Sunday, May 20, 2007

Global Warming Politics

An interesting, though way too hagiographical, piece on Al Gore and his long term plans. From NYTimes.
Reading this I think he would do better not to run and be outside of the political structure, working grass roots, and putting pressure extrinsically on the system.

This line caught me eye (on Inconvenient Truth):

Perhaps the most remarkable summation came from James Hansen, the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (and one of Gore’s own gurus), who wrote, in The New York Review of Books, “Al Gore may have done for global warming what ‘Silent Spring’ did for pesticides.”
I think Hansen may actually be quite prescient though not in the way he thinks with this analogy to Gore's heroine Rachel Carson.

Pesticide use was bad (though not as bad as other issues) in North America. It was a good thing to get rid of it. HOWEVER and this is a huge HOWEVER (which explains the failures of the enviro movement and Gore in general) it was good to get rid of it after having exterminated malaria-carrying mosquito populations.

In other words the absolutism of the pesticide case (again: outside its proper true but partial context of North America) lead to the non-use of the product in Africa which has caused so much malaria and HIV (the two diseases work together now) deaths.

My major fear with global warming is the Third World. Global Warming in the post-industrial world will do some good even if for the wrong reasons (a la Silent Spring). But if it is applied wholesale to the Developing World it will be malaria all over again.

Hopefully Gore can rally people but he will get blocked and therefore something like the median compromise position of yes its happening, no we are not heading to the cliff, yes the earth will be fine (although we humans may not), so let's work on dealing with the consequences. I.e. Building resiliency in human networks. The same basic principles btw that need to be used to combat terrorism and state-failure in the globalized world.

Otherwise the left/right divide will forever sink all this. War on Terror, pro-torture Republicans will continue their push towards statism on violence, while Global Warming lefties will push for statism economically. Each using their pet fear-monger to control populations.

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