“I dunno, ask the polar bears.”

The contest books are here and I’ve spent part of the past few days sorting through them, confirming I got them, evaluating a few. One of them is a very systematic look at climate change. It’s full of beautiful diagrams, clear explanations, good discussion of critical thinking, and good research but then, AT THE END, the guy undermines everything by using everything he’s done to make a political point rather than a scientific point. The book devolves into the “either/or” fallacy. I wanted to hit him with the book, but being the mellow person I am, and him nowhere in sight, I didn’t.

My personal jury is out on the cause of climate change (which this guy calls global warming grrrrr). His argument is that it’s just another one of those climate vicissitudes Earth has experienced over the millions of years of its existence and that humans had nothing to do with it. I don’t dispute that might very well be the case, but I don’t think that’s important. I think we could do better with our planet and its resources regardless whether or not our behavior caused or contributes to climate change. This is a strange issue on which to assign responsibility (or blame?). To say “Not our fault,” shouldn’t cut us loose from the responsibility to do better. Our treatment of the planet isn’t always that good for us humans.

It’s always been strange to me that with a lot of really serious problems people will look for “who’s responsible!” rather than “how can we do better?” Anyway, the book has gone into the “not going to win” pile.

As for my little spot of the planet, it almost got up to 50 F (12 C) degrees yesterday and only down to 17 F last night. It’s supposed to be -20 F (-28 C) at night in January with a high of 22 F or something.


11 thoughts on ““I dunno, ask the polar bears.”

  1. That’s EXACTLY how I feel! Climate change is indisputable, really. I guess you could argue about fault (even though I believe humans have accelerated it). However, regardless of fault, we should be good humans and care about the planet on which we live.

  2. yep. Independent of cause, as you say, we can do better. And as noted during the early days of the pandemic when there was a whole lot less driving and flying going on, the air did get noticeably better. So we can make a difference.

  3. It’s January — it’s not supposed to be 85-90 degrees for a week on end, even in coastal Southern California!

  4. You are right, blame is a diversion that wastes time. There is so much at stake. Is it fun to bicker when the very Earth is on the brink? Like parents arguing about whose fault it is that their child is drowning under their noses,,,

    • Exactly. I’ve learned in the past few years that people would really rather argue than do anything constructive, even if it’s easy to do like wear masks or treat all people equally under the law. We “think” about so many things that don’t even need to be thought about let alone disputed.

  5. I was at first skeptical about anthropically mediated climate change. It wasn’t that the data weren’t there, it was how the case was presented. There was a lot of absolutely junk science involved. I’d saw some study asserted as “proof,” and much of the time I’d dig into it and find enough holes in the logic for a polar bear to crawl through. There were little scandals about data being massaged to make the curves prettier. Broad conclusions being reached when narrow conclusions were warranted.

    There was good science out there but it was diluted by people who I suspect just wanted to get onto the bandwagon. The problem with good science is that it is often as sexy as stale bread and these days sexy is what draws funding. Once it became a political football we all divided up between believers, nonbelievers and confused. It turned quasi-religious. Much like politics today.

    Everything was presented with this breathless urgency, everything that supported the theory was assumed to be true and everything that conflicted with it was assumed not just to be false but downright evil. The disbelievers asserted that all the evidence was a lie and even if it wasn’t, what harm would a few degrees do when compared to the inevitable global depression that would follow any attempt to reduce carbon emissions?

    Time and technology march on. We have a lot more data than we did then. The climate itself has proven that the heating trend is continuing. The West, at least, has the ability to reduce its carbon footprint substantially while benefiting economically as well. But alas, you are not going to get China and India to cut their emissions growth any time soon. The great bulk of carbon emissions is NOT coming from the west.

    Whether climate change is man-made, natural, or a combination of both, the climate is warming and will continue to warm for the foreseeable future. Maybe we should ask Lamar and Dude about it.

    • Lamont πŸ˜‰ I don’t dispute this at all. I’m unusually (for human beings) comfortable with uncertainty. I do believe (from seeing changes for the better since the 1970s) that people can do better for our planet even if it has no relationship at all to climate change. Cleaner air, water in which fish can live, all that is good. That’s my position on this. πŸ™‚

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