivate these people to such a degree that they're eager to spend their hard-earned money broadcasting this belief?

Let's first look into the motivation behind those who say global warming isn't real. It's unspeakably obvious that tons and tons and tons and tons and tons of money awaits the public dismissal of global warming via the continued and increased use of lucrative fuels. Thus, money is an obvious key motivator in the "global warming isn't real" population.

Conversely, those who say global warming is in fact a real phenomenon are getting zero returns on their investments, and all money going into the argument effectively equates to pure financial loss. Thus, the only monetary motivation would be to immediately stop broadcasting this opinion. So if it's not money, what might the motivation be? It's either a) noble concern, or b) irrational lunacy.

Before rationally choosing a or b, you must first know that the vast scientific consensus strongly backs the existence of global warming resulting from human behavior. With this knowledge, irrational lunacy (as the motivator) would either have to be the quintessential scientific method, or out of the question. Consequently the most logical conclusion one can draw from this, is that "noble concern" is (by the process of elimination) the sole motivation causing people to broadcast concern for global warming.

Let's take a break so you can toss that notion around under your scalp for a moment.


Okay. Time to recap. We have those who say that global warming doesn't exist (motivated by billions upon billions of dollars) and then we have those who say that global warming does exist (motivated by the combination of scientific consensus and noble concern). Ulterior motive versus scientific accord. That's the debate. Without looking any further, and with no bias whatsoever, just on pure intuition, which side of the argument looks more rational to you? Dismissing it for immense personal gain or scientifically proving it out of altruistic concern?

This wasn't a rhetorical question. Please answer out loud for me. Abandon everything you're clinging to and simply answer the question (out loud). I'll wait...


Thanks. I'm glad that we're all on the same page now. This enables us to delve into the scientific end of it. We'll start with the basic core principle: look at the temperature. It's hotter. A) How do you debate this? B) I'll explain.

Carbon dioxide (released from burning fossil fuels) and methane (released from gas pipelines) make the earth warmer, especially at the surface. This is what's known as the greenhouse effect. Without this effect, the temperature outside would be about 30 degrees Celsius colder (because only the U.S. uses Fahrenheit). Thus, the greenhouse effect is absolutely necessary for survival. Without it, the climate wouldn't be conducive to our existence and none of us would have been born. So If you don't believe in it, you're absolutely retarded, and technically speaking, should be dead. Global warming as a product of the greenhouse effect is scientifically proven beyond any vestigial trace of doubt. The magnitude of change, however, is the political debate.

From here on out, this essay will attempt to (with no exaggeration and minimal speculation) assess this magnitude. I'll leave the exaggeration up to the republican and green parties. The problem is that somewhere in between these two ends of the spectrum lies Canadian parliament. And Canadian parliament has publicly stated that the dangers of global warming "are second only in scale to the dangers of an all out nuclear war." A follow-up problem is that scientific consensus agrees.

Just as provable as rudimentary math, global warming is real and predominantly a byproduct of human behavior. Resultantly, any sensible person should be frightened. This doesn't mean you're going to die tomorrow. Rather, we're all simply on an extremely destructive course of human expansion and consumption.

And the only way to change this course of disaster is to (as David Suzuki puts it) "pull back the curtains on our ignorance." And this sounds easy enough, but let's not kid ourselves, these are going to be some weighty fucking curtains. Not only from the vastness of our ignorance, but also due to the chemical properties of carbon dioxide. It has a very long atmospheric lifetime, and thus the impact is accumulative and residual. So even if we completely halted all global warming (inducing all associated emissions) right this second, we would still experience as much as a full degree Celsius of subsequent heat increase.

And the importance of this is not about comfort. Nor is it about how pretty nature looks. It's about sustainable living. And by all measurable accounts, we've already passed the tipping point.

Let's start articulating the impact with something simple and relatively non-threatening: animal migration statistics. Right now, animal migration is occurring a couple weeks off from the historical times of pre-global warming. As we've shifted our seasonal time tables, they've learned to adapt accordingly for survival. No big deal. Plants are having a harder time adapting to the changes in seasonal patterns however. They can't just pick up and migrate somewhere more conducive. The early impact here is simply the time frame of seasonal foods and when flowers blossom and such. Again, not that big of a deal. But as it endures more and more change, it is increasingly becoming a big deal. As we continue to force unnatural shifts in the climate, we're already changing agricultural demands for crops to grow, particularly in the amount of water needed. Think about it. As of right now, a pound of bread takes about 500 liters of water to produce the wheat necessary. A pound of beef requires almost 10,000 liters of water, and every gallon of milk you buy took about 1000 gallons to produce it, particularly from the average cost of producing the crops for the animal's diet.

This means that the food you eat requires thousands upon thousands of liters of water every day before you see it. Now, as billions of yous' are currently alive and you alone require thousands of liters every single day to support your diet, this poses some problems. As we begin impacting water demands via forced climate changes, the financial and environmental cost to your food production will be so high that you'll totally starve. Granted this will positively impact the obesity crisis. But consider the cost-benefit analysis in assessing at what length you're willing to assist obese people in their diets.

And now let's reconsider the animal situation, because I was just kidding about it being "no big deal." The big deal lies in extinction however, not migration. Close to 300 animal species have altered migration trends now, but the number of now-extinct species outnumbers that by a virtually incalculable amount. For over a decade we've been losing about 7 species an hour. Completely. Losing them completely in a way such that they're now extinct and will never return. 7 species per hour go extinct. Pretty soon a fourth of all mammalian species will be extinct. This strikes me as a big deal. I can tolerate several hundred migratory adaptations. But eliminating 7 species an hour, 24 hours per day I'm having a hard time stomaching.

Now let's spend a moment doing some role playing. Imagine (whether true or not) that your core values lie within the bedrock conservative movement. Just imagine this with me for a moment. Unless you have no understanding of politics whatsoever, this would automatically denote that you're rich enough to afford food after the agricultural yields have fallen, and probably heartless enough to ignore the vanishing wildlife. God birthed you among blessed and consequently you deserve every perk of your wealth-laden lifestyle. You've earned this birth status because God said so and he's in control of the genetic lottery. Therefore it doesn't matter at all to you until the impact hits home.

That said, let's address a couple issues that will certainly hit even the republican home. First off, the disappearing ice caps are causing an annual, measurable rise in the sea level. As each year grows hotter (such that 2005 was the hottest year ever recorded since the invention of measurable temperature in the 19th century), the pace of the rising sea continues to quicken. This allows us to watch our beaches slowly disappear. And as much as I've enjoyed watching this happen, the next stage will be disappearing cities. Please come to terms with the fact that there's only so much beach, and shortly beyond the beaches are inhabited cities. Among these cities are many in Florida (retirement destination of countless hardcore republicans). Now I would enjoy watching most of Florida turn into an Atlantis of condos, but the republicans inhabiting them might feel threatened and therefore have a differing feel of entertainment in the situation. The take-home message is this: every coastal city in the world will sink. Some of them I like. And the other ones are liked (and depended on) by hundreds of millions of people (including neoconservative elitists).

That was point number one. Point number two is that, before they sink, they'll be ravaged with an increasingly routine incidence of extreme weather conditions. El Ninos' and Hurricane Katrinas'a'plenty will have their way with your homes and neighborhoods, and internet connection, not only ruining your ability to read further on AmericanEarth, but killing your friends and family in a flurry of carnage, both equally disastrous.

Another point is one of historical significance that everyone should have learned from the morons on Easter Island. You know the place with the ancient stone face statues (the moai)? The lesson is as follows. You get your oxygen from trees, potent foliages, brambles, little kudzus, and so on. When you deforest everything, you can't be too surprised when your oxygen diminishes and you lose 80% of your population. I guess in the 18th century you can, so I can excuse the inhabitants of Easter Island. But it's the 21st century. We understand photosynthesis and oxygen kinetics pretty well now. And as we increase the carbon dioxide while simultaneously decreasing all species that metabolize it, we end up with air that's heavy on the carbon dioxide and poor in oxygen content. We can't breathe this and be okay. That's not how survival works. Ask the suffocated, rotted out corpses that once lived on Easter Island. You'll get no response because they're dead. But that should answer your question anyway.

So no matter who you are, there's no escaping the inevitable death and ruin headed your way. To be fair, I promise human life will still exist after we've reached the 25% mammalian extinction mark (in the very near future). Furthermore, it's not going to be any time too soon that we join the ranks of those 7 species per hour that enter the realm of extinction. But at this pace, our time will inevitably come and the world will be a pretty repulsive and uncomfortable pile when it does. We're past the tipping point and well on our way.

"How did we get to this point?" you may be wondering. Maybe you're not wondering, but I'm going to carry on as if you were. Our arrival came via the path of politics. People vote. Trees and icebergs don't vote. Nor do non-human animals (especially the extinct ones). Nor do children who will have to deal with the bleak, treeless, animal-less, iceberg-less future. Kids don't count in the big picture. What counts is reelection during the next term. And how does one get reelected? By appealing to the voters. And remember, voters aren't trees, they're consumers. Thus, you make promises of increased ability for the consumers to consume and the votes will follow. If you recall the opening quote from W in part I, "We need an energy bill that encourages consumption." I feel this encapsulates the thought process in the political arena somewhat nicely.

And with that, I feel it's time to move on. I don't want to end on an accurate, super-depressing note. So before I conclude with some personal advice, let's mix things up with a little good news. The good news: aerosol induced global dimming (less sun reaching the earth's surface as a product of our cosmetic obsessions and desire to kill bugs) is combating global warming. So we're essentially trapping heat on the surface via greenhouse gasses, but cooling ourselves down via aerosol use. Yay! Two wrongs combat a wrong. Granted global warming is happening at a much faster rate, but at least our cosmetic efforts are slowing down our global Hindenburg.

More good news: we still have the opportunity to spin the crisis and proclaim our noble progress as efforts combating a future ice age. So all things considered, there's still some hope left in the world.

In conclusion, my advice to you is as follows: move to Britain. As global warming increases, the thermohaline circulation diminishes. This means that the North Atlantic drift which warms Britain would cease, so while the rest of the world continues to heat up, Britain cools down and remains a sustainable life spot. Tell your children to move there before the property value reaches astronomical heights.

Question: I heard solid evidence that global warming wasn't real in regards to glaciers and stuff actually increasing in thickness. It was used to disprove Al Gore's movie. How do you spin that?

Answer: I don't spin that. It was already spun for you to a nauseating degree and I can't possibly spin it any further. Lucky for me, I'm debating someone who doesn't read. Unlucky for you, that's you. As a general piece of advice, if you hear something, look it up before repeating it with wholehearted belief. It will save you a lot of political embarrassment. And I'll even provide you with the details of your next reading assignment. The researcher that wrote that study, which was inadvertently used to "disprove Al Gore's movie" as you put it, is named Curt Davis. In the exact research you're referencing (Curt Davis's), he provides evidence proving the existence of global warming. The Al Gore attack adds (which were funded in their entirety by Exxon by the way), neglected to mention that the research confirmed the existence of global warming. They mysteriously left out that little tidbit of information. So go ahead and just sit at your home and Google Curt Davis. Don't even go to a library. Embrace your right to leisure as an American. What you'll find is that Curt was researching the impact of global warming on increased precipitation in Antarctica. And as warmer temperatures brought more precipitation, extra ice began to form on the freezing portions of the interior. The research truly proved the existence of global warming, and consequently when it was misrepresented by Exxon without permission, legal disputes erupted.

So the idea that you illiterately believe these things is extremely aggravating/entertaining. Understand that the reason they misrepresented research that proves global warming is because no evidence has ever been found that indicated otherwise. Thus, your gullibility in conjunction with sheer stupidity is just embarrassing to all humankind. It is truly astonishing that natural selection didn't wipe out your genetic constitution long ago. And because of this, all I ask is that you begin a career of literacy so I can feel better about the state of humanity.