What if Global Warming is a Red Herring?

I feel like throwing a rock in the pond this morning.

What if Global Warming is the next Y2K? The next chapter in Human’s chronicle of Chicken Little?

When it comes right down to it, reduce, reuse, recycle is not a BAD thing. But what if we aren’t facing a global catastrophe? Last I understood Global Warming was a Theory. A widely accepted theory, mind you. But a THEORY none-the-less.

What if that theory is wrong?

I think theory switched to fact in the last few years. There is overwhelming consensus in the scientific community.

Even Bush now admits that “climate change” is real and is at least partially caused by mankind.

I don’t think this is anything like Y2K. Plus Y2K was a crises averted by years of planning.

PS, right now I’m working from home because San Diego is experiencing the worst fires in it’s history.

I think theory switched to fact in the last few years.

Could not agree more. Thanks to our new overwhelming awareness of the world as a society we are learning information at a much faster rate. People come up with theories, other people dive deeper into those theories, the next thing you know, its fact.

Now if I could only get my über-Republican parents to see that. Maybe now that Bush agrees with it, they’ll see the light.

I appreciate the rock in the pond. I’m glad we as designers and thinkers can see both sides of an argument from time to time.

My general viewpoint on all of mankind is we know sht about sht.

Theres a reason weathermen and sports reporters are wrong half the time, doctors haven’t the foggiest clue of what causes 90% of diseases, and global warming is no different.

Theres no doubt that sustainability, pollution and recycling are things that need to happen, regardless of if Al Gores apocalypse is coming true or not. Theres also no doubt that we’re having a drastic effect on the environment (just take a look at the Hudson River).

Are we on the brink of every ice cap melting and flooding the entire planet? No I don’t think so. Does that mean we shouldn’t prepare for it? Absolutely not.

If the theory is wrong, the worst thing that could happen is we spend trillions of dollars cleaning up the planet and lowering our environmental impact.

The flipside is the theory is right, we do nothing, and then my decision to live and work on an island will be sorely regretted.

Maybe I should move to Colorado and buy some soon-to-be-beachfront property.

What if? What if not?

Who cares? It has created a market. Isn’t that all that is important to the world of consumerism? :unamused:

You’re tapping into a bit of what makes me ask the question.

I can’t help but agree with that comment, too.

I have noticed lately that every single morning talk show, news station, etc is doing little almost daily special reports on ways to be more green. Every grocery store in the country is now selling more and more organic and local produce, and compact fluorescent bulbs are more popular than ever thanks to places like Home Depot.

Its almost as if you can come up with any product and claim it has an environmental cause associated to it, it will sell like Hannah Montana tickets.

People need something to think about or else life will be dry, whether if it’s necessary or not. That’s why entertainment news and gossips are stimulating.

What was that movie by Al Pachino in which he is a producer and created a virtual superstar? What if Britney Spears does not exist? Who cares? We don’t know her by the person. We know her as who she is on the media.

The same is with Global Warming. Most average people who live in front of the TV or newspaper don’t actually feel it, but the media tells them so. So to them, it exists.

Therefore the same question that you’ve asked can be applied to everything we see on the media. However, when everyone starts to ask the same question, the system collapses… to make room for a new one.

I can’t believe core thinks that “Bri_tney” is an offensive word.

You’re from the USA aren’t you.

Well the american media, which has the bad habit of following the press releases of public authority has decieved you. Global warming was once a theory, a very good theory. And it was publicized as a theory. An argument grew from the idea, and this argument was widely publicized. But it has in the past few years been agreed that global warming is a fact. The policy-makers, who feed most of the media, however, realized the negative and extensive effects that the FACT of global warming could have on the american car/consumption economy and continued to argue that global warming was/is widely debated. What they meant to say, actually didn’t mean to say, was that the debate from that point forward was and is about what the effects and extent of the warming will be, not over the existence of it.


The effects that humans have on the earth are extensive, and grow far beyond a higher temperature. I personally find global warming very difficult to get my head around, which is why I prefer to focus on other simpler to understand effects we have on the earth, such as using up non-renewable, or slowly renewable resources. The facts that slight temperature changes will, and can kill off other more quickly renewable resources, such as plant and animal life which we use as food. Rises in temperatures have already caused extensive desertification of land close to the equator, for example, mexico. You may have noticed that there are masses of mexicans illegally crossing the border to the US, why? A big reason is that their land (which is in itself their life and livelyhood) has become desert, they have no future there, and are coming to the US as a completely new type of refugees (ones that aren’t yet recognized by any government and are therefore necessarily illegal), environmental refugees.

The US is a huge culprit in the decline of the resources of the rest of the world, and they will probably be the last to notice it. Why? Because they can afford to buy and import as many resources as are available in the world. At some point, they will realize it, but probably only when there are so few resources in the world that they can’t import them anymore.

So now that I have stood on my soapbox I close with the fact that I am an american and I was once in the same opinion, but I have since informed myself on the theme, that’s really all you have to do to find out the truth, read some factful books and articles (don’t believe it unless it has references). I hope that other americans will do this as well!

Books to read, radio to hear, and movies to see (or book to read).

Communicating Nature
a bit on how media communicate environmental issues.

An Inconvenient Truth
The facts of global warming (see the movie if you don’t want to read the book, but the book will give you scientific references which you can indeed believe as fact)

Radiowest podcast
About environmental refugees from Mexico. This page is not old enough for the exact podcast, but you can subscribe to the podcast and download the episode "Bordercrossers and the New America, from 8/17/07.

United Nations University-Environmental and Human Security publication “Control, Adapt, or Flee”
About the concept of environmental refugees in general.

I think some people are selling IP’s thought experiment short. Let’s assume that the catastrophe does not await the world because of global warming. Imagine the amount of money and man-power (as well as fossil fuel and emissions) that will be spent on trying to conquer a non-existent problem. I think it’s worth thinking about.

Something that I’ve thought about is how many of these green schemes are hollow:

  1. Carbon offsetting: Air Canada just started this now. Supposedly, trees will be planted somewhere by someone if I pay Air Canada a few bucks more when I buy my plane ticket. Does this really work? No, not really. Could it be a huge profit-making marketing trick on the part of airlines? Likely.

  2. Windmills, solar cells, etc: Where is energy to make all of these new energy producing products going to come from? Other windmills? I doubt it. Let’s face it, we will burn up whatevers left even faster if we persuade ourselves to start a mad-dash to the green-finish line.

What price for victory?

I am not from the USA, and I wasn’t making any statement on whether global warming is real or not. To me, it doesn’t matter. I am still going to do the things that I believe in. I don’t need to do things based on whether it’s for global warming or not. If I think an act will save energy for me, I’ll do it. If I think it’s going to give me a cleaner living environment, I’ll do it… etc.

Put it this way. Global warming, like many other things, has been abused in the world of consumerism. Everyone is exploiting it and using it for their own marketing. How often do you see an “environmentally friendly” product explain, or even show you exactly how it is environmental friendly, other than that bold label or sticker on its packaging?

I don’t think IP is questioning the validity of global warming itself, but the actions that we are taking in response to it.

Carbon offsetting works, not as well as not using the fuels in the firstplace, but it’s a nice alternative to stopping flights, investigate it a little further, get informed, and you will understand how the processes work.

We need to harvet the natural source of energy: the sun. Wind is a result of the sun, and so is solar energy. I am not informed on the energy used to make windmills, but if you are willing to make the argument perhaps you should be willing to investigate if it is so.

It’s a good argument, and good to think critically about the idea, but critical thinking should be followed by getting informed, and doing something about it. Boy, I could rant on this theme all day, and all night!

Even if global warming is unfounded the pollution issue (water polution, PCB’s in the fish, people dying in China from all our electronic waste, a finite supply of fossil fuels) are all very real.

I guess when I say I don’t believe in global warming I should have clarified: I BELIEVE the globe is getting warmer, but the question is HOW MUCH impact people are having on that, and how much is part of a natural cycle of the earth that we are powerless to control (Don’t forget that we come from a planet that 10,000 years ago was in an ice age).

We can PROVE that the earth is getting warmer but we can NOT prove how much is a direct result of our impact vs. natural temperature cycles.

That doesn’t mean we should all buy humvees and throw our plastic bags in the oceans though. Making new things that are green won’t help if we’re just throwing out our non-green things - because in the end we’ve just created more crap to replace the old crap.

Yes, selling fear works. Terrorists know this and so do our politicians.

Oh i have heard this all before, back in the 70’s we had earth day, hell even expo 74 was a enviromental expo. I sold solar heat boosters for hot water tanks in the late 70’s, it was THE BIG THING!!! Politicians and actors jumpped on the band wagon, the green movement in germany got going oh it was big shit. We had club of rome saying that we would be all starving by the turn of the centry, and out of oil by the 90’s, and for a while it was the accepted theory. The big boogy man then was a new ice age, yup all the experts pointed out the trends and it was the big freeze, after all there have been more of them than warm interglacial periods. Is it a good thing to be frugal, damn betcha as any engineer or old person. Is it wise to recycle, again ask a engineer or oldster. Is it wise to come up with more than one source for critical things…well DUHHH. Gore, actors, etc they have their own agenda and most are dumb as a 2 year old hamster, and like the hamster they just have to be on display running in their little wheels. There is a hell of a lot we dont know about this planet, we are learning but our base line is pretty short, but in the end being smart, and frugal ( I E not buying all sorts of new crap to replace your old out of style crap) is only sane.

im as skeptical as the next, and will add more later.

at this point just wanted to chime in that Gravity, is also a theory. As are most scientific findings - the result of our observation and attempt to put in place a set of rules that govern them.

nothing is 100% and anyone who believes anything 100% on either side of a debate (or political position) is an idiot.

10pts to IP jsut for asking questions.


yup gravity is a theory, we know a “little” about it but only in gross details but as with other things we dont truly grock it…yet. Most people just want to have somebody tell them what to think, and if it comes from a passionate and pretty face its more accepted…hell give me that old time religion has worked for 3-4 thousand years. There have been other energy crisis before, kerosene became exploited when whale oil got scarce and spendy, wood was the preferetd fuel for steam untill it got scarce so the more expensive coal was then cost effective. Pollution in the late 1800’s from coal plants is what gave us the mental image of foggy london, ah hell talk up the angst, might get you laid at the next party…

perfect, except for all the holy wars, millions of people hanged and crucified, and executed, that is. :slight_smile:


yup and if you are a fan of the “wrong” footie team in UK (or most anyplace else) you might get the snot beat out of you.