Whew. There. I said it. It's out. Boats are burned. Lines drawn in sand. It's cathartic, I suppose, like drawing Mohammed might be cathartic for certain cartoonists. That said, we're both of us looking over our shoulder.
How do you feel about the statement? You, personally. Offended, righteous, superior? Or are you leaning forward eager to drink from the kindred cup of rebellious or even heretical thought? I'll bet I can guess.
There's the old political cliche: "Where you stand depends on where you sit". Meaning, of course, that your point of view is likely to correlate with your official party designation. This is a useful approach to the question of your likely reaction. Currently 86 percent of the Democrats are offended right now, at this point of the narrative, while only 44% of Republicans will have furrowed brows. Acceptance of Global Warming is powerfully driven by political persuasion. Wow. That's one big elephant in the room. Or Donkey; fair and balanced! Can it be as simple as realizing that people believe what they want to believe? For the left Global Warming is a useful club against Big Business, Industry, Globalization, Things-too-big-to-fail, even capitalism. For the right its handy shorthand for absurdist, irresponsible anti-establishmentarianism. We used to call them hippies, I think.
By the way, the chances of your accepting the title of this post are much higher if you are an American. Only 54% of Americans accept that Global Warming is a serious man-made phenomena. The lowest level among 20 countries surveyed. The Chinese are the highest at 96%. (I'm guessing here, but that may be partly due to the tons of crap they see raining down on them every day from their high-speed race to a Mordor-like industrialization. Just sayin'.)
According to Gallup only 65% of Americans think global warming is even happening or will happen and only 33% think it poses a serious threat of any kind. Hey, don't shoot the messenger here. Go beat up a Gallup guy or something. BTW, even among Democrats only 56% consider climate to be a serious threat to life, compared to 19% of Republicans. And according to a recent Pew Poll 53% don't believe Global Warming is happening at all or that its due to natural variation and not man made.
But that's still a LOT of people who are concerned. Nothing to sneeze at; certainly not BS. But its the next question that gets me in trouble. (As if I haven't bought enough trouble by treading on today's great icon.) Only 18% of Americans consider climate change to be a top priority. It ranked lowest of the 8 Big Issues posited by Gallup. The others were: The economy, Federal Spending, Tax reform, Gun Control, Medicare/Medicaid spending growth, violence, and immigration.
All of these ranked higher across a broad spectrum of Americans than climate change. I have to ask, what if there had been 12 Big Issues? Or 20? Let's say Race Relations in America had been added. Would most Americans have said climate change is more important? (I'm not asking what YOU think, but how you think these two would have been weighed relative to each other.) What about the quality of our children's education? What about the plight of the inner cities? What about job creation and unemployment? What about Iran's nuclear capability? What about NSA monitoring and threats to privacy and freedom of speech? ISIL? Russian/Chinese sabre rattling in Ukraine and the South China Seas? What about the million or so 3rd world children who die every year from treatable/preventable Malaria? Or GMO rice interdictions that could save another million from going blind? To be inclusive I'll throw in the [evil] Wall Street and Banks Too Big to Fail or whatever it is they're screaming about now. Fine. Gay marriage, LGBT equality, all the social headlines of our day. How would they rank vis a vis climate change? Ok, I'll lower the boom: Abortion. (ouch, I can feel you all tightening up out there) Wouldn't you rank abortion above climate change, regardless of where you stood on it?
I won't go on because at some point somebody will be offended if I said that Identity Theft or recreational drug use or whatever (the tipping point would be different for many of us) were a higher priority than climate change. So let's just say that, as polled, AGW is not "top shelf" among Americans' big concerns and might not even be "second shelf" as I've speculated above.
But priority is only one consideration. [Cue the other boot.] There's also our ability to actually do something about it. We already don't have the resources to 'solve' the dozen+ threats that rank above climate change but at least we know something about how to effectively combat them. (Or not; theories about politician's abilities vary more widely than the other numbers we've used here.) The programs and expenditures allocated to AGW mitigation have a strong whiff of the Ready-Fire-Aim syndrome. 'Thou shalt not use this type of lightbulb, it has sinned in our eyes'. Solyndra, et al. Tax breaks for millionaires buying Teslas? Government led programs to solve the climate problem seem like taking money from the more effective programs targeting more serious problems. Shouldn't we focus on the most critical repairs that we can actually effect? Theory of Constraints, anyone?
And there's the hook in my title. Ineffectually spending money on a lower-priority problem when we could successfully address higher priority problems? This is my definition of bullshit. (This is a technical term of art, I assure you; detarame, I think. No need to take offense.) And, for those reading carefully, it has nothing to do with the science. The science isn't BS; the science is fascinating - I'm just not sure if it should be filed under Physics or Psychology yet. Probably both; cross-indexed. It has to do with the application of resources to address a problem. If you believe that we're all certainly going to die, akin to a meteor heading directly to impact the Earth, then you've really hated reading this. Sorry. If, on the other hand, you're a tad more optimistic then I'd posit that our best bet to eventually overcome any possible threat of climate change is to wait, study, and see. If it is natural and cyclical then we can all party like its 2029, or whatever, with big servings of crow all around. If it isn't, then we'll have another 30 years of scientific advancement driven by an unfettered economy to address this challenge far more effectively than we can today with the peashooters of windmills and carbon indulgences. To paraphrase Lincoln, give me 4 hours to cut down a tree and I'll spend the first three sharpening the axe.