Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Climate Change...and Ultrarunning

I forget from whence I found this post (Thinking the Unthinkable: What if America’s Leaders Actually Want Catastrophic Climate Change?), whether it was my own surfing or if I got directed there.  But for the conspiracy theorist in all of us, I find just enough truth here to give me pause.

What if the leaders of the United States -- and by leaders I mean the generals in the Pentagon, the corporate executives of the country’s largest enterprises, and the top officials in government -- have secretly concluded that while world-wide climate change is indeed going to be catastrophic, the US, or more broadly speaking, North America, is fortuitously situated to come out on top in the resulting global struggle for survival?

I’m not by nature a conspiracy theorist, but this horrifying thought came to me yesterday as I batted away yet another round of ignorant rants from people who insist against all logic that climate change is a gigantic fraud being perpetrated, variously, by a conspiracy of the oil companies who allegedly want to benefit from carbon credit trading, the scientific community, which allegedly is collectively selling out and participating in some world-wide system of omerta in order to get grants, or the world socialist conspiracy, which of course, is trying to destroy capitalism), or all the above. (God, whenever I write anything on climate change these people hit me with flame-mail like mayflies spattering a car windshield in mating season!)

What prompted me to this dark speculation about an American conspiracy of inaction was the seemingly incomprehensible failure of the US -- in the face of overwhelming evidence that the Earth is heating up at an accelerating rate, and that we are in danger of soon reaching a point of no return where the process feeds itself -- to do anything to reduce either this country’s annual production of more atmospheric CO2, or to promote some broader international agreement to slow the production of greenhouse gases.

Author Dave Lindorff points out that inaction in the face of global catastrophe makes no sense at all....

....Unless, that is, you consider that in a dog-eat-dog environment of nations struggling to survive in a world that, as the World Bank’s latest report predicts, could be 4°C hotter (7.2°F) by as early as 2060, with mass starvation in Africa, Asia and South America, flooding of critical river deltas and low-elevation population centers like Shanghai, Bangladesh, Holland, etc., and the loss of most of the world’s fish to an acidified ocean, the US could be sitting pretty, at least relatively speaking. Sure low-lying places like Cape Cod, the Outer Banks, the lower Florida peninsula, New Orleans, and the Rockaways and the Manhattan financial district would be gone, but given this nation’s current wealth and military power, its vast natural resources, and its widely varied climate zones, including Alaska, the U.S. could probably come out ahead in such a survival-of-the-fittest struggle.

The rest of the article expounds further on the unthinkable, and is well worth clicking over to read the whole thing.

It always helps, in analyzing motives, to follow the money, or stated another way, to ask the simple question, "Who stands to benefit from this?"

I can truly see the twisted logic that could yield this course of action.  Rather than needing to advocate some bold course of action and convince enough people to get on board, all the proponents would have to do is to promote continuing inaction, an infinitely easier path.

Nevermind that the planet that our "leaders" would then preside over would have become a hellhole.

The link to Ultrarunning, of course, is that we gain our physical and psychological strength from the quality time we spend in the backcountry.  If we are reduced to a world in which mere survival is paramount, there will be no time for leisure pursuits such as running for pleasure.  Or much else, for that matter.


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