January 14, 2017 by JImbo
New EPA Chief Cool on Global Warming
Language is a funny thing. We often use one word when we should mean another. Even when proven to be incorrect, we continue to use the wrong word out of habit. When confronted on it, we often get upset at the inconvenience of altering our accepted reality.
The tomato isn’t a fruit. The orangutan is still a monkey. The dolphin is a fish. Pluto is a planet.
Once we get something into our heads, we tend to stick with it. We hate being proven wrong. On the other hand, we LOVE feeling superior to others.
“Everyone knows the orangutan is an APE. Any idiot can see it doesn’t have a tail!”
It is in this context that the new EPA chief dared to question the “accepted science” of “man-made climate change.” You see he’s not just a “denier.” He had the audacity to use the correct words!
Scott Pruitt was the Attorney General of Oklahoma. As a lawyer, he argued cases in front of the Supreme Court. He learned to be precise in his words.
Pruitt made the mistake of using the word “risk” instead of “threat” when referring to “man made climate change.” The orthodoxy says that you must use the term “threat.” Why? Because everyone does that’s why!
I’ve done enough risk assessments for Army operations to know that Pruitt is right. When we want to do something physical, be it a training class or a combat mission we do a “risk assessment” to see if it’s too dangerous.
A “threat” is just a possible danger. It can be as common as a paper cut or as rare as a lightning strike. A “threat” is something that COULD happen feasibly. It’s theoretically capable of happening.
For each threat, you then have to decide on the “probability” of that danger happening. Some things are very likely. Some are very rare to the point of never happening.
When you put the two together, you have the “risk factor.” Something that is very dangerous but NEVER happens is a low “risk.” Something that happens all the time but doesn’t do much injury is also low risk. You need BOTH something very dangerous AND quite likely in order to make it a “risk” worth looking into.
Once you have your initial risk level, then you decide if there are ways to make it safer. Once you have made it as safe as possible, you decide how “risky” overall it is to do. Then, you know whether it is worth doing or not.
Applying this logic to “climate change”, we end up with a five-step set of questions that we must answer ALL in the affirmative in order to “do something about climate change.”
First of all, we have to ask if the overall climate is changing. To be honest it’s changing all the time. In fact the Earth has “super cycles” in geologic timeframes. I’ll give you an example.
Just as the Earth goes through “winter” every year in many places, there are “ice ages” every few thousand years. For much of Earth’s history there WERE NO ICE CAPS. In fact, if there are ice caps at all we are technically still in the last ice age. Logically, the climate has to get warmer to melt that ice and complete the cycle.
Second, is a warmer climate good or bad? If you live in the desert more heat sounds bad. If you live in Alaska, Siberia or Buffalo then a few degrees warmer sounds like a good thing. Science tells us that a warmer climate with more carbon dioxide in the air is better for crops, so we would have more food than ever before if current trends continue. Is that a bad thing? It all depends on your perspective.
Third, is man-kind causing the changes? As I said, we know that the Earth goes through these cycles regularly. Is man accelerating them? There isn’t much evidence of cause and effect. In fact, the latest evidence is starting to show that carbon dioxide is increasing AFTER warming and not the other way around. The exact opposite of the expected result is being observed.
Fourth, can we fix the global warming? That’s a very big “if.” I’ve seen a lot of pie in the sky ideas, but few practical ones. If we can’t even agree on what is CAUSING it, how can we agree on a solution?
Fifth, can we fix it for a reasonable price? What if there’s an easier solution? The changes are taking decades or centuries. If we move our houses further up the beach or adapt in other ways, it might be cheaper and easier in the long run to adapt to the climate rather than thinking we can change it.
These are the sorts of questions I ask when faced with a potential problem. They would ALL have to be a “yes” to even consider a massive global project costing trillions of dollars. If it costs a good 10% of our national budget for decades, what are going to cut? Will you cut schoolteachers or nurses? Or should we take it out of Social Security maybe? Do the poor countries with no money have to contribute? Are you going to pay their share instead of sending your kids to college?
Labeling everything a “threat” is a political ploy based on emotion, fear and intentional vagueness. A “danger” undefined can be used to scare people. It’s NOT a solution. It’s not even a proper analysis of the problem.
Until we address the problem scientifically, asking question and testing theories, there is no point in wringing our hands over this “threat” with no assigned probability.
There is honestly a HIGHER risk of a giant meteor crashing into the planet or a solar flare from the sun frying our electrical grid. Those have happened. We even know about how often they happen. (We are actually overdue for both statistically based on the historical record.)
Where is the clamor for a space rocket defense system to blow up asteroids? Where is the scramble to insulate our electricity lines? What’s the hold up with those?
I have a hunch that there are three reasons we aren’t seeing any push to prepare for those RISKS…while we whine and moan about the undefined THREAT of climate change.
First, those other threats aren’t man-made. There is s self-flagellating instinct in many people that demands human sources for our problems and human solutions. We are a very self-centered species in that way. Admitting that we didn’t cause the problem would mean maybe we aren’t as important to the Earth as we thought.
Second, fixing a problem takes it away. Politically it is a handy issue to raise money with, like abortion and gun control. You can always find someone to dupe into donating money to “advocate” for it. Personally many people identify with the cause. Who do they become once their personal crusade is over?
Third, people hate being wrong. Proving the issue one way or the other would force someone to be “wrong” and someone to be “right.” Either the world IS in mortal danger, or it’s NOT. It’s far easier to just never find the answer and both be half-right.
So, don’t expect the furor to die down soon. Taking a scientific, logical approach to this issue is NOT what the Progressives want. Their movement is about emotion and outrage, not actually getting things accomplished. It’s participation trophies… not actually winning.
Whining is easy.
Working is hard.