Thursday, October 28, 2010

P.J. O'Rourke on Climate Change

This is from P.J. O’Rourke’s soon to be classic book “Don’t Vote. It Just Encourages The Bastards”.




The following excerpt is P.J.’s take on Global Cooling Global Warming Climate Change Global Climate Disruption.

What makes it so funny is the context, which I really can’t provide here. Whereas the chapters on Taxes, Gun Control, Healthcare Reform, Foreign Policy, and Terrorism are all several pages long, this entire chapter on the Chicken Little Movement is only three short paragraphs.

This is all you need to know on the subject:

CLIMATE CHANGE

There’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it. Maybe climate change is a threat, and maybe climate change has been tarted up by climatologists trolling for research grant cash. It doesn’t matter. There are 1.3 billion people in China, and they all want a Buick. Actually, if you go more than a mile of two outside China’s big cities, the wants are more basic. People want a hot plate and a piece of methane-emitting cow to cook on it. They want a carbon-belching moped, and some CO2-disgorging heat in their houses in the winter. And air-conditioning wouldn’t be considered an imposition, if you’ve ever been to China in the summer.

Now, I want you to dress yourself in sturdy clothing and arm yourself however you like – a stiff shot of gin would be my recommendation – and I want you to go tell 1.3 billion Chinese they can never have a Buick.

Then, assuming the Sierra Club helicopter has rescued you in time, I want you to go tell a billion people in India the same thing.

The End.

So, next time a politician or the EPA starts mandating limits on this or caps on that, all in the name of appeasing The Weather Gods, ask yourself what they think they’re accomplishing. (Correct answer: rewarding donors from the regulatory and green industries.)

14 comments:

Cedric Katesby said...

There’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it.

Who says?
You?
How do you know?
Who exactly are you, anyway?
Is there any reason why I should care what you say as opposed to some other book-peddler looking to make a quick buck?

Maybe climate change is a threat...

Maybe?
That's the spirit.
Don't bother to find out.
Wallow in self-imposed ignorance.
Maybe?
Sit on your hands, in the dark.
Go ahead if that's how you want to live your life.
'Cause like, y'know, maybe anything man!
Anything, maybe.

Maybe Evolution is a hoax?
Maybe vaccines cause autism?
Maybe NASA never went to the moon?
Maybe satanic cults are preying on your children at child-care centres?
Or maybe not.
It's all too hard to find out for sure.
Half-assed guessing games?
Go for it. Stay classy.
What a great role-model for the next generation.
Science? Bah humbug.

...and maybe climate change has been tarted up by climatologists trolling for research grant cash.

Yeah, maybe.
Maybe it's all a big, super-duper mega conspiracy.
A global conspiracy.
That's been going on for decades and is actively aided and abetted by millions of scientists all over the world.
'Cause that's typical of a conspiracy after all, right?
Keep that purile shadow of doubt alive by innuendo and rumour and sheer will-power alone.
Sure.
Maybe.

There are 1.3 billion people in China, and they all want a Buick.

Behold the stupid.
Chinese people want a Buick.
Just a Buick?
That's all they want?
Are their standards that low?

Actually, if you go more than a mile of two outside China’s big cities, the wants are more basic.
(..)hot plate, cow, air-conditioning...


So that's it? That's all they want?
Fine.
How much will it cost them?

(...blank stare of confusion...)

The cost?
Most of the Chinese I personally know insist on knowing the cost of something before they buy it.

(That includes the hidden costs)

And if the cost is too high, then they switch to a better product.

They are not mindless automotons.
Like any other people, if given half a chance, they can make informed financial decisions.

Not much point in "buying a Buick" if your farm produces less food because of reduced rain-fall.

Not much point in getting that air-conditioning if even more millions of metric tonnes of arable soil is blown away to scatter uselessly over the Korean Peninsula somewhere in the form of "Yellow Dust".
The cost of getting air-conditioning goes up a few notches once you factor-in border security issues with other developing nations.
Water resources?
Refugees?
If the Pentagon has figured it out, then the Chinese definitly have.

Developing nations want to develop.
We all get that.
Doesn't mean that you have to make the same mistakes over again.
There are better and more efficient ways of doing things.

Nick Rowe said...

@Cedric:

Substitute whatever car Chinese people want for Buick. Then chill out.

Allow me to translate:

Even if every single solitary American was on board with this global warming stuff and we cut our CO2 emissions back to 1787 levels, China and India will only continue to increase their emissions. China and India combined have more than seven times our population. They have quadrupled their fossil fuel consumption in the past ten years.

We might abide by international treaties. They will not. In fact, they were so adamant they would not, the Kyoto Protocols specifically gave them a pass.

So whatever the consequences of GW, just bring it on because it's coming whether we like it or not.

Now, for the rational:

China and India LOVE to measure CO2 per capita. That way they get to divide by their huge populations. The CORRECT measure of energy efficiency is the amount of energy used per unit of output. Substitute CO2 for energy if you prefer.

Here is an identity:

Energy/Population = Energy/GDP x GDP/Population

The first term on the right is called Energy Intensity - a measure of how efficient your production is.

The second term on the right is our measure of Standard of Living: GDP per capita.

Energy intensity is fixed in the short run because of existing technology. In the long run, it usually declines.

So if the IPCC, China, and India want us to reduce Energy per capita, and energy intensity is fixed, the ONLY way to meet our quota is for our standard of living to decline.

And that's their goal.

Energy per capita is the wrong measure because a living human doesn't always produce or consume much, particularly in third world dungholes.

GDP, however, measures ALL production (including consumption). GDP measures the VALUE of output. So if we set a fixed amount of energy, the more efficient country would produce more goods of value from the same energy.

Obama and company thing they can change energy intensity NOW through some "Manhattan Project" R&D. Well, if corporations could cut energy usage (and costs) and raise profits, they would already be doing so.

So any time you hear the Chinese, Indians, leftists or climate scientist talking about cutting CO2 per capita, you know what they're really saying is that America should suffer a loss of GDP greater than the Great Depression.

To add insult to injury, the trading of carbon rights would mean we will have to PAY India and China for the privilege of producing. They will get wealthy on our suffering, and they won't even distribute the gains equally in their society.

And they won't cut back on one molecule of CO2 - all our sacrifices will be for nought.

Cedric Katesby said...

Nick, the problem here is that you are lazy.

You don't care to do the slightest bit of research to find out about things.

If you (or anybody else) wanted to know about the Kyoto Protocols, then all they have to do is google it.
It's not that hard.
Nobody needs to just take your word for anything.

If they do that then they will find out that you have just been feeding them a line.
That's why you don't cite your sources.
If you did, then you'd probably have to admit that you either
a) just made stuff up
or
b) shopped for your talking points from some science denier site somewhere like you normally do.

This is you just being lazy.
Switch on.

If you don't really give a damn about an issue...then don't bother to comment.
Simple.
If you really care, then do some research and cite your sources.
Back up what you say.

This is not the first time you have done this.
Remember that foolishness of yours about global warming on other planets?
Not a smart move.
All it takes is 5 minutes on google and the talking points vanish.

So whatever the consequences of GW...

Nope.
That won't work with me.
I have an education.
I do my homework.
I trust but I also verify.

You don't get to ignore the science.
Not much point in talking about international treaties when you can't even bring yourself to acknowledge the science itself.
That's the first step to embracing reality.

Step one: Acknowledge the science that forced nations to come to the negotiating table.
Step two: Discuss the merits of the treaty.

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Allen,
The only reason you post on this subject is to coax out cedric's puerile rants disguised as comments. On the other hand we wouldn't be reading them unless we enjoyed the perverse humor.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Leo,

I do the same thing with Creationists, Statists, etc etc etc.
I'm equal opportunity in that regard.

Good to hear from you !

Allen

Robert said...

Well, yes the Chinese want cars. China and India will inevitably increase emissions in transport and in electricity generation. But China's government will mandate their vehicles to have triple the fuel mileage of U.S. vehicles. So, to say "buicks"? Meanwhile, democracies, like brazil (80%) and norway (99%) and france (75%) actually produce their electricity EMISSIONS FREE. In the U.S. version of democracy, we are paralyzed about climate change, because our ELECTORATE, and our PUNDITS, don't even care to address, understand, that the U.S. electricity generation system and power infrastructure (the grid) is the actual BUICK - power plants gulping down coal and natural gas, while we blow up mountains to address "energy security." The U.S. vehicle fleet is the most inefficient in the world. And Google is inspired to build wind farms off shore of the U.S. because of this idiotic libertarian political selfishness and the impossibility of steering through local political problems. Thanks P.J. Just heard you on National Public Radio. THE END.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Robert,
I've done my share of China duty. 5 trips, 4-5 weeks at a time.

Robert, you can't even see the damn sky in China, just from the manufacturing plant emissions.
And your right about the Buicks. They don't want Buicks. They want big fat honkin' SUV's. The Chinese government that you seem to have so much faith in?
They won't be caught dead in anything else. SUV's.

Dr. Lizardo said...

Climate change is not an inexorable march to anarchy, but it will be if we choose to avoid the issue with satire and humor.

Yes, authors do want money from people when they write books, how else do they make a living. In this regard the satirical commentary of P. J. O'Rourke is no different than the satire constructed by Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly. Yes, how else can you listen to all three of those views and imagine that they are anything but satire. The satirical content of these authors is there to amuse the base (their readership).

I love toggling between John Stewart/Colbert and Beck/O’Reilly, getting a jolly dose of satirical commentary as I channel surf. When I really want to get a huge dose of truly outrageous satirical commentary I listen to Hannity. He has the most hysterically funny perspective of them all.

Do scientist want to get a grant to study climate change? Of course they do, how else is progress made. Scientists do not conduct research without research support.

The fact that there are so many scientists carrying out research on this pressing issue should be a clue to the public that this is a problem with global dimensions.

Having studied climate change for a decade, analyzed data from weather stations around the world, and observed the concomitant effects of warming climate/drought on ecosystems across five continents, I have come to the conclusion that this is perhaps the most real and present danger humans have collectively faced in a millennia or two or, perhaps even ten thousand.

And then again, perhaps in a decade or two everything will reverse and we will be sent into an ice age of unimaginable proportions. There are possibilities and there are probabilities. Probabilities tell us that some possible futures are remote, while other possible futures are highly likely. Climate change is highly likely and very likely to rearrange all ecosystems on the planet, all human ecosystems included (agriculture, commerce, etc.). It will respect no borders.

The only progress on climate change will be a collective progress. This will be grassroots at the extreme. The roots will extend across the planet. The movement will involve the people of China, India and the US, collectively the greatest gross polluters (or future gross polluters) on the planet. It is citizens from these three countries that will ultimately make their own governments accountable, either by governance or anarchy. They will choose the political instrument by their collective action or inaction. Accountability is starting sooner elsewhere. Europe thankfully is beginning to turn the titanic away from the inexorable collision course we now face. Yes it can be altered but the effort will be unimaginable.

That said I enjoy the satirical commentary by O'Rourke on the Chinese people who are characterized only in terms of their material wants, needs and desires. Those sentiments are a beautiful reflection of the 1/4-less-numerous Americans that continue along their merry route to oblivion with their (short-term) lifestyles intact and without a care in the world.

Let's keep laughing until the very end. Let's pass on this gift of laughter to our children, because they will be the one's that suffer the most from our inaction.

Dr. Lizardo said...

Climate change is not an inexorable march to anarchy, but it will be if we choose to avoid the issue with satire and humor.

Yes, authors do want money from people when they write books, how else do they make a living. In this regard the satirical commentary of P. J. O'Rourke is no different than the satire constructed by Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly. Yes, how else can you listen to all three of those views and imagine that they are anything but satire. The satirical content of these authors is there to amuse the base (their readership).

I love toggling between John Stewart/Colbert and Beck/O’Reilly, getting a jolly dose of satirical commentary as I channel surf. When I really want to get a huge dose of truly outrageous satirical commentary I listen to Hannity. He has the most hysterically funny perspective of them all.

Do scientist want to get a grant to study climate change? Of course they do, how else is progress made. Scientists do not conduct research without research support.

The fact that there are so many scientists carrying out research on this pressing issue should be a clue to the public that this is a problem with global dimensions.

Having studied climate change for a decade, analyzed data from weather stations around the world, and observed the concomitant effects of warming climate/drought on ecosystems across five continents, I have come to the conclusion that this is perhaps the most real and present danger humans have collectively faced in a millennia or two or, perhaps even ten thousand.

And then again, perhaps in a decade or two everything will reverse and we will be sent into an ice age of unimaginable proportions. There are possibilities and there are probabilities. Probabilities tell us that some possible futures are remote, while other possible futures are highly likely. Climate change is highly likely and very likely to rearrange all ecosystems on the planet, all human ecosystems included (agriculture, commerce, etc.). It will respect no borders.

The only progress on climate change will be a collective progress. This will be grassroots at the extreme. The roots will extend across the planet. The movement will involve the people of China, India and the US, collectively the greatest gross polluters (or future gross polluters) on the planet. It is citizens from these three countries that will ultimately make their own governments accountable, either by governance or anarchy. They will choose the political instrument by their collective action or inaction. Accountability is starting sooner elsewhere. Europe thankfully is beginning to turn the titanic away from the inexorable collision course we now face. Yes it can be altered but the effort will be unimaginable.

That said I enjoy the satirical commentary by O'Rourke on the Chinese people who are characterized only in terms of their material wants, needs and desires. Those sentiments are a beautiful reflection of the 1/4-less-numerous Americans that continue along their merry route to oblivion with their (short-term) lifestyles intact and without a care in the world.

Let's keep laughing until the very end. Let's pass on this gift of laughter to our children, because they will be the one's that suffer the most from our inaction.

Dr. Lizardo said...

Climate change is not an inexorable march to anarchy, but it will be if avoid the issue with satire and humor.

Yes, authors do want money from people when they write books. How else do they make a living? In this regard the satirical commentary of P. J. O'Rourke is no different than the satire constructed by Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly. Yes, how else can you listen to all three of those views and imagine that they are anything but satire. Satirical content by authors amuses the base.

I love toggling between John Stewart/Colbert and Beck/O’Reilly or Hannity, the most satirical of all. As I channel surf, the satire on all these shows is great fun.

Do scientist want to get a grant to study climate change? Of course they do, how else is progress made. The fact that there are so many scientists carrying out research on this pressing issue should be a clue that this is a problem with global dimensions.

Having studied climate change for a decade, analyzed data from weather stations around the world, and observed concomitant effects of warming climate/drought on ecosystems spanning five continents, I conclude that this is perhaps the most real and present danger humans have collectively faced in a millennia or two or, perhaps even ten thousand.

And then again, perhaps everything will reverse and we will be sent into an ice age of unimaginable proportions. There are possibilities and there are probabilities. Probabilities tell us that some possible futures are remote, while other possible futures are highly likely. Climate change is highly likely and very likely to rearrange all ecosystems on the planet, all human ecosystems included (agriculture, commerce, etc.). It will respect no borders.

The only progress on climate change will be a collective progress. This will be grassroots at the extreme, with roots across the globe. The roots will involve China, India and the US, collectively the greatest current or future gross polluters on the planet. Citizens from these 3 countries will ultimately make their governments accountable, either by governance or anarchy, choosing the instrument by collective action or inaction.

That said I enjoy the satirical commentary by O'Rourke on the Chinese, who are characterized only in terms of their material wants, needs and desires. Those sentiments are a beautiful reflection of the 1/4-less-numerous Americans that continue along their merry route to oblivion with their (short-term) lifestyles intact and without a care in the world.

Let's keep laughing until the very end. Let's pass on this gift of laughter to our children, because they will be the one's that suffer the most from our inaction.

Dr. Lizardo said...

Climate change is not an inexorable march to anarchy, but it will be if avoid the issue with satire and humor.

Yes, authors do want money from people when they write books. How else do they make a living? In this regard the satirical commentary of P. J. O'Rourke is no different than the satire constructed by Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly. Yes, how else can you listen to all three of those views and imagine that they are anything but satire. Satirical content by authors amuses the base.

I love toggling between John Stewart/Colbert and Beck/O’Reilly or Hannity, the most satirical of all. As I channel surf, the satire on all these shows is great fun.

Do scientist want to get a grant to study climate change? Of course they do, how else is progress made. The fact that there are so many scientists carrying out research on this pressing issue should be a clue that this is a problem with global dimensions.

Having studied climate change for a decade, analyzed data from weather stations around the world, and observed concomitant effects of warming climate/drought on ecosystems spanning five continents, I conclude that this is perhaps the most real and present danger humans have collectively faced in a millennia or two or, perhaps even ten thousand.

And then again, perhaps everything will reverse and we will be sent into an ice age of unimaginable proportions. There are possibilities and there are probabilities. Probabilities tell us that some possible futures are remote, while other possible futures are highly likely. Climate change is highly likely and very likely to rearrange all ecosystems on the planet, all human ecosystems included (agriculture, commerce, etc.). It will respect no borders.

The only progress on climate change will be a collective progress. This will be grassroots at the extreme, with roots across the globe. The roots will involve China, India and the US, collectively the greatest current or future gross polluters on the planet. Citizens from these 3 countries will ultimately make their governments accountable, either by governance or anarchy, choosing the instrument by collective action or inaction.

That said I enjoy the satirical commentary by O'Rourke on the Chinese, who are characterized only in terms of their material wants, needs and desires. Those sentiments are a beautiful reflection of the 1/4-less-numerous Americans that continue along their merry route to oblivion with their (short-term) lifestyles intact and without a care in the world.

Let's keep laughing until the very end. Let's pass on this gift of laughter to our children, because they will be the one's that suffer the most from our inaction.

Anonymous said...

Cedric, eat flaming death, you foreign devil imperialist running dog. The Chinese people will advance, and they don't give a shit about you wetting yourself over their CO2 emissions.

Lizardo, posting the same diatribe multiple times makes you look like even more of an idiot.

CenTexTim said...

Pollution in China lake worse despite national push for environmentalism

Just sayin...

Cedric Katesby said...

Good article.

One positive thing about toxic algae is that you can see it and smell it and that it can make you sick very quickly.
That's gives people a chance to organise and maybe do something about the problem.
Maybe.

Being able to see a problem and take a dramatic photo helps the public (and even some officials) to sit up and take notice.

Co2, however, is invisible.
It's build-up is gradual.
It's effects are gradual.
Out of sight, out of mind.
By the time the problem is in your face, it's too late.
You don't get to say "Oops, my bad" and hit the re-wind button.

The scientific community can detect Co2 and measure it and predict it's effects but...there's not much point of them doing that if nobody listens to them.