Viridian Note 00195: Greening Earth on USBruce Sterling [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Attention Conservation Notice: A feckless gush of bizarre speculation from the Viridian bete noire, Greening Earth Society.
(((Our recent Note 00194 described in detail how American coal companies set up a fake grassroots organization to launch a national public relations effort. Readers might wonder if we Viridians have some partisan take on American politics and if we plan to recommend a candidate at the American polls. The answer is no. Our Viridian victory condition requires the Greenhouse Effect to be recognized globally as a simple and nonpartisan fact of life.
(((Our enemies aren't any party in particular, but the denial industry. Furthermore, we Viridians aren't the only ones who can speculate to our net.readership about sinister acts of political spin and black propaganda. We thought it might amuse Viridians to see how the Greening Earth Society analyzes the upcoming elections. We may note that the Greening Earth Society purports to be just as non-partisan as we are. They don't much care which party is in power in Washington as long as their banker, Fred Palmer, is freely allowed to sell coal.)))
In an election that at least promises to be close,
Indeed, electioneering no longer relies on one
"surprise," but a calculated series of events. This
October, some will have to do with school choice, some
with health care, and some with the environment.
Of the latter, look for the long-forgotten "Ozone
Hole," global warming, and the fate of the United States
to be all tied up in one issue.
The signs are already there. On Sept. 11 the Washington
Post published a lurid NASA graphic (showing,
incidentally, last year's ozone hole) along with a caption
announcing that this year's ozone depletion in the
Antarctic stratosphere, which bottoms out (conveniently)
around Oct. 20, has been taking place at an unprecedented
Never mind that current early-season depletion rates
don't necessarily predict what the annual nadir will look
claimed to have discovered extraterrestrial life in Martian rocks, right at the time their budget was being marked up. It turned out they were wrong, but that was long after paychecks began to flow.
(((I won't do any headscratching over this odd allegation
that NASA fakes space data in order to get Presidents
elected. The strange development here is that Greening
Earth's climate denial pseudoscientists have always tended
to be extremely pro-NASA. "Never mind the Earth, let's
blast off and settle Mars," that sort of thing. One
really has to wonder why Greening Earth is picking a
public fight with NASA, unless they've just gotten so used
to Lysenkoist tactics that they slander every scientist
We predict that in October, NASA will announce that the ozone hole has grown so large that it threatens the populace of far-south Chile, Argentina, and South Africa. The last includes the many million inhabitants of Cape Town.
(((If I'm properly following the reasoning here, this
would mean some kind of Fake NASA Ozone Pan-Africanist
Race Card for Gore.)))
How could anyone get political mileage out of that?
After all, the Montreal Protocol, signed a decade ago and
ratified by the U.S. Senate by 99 to 1, specifically
phases out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the refrigerants
commonly thought to be the main cause of ozone depletion,
and CFCs are going down.
Look for NASA to argue that the ozone hole is still
ozone depletes. Right now, NASA's itching to connect the
two issues in the service of Gore's election.
(((Greening Earth Society is never barmier than when
they start citing the "rules" of physics.)))
Within days of that pronouncement, we predict, the Administration will release its "National Assessment" of global warming, which will forecast hell and damnation for
us in coming decades unless we dramatically reduce our use
How hard it is to play that one? Let's see...the No. 1
corporate contributor to Bush's campaign is the biggest
natural gas company in the world, Enron Corp. The argument
will go a little something like this: The most eminent
scientists in the nation all predict environmental
disaster unless we curtail our use of fossil fuels and my
opponent's largest contributors are the corporate
polluters who created this problem. It's a no-brainer.
(((It's an even bigger no-brainer to play the populist
card against big oil when oil prices are soaring, but Al
Gore seems to have that one figured out already.)))
George Dubya better have a "major league" answer for that, or he's going to be saying "rats" come election day. His early advisors on global warming were the Environmental Defense Fund (now called "Environmental Defense" to defend against the notion that it is somehow associated with money). If there are any big-name scientists who are helping him out here, they haven't revealed themselves, and Bush's inability to either attack or defend on this issue suggest he hasn't hired any.
(((Strictly speaking, one isn't supposed to "hire" scientists. Scientists are supposed to be objective experts dispassionately weighing the evidence: that's why they're called "scientists." However, hiring them has always been the only way Greening Earth can ever get any.)))
Further, had we done what Gore proposes in Earth in the
Balance (note the present tense: the latest edition of
that tome is dated April 22, 2000), we would have gasoline
prices higher than they currently are in riot-torn
Britain! Don't forget British gas prices are up there in
large part because of a tax levied specifically to fight
global warming. Sir John Houghton, a former senior officer
in the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,
used to opine that "we have to get people out of their
cars" because of same. Looks like he got what he wished
for, only instead of being out and walking, they're out
Perhaps the best way to deal with the upcoming October Surprises is to note that global warming has been going on for most of our lives and all we have to show for it are prosperity, greater life expectancy, and a greener planet.