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Climate Change for Idiots
Note that the article contains a number of links to more detailed reading.

---On September 11, 2001, our world changed forever.

And not just because of the obvious. For three days after the attack on the World Trade Center, all commercial aviation came to a standstill in the United States. For the first time since 1914, when Tony Jannus piloted a wooden, open-air Benoist XIV biplane in the first commercial passenger-carrying airline flight from St. Petersburg to Tampa, Florida, traffic in the friendly skies above the amber waves of grain came to a screeching halt. And in those three crucial days, our entire understanding of global warming underwent a fundamental transformation.

But this literally earth-shattering revelation has not been getting a lot of press since that horrible day. Public interest in climate change is dwindling into either resigned apathy, or growing skepticism about the risks of global warming; a 14 percent decline in people who believe the earth is becoming warmer. At the current conference in Copenhagen, the emphasis has shifted away from what the hell are we going to do to save the planet before it’s too late to world leaders bickering and squabbling in an unseemly power struggle over who gets to pollute the most. And while the talks are failing as politicians shuffle carbon credits around like magicians with a deck of cards, global warming deniers are busily promulgating ever more heated and bizarre conspiracy theories.

Climate change is a hoax, they’re shouting from their soap boxes. Agenda 21 is just a smoke screen designed to enslave the Third World, and global warming is fraud, a steekin’ fraud, I tells ya, run by the Illuminati and the Rothschild dynasty and aliens from Alpha Centuri in a vast conspiracy with Big Business and Pharma and corrupt politicians to control the world’s resources in a scam for world domination! Global warming is a natural phenomenon, they’re insisting, 30,000 scientists have iron-clad proof (and leaked emails) that it’s all been propaganda designed to frighten us. CO2 is caused by tectonic plate shift, or the earth’s axis tilting, or sun spots, or Urban Heat Island effects, or water vapor, or cows farting. (Actually, the last one does have some validity; livestock ‘byproducts’ account for 32.6 billion tons of CO2 per year, or 51% of annual global GHG emissions.) It’s a natural cycle – we went through a Little Ice Age in the Holocene then global warming in the Middle Ages (actually, we didn’t), and volcanoes spew out more CO2 than humans do (again, uh-uh, human activity releases more than 130 times more CO2 than all our current active volcanoes combined). Anyway, modeling the environment is too vast, too vague, too complicated, not even scientists can agree with one another; we just aren’t capable of adequately simulating the atmosphere or understanding climate change.

Besides, why should we care how much we pollute the planet, since India and China don’t give a damn…?

So… a bit of Climate Change for Idiots to aid those of us who feel like we’re beating heads against the wall arguing with friends and relatives frantically denying The End is Nigh, all while driving their SUVs through the nearest McDonald’s drive-in, those poor benighted souls too obtuse to realize the causes of global warming are myriad, and that while – yes, they are correct, Big Biz and First World greed are busily maneuvering and dodging and scheming over who gets to profit the most from climate change – that doesn’t mean it’s not real. We’re too focused on the looters to realize that the city is burning down around us.
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