"What nourishes me, also destroys me … "
People hate cold. Cold makes some body parts hard and others small. Cold gives you frostbite and makes beach volleyball unpleasant. Car windshields frost over and cats stay inside and poop in the corner.
That’s why it's entirely conceivable to believe that everyone would act on climate change if it was making the world cool down instead of warming it up.
If all this CO2 was cranking up the A/C instead of blowing out the radiator, we’d burn climate-denying politicians for warmth … and for pleasure.
But it’s not making it colder. The globe is warning; warming like a camel’s balls in a Sahara caravan, like Trump’s plumpish Miss Universe during a forced workout session, like Venus warmed up long ago and killed all hope for life. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere has passed 400 parts per million, heat records are piling up like home run records in 1998 and polar bears are shitting themselves brown. This is the warmest the planet has been in over 100,000 years. It's disasterous.
We understand, on an intellectual level, that global warming is a slow-moving tragedy and that our grandchildren will spit on our graves because of it. That residents of third world coasts will gurgle curses about us with their last drowning breaths. But right now, these warmer temps represent pleasant days. It’s fall and people are willingly riding their bikes to work … in Colorado … in shorts. In Los Angeles, three days ago it was 104 degrees, and the beaches were packed. Convertible tops stay down longer, the pools stays uncovered — tan lines stay farmer.
And so we ain’t doin’ jack about it …
Yes, Obama signed the Paris accords, Teslas are flying off showroom floors and indigenous tribes are shutting down pipelines. But there’s no carbon tax, there aren’t many solar subsidies, the country is ignoring hydro power and sense-deficient truck-driving maniacs are “rolling coal” like it’s 1850 in London. Some things are happening, but not near enough to counter-act the nothingness.
We’re just gonna wear flip flops in October and tank tops in November until the soil dries up and we die of starvation in our swimsuits in December — at least we’ll die thin. Why do you think most of the population growth in the United States is happening not in Minnesota or Seattle but in the Sun Belt? It isn't because Houston’s culture is crazy amazing or because Dallas has such a kicking art scene.
It wouldn’t be this way if the climate was getting chilly. If we had to put on more jackets instead of taking them off, we’d stone Escalade drivers to death. We’d blow up Gulfstream jets. We’d hate Donald Trump so hard for claiming 'global cooling' is a hoax, instead of just hating him for all the other reasons.
Too bad climatology doesn't work that way, and that global warming is spiraling out of control, and that it’s hard to convince people that something is bad when it feels so damn pleasant. It’s like how we love foods that also kill millions of us with obesity. It’s as if we had a gun to our heads, but the nozzle was covered in velour or the cyanide capsules tasted like Jolly Ranchers.
And it’s sort of too bad — and sort of amazing — that the things that cause this spike in global temperatures (like factories and airplanes and big houses), are also the things that create massive wealth and the most comfortable lives in the history of the world. So, for all kinds of reasons, it’s going to be hard to kick this carbon habit, because it feels so damn good.
Quod me nutrit me destruit ("What nourishes me also destroys me"), said the Romans. If global warming is wrong, we’re all implicitly saying, we don’t want to be right.