Comments here from someone who shall remain nameless (thanks a lot, Andy!) forced my twice-yearly drive-by glance at Hot Topic, finding again that its unending invective, rancour, impatience, embarrassing ignorance and sheer mindless chatter is all too irksome.
But a recent post by Renowden calls for comment. He talks about Bill McKibben.
Bill McKibben — that most thoughtful and interesting of climate campaigners — is bringing his very successful Do The Maths campaign to New Zealand next month [June], and will be speaking in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin. Bill’s argument is straightforward:
The maths are simple: we can burn less than 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2°C of warming — anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The problem? Fossil fuel companies have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount. And they’re planning to burn it all — unless we do the maths to change our future.
via Hot Topic.
But Bill says that it’s the fuel companies who will “burn it all” — that’s stupid. It’s not them that have to stop burning petroleum products — it’s you and me and him! There’s nobody else using the stuff!
He predicts “catastrophe for life on earth.” When I ask scientists why a catastrophe is coming, they say I’m mistaken; they don’t predict disaster from global warming. Our local NIWA scientists are all fairly relaxed. Real scientists don’t talk about a coming catastrophe and McKibben surely does not believe in one. He only says we “risk” it to frighten us into sacrificing something.
“Five times the safe amount” he says. What baloney. Nobody, least of all our Bill, tells us how much the temperature will rise following the release of a known amount of CO2 because they don’t know how much the temperature will rise. So how can he know what “safe” is? Go on, Bill, tell us! Then we can inform the IPCC what the true climate sensitivity is, as they don’t know either. Nobody does — but a lot of recent papers suggest it’s quite low.
Bill’s telling us that the only way to prevent the burning of all that oil is to stop the burning. Just stop it, already!
But if we simply stop using petroleum products, then engines will have to stop. There’s no other way to make them go! Unless they restart, people will starve. For how will the beans and apricots get from their remote farms in the Bay of Plenty or Cromwell to the Auckland supermarkets? How will our chilled lamb and wine reach buyers in the USA and Europe? Without wine, instant starvation for the French.
We won’t be able to cure the sick and we’ll watch them needlessly die. For how will medical supplies, drugs and machines reach us? There weren’t many pharmaceutical or medical manufacturers in New Zealand the last time I looked. Which means they’re all overseas.
So the real question is: when will you, Bill McKibben, take the lead, set an example and stop driving your car and flying overseas? You could send us an email and have the same effect. We’d still be bored, but we wouldn’t have to find you a hotel.
Not giving up your own use of petroleum gives the very distinct impression that you don’t believe your own propaganda.
Your real agenda appears to be the destruction of western prosperity. Is it?
At the very least, you’re trying to give everyone a deep and abiding sense of guilt for their comparatively luxurious way of life, you bastard.