Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Global Warming Snark

So Instapundit links approvingly to some snark about the global warming conference in Bali. The main points: (a) people will have to fly there (b) ha ha ha liberals suck. Or something like that. More specifically, the Bali conference will, of course, have a carbon footprint, and I guess Insty et. al. think it's too big.

Nobody here is being very precise, because, of course, this is little more than ideological snark. Supposing conferences are really worthwhile, then, given that global warming is a real problem, it seems like a good idea to have a conference on it. Maybe Bali isn't the best place in the world from a carbon-emissions standpoint, but people would be flying no matter where it was, so it isn't clear how much this matters.

Look, solving global warming will require some carbon emissions. Complaining about this is rather like complaining about the use of X-rays to detect cancer, or complaining about people driving to a conference on traffic congestion. Of course this contributes a bit to the problem right now, but it's in service of solving the problem in the long run.

Would a teleconference have been just as effective? Probably not. Could they have just as well done it somewhere other than Bali? Yes. Is this a Big Ass Deal? Well, I guess I'm not really sure. It certainly seems to me like one could find a more efficient and businesslike location than Bali...though maybe the idea is that Bali will lure people there who might not have come otherwise, and that that's important. I'm not dead set on defending these folks, but just pointing out that they are flying to the conference is a silly criticism.

Thank god for the snarkosphere. Without it, snark like this would never get global dissemination. And then where would we be?


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Bali is close to nothing. If they held the global warming confab, say in the suburbs of Paris, hehe, half the mightily-concerned could have taken mass transit.

Plus, private jets pollute like all get-out, and the Bali airport is scheduled to be swamped by them for the conference.

Now, if this is a political issue, that's fine. But when global warming is put up as a "moral issue," then the preachers accrue some "moral" responsibility themselves.

I mean, we take such delight when Jimmy Swaggart or Ted Haggard fall short of their own target of "morality." At least they have the decency to cry about their failings, even if they don't actually mean it.

I mean if you're going to be a hypocrite, the least you can do is be hypocritical about it. These smarmy global warming mooks are unapologetic about taking private jets to Bali while having the gall to ask me to stop barbecuing in my own damn back yard.

3:44 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

In the original posts, however, the main objection is against having a conference at all. Objections to the location are secondary. I acknowledge that the location seems sub-optimal--though depending on where the bulk of the participants are coming from, it could possibly turn out to be better than, say, Cincinnati. Though I doubt it.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Well, like all committee meetings, conferences are overrated. And a quick look at the globe indicates that "sub-optimal" is overgenerous. The objection about the "moral issue" stands.

4:00 PM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

Can you believe it? Businessmen claim that they want to make money for their shareholders, yet they continue to lease expensive property and pay employee salaries. What a bunch of hypocrites!

9:02 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, it's the way of the world...

Conferences may be overrated, but teleconferences are VASTLY overrated.

Still, one would hope for better from folks like this on their very issue.

I'm not defending them on the Bali point. I'm defending them about having a conference. Conferences are more effective than teleconferences. If you really think the Earth is facing disaster, this is not the time to try to do things on the cheap, carbon-wised. It's being penny wise and pound foolish.

Still, the Bali thing is pretty bad.

11:10 AM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

Some very belated comments - hey, sometimes thinking takes time.

The first important number is the marginal carbon footprint of the Bali conference. How many planes flew there that would not otherwise have flown there, just with empty seats? As far as I know, no one has tried to ferret out that difficult number, least of all David Appell, who had to correct his original obviously bogus number, lowering it by a factor of 1000. Of course, our friend Larry Craig took a military jet to Bali, so he's not helping. Let's hope he had other pols along and that the lavatory was fully enclosed.

The second important number is what the conference would have cost in carbon relative to holding it somewhere else. New York isn't close to anything either, other than Washington and Ottawa. While the U.S. is still the biggest liberator of carbon, the emerging economies of Asia are very dirty and will be a growing problem for a long time. Imagine, holding this conference in Asia!

(By the way, Indonesia is the fourth largest country by population in the world.)

9:11 AM  

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