[Marxism] Katrina's real name

Joaquín Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Tue Aug 30 22:13:27 MDT 2005


Louis posted, from an op-ed in the Boston Globe: 

"When the year began with a two-foot snowfall in Los Angeles, the cause
was global warming. 

"When 124-mile-an-hour winds shut down nuclear plants in Scandinavia and
cut power to hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland and the United
Kingdom, the driver was global warming.

"When a severe drought in the Midwest dropped water levels in the
Missouri River to their lowest on record earlier this summer, the reason
was global warming."

	This is a really oversimplified, hyped exaggeration that cannot
be justified on the basis of the scientific data. It is one thing to try
to present the hypothesis (and at this point, I think that is all one
can do) that CO2 forcing of the overall climate leads to a greater
frequency of "extreme" weather events. It is quite another to draw a
direct, causal connection to specific events, as is asserted here.

	Climate is NOT weather. BOTH are known to be chaotic systems.
The recent article referred to on this list about a (seasonal) ice-free
arctic talked about how that would be a first in a million years. What
happened to make the arctic ice-free then? We don't know. How did it
end? Why? Anybody's guess.

	Even on a scale of thousands of years, what happened to make the
last ice age go away? We haven't a clue, not even a good hypothesis.
It's just been in the past few years that we've discovered how sudden
the change was, a matter of years rather than many decades or centuries,
as had been supposed.

	The evidence is now clear and convincing, I believe, that there
is forcing of the climate system due to CO2 emissions. The idea that
this global warming tends to favor more intense tropical cyclones is
--obviously-- a logical hypothesis that needs to be examined, as some
have now begun to do.

	Vulgar scientific thinking under capitalism has a tendency to
view *what is* as unchangeable, immutable, just as the capitalists
present their system as the "natural" order of things to which, as
Thatcher used to say, There Is No Alternative.

	We find the unmistakable footprint of that kind of thinking in
this Boston Globe op-ed:

	"The reason is simple: To allow the climate to stabilize
requires humanity to cut its use of coal and oil by 70 percent. That, of
course, threatens the survival of one of the largest commercial
enterprises in history."

	Note well the phrase, "to allow the climate to stabilize." But
where is it written that climate EVER stabilizes? Isn't all the evidence
we have that, on the contrary, there is CONSTANT global climate change,
on the scale of decades, centuries and millennia? And isn't the evidence
quite strong that the current configuration of the planet favors
overwhelmingly what we call "ice ages," and that the climate under which
human civilization has developed is the exception rather than the rule?

	It may be thought that the article that has been cited may not
be good science, but at least it is "good politics." Sorry. I don't buy
it. 

Joaquín






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