Monday, February 12, 2007

Global Hysteria - UPDATED

I'm no scientist, and neither is Al Gore. Given the fact that the entire scientific community can't quite seem to come to a unanimous agreement on the global warming issue, I'm not quite ready to give in to the hype yet. While I'll grant you that it did seem to take our winter down here a couple of weeks longer to arrive, I can also tell you that it's been one of our chillier winters. Even for Southern California, where "chilly" means "had to put a sweater on, Dude." I don't even want to get into New York and, what is it now, 142 inches of snow? And counting?

No, Al Gore is no scientist. What Al Gore is, precisely, is a politician. Politicians in the Al Gore vein are competent at only one thing: scaring people into supporting their position. And this is something that Al Gore has orchestrated beautifully. Scaring people is how politicians make money. Barbra Streisand makes money for candidates by scaring her friends into believing that without their money the evil Republicans will kill their children and scorch the earth. Republicans make money by scaring their friends into believing that Hillary will make Barbra her Secretary of Defense. Hmm. That one might almost make me give money to the RNC next year. Or not.

Anyway, I'm afraid that, for Woody, the jury is still out on global warming. This is not to say I categorically deny the existence or dangers of greenhouse gasses. I'm all for cleaning up the environment because I believe it to be part of our sacred trust as stewards of the planet we occupy. At some point I may even be wealthy enough to purchase a hybrid vehicle. Hybrids just aren't where I need them to be right now as I contemplate buying a new(er) family vehicle. I would need a hybrid mini-van - not an SUV - and they're just not available yet. But my need for the mini-van trumps the availability of green technology. My apologies. My next car-buying cycle won't appear for (hopefully) another ten years or so, either. But I promise to feel appropriately guilty for buying a carbon-burner this time around.

Perhaps by the time I'm ready to buy again Arnie will have finally created the infrastructure we need to actually support hydrogen technology. That would be great. The problem there is timing. I suspect that the infrastructure won't be ready until I retire, and I sure as heck don't plan to retire anywhere in California. We have, what, 23 (count 'em!) hydrogen stations in the entire state right now, but it won't be viable for long distance travel until we have stations up and down the entire I-5 corridor. Yes, I know that hydrogen cars are supposed to burn both fuels, but I'd rather go whole-hog when I convert. Also, there's no way I'd be able to afford a hydrogen vehicle for quite awhile, unless I'm willing to live in one. So I'm not holding my breath for hydrogen. (Har.)

[Side note: If we have 23 working hydrogen stations and 14 planned, but there are only, like, two hydrogen vehicles in the entire state right now, could that be why we've already decommissioned one station? Just askin'.]

But back to Gore and his Screaming Meemies. I have mentioned elsewhere that there are two classes of people for whom I harbor an instinctive mistrust: politicians (and, by extension, lawyers), and scientists looking for grant money. These two classes of people will do - and say - anything to get our money.

Sorry. This bank is closed.

UPDATE: As if to solidify my position. Politicians make lousy scientists. And vice versa.

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