Monday, June 29, 2009

Carbon Credits

Now that Cap'n Trade Cereal is the newest thing in town, the climate debates are hitting the financial forums. Arguments over whether changing the composition of the atmosphere will change the weather, are running rampant.

As has been pointed out to me, the idea that changing CO2 levels will change the weather is just a theory. And that's true. We need to repeat actual climate experiments on hundreds, if not thousands of earth like planets to do a proper scientific study.

We only have one planet. And even if a climate model turns out to be 100% accurate in it's predictions, that proves nothing. It's only one data point. In such an experiment there are no controls, no reproducibility.

Because we can't prove this in a proper scientific settings by trying this experiment on thousands of identical planet Earths, we won't do anything that actually changes our course. We will complete the experiment and see what happens.

'But wait!', you might argue, 'What about Cap'n Trade?' Well, reducing emissions in one country won't change what other countries do. and we're talking about slowing emissions, not stopping them. No one is saying that we'll stop burning coal or oil, or natural gas. If we stopped now, the unprovable models tell us that it will take over one hundred years for our actions to show effects. Well, in one hundred years we will have exhausted our coal, oil and gas. What difference does it really make?

We are not capable of changing our behavior to avoid self-made disasters. And no civilization in decline like ours is, has ever done it.

Now you might be tempted to point out a few examples whereby disasters were avoided. And I'll bring up one, to illustrate the significant differences between it and the others.

Take Y2K... Here we had a looming disaster for financial institutions, public infrastructure etc... We spent $billions fixing the problem before it happened. It seems like a good case for proving that we can get ahead of our problems.

But Y2K was a very special case. We could scientifically prove that it was a problem. All we had to do the scientifically prove it, was to set the computer clocks ahead and try to run the software. We could demonstrate the problems to managers, to CEOs, etc... and we could tell them how much money they would lose if they did nothing about it. We could prove that many of them would be on the corner begging for change if they didn't allocate resources to fix the problem ahead of time.

You can't do that with climate change. There is profit to be made creating climate change and in there is money to be made in selling non-solutions, like Cap'n Trade.

You can't prove that this CEO or that CEO will die a horrible death or worse, lose a lot of money if the Climate models are correct. So even if the worst models are accurate, we can't change our behavior in meaningful fashion, so long as people are getting rich off the status quo.

If you want an example, just look at our banks. they knew they were creating a shitstorm that would destroy them. But they went ahead and engaged in stupidest, most moronic business practices they could think up. And they did it to get short term bonuses.

These CEOs and executives screwed their own futures, screwed our economy and screwed all of us, for short term gain. And they knew they were shitting in their applecart. They don't care what happens next year, so long as next week, they get a fat check. So they keep shitting in their applecart, because for now, it still pays big bucks.

And these folks represent us, and the model for our government and our way of life. they are the best proof that I have, that no matter to what degree of precision you can demonstrate that we are engineering our own disaster in some indeterminate future time, we will not lift a finger to avoid it. Only if you can stamp a date on the disaster for the near term, will we react.

Until climate change is killing CEOs, we won't change our ways. By then, it won't matter.

10 Comments:

At 9:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree completely. I saw your comments on a financial forum, along with the flamin that you got. :) Apparently some financial people are not nature-friendly.
Some of the comments saddens me, and reinforces my believe that humans are just hopeless. And yes we might as well have a party while it last.


You said it well. Due to economical reasons, I also firmly believe that we will use up all available oil, coal and gas. There is no stopping it.
1973 oil embargo, 1979 energy crisis, 2009 $150 oil. None of it matters. Humans will not stop.

Anyhow, after the last bit of ancient fossil solar energy get used up,
I wonder how human will cope with it. A global energy revolution perhaps?
I can't help but picturing a massive solar array in the desert, and all the unemployed found work there, maintaining and polishing mirrors...

 
At 11:02 AM, Blogger Weaseldog said...

We have to burn oil and coal to make those mirrors.

But more money can be made burning the oil and coal to make plastic crap and weapons systems.

The oil, coal and gas, will continue to be burned for purposes that will make money for corporations.

The idea of using it for mankind's benefit and to build a future, is a socialist idea. It will be strongly resisted.

We will sacrifice everything for Mammon and capitalism.

Look at what we are doing today. That is the reality. The notion that we will become responsible and prepare for the future, is a Tin Hat Conspiracy Theory. In my humble opinion.

The reality is bailouts, theft, cheating and stealing, all the way to the bottom.

 
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