Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thank My Lucky Stars

The approach of New Year’s has made me reflect upon how lucky I have been.  I would thank our Creator but that might offend the politically sensitive.  I will just thank … the stars.  That can offend no one. And why am I so full of thanks?  Because I was lucky enough to live most of my life during a period in which the temperature of the world was perfect.  Ideal.  Not just here in (dare I say it) sunny Florida but everywhere.  Everyplace.  At all times.  Day.  Night.  Morning.  Evening.  In all places. In Hawaii.  In Siberia.  The temperature has been ideal—or at least I have thought that.
But beneath the surface —clandestinely — this ideal temperature has been rising .  Perhaps one degree during the last one hundred years. The reason is clear.  A few hundred years ago, and especially during the last hundred or so years, coal and oil have energized most of the world leading to obscene levels of wealth and prosperity for millions and millions of people.   Freeing us from poverty and removing us from hovels into high rises might seem a wonderful thing.  That is a naively superficial view.  Coal and oil energy —the ability to do work on an unprecedented scale—is, through the production of greenhouse gases, destroying this Eden we inhabit.  The temperature of the Earth will rise as much as 5 degrees Fahrenheit over the next thirty years.  For knowledge of this fact we can thank today’s Jeremiahs of climate change.  These prophets do not rely on stone tablets or an Ark of the Covenant.  Their divining rod is the computer model. These mysterious strings of code cannot be understood by mere mortals.  In fact almost no one even knows who creates these models. Numbers are feed in and startling predictions come out.  To the uninitiated that is all that matters.  No matter that these divine strings of code cannot “predict” the past.  No matter that predictions of the future made twenty years ago were not fulfilled.  No matter that the temperature has been basically constant for the last fifteen years while greenhouse gas levels have risen. To doubt these models is heresy.  
And we are doomed.  Unless… Our only salvation is to go back in time.  Can you see an America populated with two hundred and fifty million teepees?  Each with its own cozy little wood fire.  No cars. No planes. Not even horses, not just because they would remind us of our embarrassing European roots, but because 250 million horses would produce greenhouse gases.  Like the Native Americans we rudely displaced we can walk wherever we want to go.  Fishing in pristine streams. Hunting the buffalo. And enjoying the ideal temperature we have restored to the planet.
Happy New Year!