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May 15, 2007

Why we laugh at global warming

This is my 10th post on global warming since January, when I switched to New Blogger and began using labels.

You might wonder why I've written so much about it. After all, I have no science background; I haven't read the scholarly literature on it, pro or con; and, quite frankly, I don't find the subject terribly interesting. So let's examine what I've written up till now to see if we can figure it out. (You can click here or on the label below and start reading from the bottom up.) In order:

(1) A photo comic of Hillary talking about cow flatulence and hawking anti-flatulent underwear for people. (2) An observation that the issuance of global warming reports seems to cause cold weather. (3) A link to a joke at protein wisdom about carbon offsets for flatulence. (4) A discussion of a news item about "flatulence cards" to offset flatulence. (5) An item about environmentally conscious sex. (6) A visit from someone who was searching for this: "did the jew cause global warming?" (7) A second observation that the issuance of global warming reports seems to cause cold weather. (8) A news item that the EU is focusing on cow flatulence in an effort to fight global warming. (9) A rumination on the idea that global warming causes everything and its opposite, including both lengthening and shortening the 24-hour day.

Do you see a theme here? Global warming is immensely amusing to someone as infantile as I am.

Now, if you'd read the global warming alarmists, you would understand that the world as we know it is about to end (if it hasn't already), that to fight global warming we'll have to make enormous changes in our way of life and spend inordinate sums in tax dollars, and that none of this really is going to work, anyway.

So if the world is completely doomed, why am I laughing?

The answer comes from an interesting article from BBC News, entitled "Climate messages are 'off target.'"

Alarmist messages about global warming are counter-productive, the head of a leading climate research centre says.

Professor Mike Hulme, of the UK's Tyndall Centre, has been conducting research on people's attitudes to media portrayals of a catastrophic future.

He says strong messages designed to prompt people to change behaviour only seem to generate apathy.
Apathy or, in my case, smartassery. He gives a candid evaluation of the situation:
"There has been over-claiming or exaggeration, or at the very least casual use of language by scientists, some of whom are quite prominent," Professor Hulme told BBC News.
Prof. Hulme's study compared the responses of people who were shown alarmist stuff in the media with those of people shown merely the calmer scientific research.
The initial findings suggest that those shown doom-laden messages tended to believe the problem could come to a head further into the future. This group also felt there was little they could do to affect the planet's future.
And a lot of them began to make flatulence jokes.