In the immortal words of MR George Bush Junior, “the globe is warming.” His response to a question from the press about global warming. Junior goes on to say, “the fundamental question is whether or not it [the warming globe] is natural or man-made.”
Now a basic, nineteenth century scientific principle is the law of entropy: if a mirror falls, it breaks and this is irreversible, short of some outside influence like superglue and a pair of ready hands to invest energy into repairing the looking glass. Otherwise, things decay, things breakdown, deteriorate. The earth is a spaceship, falling through space in an orbit aorund the sun. The only new energy coming onto the planet, the only income we recieve is from the sun for the planet as a whole. It is primary school science to know coal is produced from plants that died and were buried under the earth millions of years ago, compressed and hardened into the current form of carbon we now enjoy as fossil fuels. The sun’s energy went into these plants and it is like a deposit on our future-present, our superannuation we have only started cashing in on in the last couple of hundred years. It took millions of years to make the fuel we are consuming at an inordinate rate. There is no direct return on this use of our super, the sun’s investment – only the byproducts of our consumption (nintendo, TV, movies, lighting, etc) and the greenhouse gas emmissions. The fuel is not going back into the earth, that’s for sure.
As all the energy stored up over the millions of years is turned into byproduct, we have many millions of happy consumers – fuelling this blog for example, which may or may not be a positive return, depending upon one’s opinion of the ramblings of an emale – and we have greenhouse gases. Why are they called “greenhouse gases”? I’m no enviromental scientist but it seems to me to be a consequence of the release of heat and energy back into the closed system of the spaceship earth – it has nowhere else to go, all that stored up heat and energy stored in pieces of rock over millions of years, being released in the space of a couple of centuries for our industry and consumption.
Junior is of the attitude he’s going to get some of his own before the whole shebang goes up. He’s a businessman, he knows accounting: red and black colours his political spectrum no matter how many shades of red, white and blue he wants to paints over it. He knows primary school science (surely this is the least one could ask of an american president). There is no question over the cause of global warming, only a question of the causes of the men who make it happen.
Yet we endure. We write our blogs and watch our TVs and deny global warming in our practices as much as we condemn the U.S. president for his rhetoric. I risk hypocrisy in condemning Junior – he is inadequate to the task, maybe he still lives in his father’s shadow, maybe he still can’t get a hard-on even after going to war in Iraq and finishing his father’s business. But then again, Junior did put his hand up for the job; hell, he even insisted he was the best man for the job accepting millions of dollars in political donations to run for the job – an investment on which the vested interests are enjoying their returns – “the fundamental question – natural or man-made?” We should only be doing him a favour by holding him to account so he might endure as a self-made man, natural and man-made…
Still – apart from the fundamental question of Junior’s greenhouse gases (where do they come from?) – what are we to do? seeing things in black and red – go back to subsistence economies? become armish? Not even those communities are safe – they are at threat from suicide bombs as well, man-made, living terrorists willing to die for their sins – and kill others for them as well. There is no going back, the mirror is broken – the law of entropy inexorably ticks over. It is only a question of whether what we create from the broken shards of the looking glass is beautiful, a green aesthetick, a global warming that takes no energy.