Soapbox Sunday: Do Your Homework

>> Sunday, December 6, 2009

*Steps on Soapbox*

I've talked about moving beyond the me, me, me mindset and talked before about how everyone should be doing some critical thinking. In this and that post, I've definitely mentioned giving science credence, putting fact before hysteria.

This is why I get so frustrated when it comes to talking global climate change. The people with the data, with the science, who have patiently been telling the same story for decades, been pooh-poohed by the media, had their conclusions ridiculed and misrepresented by many who had no data but had a definite financial advantage in maintaining our addiction to oil.

Setting aside the science of climate change for the moment, let's recap the up and down sides.

If we ignore the potential for global climate change and go on as we are now, using oil and coal as if it they were indefinite resources that will be as they are now. Unfortunately, of course, they aren't. Even the most optimistic estimates put oil as drying up within a lifespan. But long before we "run out," the cost will go through the roof as the easy resources are used up, leaving those that are more and more expensive to extract. The thirst and need for oil will fuel more conflicts, drive more "alliances" with the unsavory. Meanwhile, the price will continue to climb. The price at the pump is more than double what it was at the pumps ten years ago. We've absorbed it and the oil companies have made record profits.

They may not make record profits indefinitely because oil will become more and more expensive to obtain. But they'll make a profit because we will have no choice but to pay it. Why? Because we didn't take the opportunity now to develop other resources, we didn't build our houses to be efficient, even though there are many proven options available. We've swallowed the story that it's too expensive, refusing to think of what the cost will be when we're paying 5X more for energy and needing the same time to develop hardware than we have now. Stupid.

Improving energy efficiency represents money we don't spend. Period. It's energy we don't use and money we don't pay indefinitely. A solar array represents energy you won't be using from now on. What's not to love about that? What's the down side? The only disadvantages to alternate energy sources are their technical immaturity and production cost, both of which could be drastically improved with increased demand.

This helps you, for those of you focused on me, me, me. And reduces the incentives for war. For our poor overworked soldiers (and their families) who have been through the wringer the past decade or so.

And, for completeness, let's not forget the pain and suffering changes in our global climate can cause, not just for us (though for us, too) but also for many nations who are blameless in causing this particular problem. That's not hysteria, that's an evidence-based conclusion. By people who put their jobs on the line to tell us, by those who have examined data and written peer reviewed papers over the past several decades.

You want to know why you can't find peer reviewed papers that refute those findings? 'Cause there aren't any. There are self-proclaimed naysayers writing books and getting on regular media with the real hysteria - "It's too expensive to save money on energy now and forever! Use oil indefinitely or at least until we run out!" they say. Surely, folks, we're smarter than that.

But, hey, don't take my word for it - after all, I'm not a climate expert. Do you own research with the people who know their stuff. Here are some links.

*Steps off soapbox*


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