Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Gore’s movie stimulates ‘science’ debate.

Some scientist don’t believe the earth is warming. Scientist still debate evolution, destroying the remaining samples of smallpox, the origins of the universe and who’s going to win the next super bowl. The voting public doesn’t really care. What they do care about is the cost of gasoline, their family and friends dying in Iraq and the possibility of losing their own life (or loved ones) by terrorism or bird flu.

Anyone seeking immediate and sensible changes in fossil fuel consumption should stick to the fact that U.S. dependence on foreign oil is one of our most serious national security threats. Every gallon of gasoline we buy ultimately helps fund those who want to kill us. On another level, a well organized terrorist attack on our oil supply would cripple the US economically. Related complications would cost thousands of American lives, jobs and obliterate what little social cohesion America has left.

Climate change, if it is proven beyond any doubt (and I believe it will be), will create many problems…but none that can’t be solved or overcome by massive investments in various counter measures. In short, it would be a great jobs program. Governments would either fund these projects or suffer elimination via violent overthrow or irrelevance.

There is a threat however, that is far more lethal, immediate and inevitable than global warming. The threat of infectious diseases. There have been no fewer than 6 prestigious studies/report over the last 12 years that all came to the same uncontested conclusion (all infectious disease scientists agree!!!). Pandemics and other disease threats happen. They are getting worse. We are over due for a big one. The intentional release of infectious agents (bioterrorism) is a growing threat that could be as devastating as a natural pandemic (see Weaponized Smallpox).

If my memory serves me Gore states that global warming could cause an additional 300,000 deaths a year. Drop in the bucket!!! Easily preventable infectious disease kill that many children every 10 DAYS. A bird flu pandemic could even put these ghastly numbers to shame. Yes, climate change contributes to the increase of infectious diseases but that impact is tiny compared to the impact of poverty, war, crime, poor governance and other forms of environmental degradation (dirty water). Universal access to clean water and sanitation alone would cut global infectious diseases by half.

Bottom line. If you want Americans to stop burning fossil fuels make the case that their oil addiction fuels terrorism.

If you want to be rational about the greatest threats we face … consider focusing attention (generating political will) to end the worst aspects of poverty. If you want to reduce chances of a bioterrorist attack…insist on a more rational foreign policy that makes us more friends in the world instead of more enemies.

If on the other hand, you insist on caring more about protecting the future environment than reducing the current lethal threats already wiping out masses of innocent people…don’t expect a lot of attention for your pet concern. At least, not while we are still in a war against mass murderers (with increasing access to WMD) and an inevitable pandemic just around the corner. You can debate the science of climate change until earth turns to hell or freezes over. There is no debate about the security risks associated with our oil dependence or the threat of infectious diseases…unless you are talking to a an oil CEO or a Christian Scientist.

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