Erik Larson

Dec 22, 2008

Global Warming!

I have a puzzle about Global Warming ! (I’m now including the exclamation to further capture the added drama that typically attends the phrase). It’s the observation that C02 levels have, in times past, been high, yet the climate then was actually cooling. In other words, the temp graph was trending down as the carbon dioxide levels were trending up . The GW folks have some ready made explanations for this, mostly centered on the catch-all “it’s complicated” dismissal (translation: you stupid skeptics, you’re either not scientific or just plain crazy!), with perhaps some additional whiz-bang sciency sounding stuff about how A, B, C, and sometimes D can vary with levels of This, That, and The Other. Don’t worry about all of this, however. Just remember that it’s complicated . And butt out. (Of course, it’s complicated should stick to the GW believers as much as to the skeptics. It’s complicated is double-edged, after all.)

This debate, whenever I’ve had enough of the Dark Knight (will this movie ever end?) and I’m thinking about something that fires everyone up, but that smells like a three day old fish, I always end up back at Global Warming! And when the discussion ping pongs back and forth long enough to exhaust the easy points and counter points, we inevitably end up back at “But what are the costs of inaction?” (no, this isn’t the runup to the Iraq War all over again). As if we’ll all be for coal plants and China and pollution and Hummers unless we believe that we can predict the future of the weather.

I will end me post with this however: if anyone can tell me what the weather will be like in a few decades, I’d like to discuss the stock market. You might just be my best friend.