Friday, January 15, 2010

Rum Doings

Rum Doings is a podcast with John Walker and Nick Mailer, and is worth a listen. John Walker has appeared on many podcasts, because he has a problem, and is 1/4 of rps (or a more complicated faction if you add the occasionals to rps). Nick Mailer, to my knowledge, has not been on any podcasts. Its a podcast in which the two discuss stuff, mainly to bitch on issues. They have interesting opinions, especially mr Mailer, who I wish I could enter into a discusssion with. Some of the things he says are so wrong headed, I wonder if he really thinks them, or hasn't thought enough about them. Lacking a forum in which to argue them (well I could go to the month old blog post, but I suspect no-one would notice), I'm going to take issue with some of his points in podcast 10.

Podcast 10 begins with a rather accurate parody of the Now Show, which really does underline quite how tired that show can be. I don't have as much hatredy for the Now Show as they reserve for it, but a lot of the jokes really fall flat, and are tired variations on old gags. After this they discuss environmentalism. And Nick Mailer takes on the role of the skeptic.

Now, he cunningly does not suggest that we are not having an effect on the climate, but instead says that we cannot predict it. He does have several good points, and I will talk about them.

The idea that the earth has some perfect state, and humans are damaging it, is more than a little silly. The earth will not notice us. We can do damage, certainly, but the earth will outlast us in all probability. There are lots of events that could destroy our race but leave the earth still standing, and the global temperature chaning will have neither effect. Global warming does not mean the end of the human race, but its going to lead to a lot of damage, and millions of deaths.

So to address his mistakes, we are capable of more predictive power than he thinks, and there is a pretty strong consensus on where the climate is headed. Its all in error bars, of course, but its pretty certain there are going to be some dramatically bad effects within the next century or so. He makes the argument that if that happens, it happens, but the issue with this argument is that in all likelihood the nations that will suffer the least are the ones pumping out the most co2... ie us. The wealthiest nations will weather the storm, the developing ones will be damaged. We certainly shouldn't burden them to reduce their emissions too much- indeed, this isn't necessary, if the biggest producers would commit to a true reduction.

It may well be that a technological advance may save us from our ways; it has in the past, after all. Relying on that is a fools game, however, and reducing our emissions makes sense as well. This could be potentially very bad, and it behooves us to react on all fronts.

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At 10:46 pm, Blogger nmailer said...

Hello Mr K,

Listen to Episode 11. We're much more positive and bitch less :-)


PS Do not presume that "developed" and "developing" nations will remain constants.

At 11:10 am, Blogger Mr K said...

Heh, I did and greatly enjoyed it! Am a little freaked out you found my blog!

As your ps, you are of course correct, but part of the plan (as I understand it) for climate change tackling would be for the western nations to reduce their carbon footprint while developing nations continued to expand theirs, albeit at a reduced rate, the goal being that eventually nations would be producing the same amount of carbon each, which, at that point would be smaller. One thing I didn't mention in this post is that I'm deeply cynical of the political will to affect any change anyway, so we may have to live with out problems. I also agree that the best way to motivate change is through selfishness- we should be trying to save ourselves, not the planet.


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