Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Its Business As Usual on Earth Day

I'll add a rant later tonight, but snapped this picture as I passed the High School Student Parking Lot. Nice day for a bike ride to work, though.

Earth Day? Meh....

So I ride my bicycle to work today. Not because it is Earth Day, but because that's what I usually do, just for shits and grins. I actually thought of tying my commuter bike to the hood of the pickup truck like a freshly bagged deer and driving to work. Just to be an SOB.

Fair Weather Commuter in Current Form
Yes, I did check the front quick release 
to make sure it is not an interference design
 Earth Day has gotten to be a cliche, kinda like Motorist Ride Your Bike To Work Day. Frankly, we take Ma Earth too much for granted. Back in 1970 (and yes, I remember that far back) we started Earth Day because there were soap suds in the rivers, Lake Erie was on the way to becoming a nutrified swamp, we had high levels of lead aerosols in city air, the Cuyahoga River in Ohio was polluted enough to literally catch fire, and massive oil spills were hitting beaches. We actually had plenty of reminders all around us that we could really screw up the place if we continued to shit where we eat.

In the aftermath of a lot of environmental law, a lot of this stuff is not so bad, at least in the First World. Lead is no longer in gasoline or paint, outfalls are in much better shape, and cars are amazingly efficient and low in emissions (specific smog emissions per gallon of gas or miles driven, etc) of traditional pollutants. Their engines are more efficient, although we traded conservation for more horsepower. But the place is so cleaned up that a few bozos, er, I mean people with short memories, are now calling for rescinding regulations that solved the problem in the first place. Law doesn't necessarily stifle business. Lack of intelligent responses to changing technologies sure don't help. But every once in a while we have a massive blowout like the Gulf Oil Spill or Fukushima to remind us that we need to pay attention to stuff and sweat the details.

The big issue now is climate change. Today I got a shrill email from Sen. Heinrich telling me to send one of those mass e-mail petitions to Congress castigating Republicans for being climate deniers. Sigh. This is just after I read another post on Judy Curry's web site talking about a study of aerosols that suggests we can put stronger constrains on negative (cooling) feedbacks from aerosols, which may help put stronger constraints on positive feedbacks (sensitivity) of climate forcing gases such as CO2. Some jumped on the study as being a nail in the coffin of climate alarmists. The author of the study shot back with his own blog post saying "not so fast". Setting aside the alarmists and the deniers, maybe we just ought to concentrate on putting better constraints on climate forcings so we can discuss, rationally, the cost-benefits of controls vs. adaptation.

The problem with climate is it usually changes slowly on a human timescale (well, we hope so), while corporate profits and one's gas bill show up today. Human nature being what it is, one puts out the fire that is here and now, not the one that might be here in fifty years. That said, the reason we have retirement plans is because the future eventually does get here and one wants to have a good one.

Oh, hell. Just go ride yer bike.


Anonymous said...

Have you seen this? Probably yes.

Seems to me our planet changes over time no matter how inconvenient to our human interests(short timers)and economy. Economy is meaningless to the realities of physics and our galaxy, etc.

Our perception of human and economic importance is a joke. But then, that's all we have to live for?

Khal said...

Ain't that the truth. If humans are to outlast the next climate change, whether hot or cold, we will have to adapt. Or, as you say, suffer the consequences of Ma Nature not playing favorites.

Dr. J said...

Well said Khal. To celebrate Earth Day, I drove not one, as I usually do, but three of my '60s era muscle cars around running errands and up to White Rock. These cars get on average about 12 mpg (my Cobra gets about 9 with the four Weber carbs) and the CO2 emissions are of course immense in a left wing enviros mind. But there is and was nothing like a big block V8 4 barrel, dual exhaust, four speed '60s muscle car in sound or visceral feel and excitement.

Khal said...

Cobra and Corvette? What is the third? I have to get down to visit you!

Dr. J said...

Yes, and a '68 Shelby GT500KR, and a '67 Mustang, and a '69 428 Cobra Jet Cougar XR7.