Sunday, July 8, 2007

Credible Sources - Well the jury is in. Woodenfest (as the Live Earth concerts were described elsewhere) were only slightly more popular than the Iraq War, and far less substantial in their aims. We know for sure that attendance was less than stellar in Rio de Janeiro, and there were more than a few empty seats at some of the other venues as a well, as reported by the LA Times.
Exactly how often can you stage a once-in-a-lifetime event? That [was] the challenge Saturday for the organizers of Live Earth, the latest in a long line of huge concerts-for-a-cause. This time the issue is global warming — which is fitting considering the event isn't generating quite as much heat as hoped.

That's despite all-star lineups with such A-list rock, pop and hip-hop acts as Madonna, the Police, Justin Timberlake, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye West and more than 100 others on stages in eight cities around the world, including East Rutherford, N.J.; London; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Sydney.

Yet snags have developed. The Johannesburg concert has been scaled back after tepid ticket sales, and a show planned for Istanbul was canceled altogether in the face of financial and logistical snags.
This does not surprise, as at best the whole affair was merely a reason to have a concert with A-list performers (although the LA Times quoted Roger Daltrey of The Who as saying "[t]he last thing the planet needs is a rock concert.") A less charitable interpretation of the event would be that it was a grand exercise in psychological onanism, a bloated spectacle of masturbation for the soul. This seems especially the case for the "Goracle," so outsized is his need for validation; he always seems to be saying to the world "I care more than you, therefore I am more special than you."

At worst, the concerts did genuine harm, both to the earth (by way of the massive amount of energy used and waste generated in connection with the concerts) and to the cause of fighting climate change itself. The concerts were roundly panned by no less than Sir Bob Geldof, among others, for having an objective that was unclear at best, as reported by the NY Times
"Live Earth doesn't have a final goal," he said in May, adding that it would be useful only if it forced politicians and corporations to announce concrete environmental measures.

Arctic Monkeys's drummer, Matt Helders, was also outspoken, saying it would be "a bit patronizing" to think his youthful group could change the world. "Especially when we're using enough power for 10 houses just for lighting, it would be a bit hypocritical," he told Agence France-Presse after a recent concert in Paris.

The Times article went on point out the criticism of "the energy-expending habits of many performers, some of whom, it has been reported, flew their private planes halfway across the world to play in the concerts." (If only the Times would remind us of the energy-expending habits of Mr. Gore.) As mentioned elsewhere, the environmental movement is the most easily dismissed of all movements, entirely because of the rank hypocrisy of its leaders. To imagine that such world-class frequent fliers as Snoop Dogg, Metallica, The Pussycat Dolls and Ludacris would be able to inspire anyone to act in support of the climate is, well, ludicrous.

Now on to more enviro-lunacy. Speaking of the Times, the online version of a recent article in the British daily The Times went on to discuss "Ten predictions about climate change that have come true." Among the prognostications that have supposedly become manifest was that "Australia would start drying out," with a proof source of scientists from the U.K.'s Hadley Centre for Climate Change. The anthropogenic "drying out" of the landscape allegedly seen down under must be of a piece with the type that global warming supporters would contend is contributing to the wildfires seen in the Lake Tahoe area presently. The San Francisco Chronicle certainly seemed to suggest as much with this comment.

The Forest Service's [regional ecologist Hugh] Safford noted that even the climate has come under human influence, as evidenced by global warming and increased forest fires in a dryer, warmer West.

A study being prepared documents what Safford described as a significant increase in Sierra fires during the past 21 years, which clearly goes beyond any naturally occurring cycle.

Of course there are more than a few who would contend that the fires that have been seen in the last few years out West are as much a result of the efforts of the environmentalist movement as anything else. A resident of the area says exactly as much in a video from NBC Nightly News. And it has ever been thus; environmental regulations on forest management have clearly served to jeopardize both forests and the humans living in their vicinity, resulting directly in the damage and loss of life and property from wildfires that we have witnessed in California, Nevada and elsewhere.

To be sure, even if the earth's climate has been getting warmer over the past 50 years - a debatable proposition, as global temperatures have plateaued since the late 1990s (as discussed here and here), we are surely more at risk from liberalism's "solutions" to the problem than we are from any increase in either CO2 or global temperatures themselves. Especially given that the remedies will consist of little more than the solutions the Left proposes for every problem, no matter the type or complexity (as noted by former-Congressman Tom Delay.)
Tell me, has any Democratic politician ever - ever - proposed something innovative, original or even clever to solve the hot environmental issue of the moment? No matter whether it's the ozone, the ocean or anything in between, the response is always the same: more government, more regulation, higher taxes, more spending, less freedom. I don't doubt that liberals care about the environment, for the simple reason that everyone cares about the environment, but their environment agenda is just their labor agenda, their education agenda, their fiscal agenda, their trade agenda, their social agenda and their health care agenda packaged under a different name.
In truth, the real question is not whether Democrats have better ideas regarding climate change than Republicans, but rather why the gloom and doom scenario is taken seriously by so many people of various political persuasions. To be sure, the case for anthropogenic global warming gets more tenuous all the time, especially in light of research presented in American Scientist on melting ice on Mt. Kilimanjaro. While the glaciers on Mt. Kilimanjaro are routinely cited as evidence of man's impact on the earth's climate, it appears that "Kilimanjaro... has gained and lost ice through processes that bear only indirect connections, if any, to recent trends in global climate."

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