I've decided to join the three per cent. Only problem is, I suspect it's not the exclusive club I think it is. Three per cent is probably too modest a measure of membership. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the numbers are all backwards and it's actually the 97 per cent I'm joining, or have already joined, or have simply been a part of my whole life and just didn't know it.
While I wouldn't mind joining the much more exclusive "one per cent" club, all those cigar-sucking, golden parachute-poppin', champagne-swillin' bazillionaires the 99 per cent were so pissed off at a while ago when they decided to occupy everything, I don't think they'd be willing to lower the admissions bar to someone so lacking in wealth, income and attitude. Too bad, they look like they're having fun.
The three per cent club I've decided to join is the Climate Change Deniers Club. The CCDC largely consists — at least at this moment — of those handful of "scientists" who, while perhaps believing in climate change, believe it's just a natural phenomenon, kind of like night and day or the change of seasons. They don't believe it's caused by anything you and I and the captains of industry are doing. If they believe in climate change at all they just believe climate change happens. Don't worry, be happy... and warm.
While only three per cent of "scientists" who purport to study the issue believe it's as natural as, say, gravity, something closer to 97 per cent of Republicans in the U.S. and Conservatives in Canada believe it. Perhaps 100 per cent of everyone in the oil and gas industry believes it, assuming they believe in anything other than short-term profit and reducing industry-killing regulation.
Naturally, I'm not completely comfortable finding myself in such low company. But I fear there's simply no option.
The reason I've come to this conclusion and joined the club is because nothing else makes sense to me. If man-made climate change were real, an enlightened species with opposable thumbs would have done something more substantial about it by now than making the Toyota Prius. Wouldn't it?
If I still believed in climate change, I don't know how I'd square the idea of scientists, politicians, academics and activists from 200 countries boarding fuel-sucking, emissions-spewing aircraft to all fly to Doha, Qatar — a city that would still have a higher population of camels than people were it not for energy intensive air conditioning — to once more engage in global climate change masturbation, the outcome of which is a foregone conclusion.
Doha is the sequel to Durban (2011), Cancún (2010) and Copenhagen (2009), et.al. All the episodes have been increasingly numbing gatherings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The UNFCCC is — you can be forgiven for not knowing this — an international treaty signed by nearly 200 countries to "cooperatively discuss global climate change and its impact," discuss being the operative word.
I don't remember who said "sayin' it don't make it so," but no slogan more adequately captures the overarching trajectory of the UNFCCC confabs' cumulative accomplishments. To date, the single most significant achievement of the UNFCCC is what has become known as the Two-Degree Solution.
There was consensus, in 2009, that a two-degree Celsius increase in Earth's average temperature — two degrees above what the average temp was in 1850 — would constitute an unacceptably hazardous rise. Not surprisingly, the U.S. was one of the last holdouts.
A two-degree increase is the tipping point where scientists agree the polar ice caps would not only melt, which they already are, but begin to melt at a rate from which there was no turning back. Ocean levels and surf would be up on the world's coastlines and New York's subways would need to be converted to submarines.
The best consensus at the moment is we're already up 0.8°C.
Now simply agreeing on the Two-Degree Solution after nearly two decades of annual meetings may not seem like much of an accomplishment to you. And you'd be right. But even that is seen as real progress. That's because the UNFCCC operates on the principle of consensus. Any participating nation, regardless of how asinine its position may seem, can thwart any agreement.
Many "roadblocks" are cited for the lack of substantive agreement: the relative sacrifices to be made by developed and developing nations; which alternative energy sources get developed, how and how fast; who pays for third-world countries to adapt to climate change, blah, blah, blah.
Not much is expected to come out of Doha. No new emissions targets developed countries can ignore, no agreement on any changes needed to avoid that pesky 2° creep. What is possibly likely to happen is new, meaningless pledges by developed countries to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gasses, new meaningless promises to fund programs to help poor countries deal with climate change already happening, blah, blah, blah.
Now if this seems just the tiniest bit skeptical to you, read it in light of the recently reported data that global emissions of carbon dioxide reached a record high in 2011 and there is every likelihood 2012 will be another record year. And while you're basking in the pride of new yearly records, consider this outstanding achievement happened at the height of the global economic recession. Just imagine how much higher we might have gone had the world been firing on all cylinders.
Emissions rose three per cent in 2011 and best guesses are they'll go up another 2.6 per cent on top of that already lofty level in 2012. Amazingly, these records were, and likely will be, reached notwithstanding the fact emissions fell in the U.S. With its boffo combination of economic malaise, manufacturing outsourcing and cheap, plentiful, fractured natural gas replacing coal as the go-to fuel, the U.S. actually reduced its emissions in 2011.
Not to worry, Canada's doing its bit to pick up the slack. So is China where coal — "clean" or otherwise, OK, otherwise — is still king, pushing global coal sourced emissions up five per cent-plus in 2011.
Many scientists now believe we're going to blow right past the 2° point. A few, when they're not busy studying Santa Claus and the Easter bunny, still believe agreement to avoid that is possible. Personally, I'm just going to become a denier because to admit what's going on leaves me with no other conclusion than this whole Homo sapiens thing is just another doomed experiment, kind of like the dinosaurs, which were at least victims of somebody else's practical joke.
So I'm trying to get used to the idea of downloading the last lift and looking into the feasibility of growing olives and bananas. If nothing else, the latter will put me a step closer to achieving the 100-mile diet.
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