Month 12, Day 23: Don’t Tell Me No One Ever Died Of Seasickness! The Hope of Dying Is The Only Thing That’s Keeping Me Alive!

The Baltimore Sun notes that there is a tiny ray of hope poking through the gloom.

The best news to be found on the climate change front this month was a report that the polar bear, a threatened species that has come to symbolize the dangers of global warming, may yet be saved — if greenhouse emissions are reduced over the next two decades.

Unfortunately, that’s a big “if.” International climate talks that ended early this month in Cancun produced no legally binding agreement. They weren’t expected to — nor is the stalemate expected to break in the near future. Negotiators are keeping expectations low for next year’s United Nations-sponsored conference in South Africa.

Good news is now buried so deeply in the queue of nested conditionals that it requires special training to be able to spot it. Anyway, today’s was a pretty generic “Conservatives are idiots” approach, notable only for some clever wordplay in the last three sentences. Is it noticeable?

There is indeed cause for optimism on climate change. Eventually all but the most ideologically hidebound will recognize the reality of global heating and the importance of action. Is the time required for an intellectual turnaround more time than we’ve got? Climatic “tipping points” are moving past us inexorably; nature’s laws will doom the foolish and the wise alike. Most conservatives are inextricably attached to the notion that climate change does not exist (because it’s been discussed by scientists, who are presumably liberals) or cannot exist (because it’s not in the Bible). A few acknowledge the problem, and assert that our technology (along with the magic of market capitalism) will save us. But technological wizardry won’t pull our climatic chestnuts out of the tropospheric fire unless we start spending money on developing that technology. The only thing that’s absolutely certain is that the costs of inaction dwarf those of action.

Warren Senders

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