Monday, December 28, 2009

Cassandra's stare

I merely note in passing that I was utterly, completely correct about the final product of the Copenhagen Conference;

a lot of hot air, a gassy bubble not even full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. A niddering, a naething. A complete and total mockery.

China walked away, just took their marbles and went home. They will do nothing - regardless of whether there is a significant risk to human health and safety from increased global mean temperature - and they will be perfectly happy if no one else does anything, too.

Sadly, this was utterly, completely predictable. The Chinese government has no legitimacy beyond what it can provide its people in largesse. If it fails to grow and thus provide more lucre and better lives for Chang and Mei Lunchpail, it dies. What this also proves is that the U.S. government is little more than a whore for its industrial, commercial and financial interests to the point where it can no longer afford to bully or wheedle the Chinese. It had no military, political or economic capital to spend; the Chinese held the whip and and used it, mercilessly.

And so it goes. The usual U.S. liberals and enviros will wail and rend their garments, the usual conservatives harrumph with satisfaction, both of them misunderstanding that this is neither a victory nor a defeat for their faction.

It is a defeat for us, for our nation, and its allies in the West, and a sign that the Middle Kingdom will look out for its own first, just another monkey in a different tribe grimacing and flinging its shit to mark its territory.

I take no joy in being right. Cassandra was right, too, and look where it got her.

Every year I grow older I grow more cynical and less impressed with my own species.


Pluto said...

I don't completely agree with your conclusions, Chief. I just mostly agree with them.

The situation is slowly getting clearer, both on the political and the scientific side, and that is a necessary prelude for any sort of world-wide coordinated action to occur.

To use a military analogy, the battle of Waterloo was fought in a day, but the preparations that led up to that battle took 20 years.

The world is unarguably less healthy than it was before we discovered the industrial revolution but its a big place and there's a lot of things that can happen before the hairless apes will be branded as having permanently destroyed it.

"History is a race between education and catastrophe." - H. G. Wells

I would substitute wisdom or maturity in place of education but I agree with the sentiment.

You and I survived our teen years to become healthy responsible people, the human race will probably do the same. And if not, there's plenty of alternative possibilities in the next 4-5 billion years.

rangeragainstwar said...

FD Chief,
Sorta off topic but not really.
Everytime I go to a movie theater I must sit thru a Coke commercial that shows cute animations of Polar Bears muddling around the penguins and they're all drinking Coke.
I often wonder how we think when coming up with commercials.
Will PB's be ok if only they drink Coke? Isn't this commercial cute but clueless-just likr the rest of our awareness.

Lisa said...

A naething -- I love that.

Of course China leaves; it feeds people melamine ("Can we grind up some Formica countertops as powdered milk filler?") The meetings were a grand show, and the activists feel like something happened. I mean, hotels were full in Copenhagen, and people enjoyed coffee in a progressive city, so that's something, right?

While the show was going on, Coke released tree-ornament shaped bottles of The Real Thing, with polar bears frolicking on the label, unbeknownst to themselves, whoring for their unchosen corporate master.

It is all a bit strange.

FDChief said...

Pluto: As I've said, I don't think this means we're headed for extinction or something equally dire. Humans are resourceful, adaptive and tougher than rats (plus we breed like roaches) - there's a good reason that we're the top predator of all.

But my suspicion is that the next 100-200 years will be unnecessarily ugly for a large portion of the species, and that portion the one that usually gets the dirty end of the stick; the poor and the weak. And not just because of AGW - the real bastard that nobody likes to talk about is that we're procreating without self-imposed limits. Any good biologists knows that there is no such thing as a healthy organism or population that grows without limits. It exhausts its resource(s) and crashes, often catastrophically. This doesn't mean anything critical for the species - in fact, I can think of several species whose populations are designed specifically for this boom/crash cycle. But for the individuals within the species...different matter.

THAT's why I tend to laugh at the sapiens part of our scientific name. I don't see a whole lot of sapience a whole lot of the time.

Jim: One of the least pleasant aspects of our present Western commercial/industrial culture is our ability to substitute or mistake the image of the thing for the thing itself and make decisions or take actions based not on the physical fact but on our perception of the image we've created of the fact. I'd venture to say that explains most commercials, about half of our romantic relationships, and nearly all wilderness rescues.

Lisa: My prediction was largely based on my perception of China as needing domestic growth more than international affection, and of the U.S. as a hollow log, rotted from the inside by crony capitalism and too beholden to Chinese investment to be capable of taking a strong line with the Chinese.

For all our military prancing around central Asia, this conference should point out the degree to which we cannot shove the larger of the "developing" nations (India, China and Brazil come to mind) around without inflicting grievous damage to our own economy. We really are a long way to becoming the "paper tiger" the Chinese used to call us back in the 1960s.

Ael said...

Well, China certainly takes population growth seriously.
Unlike, say, India. It maks an interesting commentary about democracy.

Also, the AGW solution is pretty obvious: Jim Hansen's tax and dividend strategy. Tax fossil carbon as it comes out of the ground. Every single person on the earth gets an equal divendend from the tax. Dial up the tax as appropriate to make your goals.

Thing is, this will cause an enormous flow of money from the USA to the rest of the world. This is politically unacceptable and, hence, won't happen.