This website has been chugging along since 2010, although the more astute among you may notice the archives only go back to February 2013. That’s because I decided to nuke it and start from scratch after much deliberation. Even a personal website needs to have focus, and after 3 years I had accumulated an absolute mess of thought and detritus which served no singular purpose, other than learning how to set up and run a website. Even I wasn’t inclined to go back and read any of my super-important ramblings, and after that amount of time, I had gotten the hang of how to manage a website, conduct SEO, and push buttons and pull levers much more effectively. So I scraped it, photos, writings and all. I try to keep on the design and development path here, and keep my personal ramblings elsewhere — a lot on my Facebook reel, but certainly not exclusively. My Facebook account is walled off to a degree, and that’s because most of my friends(not all) are active there, and if they want to engage or find me, they know to do so there. I don’t want the general public to start getting into my grill. There’s plenty of opportunity to do that elsewhere if they want. I doubt any of my closest friends visit this website on purpose or frequently. I know my wife doesn’t. But one of them who I often debate with left a comment on Facebook that I thought I’d post a response to here, versus there, for several reasons.
It involves politics, belief systems, and other personal things that, collectively, form domestic, economic, social, technological and international policy, movements, cultures, and larger items that transcend my little group of Facebook friends and family. Most of them know where I stand politically, and I know where they do as well. I enjoy a good debate, but playing mental ping-pong with them gets tiresome after a while, when I know where they’re headed every time. I also knew this would be a longer response than what I’d want to put on Facebook, just for everyone’s sake.
Some quick background. Politically, I probably land in Libertarian-land. I follow the tired description of being fiscally conservative and socially liberal. But not exclusively. It all depends on the specific issue at the specific moment in history. A lot of the people I’m friends with are FAR right and FAR left on everything. Which is fine–as a libertarian, I don’t care what they do, as long as it doesn’t infringe on my personal rights, liberty and “space.” I respect their beliefs and leanings, and tolerate, as much as I can, their rants and raves about current events, politics, religion, or all the other generally off-limit topics. Most of the time they have some decent foundations for their beliefs, and are literate enough to explain them on a level that could be called discourse and it’s fun and in good spirit. And, as long as they’re well-formed ideas and not superficial, hard-lined nonsense, I’ll listen and consider their stance. I’m no expert on everything, and not everything is black and white. I try to be open-minded, but I have very strong principles upon which I try to maintain a very strong footing and live my life by.
With that mostly unnecessary preface out of the way, something that’s compelling me to stray from the formula and address here on this blog is the topic of climate change. Because it’s a topic that’s obviously not going away, and is an awfully divisive issue, that I don’t think most people are giving enough time to consider, or else we would have drawn some meaningful conclusions as a whole by now. One of many things like that, really, but I don’t have the time or see the point in trying to go over all of them. I’m not going to change anyone’s mind that I personally think needs changing, and more than likely will only alienate myself further from those that don’t play political midfield like I tend to. As someone who has, for several decades now, sprawled himself all over the political and social prism, I’ve noticed some things about the extremes of each group. I don’t tend to dwell in the middle of anything in life, for both good and bad consequence, and don’t understand indecision, so I’m constantly skating the halfpipe, spending little time in the middle of the political parabola, and performing my tricks and research at the extremes, where I find it most fun and interesting. I may write a post about that one day, but in general, my observations probably won’t gain me any new friends. Being bipolar socially and politically tends to make you a misfit, rather than loved by all. It reminds me of a line from a movie by someone who learns they have one black parent and one white parent naively and happily declaring that now they’ll be accepted by both racial groups! That’s not how it comes to work in reality, unfortunately. You’re more likely to be shunned by both.
The actual cause that sparked this post was this Facebook post by me on March 28, 2014:
A press release from the White House today: Agriculture: In June, in partnership with the dairy industry, the USDA, EPA and DOE will jointly release a “Biogas Roadmap” outlining voluntary strategies to accelerate adoption of methane digesters and other cost-effective technologies to reduce U.S. dairy sector greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020.
Translation: Our government is now in the business of regulating cow flatulence. I’m thinking our country, just maybe, has a government that’s out of control. Maybe.
And the response by my friend:
It’s actually an ENORMOUS problem. In fact, it’s one of the major contributors to Climate Change.
If you arm yourself with facts, you might start realizing what a massive problem we have on our hands.
“Agriculture. Domestic livestock such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and camels produce large amounts of CH4 as part of their normal digestive process. Also, when animals’ manure is stored or managed in lagoons or holding tanks, CH4 is produced. Because humans raise these animals for food, the emissions are considered human-related. Globally, the Agriculture sector is the primary source of CH4 emissions. For more information, see the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks Agriculture chapter.”
It’s pretty easy to see that my friend is “progressive,” and the problem to him is so enormous, its very term warrants capitalization. And even though we disagree on many political topics, I don’t care where he stands when evaluating these things. As in, it doesn’t influence how I approach my research one way or another. I respect him enough to acknowledge that it’s his world he’s living in, and he’s come to see things his way from his life experiences and research, just as I have, and he’s a great guy in any case. But there are some things about this post that, I feel, merit dissection and how it may be interpreted as it relates to the topic of “climate change” as it’s come to now be called, and what’s going on with such a poignant issue in American society as a whole, as well as globally. And that’s where the real meat of this post begins. Nearly 1100 words in. Count this as one of my “long-form” pieces that supposedly are becoming so popular with blogging.
What About Climate Change?
Before I announce where I stand on this whole thing, I’d like to present the bigger bullet points that I think should be considered and explored a little further, outside the sucking vacuum of politics and money, if that’s ever even possible at this stage.
Some things that stuck out to me in my friends response:
- That I should “arm” myself with facts. Already we’re in an “us vs. them” battle mentality. When there exists a problem so dire facing all of humanity, as he seems to believe, it also seems like we could agree upon it as such by all rather quickly. Just a thought. The “facts” people suggest I should arm myself with typically don’t come from non-partisan, objective, widely-accepted scientific equations and methods with detailed analysis of any sort. They are delivered by politicians, teams of often questionable scientists funded by groups known to have agendas, and filtered through rhetoric, social media and other pollutants. I have to ask myself why that is the case.
- The US was covered in buffalo and deer and the Earth in wild animals outnumbering those we have now, before man wiped them out not too long ago and domesticated the tastier ones. If the amount of methane gas is so much more voluminous now, maybe it’s the feed we’re giving the animals, not the sheer numbers. If it were the numbers of dairy cows, it seems the rapidly growing number of humans consuming their by-products (and them, I suppose) would be an even greater source. Maybe? In any case, I haven’t ever seen anything to convince me this is something we, as Americans, are responsible for, and need to form even more governmental agencies to oversee and regulate. A related thought I have is “When does that ever reach a stopping, exactly?”
- Animal manure isn’t commonly stored in lagoons or holding tanks, at least in the US by Americans, where it could enter the water supply and emit enough C4 to create greenhouse gases and then alter the entire planet’s atmosphere. If it is, then where? By whom? Why? Simple questions that should have simple and easily-remedied solutions, and not involve such feet-dragging and arguing and require more governmental agencies and money. That couldn’t have happened overnight.
- The “facts” he states and has “armed” himself with aren’t consistent with the very source he cites. Most people aren’t going to take the time to look at it and read it, or much of anything like that, carefully, as well as the sources that material cites. I do and did. What he stated is out of context with what it states and presents a slightly inaccurate picture. That creates misinformation and, I think understandably, skepticism. It also has a tendency to compound itself over time and make matters seem more extreme than they perhaps may be. This is a widespread problem with many issues that aren’t immediately Boolean, such as simple bigotry and prejudice versus flat-out racism. There has to be a difference between the two, and by not clarifying it or intentionally trying to make something seem what it isn’t often produces the opposite results of what is desired.
No matter what you believe, I think it’s safe to claim the following as true, and really considered carefully within the context presented by all sides:
- That the climate of the planet Earth, as well as other planets in this solar system, have been changing over the course of time. There would be some undisputed and sudden trouble if we didn’t have climate change and it remained constant. As in apocalyptic. So, what is the proposed remedy? Eliminate climate change altogether? That’s obviously not going to work, and not even possible. So what’s the actual, measurable goal here?
- The temperature of the Sun changes, and always will. Humans haven’t had an effect on that.
- As humans, we’ve only been keeping climate records for a little around 100 years. Those records aren’t what many credible scientists would call consistently accurate, whatsoever.
- In order to really claim anything as “science,” it needs to be able to be reproduced in a controlled environment, consistently and repeatedly.
- The planet Earth is around 5 billion years old. Give or take millions of years.
- Climate scientists (which is a vague label for a small, diverse group of people and used largely carefree) have a poor track record in the sciences related to weather and climate. Predictions have consistently been barely, if any, better than guesses in any area.
- Some data from climate scientists that was used to argue for “climate change” have admitted the data was not only poor, but deliberately skewed to prove what they wanted it to by politicians and activist groups, who try to still use that same data at times.
- Bad data is worse than no data.
- China is one of the worst offenders of global pollution and isn’t really hopping on this bandwagon. (Their pollution also happens to drift eastward to the US)
- Most people don’t take the time to fully research one political side of the issue these days, much less objectively look at all sides of an issue. They accept sound bites from media they like to read/watch/follow that fits their belief system and go with it.
With that in mind, I also have to consider the following:
- For the most part, hard-line liberals and idealists argue that climate change is a problem. And the more liberal, the larger and more immediate that problem becomes in their minds.
- The term “climate change” used to recently be called “global warming” until that was an obviously inappropriate/inaccurate term. We just had one of the coldest and longest winters in the US on record, for example, so now any anomalous activity is able to be vaguely labeled as “climate change,” but still fit the cause. The terminology here seems to be constructed controlled by liberals, or progressives as they recently preferred to be recognized as, to me, and semantics should be taken seriously and not waved off on a whim. Changing the term to fit whatever scenario you want is dubious to me as an English major and person. I’ve also recognized this as not an isolated case of this phenomenon which, just by stating that very fact or similar, can cause certain people to freak out. That doesn’t help fortify any case.
- There is a large activist movement behind it all, led by liberal groups. I’m not saying that as good or bad; just as an observation. “Deniers,” as they’ve been coined, by liberals, are largely conservatives. But will include anyone not fully on-board with the entire thought.
- Typically, or at least less and less, no delineation is made between “man-made” climate change/global warming, and just “climate-change”/”global warming” and the context is omitted and the terms are being used synonymously. This is a big, pivotal point that I think should ALWAYS be made if this is ever going to be discussed successfully. It matters. A lot. At least if you want to make a legitimate case for a specific problem. Words should be used deliberately, and I think are in some cases, but not to attain neutrality in every case. Usually to create a perception than to clearly define or illustrate a concept.
- Where there is success and profit to be had addressing actual pain points, especially lucrative ones, the private sector goes. Few private companies will venture where the climate-changer groups insist on needing a solution that haven’t already been tried at great public expense, and failed.
The leaders of the cause:
Arguing man-made global warming exists:
- Al Gore: a person who has personally profited greatly from activist causes and, hypocritically, overlooked by the ones siding with him. Also dubious internet claims and sold his media interests to ‘Big-Oil’ Al-Jazeera for a fortune. Glaringly, our current president and his administration and political party are vying for more regulation, and more money to be spent on this topic, and for the US government to be more involved. I would say credibility is an issue here, like it or not.
- UN leaders and dictators of very corrupt, largely dependent countries jump on board with no second thought. Again this presents a credibility problem, to me.
- The leaders defending the “problem” believe wealth redistribution is the answer, with no specific technological plans or answers. Carbon offsets, taxes, fees, regulation, grants to liberal-leaning research labs, etc…and just more money and power are their response.
The leaders against the cause:
None really stick out to me as a “leader.” T. Boone Pickens is often used as an example, but if you read his policies closely, they aren’t “denying” anything, just proposing different solutions about the same problems, but only in the energy sector. Not societal or any of the areas politicians want to involve. Also, his solutions are workable, not fantasy, idealistic, or have already been proven failure-prone.
A large scientific group has come out against many of the “climate change” assertions however.
The Bottom-Line is: Money and Politics are at play, and BIG money and BIG Power is at stake. I don’t think that can or should be ignored. The people that appear to be the most concerned about this are politicians, who are notorious liars and usually not the smartest people in the room, UN leaders, who typically are mostly interested in power and other people’s money, activist groups with agendas, and the devout followers of those people. I tend not to make life decisions based on what politicians tell me and dictate, much less the rest of that crowd. It’s especially of note to me when the “need to act now” is only being presented by one of two political parties. All of this should raise eyebrows, if not throw up red flags, to anyone that wants to be involved. The data they base their assertions on is fallacious and dubious, as are the people providing it. The theme behind this is exceptionally enormous– the future of all humanity and life as we know it. With that at stake, I’m skeptical because there would be more compelling evidence, less of a unilateral concern, and the foundation upon which the leading arguments are made much stronger and not so intimately held by people with personal agendas.
So, with all that in mind, I haven’t taken the bait on this one yet as some people have, hook, line and sinker. Yes, the planet’s climate is changing. As it always has, and always should. The degree (no pun intended) that man is directly responsible for, and able to control in the future is the real question. And to me, nothing so far is convincing. I shouldn’t be able to shoot holes in all of it so easily. The proponents shouldn’t be politicians, hack bureaucrats, global dictators and their loyal followers. The data should be hard and widely-accepted by credible authorities, with clear explanations available. Actual, detailed technological solutions to identifiable, algorithmic problems should be presented, other than what appears to be a massive wealth redistribution scheme. But until then, none of this is adding up when looking at it with an attempt to use common sense, to me.
What do you think? What have I overlooked?