Monday, December 21, 2009


My father worked for a dairy in the 1950s. The vehicle in which he made his deliveries was an electric truck. From what he's told me, the electric truck kept up with traffic, and held its charge long enough for him to make his day's rounds. Although the cars in those days were different than today's ultra-modern gas guzzlers, the municipal speed limit in those days was still 30/mph as it is today. That truck carried my dad safely and effectively everywhere he needed to go in his modest pursuit of a livelihood.

That was well over 50 years ago. There are still no viable electric cars on the consumer market. At the same time, the bloated, arrogant, uninnovative North American auto industry has never been in worse shape. Had our auto engineers not spent the last four or more decades perfecting "built-in obsolescence," maybe they would not have been reduced to becoming executive suite beggars. Yes, absolutely, our cars are much safer these days -- no question. But have you also noticed that they break down so soon after their warranties run out? Now that takes real engineering!

The fact that a species as self-destructive and counter-intuitive as the human race has existed so long is nearly enough to force a belief within me in a supreme being; in an intelligent designer who is also a Swiftian satirist with an insatiable taste for the macabre.

So, the climate talks in Copenhagen were a debacle from first to last, and nothing worth anything came out of them. Considering this counter-intuitive species sent the most self-interested and corrupt of its line into these talks, I can't say I'm shocked. The United States placed demands upon its landlord, China, to little effect. Developing nations mutinied when they felt their grievances weren't being taken seriously by the developed nations, and thus were cast as ungrateful recipients of our e- and other types of waste.

President Barak Obama certainly made it sound like wonderful things came out of Copenhagen, but it must be remembered that he could make leprosy sound like incremental weight loss.

What is it that people don't get about climate change? There are any number of people we hear about in the media -- politicians, often -- who don't even believe that it's occurring, though a preponderance of scientists around the world say that, Oh yes, it fucking well is.

Personally, I don't care about ice that's melting in a region of the world I'll never visit. I am, however, sick of breathing pollution. I'm also sick of paying for gasoline. (No doubt, the day we actually do have viable electric cars on the consumer market, our power plants will be run on gasoline.)

Why can't we get back to calling climate change what it really is? It's pollution. Nobody can say that pollution doesn't exist.

I'm also sick of the specious reasoning that says reducing pollution would hurt our economy. Again, let's call this what it really is: A few of Dick Cheney's friends might make a billion or two dollars less this year, and thus not pay off their mortgages on Neptune, Uranus and Saturn as quickly as they'd hoped. Yeah, Dick Cheney's old news, but he remains a useful thumbnail sketch of unalloyed evil.

Creating solar panels for the consumer housing market wouldn't help the economy? Geothermal heating would be a loss-leader? There's nothing to be gained by simply using rain barrels at one's house, and saving a little on the water bill? And given the sustained outcry for electric cars, I suppose that electric vehicles also wouldn't make any money. Actually, that last one might actually occur if the homunculus Detroit executives are involved. Those stupid motherfuckers could lose money dealing cocaine.

So, the talks in Brokenhagen failed. Everyone except President Obama knows it. North America has shipped hundreds of thousands of jobs to China in the past 20 years, and now turns around and thinks it can dictate terms to its landlord. Reducing pollution is deemed not economically feasible; or, at least, not profitable enough for our greedhead potentates to be interested. And my father got to use technology in the 1950s that is unavailable to me today.

This is Swiftian satire on a global scale.

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