The Daily Demarche
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Hurricane Kyoto
Meteorologists disagree about the cause and the extent of …[the] trend… but they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. Newsweek- April 28 1975

The threat…must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind. International Wildlife- July 1975

[It] has already killed hundreds of thousands of people in poor nations…If it continues and no strong measures are taken [it] will cause world famine, world chaos and probably world war, and this could all come by the year 2000. Lowell Ponte, 1976

The continued rapid [change] …since WWII is also in accord with increased global air pollution associated with industrialization, mechanization, urbanization and an exploding population. Global Ecology: Readings toward a Rational Strategy for Man 1971

At this point the world’s climatologists are agreed… how carefully we monitor our atmospheric pollution will have a direct affect on the arrival and nature of this weather crisis. The sooner man confronts these facts… the safer he will be. Science Digest 1973

I’ve been waiting for this- Katrina is still killing people and wreaking havoc, and of course it is all because we did not sign onto the Kyoto Accords. I knew I would not have to wait long to hear this, and today I did, at a reception chock full of diplomats from around the world, and that scourge of diplomacy, Honorary Consuls (these are generally folks with some tenuous tie to a nation too poor or disinterested to have an Embassy of their own in a given place, and so they bestow these titles, which seem to have the sole benefit of allowing the holder of the title to attend diplomatic functions and to beg for U.S. visas).

Anyhoo, there I was making my introductions and receiving the well wishes of many for the folks affected by Katrina when I caught an undercurrent of conversation. Chasing it down I found a small group, including an American or two (thus legitimizing the conversation) discussing the effects of global warming and the harm being done to the environment by the United States failure to sign Kyoto. No one came right out and said that not implementing Kyoto caused the hurricane (no diplomat takes a firm stand like that on anything) but there was plenty of innuendo that Global Warming (you can always hear the capital letters) had something to do with it, and that modern societies are to blame for the pollution that causes this warming. Further, it is all the fault of that vacation-loving scoundrel “W” that we did not sign the treaty, and that global warming continues unabated and that New Orleans is gone; never mind that Kyoto was first rejected in 1997. This was all being said in a room not two miles from workshops in which the locals burn used tires to fire thier kilns and heat their workshops. Ever smelled a burning tire, or seen the smoke those suckers throw off? Of course you haven't- you live in an industrialized society.

Being the new kid on the block I avoided the fray but took careful note of who was engaged in the conversation (not a single person was disagreeing, by the way). After all, we should have seen this coming. When foreign policy does not take into account the wrath of nature and the capricious avarice of man we are bound to reap what we have sown. The signs have been clear all along. Global warming is the current plague- prepare to bring out your dead. We have been warned by the experts for the last 30 some years.

Or have we?

Astute readers may have noticed a lot of ellipses in the quotes at the start of this piece, quotes dealing with climate change. Allow me to present those again, with the relevant items reinserted:

Meteorologists disagree about the cause and the extent of the cooling trend… but they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. Newsweek- April 28 1975

The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind. International Wildlife- July 1975

The cooling has already killed hundreds of thousands of people in poor nations…If it continues and no strong measures are taken to deal with it, the cooling will cause world famine, world chaos and probably world war, and this could all come by the year 2000. Lowell Ponte, 1976

The continued rapid cooling of the earth since WWII is also in accord with increased global air pollution associated with industrialization, mechanization, urbanization and an exploding population. Global Ecology: Readings toward a Rational Strategy for Man 1971

At this point the world’s climatologists are agreed that we do not have… tens of thousands of years to prepare for the next ice age and that how carefully we monitor our atmospheric pollution will have a direct affect on the arrival and nature of this weather crisis. The sooner man confronts these facts… the safer he will be. Science Digest 1973

I wish I had had these quotes at my fingertips earlier today.

Note: all quotes from All the Trouble in the World by P.J. O'Rourke.
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dé·marche 1) A course of action; a maneuver. 2) A diplomatic representation or protest 3) A statement or protest addressed by citizens to public authorities.

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