Sunday, April 21, 2013

Burning issues

Nice piece in the Observer to day by Will Hutton on the absurdity of valuing fossil-fuel reserves on the assumption that they will all be burned, which will doom us to a probable degree of global warming that you just don’t want to think about.

Shame he trips up here though:
“Galileo had to take on the Catholic church to prove the world was round, today's scientists have to take on the right to prove that climate change is man-made.”
Um, Galileo did what, exactly? Well, y'know, he did something or other really sciency and the church just hit him with the Bible until he said sorry. Sometimes I worry that the popular view of Galileo is going to get ever more mangled until one can suggest without fear of contradiction that he was burned at the stake for proving that the universe began with a Big Bang.

However, it is as depressing as ever to read some of the feedback on the Guardian’s Comment is Free, including remarks like this:
“The planet will do absolutely fine. To think humanity has any influence on climate takes human arrogance to the extreme. The planet was here long before we were, and it will remain long after the human race has destroyed itself by other means.”
It would be tempting just to roll one’s eyes at this kind of head-in-sand, defiant ignorance if it were not so widespread. One can’t help suspecting that some of those oil magnates take this same view.

1 comment:

Superkuh said...

Well, he's technical right. The planet will be fine. The biosphere will probably run into trouble, though.