Over There (in the UK)

July 24, 2001 at 4 PM

5.8 Billion People Can Be Wrong

“‘But,’ he said, ‘I prefer an imperfect agreement that is living than a perfect agreement that doesn’t exist.’”

— Belgian Energy Secretary Olivier Deleuze on the climate accord settled yesterday in Bonn, Germany, between 178 nations, which revives and reinforces the previously terminal Kyoto Accord.

Rational compromise, by everyone. Here, here. Everyone, that is, except the United States, where President Bush has evidently decided that 6 billion people can be wrong. Or rather that their efforts are “not sound policy.” Sour grapes from a country that emits perhaps 1/4 of the world’s so-called greenhouse gases.

We can always count on ‘W’ to keep us stalwartly cynical.

* * *

BBC News has an extensive online feature on the climate change debate. It’s difficult to deny the fact of global warming, of course, yet all but impossible to be sure what might be causing it. Or how long it might last.

There are the alarmists who say, “Our planet is warming faster than at any time in the last 10,000 years.” It must be the unfathomable reams of chemicals spewing out of factories driven by our relentless need for profit and consumption.

I have a hard time believing all those chemicals are doing good. Smog, for example, is a disgusting and unhealthy biproduct undeniably linked to human pollution. Part of me, though, can’t help but think that we are also victims of geological time, in which 10,000 years is a passing thought.

There is some evidence to suggest that the climate humans consider normal, and under threat, may be nothing than a short warm phase on an otherwise ice-ridden planet. A geology class first planted the theory in my brain that global warming may ironically lead us into another ice-age. If the polar ice caps continue to melt, the seepage of icy water could dramatically cool the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and drastically alter the weather patterns they effect. As my professor at the time suggested, Earth is a system, in a balance, and any upset to that system may significantly tip the balance.

All of this to say that what this makes me think is that we can’t afford the risk of continuing to blindly toss geologically-unusual amounts of carbon into the air and assume, like so many Bushes, the best. Our lack of real comprehension on climate change — the only firm conclusion I can make from all the bickering — is reason enough to be hesitant.


hey i just left you a comment under canada day - check it out

and happy birthday!!

— chris | Jul. 31, 2001 — 5 AM

Previously: Pacific Daylight Time

Subsequently: Funny, I Don’t Feel Wiser

July 2001
the Archives

In Earshot

I only really read it for Canucks coverage, but even still it’s nice that The Vancouver Sun finally redesigned its hideously awful website to look like it was designed this century.

On pizza box art

Web 2.Origami

Welcome to Obama, Japan

The Toronto Star shows where and how the seats changed in the 2008 election

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