Musings on the end of the story

Posted on August 23rd, 2009 – 9:11 AM
By Jim Williams

John Tierney wrote in a recent edition of “The New York Times” (science section) about climate change, and the fat chance we have of a sincere political solution. He is not optimistic. Me neither. There is no political will to bite hard on the issue. We beat around the edges of things, pasting impressive titles on weak efforts. Mr. Tierney suggests we consider moving ahead with engineered solutions — improving the reflectivity of clouds to bounce some of the sun’s rays away from us, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere not by preventing its creation in the first place but by simply removing it. We’re not close to any of this, but then we’re not close to anything else meaningful either. If legislation was proposed that cramped our style in serious ways, well, look at the health-care “discussion.” If you don’t understand it or don’t like it, lie, and if that isn’t enough, lie loudly. Political philosophy is not necessarily pertinent to all issues. Neither is noise. Yes, I believe the world’s climate is changing. Even if I didn’t believe in change, the possibility is there. You can bet against that possibility, but if you lose the loss is enormous. If you bet on change, and support your wager with climate solutions, well, sure you could lose, all of that effort and money for naught. But the two possible losses are hugely different. We buy insurance for everything, protecting ourselves against unacceptable outcomes. Even the slightest possibility of climate change is acceptable? I won’t live long enough to turn the page on the end of this story, or even get to its last chapter. I do like to know how things end. In this case, though, maybe not. (Right — I should go birding and cheer up.)

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