Sometime PT correspondent Jeff Pinyot wrote a blog for the IPI site which peaked by curiosity. He seems to relatively successfully hold both sides of a controversy. Here’s the blog in toto — and my comments following:
If you want good dinner conversation, place at least one liberal and one conservative together at a dinner table, insert a bottle of Pinot Grigio, a nice appetizer, and perhaps the suggestion of Global Warming as dinner conversation.
Being that the parking industry is so often referred to in discussions of the impact of environmental change, it seems that we have the right to have an opinion on the subject. When our company is asked what environmental impact our lights have on carbon emissions, we often equate it to X numbers of cars being taken off the road. For a company that does business with parking garage owners and operators, it actually seems a little stupid to tell Denison Parking that if they use our lights, it will be like taking 50 cars (paying customers) off the road. I know it really doesn’t impact the number of cars in actuality, but it does seem like a stupid analysis given the facts. Perhaps we should talk about the impact as X number of new trees planted.
So, I digress….Why is it that every celebrity believes that they are an authority on politics, global warming, hunger, health plans, etc. Is it because some of them have played Presidents, Senators, Scientists, Doctors, etc. on TV and the big screen? Could you imaging George Clooney saying this: “In Gravity, I played the role of an astronaut, which means that I would have probably gone to Purdue University, which means that I should probably be pretty smart, so, yes, I have no real reason to say this, but I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt, Global Warming is for real…I think.”
In reality, here is exactly what he did say about Global Warming: “If you have 99 percent of doctors who tell you ‘you are sick’ and 1 percent that says ‘you’re fine,’ you probably want to hang out with, check it up with the 99. You know what I mean? (not really George) The idea that we ignore that we are in some way involved in climate change is ridiculous. What’s the worst thing that happens? We clean up the earth a little bit?”
While I have no idea what he is saying exactly, at the end, he does come back down to earth. George Clooney and I agree on his last statement, “What’s the worst thing that happens? We clean up the earth a little bit?” YES, let’s start with common ground! Who can argue that his statement is not true? The way I say it is similar… This is me talking… and I am quoting me… “Whether Global Warming is true or not doesn’t really matter, the bottom line is, we should leave the world in at least the same shape as we got it, no worse or preferably, better. We should try to get our Security Deposit back!”
Don’t hug a tree, climate!
Let me say that I agree completely with Jeff’s last two sentences. We should leave the world in better shape than we got it. But at the same time, I disagree with George Clooney when he says “What’s the worst than can happen.
Here’s the problem – We can do a lot of harm. Emerging countries where people are freezing in the dark want to give their citizens a fighting chance. But if everyone from the UN on down fights them as they try to develop, there is plenty of harm. Here at home, people that get hurt aren’t the gazillionaires like Clooney, but the working poor, who pay more for electricity, for gasoline, for food, for clothing. All because the Clooneys of the planet stop development, not just clean development, but all development. They live in enclaves in the west side of LA, between San Francisco and San Jose, on the Upper East Side of New York or in the counties around DC and Boston. They have no feel for what it costs to live, since they have tons of disposable income.
I’m with you on the concept that we must be good stewards of our planet, and must clean up our environment. But a clean environment and a bustling economy must not be mutually exclusive. If all the effort put into stopping economic growth was put into clean water and electrification in emerging countries, how many more kids would grow up healthy, how many families would thrive.
When a idea, a crusade, a cause takes on a religious zeal, and dissenters are silenced, then one can be certain there is hubris. There are laws of unintended consequences. We double the price of gasoline, but offer no transportation alternatives. We stop building new housing, but offer no replacement, thus sending the cost of housing sky high, we halt the building of any type of energy facility (nuclear, natural gas, coal) and stop manufacturing in its tracks, costing millions of jobs.
When the people of India, China, Central Africa reach the point that every waking moment isn’t spent searching for food, clothing, and shelter, and they have some time to enjoy their lives, they will begin to think about cleaner air, unpolluted water, and white sandy beaches. They will realize they don’t need 15 children for the family to survive. They will, just as have Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, North America, and western Europe begin to clean their environment, too.
Environmental cleanliness must make economic sense, too. And it can. Just as Jeff sees creating light in parking garages using less electricity, buildings can be constructed so they use the space around them more effectively, food can be grown less expensively, but the land preserved. Forests can be replaced, fuel can be produced without destroying the earth, power can be created without destroying the air. And it can be done economically, if we allow it.