There is no better topic to bring up than climate change to ruin that Thanksgiving dinner. I love to have a running debate with our children and grandchildren about causes, effects, and solutions. Usually, the discussion ends when I mention the fact that the sun doesn’t always shine, the wind doesn’t always blow, and most battery components come from strip mines in China. Facts get in the way of this heated debate. Our grandchildren who only know that electricity comes from that outlet on the wall become mystified by the whole discussion, but they are saving their pennies to buy a $95,000 EV pickup in 2030.
There is a great company, Demotivators, Inc., I always enjoy following because they have a wonderful and often perverse view of the issues we all face. They sell note cards you can send your friends for a laugh, and not so good friends to poke them a little. Two of my favorites read:
“DOUBT: In a battle between you and the world, bet on the world”
“TEAMWORK: A few flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction”
The problem with these two cards is that for the most part they are right on the money. Most of the younger generation believe the climate tsars without stopping to put what they are reading and hearing to a “smell” test. Don’t get me wrong, I believe we should act like responsible citizens and not do things that we believe will hurt our long-term viability as a species, so long as those decisions are based on facts and better alternatives exist.
A lot of distinct species have come and gone, and the earth is still here spinning along, and spinning along quite nicely in fact. Our earth spins on its own axis at about 1,370 miles per hour. The earth rotates around our sun at a speed of 66,600 miles per hour. Our solar system rotates around the Milky Way galaxy at an estimated speed of 500,000 miles per hour. Put it all together, and in a perfect universe, we will be back to about here in about 200 million years. But unfortunately, here will not be “here” as we know it because the Milky Way rotates around something even bigger.
The point of all of this is only that we need to recognize that every second of every day we will exist in a position in space where the earth has never been before. Throw in some solar flares, asteroid strikes, solar cycles, and newly discovered tiny black holes, and the complexity of the analysis is, well, complex. It is well beyond the capacity of any scientist to say with certainty what our future climate will be, no matter the size of their modeling super computers. It just doesn’t pass the smell test! But it does not keep them from seeking government grants to study and propose solutions. There is a 100% certainty that no one will be living to see if their forecasts are accurate. The vastitude of the issues defies analysis.
Then we have the climate entrepreneurs, those who are making millions from the fear they spread. There is a whole group who fly in private jets to far off exotic locations to preach to the zealots who then preach to us. Many of these have multiple luxury homes, private jets, and wine and dine the most influential politicians.
Politicians cannot stay away from the topic and pander to younger voters without the courage to stand up to them. Many are bankrupting their nations by making fundamental energy changes that are at best ill advised, and at their worst economically suicidal. We know this is true because the two biggest hold outs on the Paris Climate Accord are China and Russia. These dictatorships can make hollow promises of “down the road” compliance, while ramping up pollution to catch up with the west economically. China and Russia are laughing at the stupidity of the west, and how easily their children and politicians can be manipulated.
Another fallacy of climate religion is a belief that we live in some strange new world where national interests have suddenly been subjugated to the goal of saving the world’s climate. We only need to look at the effect in Germany when the Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted a reduction in gas flows. Only children with no historical perspective, or children of the 1960’s who are still sitting around singing “Kom Ba Yah” or “Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore” can believe in such fairy tales. A brief study of world history exposes that never in recorded history have all nations ever aligned on a single issue. The Russian invasion of the Ukraine makes that abundantly clear. How dare they invade their neighbor when the earth’s very survival is at stake?
What can we do then? Well not much. There is a strong correlation between world population and climate change. The more people we have, the more CO2 emissions we need to all stay alive. Unless we are willing to live in collective poverty, give up all electronics, and dictate population by nation, then we are stuck. Since our politicians cannot even agree on when to wear a COVID mask, the odds of them solving anything more complex are remote.
The earth has been much warmer than it is now, and much colder. Our species has always survived by adapting to those changes. My recommendation is to stop thinking we can change the earth’s climate and start preparing to live in a warmer world. Things will change, but the world will not end.
When Al Gore and John Kerry sell all their homes and yachts and move into 200 square foot, solar-powered tiny homes, then believe in climate change. Until then just enjoy life and don’t waste brain cycles, or tax money on initiatives that have specious underpinnings. Significantly damaging climate change is a risk, not a defined outcome based on the magnitude of the known variables. And remember, “In a battle between you and the world, bet on the world.”