BIGLY COVFEFE’S HOT!
I don’t suppose that Mr. Twain had global heating in mind when he remarked that “Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it”, but it does seem to apply. I hate to argue with the Sage of Hartford, but actually he lived in one of the most fecund periods in America’s long history of futility in attempting to change the weather; about the time he turned sixty, a town up on the state line here spent a busy afternoon setting off dynamite charges to try and simulate thunder, which, of course, would cause it to rain.
Back around the early years of this century I had occasion to acquaint myself with the musings on global heating of a college instructor who opined that nobody was denying climate change any more; oh, they might call it cyclical, they might deny that it was anthropogenic, but as for denying that the earth was getting hotter, that wasn’t happening any more. If she was ahead of her time, she was a long ways ahead of her time, for I’m still hearing that, and worse; I could introduce you to people who think it’s getting colder.
However, that’s not what I’m on about today. No, the people who get up my nose are the ones who accept global heating but laugh it off. The most persistent of these are the boffins who insist that they have a techno-fix. About the same time as friend professor pronounced climate change denial dead, I was at the hospital waiting for something to happen and reading USA Today when I read the reassuring news that there was nothing really to worry about, but we did need to build seawalls and get high behind it. Seawalls! That’s going to help what exactly? Far from being reassured, the very idea of such facile nonsense made the happy mood I had been in at the hospital completely vanish.
Not that I hadn’t already been exposed to a foretaste during the very earliest days of growing attention to the heating phenomenon, for a glance through conservative bible National Review during the eighties and nineties will show a progression through pooh-poohing to dismissals of the phenomenon as a “mostly high-latitude, nighttime phenomenon”, which, yes, does have a modest smattering of truth to it, and then on to what their friend Mrs. Thatcher called cloudcuckooland wherein they proposed setting up gigantic mirrors up in space to reflect sunlight away. As though, even if that were viable, National Review would be out there crusading for the government to spend money on the scheme. Every so often an informed reader would pitch in by pointing out some obscurity, always basically unverifiable in the amount of time a nonspecialist would care to lavish on it, my favorite being that the Gulf of Finland had frozen over for the first time in fifty-some years.
All of this does at least possess the virtue of being worthwhile, a little, as a thought experiment and perhaps a little amusing around the edges. For pure annoyance, though, as usual one must turn to John Q. Public. One museum I went through had a very earnest exhibit about global heating, at the conclusion of which they provided a big posterboard space upon which the multitudes could record their horror at the phenomenon and suggest their favorite ways to combat it. Of course, no such thing happened; the board was lathered with such a variety of climate change denial foolishness that a graduate degree aspirant could have listed them all and had a nice start toward their thesis. Alas for posterity, I only remember one of them, and that because I’m still capable of risking apoplexy when I think about being told how cute it was. Quoth a childish hand: “Relax, God’s got it!”
And on and on we go. “Plants will love it!” “I like hot weather!” “We can drill in the Arctic!” “I can cruise to the North Pole someday!” “I golfed on Christmas in Duluth!” Nonsense on stilts, they like to call it. I’d like to go a little further myself, but I don’t want to shock the children.