Rain

Lou Paulsen wwchi at SPAMenteract.com
Tue Nov 14 18:25:11 MST 2000




-----Original Message-----
From: David Welch <david.welch at st-edmund-hall.oxford.ac.uk>
>=====================================
>Weekly Worker 359 Thursday November 9
>=====================================
>
>Rain, floods, global warming, and platitudes
>
>As floods continue to cause havoc over large areas of Britain,
>politicians, the media and even royalty have been pouring out more rubbish
>about the weather than we have had rain.
>
.......

>Others, not least Tony Blair, have been claiming that the high winds and
>intense rainfall are an example of what results from global warming. The
>point about global warming is that it can be blamed on the working classes
>insisting on driving their cars to work or even going on holiday by
>aeroplane. It cannot be blamed on the social system, of course.


My first reaction is, why the hell can't it?  Why couldn't there be more
fuel-efficient cars?  Why couldn't there be more public transportation so
that people don't have to drive?  Why can't jobs and salaries be rearranged
so that people can work closer to home without financial penalty?  Can
capitalism really solve such problems?  I doubt it.  In fact it seems to me
that if one believed that global warming as a result of fossil fuel
consumption is a real and dangerous phenomenon, one would be almost
compelled to become a socialist because of the manifest inability of
anarchic capitalism to develop solutions to such a problem.

This is a strange article.  David claims that his party has no 'line' on
global warming.  Well, then why print this article?  The author believes
that global warming is a myth.  The editor believes it too, otherwise he/she
wouldn't have printed it.  David clearly believes it too, otherwise he
wouldn't have posted it to this list.  Furthermore, the editor believes it
strongly enough to print an article which picks a fight with two other
tendencies over the matter, in effect telling anyone who is concerned about
global warming to go and join the other organizations.

It seems to me that while David's organization may not have a 'line' exactly
(in the sense that defending this position in public is not obligatory for
members), it has a -position- (in the sense that in practice one of the
features of belonging to it is that one will have to field questions from
all and sundry about why one's party newspaper is trying to debunk the
evidence of global warming; and people who don't enjoy this will leave).

When a communist newspaper prints an article in which the author gets on a
high horse and criticizes the bourgeois media for lacking basic scientific
knowledge...

"What we do not need is a load of crap by politicians and propagandists who
cannot even read the text books which are available in any local library."

... then it is staking a good deal on the actual scientific expertise of
this author.  If the author can then be criticized by anyone who knows that
volcanoes emit sulfur dioxide and particulate matter which reflect sunlight
and thus cool the atmosphere, as in 1816 -

>According to another source, "In 1816 it was so cold in England that grain
>would not ripen" (M Hulme, E Borrow Climates of the British Isles London
>1997).

- which if I am not mistaken was due to the eruption of Tambora, then the
editor has apparently made a mistake in judgment.

Of course when the author says that

>The real point is that the forces of nature dwarf anything that humanity
>is doing or can do in relation to its effect on the weather. For instance,
>1.37 kilowatts of energy falls on every square metre of the earth's
>surface. In consequence natural energy supply and dispersion is hundreds
>of thousands of times greater than the total energy used up by the Earth's
>population.

he is clearly missing the whole point, and showing that he misunderstands
the whole debate, since nobody claims that humans are heating up the whole
earth directly with the heat energy being emitted by automobile engines.
But the question is if by putting substances into the air one is interfering
with the natural processes of absorption and reflection of heat by the
atmosphere.

A similar process is the 'ozone hole' over the poles which, it was suggested
years ago, might be expanding due to the catalytic effect of fluorocarbons.
There were plenty of technopeople then who slammed this as typical
envirobabble, said the models didn't work, etc.  And yet the holes have
continued to expand, and the models have continued to improve.  Saying 'the
models don't explain the data' is not entirely convincing since developing a
working model of the earth's climate is not a trivially easy process; in
fact, it is a matter of staggering complexity.  And yet, you know, the
consensus seems to be that this year's models explain more than last year's
models, and that carbon dioxide flows into the atmosphere really do have the
effects that it was supposed they would.

Lou Paulsen










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