Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dear Denialists

What's with calling me a "liberal" and hating all over me if I happen to use the words "Al Gore" or "carbon footprint" in a sentence? Are you so convinced that global warming is nothing to worry about?

Listen, if I feel a lump in my breast, I'm going to inconvenience myself with a doctor's appointment and a few tests, even though I know the odds of any lump being cancer are quite low. Low probability disasters still merit some attention and preparation, just in case.

We can do a number of things to reduce greenhouse gasses that won't tank our economy. Surely we ought to begin reversing this trend toward ever greater CO2 emissions, even if climate predictions aren't certain.

Consider the potential risks and benefits of your denialist position: on the one hand, if global warming does not cause any major headaches, many will thank you for opposing the imposition of needless sacrifice. On the other, if you're wrong, if drought and famine overwhelm large parts of the planet, you will bear some responsibility for that outcome. Do you think you won't be held to account?

I confess I lack your courage. I say, "I'm not an expert so I'll listen to the experts." With the stakes so high, there's no way I'm putting my ass on the line.

Imagine your potential futures: beyond, "I told you so," will a win taste sweet? I'm not so sure. However I am confident that losing will suck the dog's balls. If you're wrong, the echoes of your denials will haunt you everywhere you go. No one will take you seriously. Many will want to shit all over you and your memory for getting in the way of people who might have done something before it was too late.

So denialist, do you feel lucky?


  1. What I don't get is why people in general don't see that reducing CO2 emissions is good economically. It has to be achieved partly with new technologies, which encourages innovation and the growth of new industries. It also requires better efficiency of energy use, reducing costs and the dependence on imports from possibly unstable states.

    I think a good case can be made for reducing CO2 emissions even one ignores global warming (not that I am suggesting for a second one should).

  2. People don't want to admit that global warming is a real possibility because they don't want to have to change the way they live. If they admit that it could happen, they would then be required to either inconvenience themselves and change their living habits or feel guilty about continuing to live the way they always have when they know it's damaging the planet. Denial is the easy way out because it involves the least amount of action.

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  4. I don't recall where I heard it, but someone once suggested that obelisks, inscribed with the names of the heroes of the global warming controversy, be erected on the nation's beaches; activists on top, denialists on the bottom.

  5. On second thought, the monument idea doesn't seem quite that clever as presented; at least not without a more detailed scheme for separate obelisks of praise and shame. Unfortunately, if I do that, I'll have allowed my (overly?) analytical mind to remove all the pithiness from that bit of rhetoric. Shame.

    It occurs to me that no matter how things turn out, hell or (literally) high water, denialists will always find a way to show there was nothing anyone could have done to prevent disaster. Too much momentum in a perfect storm of disastrous ingredients, or something like that.

    The crux of the matter for me is that global warming is only one of the problems on a planet with a larger population than ever, polluting and using more natural resources than ever, and more of that population desiring the polluting, resource intensive lifestyle. Not good.

  6. america is evil... that's much easier to say. or, insane. "Insanity: 3 a: extreme folly or unreasonableness b: something utterly foolish or unreasonable" If you folks are not already familiar with the "Humanure Handbook" I suggest you read it or at least the first chapter.

    American politics is in bed with the energy corporations. How about $800 billion to jump start mass creation of renewable energy products and services? Instead of defending the dying gasoline burning car industry. Or, saving mortgages on homes that are so ridiculously wasteful it would be more efficient if they were torn down and rebuilt with the environment in mind. Again, 3 conditions of the human self: evil, insane, or ignorant.

  7. Caleb,

    Little houses are cool. You might enjoy: