Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Climate Change - A Movie Review

Remember the movie Independence Day where Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum saved us from marauding aliens who consume the natural resources of a planet then move onto the next? Well it is my contention we are the aliens - we just haven't figured how to get to the next planet yet.

Yes, one key characteristic of the human race is this - we consume things at a prodigious rate. We are no more capable of adapting than the dinosaurs were, the last dominant species on the planet. Is man made activity a contributor to global warming? - probably; is the globe warming at an unnatural rate? - perhaps. One thing I do know is this - for all the debate, conferences and politics, there is little we can do about it. We don't change. We consume. That's who we are.

ETS, Carbon Tax, CPRS, wind power (et al), direct action, Copenhagen, Cancun... pretty much none of it will make any difference. First World countries are too used to the luxuries of modern life; Third World countries covet those luxuries and argue, not unreasonably, that they too should be able to obtain them.

As for pricing carbon - do we really want economists to be the architects of a system to 'save the planet'? To put our fate in the same hands as those people who caused the Global Financial Crisis by buying and selling things that literally don't exist? A small number of people will make a lot of money with little or no impact on the climate - the human race is also pretty good at ensuring a small 'elite' make money at the expense of others (also known as the vast majority).

While climate change is trumpeted as the greatest moral and ethical challenge of our time, politicians know that if they were to really get serious about implementing measures to limit emissions they would soon be out of power. "By all means, save the planet as long as it doesn't effect me" appears to be the rallying cry.

Therefore an elaborate charade is being played out - people want something done... as long as it doesn't impinge on their lifestyle (higher electricity bills - no thank you; more expensive petrol - I don't think so; stop driving my SUV - hell no; nuclear power plant next to my suburb - are you crazy?); while politicians have to be seen to be doing something while actually doing very little other than use words like 'consensus' and argue about meaningless percentages. This is why we will never actually change our essential nature.

As for 'saving the planet', this is typical of the human ego. What people mean to say is, 'make sure it is still inhabitable by humans'. The best thing that could happen to the planet is that sea levels rise, the world is covered by water and a couple of million years later the next dominant species evolves after the Earth 'heals' itself.

Who knows, it might be giant cockroaches who can shoot plasma out their arse and reason with Doogie Howser like precision. Starship Troopers may yet prove to be a more prophetic piece of film-making than An Inconvenient Truth!

You may think this is a very fatalistic point of view - and you would be right. Watching the world's politicians and our local version spin, obfuscate and stall over this matter at every opportunity is a true indicator of human nature and self-interest. It's who we are...


  1. Yes, Richard: "a very fatalistic point of view" :)

    Sure - we are The Consumers. We love to gorge. But we are just as happy pocketing green goods as paying power bills - more so, in fact, as you can show off.

    Look at solar consumers - always comparing size of inverter, how many panels. You can even count sun-money as it shines over apps on your ibuy.

    Dangers of carbon pricing is the soot sprinkled in your eyes by coal miners. Of course it will make a difference - that's why they hate it.

    The third world deserve stuff too, but have the most to lose by our stuff. They have to wallow in their swamp while we can bunker up or down, re-insure and rebuild. Look at millions punished by flooding in Pakistan. Probability is this was thanks to 1 extra degree of human-induced heating.

    Humans 'saving the planet', I agree sounds silly, unless re meteor impact. But saving our creatures and creature comforts is a very real goal.

    Now I detest nuisance posters who bore you with websites instead of doing the hard work of persuasion. But so you can check the evidence I have signed off with one.

    It is not funded by billionaires.It links to original data from NASA and climate scientists (not DIY papers created by miners).


  2. Thank you, Lucy. This, of course, was written before the introduction of the so called "Carbon Tax" legislation. Perhaps we should table this discussion for a time when those laws have been introduced and there is quantifiable data to sway my cold, cold, fatalistic heart :-)

  3. Fair enough Richard, I will wait impatiently for the reckoning :)

    Our Carbon Tax won't fix the entire atmosphere, but it will refurbish our filthiest power stations and the 10 billion$ for renewables may launch a 21st century Tesla.

  4. Forgive me, I am but a dinosaur unable to easily adapt... ;-)