Viridian Note 00195: Greening Earth on US

Bruce Sterling []


Key concepts
Greening Earth Society, political speculation, Al Gore, Greenhouse Effect, presidential elections 02000, NASA, ozone hole, British fuel blockades

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.)))


Beware the October Surprises

In an election that at least promises to be close,
command and control of the issues == from "RATS" to
prescription drugs == looms increasingly large. Whoever
gets a "bounce" of a few points at the end of October is
likely to be motorcading down Pennsylvania Avenue on Jan.
20, 2001.

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 rate.

Never mind that current early-season depletion rates

don't necessarily predict what the annual nadir will look
like. What NASA is doing == as it has done so well in the
past == is aiding and abetting Gore. And why not? Gore has
made it quite plain through the years that he intends to
pay NASA handsomely if they will help him with his green
agenda. This is the same agency that, two years ago,

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 they see.)))

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
getting worse because of == you guessed it == global
warming. The rules of physics tell us that surface
warming caused by an increasing concentration of
greenhouse gases must be accompanied by a cooling of the
stratosphere, and the colder it is up there, the more that

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
of fossil energy == coal, oil, and natural gas.

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 and blockading.

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.