Friday, October 09, 2009

"Climate Bombs"

Often it is difficult to know what to make of the NYT's Thomas Friedman. He is married to an exceedingly rich woman and lives in a $10M, 11.4 k ft^2 house, and can travel anywhere he wants to and has access to anyone he desires.

And he's prone to hyperbole. In his latest column, he writes about "climate bombs," as if they're just waiting around the corner and due to go off any minute now.
As we continue to build up carbon in the atmosphere to unprecedented levels, we never know when the next emitted carbon molecule will tip over some ecosystem and trigger a nonlinear climate event — like melting the Siberian tundra and releasing all of its methane, or drying up the Amazon or melting all the sea ice in the North Pole in summer. And when one ecosystem collapses, it can trigger unpredictable changes in others that could alter our whole world.
Yeah, sure. From the scientific papers I've seen, "tipping points" are just a big pile of maybes. Friedman is invoking them because it adds scariness to his sentiments. That's all. That's a lousy reason.

Nor is there any apparent "debt bomb." I've been hearing about the US's large debt since Carter was in office, and we keep adding gobs and gobs to it, and everyone is always appalled and yet it never seems to matter much, if any. Sure, we are paying about $300B/yr in interest service charges, but no one really seems to care or can really tell us why it matters now, and why it didn't matter 10 or 20 years ago. Where is that money going, anyway? Some of it to American bondholders, a good bit to Chinese bondholders. They're reinvesting it in putting up buildings and selling their crap back to us. Sure, we (ie America) is slowly losing ground in this big exchange, but so what? American is losing ground anyway? Americans have clearly chosen cheap crap from China over fiscal responsibility here. That's not going to change this year or next year -- it's essentially a constant. Frankly, the sooner America gets its ass kicked, and I mean seriously kicked, the better off the world will be, and probably us too.

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