Monday, August 26, 2013

On Climate Change 1: The Optimism of “A”

         A Few Notes on Climate Change
             in three parts:  

             1) The Optimism of “A”
             2) Which conspiracy?
             3) So Long Dixie

             The Optimism of “A”

             I note that climate-change deniers now agree that the globe has been warming, for some time now. Now most of them only object to the “A” in “AGW”; they deny, with some passion, that the warming is anthropogenic. Why they do so is a mystery to me; for that “A” is entirely optimistic. If we’re to blame for climate change, then we’re naughty, but we’re powerful, and we might as well exercise control. That’s golden news for a technological civilization.

             The deniers argue, conversely, that it has nothing to do with us at all; it’s the sun’s fault, it’s cosmic rays, it’s rebound from the Ice Ages. In other words they argue that the human race is an innocent victim of forces beyond our control.

             That’s sheer pessimism on their part. I’d rather be naughty than wimpy. Of course the universe is not obliged to favor my desires. Maybe we really are just spectators, not agents, and the A in AGW our all-too-human species-centrism. If I were pessimistic, then I’d say that we’re only partly responsible for GW; that we’re smart enough to accelerate the process, but not smart enough to stop it, or even slow it down. But the universe is not obliged to favor my fears either.

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