Being Sold A Suit Of Clothes

Republibot 4.0
Republibot 4.0's picture

I've recently been getting into arguments with people who should be my friends--which is what makes the matter hurt worse--over the subject of global warming. 


I maintain that the Earth is simply going through a natural cycle, and that humans have to have a very high opinion of themselves indeed to believe that our paltry efforts have been able to change the climate on a geophysical scale.  I point out that the Earth has gone through numerous ice ages and warming periods over the past several hundred million years, and happens to be in an ice age right now.  I further bring up the subjects of sunspot activity and the Maunder minimum, when the unusually cold period we now call the Little Ice Age took place.  I follow that with the observation that we've only been keeping accurate records for a little over two centuries, and that a lot of the science on which "global warming" is based, is somewhat speculative insofar as we say it works because we believe we're right.


They tell me I'm an idiot.  They insist that every single scientist on the planet except for one or two crackpot cranks is now totally convinced that anthropogenic climate change is real, is happening, and is going to kill us all if we don't immediately Do Something About It.


I'm sorry, but their zeal is exactly what makes me a "Denier."


I can't think of any subject that has ever had a 100% (okay, a 99%) agreement from everyone who should be considered a scholar on the subject.  That right there raises some big old red flags for me. 


Considering how I get smacked down every time I try to bring up the possibility that climate change is actually a natural, normal part of the Earth's cycle, the way springtime follows winter, the way it seems to have been happening for millions of years before we came along, I can see why no scientist wants to even bother trying to submit any papers contrary to the accepted doctrine.  They'd be treated the same way heretics were treated by the Church.  Wait, what am I saying--they ARE treated like heretics.  No one will listen to them, they're ridiculed and blacklisted and denied access to funding, so what else can they do but toe the party line?


And it IS a party line.  Most of your global warming zealots are liberals.  And most of your deniers are conservatives.  The liberals have been trying to force us to loathe humanity and wear hair shirts and ashes for the better part of the twentieth century.  Okay, I agree that back in the days of ocean dumping and rampant pollution, something had to be done.  Rivers really should not be able to be set on fire.  But with each success, the activists found some new horror to threaten us with, some new means of scaring us into complying with their environmental agenda, that gets increasingly strident over increasingly nebulous causes.  I sometimes think they won't be happy until we all commit mass suicide in order to save the planet.


I'm not saying protecting the environment is a bad thing.  It's the only one we've got.  It's in everyone's best interests to have clean air and water and uncontaminated soil for growing food.


But the global warming agenda just strikes me as a very unsubtle attempt to grab power and dictate how everyone else must live.  They will never allow dissent because there is too much at stake--and I don't mean the lives and happiness of millions of people, I mean too much money and power, the usual things that inspire people to try to conquer their neighbors.


They make enemies of people that it's easy to hate--the rich corporate bigwgs who callously poison our planet in the name of profits.  They make themselves out to be caring custodians of nature and all that is good and lovely.  How can they be wrong?  How can it be bad to stop polluting? 


It isn't.  But what IS bad, is to then set out to force people to live by their precepts, to go from banning open sewers to banning light bulbs, and to stifle any debate with high-volume accusations making the dissenters out to be evil enemies of the planet.


You can't find any scientists who dispute global warming because it's career suicide to try.  And guys like me, who don't have a PhD after our names, can look at charts and graphs that seem to indicate that perfectly natural causes like sunspot activity coincide with the same warming trend that is being blamed on the use of fossil fuels, but we don't count because we aren't real scientists.


I believe we're being sold a suit of clothes here, and it's the sort that will make us glad the temperature's going up.

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Comments

Nature engineers

Scorpious's picture

Oh, methinks I should have read this thread before commenting on the other one :-).

Anyways, I don't think the issue of whether warming and cooling can occur naturally or not is the most relevant one. If any scientists deny that there have been periods of naturally occurring warming and cooling, they're clearly wrong and possibly part of a conspiracy, heh. 

But I don't agree when people use the fact that there have been warming and cooling periods in earth's history to deny that we should do anything about it today. Things went very badly the last times, and we really should try to prevent things from going very badly next time.

Assuming for the sake of argument that warming occurs naturally and that human efforts to warm or cool things aren't currently particularly effective, that really just means that we need to find better ways, not that we should do nothing at all ... 

As Kevin often points out, the world's population is far larger than we used to think could live on earth and the reason is because humanity controlled our environment and brought about the conditions where that could happen. If climactic change (which you don't seem to be denying--there are some who do) in the future is as awful as it was in the past--deaths and extinctions galore, etc.--then obviously that shouldn't be the one area where we decide that we won't do anything and just wing it.

Anyhow, I have to eat meat every day (3 x a day would be ideal), I fly as often as I can, I use commercial cleaning products, I religiously run the aircon when I'm in the car rather than open the windows, etc., etc., so far be it from me to preach anything :-D ... but I think it's pretty obvious that one day, if not me then my children or grandchilden will live in a world that has a different climate from the one I know, and if there's something I can do to make that world more livable than history suggests it might be, it's kind of my responsibility to do that. 

That said, there are frequently environmentalists that are clearly insane. I'm just not one of them. Hopefully. Yet. 

Phlogiston!

Republibot 4.0's picture

See, stated like that, yes, if the climate is changing, then we as humans should try to find ways to adapt to it. 


Stopping it is not possible, no more possible than stopping spring from coming, or winter from coming.  The planet goes through cycles on a long time scale as well as an annual one.  We're only just now becoming more aware of it.  In the past, we wore more layers, heaped more wood on the fire, stocked up more food in the larder, and hoped the wolves couldn't cross the ice when the river froze up.  Or we migrated out.  We didn't have 24/7 newscasters telling us what was happening all over the world to whip us into a panic over something that we were perfectly able to cope with.


Think of that "arctic vortex" that hit the other week.  The news made it sound like one of the Horsemen had decided to come galloping in and scare everybody.  I have very clear memories of subzero temperatures hitting for two or three days every fourth or fifth winter, going back decades.  It happens.  We deal with it. 


I remember that hurricanes used to sweep up the Jersey Shore at least once a season.  Some were worse than others.  We dealt with it.


I remember sweating buckets just standing still in a darkened room during about a week or two in late July every summer.  And then in August there comes a day when it's chilly enough in the morning to need to start up the woodstove.  It happens.  We deal with it.


Look back through history at the clothing worn by humans.  How could the Victorians survive in the summer with all those layers on, and no AC?  Look back even further at the dresses from the Regency period--diaphanous, low-cut gowns and only little shawls for warmth.  Must've been unusually warm then, huh?


One of my fondest hopes is that I'll live long enough to see the climatologists recant this global warming panic.  There's a wikipedia page dedicated to obsolete scientific theories--I'm hoping "global warming" will be on it someday.


But then they'll just find some other cause to use to freak us out.


 

Fashion change and YOU!

Kevin Long's picture

First of all, congrats to everyone for keeping this a RATIONAL discussion so far. THE REPUBLICAN SITE THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED which I used to frequent was incapable of that. One time they asked me if I believed humans caused global warming. I said no. "Bark bark bark bark, applause applause applause applause." Then I said, "But I suppose we probably could if we really wanted to." This brought utter confusion. I explained: No, I don't think we're causing the world to heat up, but if we WANTED to heat the world up, or cool it down, we could probably find a way to do it. This drew bile and venom from the people on that site, who were outraged to suggest that Man could ever make a dent on nature. How dare you! Why I never! Witch! Burn him, burn him!

R4 is right: The environment changes a lot, and fairly rapidly. The Baltic used to be pretty warm, and large hunks of Scandanavia used to have a nearly-mediterranean climate. In historic times it started icing up. No one knows why. Most of the population died in fairly short order (Remembered in their mythology as "Fimblewinter" roughly translated, "Three solid years with no summer at all"). So it can get cold fast.

Likewise, in Washington's day, he hauled two-ton cannon across the Hudson. The river used to freeze solid in winter every year. That hasn't happened in a century,a nd it was infrequent in the 19th. In the Battle of New Orleans, scores of British troops froze to death IN NEW ORLEANS. Such cold snaps were unusual, but not unheard of. You had one every year or two. Nowadays, we've only had one in the last century.

Now: is the world getting hotter? I don't know. Definitely it WAS, but both the examples I've cited are pretty old, and I've heard more stuff recently that suggests temperatures have actually been easing back on average for about a decade now.

Answering the question is made harder by subtle cycles in nature itself. My mom grew up in Miami. As a kid, they'd have 2 or 3 hurricanes every year. Then they abruptly stopped, and they went like 40 years with barely any. The old timers said "This was like when I was a kid". Then the hurricanes came back with a vengence, and everyone said "Global Warming." Well, possibly, but it's more likely that there's always been an 80 year on/off cycle for these things in that area. Nobody remembered the previous cycle because Miami's population has grown 500% since then, and who listens to old coots anyway?

My own thinking is that earth is fundamentally unstable ecologically, we know that the temperature is probably abnormally low compared to the last billion years or so, and it might be in our best interests to deliberately modify the environment just to stabilize it. You know, terraform the more useless parts of the earth in an effort to change weather patterns elsewhere. It's worth looking into.

Something that I find concerning is that the ice ages are getting worse. The last one lasted around 35000 years, and covered most of North America in ice a mile deep. Long Island and the Mississippi river and the Ohio and Missouri rivers and the Mississippi delta and the great lakes were created by that ice age. They're scars from it, they didn't exist beforehand.

If each ice age seems progressively worse than the one before, it seems it would be in our best interests to prevent the next one from happening.

Sincerely,

Kevin Long

http://www.kevin-long.com

It's Not That Easy

I don't claim to be any expert on global warming, but I see way too much discussion that seems off base. For example, a very strong hurricane one year is no more proof of global warming than a very cold winter one year is proof against it. They're anecdotes irrelevant to the timeframe under consideration. In the same way, as mentioned above, the fact of natural cycles doesn't make it out of the question for us to skew them, no more than the presence of temperature shift over a decade is absolute proof that we have done so.

It's a technically complex issue. That's why so much effort has gone into the modelling. And when you see the actual technical people converging on a conclusion, one shouldn't dismiss it as simply group think. In scientific endeavors, "group think" is often right, and it only seems monolithic when you discount the whole scientific process, which is designed to test and weed out alternative potential conclusions.

The problem with clarity in this case is that the whole discussion is occurring through the lens of the modern environmental movement. That movement is based on a valid idea. Historically, no one gave any thought to the environment as we moved into an industrial age where we gained the ability to do a lot of damage to local environments rather easily. No one asked "Should we really just be dumping all this chemical process waste into the river 24/7?"

But we've moved on from that. We now have a whole little cottage industry full of people looking for witches to burn, who know some jargon but really have no idea what they're talking about at any detail level. And who will also hype the living heck out of almost anything. Indeed, there are certain elements of the environmental movement infrastructure that simply want to use hyped threats to change economic and societal habits they personally don't like. So the well is tainted. Trust has broken down.

Environmentalists aren't always wrong. They aren't always noble or honest, either. The average person senses that gap but doesn't know what to make of it on any one issue, so we seem to be defaulting to rote a lot. One tribe (Democrats) won't acknowledge the misdeeds of the environmental movement. The other (Republicans) won't acknowledge that environmentalists are sometimes right. And along comes this really complicated issue called global warming, one with potentially huge ramifications, and we're not actually engaging in a productive discussion and evaluation of it. 

 

 

 

Jobs, Too

All of this is occurring against a backdrop where there are less and less good paying jobs for someone who didn't go to college. Fossil fuel related jobs (including natual gas) are a big chunk of what's left. So saying we have to start cutting those off is a direct threat to lots of people's livelihood, which is no good way to begin a conversation. Especially when the typical tree hugger starts with delusions of just moving everyone over into fanciful "green" jobs. 

Anyone Need More Ice?

Republibot 4.0's picture

I got curious about the mechanisms that started and stopped the ice ages, the last one of which happened shortly before our civilization began.  So I started poking around on Google and found several articles on the subject.  I tried to find those from "neutral" or "respected" sources so that the climate alarmists shouldn't be able to accuse me of using references they believe are "biased."


The condescention and vitriol that the alarmists use when arguing with skeptics really annoys me.  One site that I didn't link was all about refuting anything a skeptic said, and had ads for books on how to refute skeptics, too.  So much for that one being fair or balanced.


http://phys.org/news/2013-05-ice-ages.html


http://www.nbi.ku.dk/english/sciencexplorer/earth_and_climate/golden_spike/video/spoergsmaal_svar1/


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908132214.htm


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814132228.htm


http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/04/05/3471948.htm


http://www.usc.edu/uscnews/stories/14288.html

Don't Talk About The Weather

Mama Fisi's picture

I think humans are contributing to the problem, with deforestation, habitat loss, excessive water diversion, urban sprawl, and industrial emissions changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere.  The earth has a complex system of evaporation and condensation, currents in the wind and the water, and if you start blocking those up, you're going to see changes in how they work.


However...if you live in an urban area, it's quite easy to look out the window, and imagine that human activity is ruining the planet.  If you live out in the country, though, when you can't see your nearest neighbor because there are thousands of trees between your house and theirs, or acres of open prairie, it's just as easy to imagine that the world is a much bigger place than we think it is, and we're nothing more than fleas on a dog's back as far as the earth is concerned.  The dinosaurs probably had a far greater ecological impact on the world, and were around for a hell of a lot longer.


I used to get really worked up over things like the deforestation in the Amazon or the urbanization of farmland.  And I'm still concerned about such things.  But I've also seen a rather disturbing trend among the environmentalists to villify humans and brainwash everyone into obeying their agenda.  Like R4, I don't appreciate being given no options or alternatives.  It's "believe us, or you're a fool." 


It's a shame that this subject has become so politicized, and so polarized, because it would be interesting to learn just what mechanisms are really at work with the climatological system.  But open inquiry and debate is not in the best interests of the climate jihad that's taken over the field.

Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting.
Magpie House Comics
http://www.hirezfox.com/km/

I agree with pretty much everything Flabbergasted said here.

Kevin Long's picture

I agree with pretty much everything Flabbergasted said here.

I'd add that the environmental movement tends to hype big, sexy disaster movie-type environmental threats, and they tend to ignroe the invisible ones which are much, much, much more dangerous. Like the fact that there is ONE THOUSAND times more lead in the atmosphere than there was in 1900, or the apalling amount of mercury in the oceans.

Sincerely,

Kevin Long

http://www.kevin-long.com

Mars

Kevin Long's picture

>>The polar ice cap on Mars is receding, too. I guess it's due to those Rovers we sent.<<

Are they really? Or is that an urban legend? Because if they really are I'd think it'd get more press. See, the most likely explanation for melting ice on Mars (Outside of the normal seasonal shift) is that the sun is getting hotter. In which case we're kind of fucked...

Sincerely,

Kevin Long

http://www.kevin-long.com

More on Mars

Kevin Long's picture

So I looked into the whole "Global Warming on Mars" thing. What I found was that the idea is based on two not-very-direct bits of data, one from 1979 and one from 1999. Literally photographs taken 20 years apart. They showed a difference in albedo - the amount of light a planet reflects back off into space. The albedo in 1979 was higher than 20 years later. Since bodies with more ice tend to have higher albedos, one possible interpretation was that Mars had more ice when Carter was prez than when Clinton was.

That's possible, but there's other explanations as well. Big dust storms are pretty likely. Seasonal variations. Combinations of the two. Mars has huge planet-wide sandstorms that can last months. Those would dump a lot of dirt atop the icepacks and make them a bit dimmer. Also, the ice we see at the poles is basically frozen CO2. There's water ice under it (Probably), but CO2 has a much lower thaw point than water. The temperature goes up a few degrees, the CO2 sublimates to vapor, moves to the cooler pole, and eventually sublimates back to ice. Lather, rince, repeat. Thus the poles change size pretty massively every Marsyear.

So it's POSSIBLE that Mars is heating up. but it's based on only two points of information, which can be interpreted in multiple ways, some of which don't involve temperature at all. ("It was a cloudy day")

Details:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-on-mars.htm

Sincerely,

Kevin Long

http://www.kevin-long.com

Trust

Republibot 4.0's picture

Well, that's what I get for listening to my redneck brother-in-law.  I'll have to check on that.  The first site I tried linking to off Google tried to download a virus onto my computer.


That skeptical science site you linked is set up to dispute any argument climate change "deniers" might put forward, Kevin.  I read through some of the discussions and it's not at all neutral.  It claims to delete any threads that get political, but most of the discussions were the usual arrogant and dismissive dogpiling on the skeptic.

Some Other Articles

Republibot 4.0's picture

Here's one from 2007, National Geographic:


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070228-mars-warming.html


One from NASA on how the polar ice caps sublimate with the seasons:


http://science1.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2003/07aug_southpole


And one from the US Senate, that adds other planets to the list of "warming trends":


http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=469dd8f9-802a-23ad-4459-cc5c23c24651

I didn't claim it was neutral

Kevin Long's picture

>>That skeptical science site you linked is set up to dispute any argument climate change "deniers" might put forward, Kevin. I read through some of the discussions and it's not at all neutral<<

I didn't claim it was, it was just the first site I found that specifically said what the evidence was. I can't find any reference to any more evidence than what they mentioned. Basically two photos of Mars taken 20 years apart. It's not evidence, it's trivia.

You can dispute their conclusions, that's cool, but in order to dispute their data, you'd have to basically prove there are other points of evidence (Say more albedo readings from the intervening period show a transition, and post-1999 readings that show it's continuing). To the best of my (limited) knowledge, such info doesn't exist.

>>

One from NASA on how the polar ice caps sublimate with the seasons:<<

Yeah, I said that myself. Used "Sublimate" even. As it happens, I know a good deal about Martian weather. It was a hobby of mine from my misguided youthful Terraforming days.

>>>And one from the US Senate, that adds other planets to the list of "warming trends":<<

And we all know how scientifically aware the Senate is. What with Carl Sagan telling them boldfaced lies, and them totally swallowing it. They're rich white generally corrupt lawyers. Except for John Glenn, they know as much aobout science as fish know about air conditioners.

 None of this has anything to do with whether or not climate change on earth is real, or man-created or whatever, by the way.

Sincerely,

Kevin Long

http://www.kevin-long.com

Impropaganda

Republibot 4.0's picture

When the only information that you can get comes from the propaganda machine, it's really difficult to find dissenting views. 


I tried to find sources that weren't so obviously partisan that they'd be discredited instantly.


But like that infamous barn wall from "Animal Farm," it's getting harder and harder to find stuff that isn't saying what the "mainstream" climate scientists want us to believe.

Dogma

Kevin Long's picture

Yeah, well, humans are inherently dogmatic, and 'unbiased reporting' is a myth. Always have been. Remember: we evolved from predatory pack hunters. Clan identity is very important. One way of distinguishing your tribe from another is by what you believe, so our self-identity is very much tied in with it. It's hard for humans to be even-handed intellectually or theologically or philosophically.

So you just try to allow for it and filter it out as best you can. Fred Thompson feels Mars is getting warmer based on two points of data that he probably doesn't understand, and that this invalidates the claim of man-made global warming here on earth. How many elements can you spot that don't follow logically in his chain of reasoning?

Likewise, the overpopulation scientists (Real ones!) in the 1970s were claiming a world population of 6 billion in 2000 and a US population of 350 million by then, and that there wouldn't be food to feed all these people and we'd all die. How many falacies can you spot in THEIR reasoning?

So, as i say, you just try to filter it out as best you can and pick up the useful bits here and there. Separate the wheat from the chaff.

Sincerely,

Kevin Long

http://www.kevin-long.com

And The Sky Is Really Falling This Time, Honest, We Mean It!

Republibot 4.0's picture

Also, there's long been a vocal group of people who get some kind of power rush from declaring that The End Is Near.  Just in my lifetime alone, there was the threat of imminent nuclear war (well, that one could have happened), the Commie peril, the coming ice age, environmental collapse from pollution and pesticides, the certainty that we were running out of oil, food, space to put all the people, six or seven different apocalyptic predictions from cult leaders and "seers,", Y2K, and now this.  Not to mention the fears of various pandemics.


I'm sorry; I'm just having trouble getting whipped into a frenzy anymore.  

Ragnarok n' Roll

Kevin Long's picture

Not to mention the endless parade of "Jesus is coming on [month/day/year]" things and various (nonchristian) doomsday cults, and the general Fundamentalist fascination with Revelation.

Honestly, I think it's a religious thing. I've said this before: Our society was once VERY Christian. Christianity is an eschatological religion - one which ivolves the end of the world. Christianity was at the core of western civilization for 1600 years or so. Now it's not. So we no longer BELIEVE that stuff, but we still FEEL a lot of that stuff.

Society doesn't seem to believe Jesus is on His way, but it still FEELS like the world should have an end on the horizon. We got used to thinking like that. So in the absence of God, we'll invent some new secular apocalypse to fill the need.

Sincerely,

Kevin Long

http://www.kevin-long.com

Global Warming Agenda Is Racist...?!

Republibot 4.0's picture

I was talking with a friend of mine who works in a coal-fired power plant, and he said something that I hadn't even thought of: the global warming movement suppresses developing nations and keeps them poor, to the benefit of the developed nations.


Wow.  That's a scary thought.  He was convinced that there are trillions of dollars at stake in preventing developing nations from getting better power plants and competing with the more developed nations.

Deliberately so?

Kevin Long's picture

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii don't know. I think there's two questions there:

1) Is it racist?

2) Is it deliberately racist, or is racism just a side-effect of some other goals?

If you look at air quality in 19th century England, it's pretty poor. And the amount of mercury in the ocean is largely the result of coal, so it's got a fairly deleterious effect over all.  When the 1st world started signing ecological accords in the 1970s, they were only binding on us, Europe, Australia. You know, whiteboy countries and Japan. Africa never signed as a bloc, nor did most of Asia. In the '90s Africa was producing more pollution than North America and Europe combined. And when you consider how little industry there is in Africa to justify it, there's clearly a problem.

But I don't think the point of it was to penalize Africans or Asians, I think the point of it was simply to keep the Cuyahoga river from catching on fire all the time. And no one can really ENFORCE these rules. They're not going to send in the Marines or UN Peacekeepers to shut down a coal plant in Namibia, you know? The third world can tell the first world (ANd what remains of the second) to just go screw off, and there's really nothing we can do about it.

It's also worth noting that China is a "Developing" country that hasn't floundered under this sort of thing.

Sincerely,

Kevin Long

http://www.kevin-long.com

I Need To Clarify This...

Republibot 4.0's picture

I'm going to have to ask him to write down his opinion, because I know I misremembered how he'd stated it, but he was pretty convinced that by stifling development in the poorer parts of the world, the wealthier countries would eliminate any potential competition.


Let it also be noted that my friend is the polar opposite of a bigot or a racist, and a champion of the underpriviledged.  He's also one of the smartest guys I know, so I doubt he's just blowing some conspiracy-theory smoke here.


He'd also mentioned that Al Gore's swimming pool requires more energy to run than many small municipalities do.

Colonialism

Kevin Long's picture

Oh, sure, if we're just assuming the First World wants Third World resources, I'd totally sign off on that. Europe (And to a lesser extent, the US) always viewed the rest of the world as just a place to stripmine. That's not conspiracy, that's just history.

If we're saying the modern "Developed" world (Both First and Second) view the developing (Mostly Third) world as places they can exploit without even bothering to administer them, then that's probably at least partially true. I don't really see how environmental regulations play into that, though.

 

Sincerely,

Kevin Long

http://www.kevin-long.com

Here's The Clarification:

Republibot 4.0's picture

In response to my query, my friend wrote:


"Well, to put it simply, one of the fastest ways for a country to increase its standard of living is to industrialize.  One person with minimal training can now do the work of many.  (A country is not rich by how much it produces.  It's rich by how much excess it produces.)  Rising standard of living produces all kinds of good side effects.


 
However, if you're a country that is after natural resources in another country, it's in your best interests to keep them poor.  Especially if you can get them into debt and keep them there.  Now you can get low cost labor to pull out the natural resources on the cheap.
 
Global warming (especially if they go in for carbon sequestering) makes industrialization much more expensive.  This makes it much harder for a poor country to raise the capital to invest to get industry going, and the training is much more intensive.  In short, it raises the lower rung of the economic ladder.  Keeps the poor countries poor, industrialized countries can continue to keep the natural resources prices cheap, and the amount of money involved is in the trillions.
 
This is all simplified and my own wild conspiracy theory, but the standard phrase of "Follow the money" when you're trying to figure things out holds up for this one."

I'm not really disagreeing, but...

Kevin Long's picture

I'm not really disagreeing, but I guess I'm just not seeing the "Conspiracy" here. Imperialism has always been driven by a quest for resurces. Poor and less-sophisticated countries are almost always easy pickins' (Excepting Afghanistan for some reason). It's in the interests of the 'master' country to prevent economic development in the slave states(Generally) or manipulate things so that the economy develops along lines that help the "Masters" but doesn't help the subject territory at all.

This is the way it's always been, and imperial powers are almost always pretty open about it. It's not fair, but it's also not a conspiracy. If real-or-perceived global warming prevents a poor nation from being able to develop economically, well, that sucks, no doubt. But the system has never BEEN fair, it's always been about the strong taking from the weak. There's no real conspiracy there.

Unless you're assuming that "Global Warming" is simply an excuse to justify preventing 3rd world development and maybe setting up economic imperialism. In that case, then it's kind of needlessly complex.

Example: Namibia produced about 4500 tons of Uranium last year. That's a valuable resource, worth a lot of money. But who are they going to sell it to? There's not a ton of markets for it. Added to which Niger, Kazakhstan, Canada, Australia, and Russia are all producing between 4000 and 18000 tons of the stuff. So it's not a "Name your own price" situation. They have to compete with other countries. And their markets are limited: there are 430 reactors in the world, but remember most of these go for long periods of time without being re-fueld and construction has slowed to a crawl. So it's not a rapidly growing market either.

So you've only got about 30 countries to choose from as potential markets, with the bulk of the construction going on in France. The US and Russia and possibly China are also big markets because they build a lot of bombs and (Excluding China) nuclear ships of one sort or another.

So: limited markets, fierce competition, the price of your valuable resource is driven down. In a situation like that, you really don't NEED to manipulate people to get what you want. You basically just go in and say, "Hi, I'm Joe, and I represent The Very Big Corporation Of America, Incorporated, and we're willing to take over your mining operations (Which you can't afford to do yourselves anyway) and we'll take care of everything and cut you a check for X% of the profits.

Y'no, capitalism!

"Ah, but what about the oil?" you say. Well, that's different on two levels. One: the demand for oil has skyrocketed for more than a century now, unlike Uranium.Two: Oil *DID* function exactly like this ("Don't you worry your pretty little heads about it, we'll cut you a check") until the formation of OPEC, which existed essentially to give the producers the ability to set prices rather than have them continually warring against each other to get the lowest price, and therefor undercuting everyone's profits.

This was spectacularly successful, but you'll notice that most of the OPEC nations are still dirt poor jerkwaters, even though it's the locals calling the shots and not us evil economic imperialists.

Sincerely,

Kevin Long

http://www.kevin-long.com