10 December 2009

Now or Never on Global Warming

It is clear that this new proposal to cut down all the trees and dump them in the ocean, with each tied to a rock so that it sinks to the bottom, thus sequestering the carbon forever, would work, and is exactly the kind of thinking we need to act on immediately without questioning, before it is too late. Unfortunately it is, at best, no more than a short-term solution.

While we support the proposal, which has recently passed the legislature with bipartisan support and is headed for the president's desk, it does have some obvious flaws. For example, once the ocean fills up with trees, how will the oil tankers get around the world to deliver the precious fuel that is the lifeblood of our economy? Where, pray, will we build our great underwater cities, with their fabulous rotundas and world-famous shrimp bars, with all those logs down there mucking everything up?

It may also be objected that the trees will just grow back, as if this were an argument against rather than for the plan. In any event, these are the sort of specifics that should be worked out during the implementation phase. The priority now is to stop asking questions and immediately start felling trees and getting them aboard a steamer, each firmly tethered to a stone of sufficient size to sink it to the seabed. Ladies and Gentlemen, stop telling us why you can't, or feel you shouldn't - the time for such questioning is past. Now is the time for doing.

The Times always exercises extreme caution so as not to over-inflame public sentiment - and yet it does not seem too much to say that if we do not act now, before it is too late, we are headed for certain doom.

9 comments:

  1. Now this is what I'm talking about, finally something sensible on this topic. People say fighting global warming will ruin our economy, but this plan will create hundreds of thousands of jobs. I say enough hand-wringing, let's get those chainsaws cranking.

    ReplyDelete
  2. OK the cutting down of trees would create lotsa jobs, but we have to look past the initial upside and account for the many costs of this ambitious proposal. How do we value the loss of shade from our trees? What is the value of an old-fashioned tree swing?

    ReplyDelete
  3. As trees are cut down the value of the remaining trees will rise. People will have an incentive not to cut their trees down, and overcoming their resistance may require resorting to force or other unpleasant methods. I think at the very least the idea requires further study, all the more so because of the urgency with which it is being presented.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree with that but don't forget about the flip side: think of the market this will create for artificial trees. There are already many companies secretly working on artificial trees that have all the environmental benefits of regular trees but many nice additional features such as automated foliage management (AFM) and self-pruning systems, easily installable treehouse modules, freedom from bugs, disease, and so on. Companies that can produce high quality and affordable artificial trees can win huge market share in this increasingly important industry.

    ReplyDelete
  5. So how long will it take until the ocean is full of trees? I know the ocean is huge, but then there's a lot of forests and the biggest trees are like gigantic. Plus people are lazy and are likely to dump the trees near the coastal areas, ruining our best beaches. I say we need to cut down this idea, tie it to a big rock and sink it fast.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The key is in what Dale103 said. Unfortunately it will not work because there will always be cheaters. That is one thing from psychology 101 that you forgot. Human nature means humans will always act in their self interest. Some will see that by not cutting down their trees they will suddenly own a valuable asset. Therefore strict enforcement will be necessary to make sure that every tree is taken down, and quickly, no footdragging or excuses about the weather or what have you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Did anyone else notice that Mavis is an idiot? There is plenty of ocean to dump all the trees in and it will never run out, that's the least of our problems. Not to even mention the Great Lakes, and the Caspian Sea while we're at it, oh and what about Lake Baikal it's only the deepest lake in the world. Think how many trees those will hold, many of which are conveniently growing right on the shores!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Although I do not entirely agree with the tree plan, I'm happy to see that at least someone is thinking outside the box on global warming. Personally I am not worried. It is a problem that will solve itself. The mass die-off will reduce economic activity and thus emissions sufficiently to avert a serious catastrophe.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is so stupid! The trees will just grow back anyway! How will we cut them down fast enough? We need something that poisons the earth and stops EVERYTHING from growing. Just my two cents.

    ReplyDelete

Please leave your "comment" in the box so it's easy for us to clean up after. Your call will be answered in the order it is received.