For those of us who are particularly proud of the power of representative government and free markets, climate change is a particularly painful issue to discuss. The challenge of human-influenced climate change plays on practically every weakness of our favorite political and economic system.
Climate change is generated disproportionately by the choices of the wealthy and politically influential while it’s impact falls disproportionately on the poor and disenfranchised. It develops on a pace too slow for our feedback mechanisms to detect and respond to. Because of its long, slow impact cycle and its critical importance, it manages to be both horrifying and boring at the same time.
Climate change is a global phenomenon, but human culture has only evolved mechanisms to cope effectively with social behaviors that occur at the nation-state level. Even within a nation-state, we are seldom very effective at coping with problems that occur above the tribal level.
With good reason, we place much value on the power of science to interpret and predict reality, but our scientific capabilities remain very weak in interpreting complex matrix-phenomenon. Climate is a problem, like economics, that challenges our capacity to model, interpret, predict, and remedy effectively because of the massive scope of potential inputs, including human inputs. With good justification we may trust what our best scientific minds tell us about the causes of climate change, but they still cannot tell us with much specificity what we can do about it or whether anything we try might work.
Last year continued our streak of accelerating global warming. However, it’s cold in Chicago. It snowed this week in Texas. So now we get to listen to the clever shaved apes on Fox News tell us that global warming doesn’t exist. Freedom isn’t free.
Excellent cartoon from the guy who produces xkcd:
Tip for surviving the cold. Fill balloons with water and food coloring. Set them outside at none-degrees and they freeze solid in about two hours. Peel off the rubber and embed them in the walls of your snow fort. Make absolutely sure the kids understand that these are NOT snowballs. You don’t want to be that dad.
They look really cool when the light hits them. Now I’m the Martha Stewart of political blogging. You’re welcome