William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Carbon coaching

In one Seinfeld episode, Kramer has joined the annual Manhattan AIDS walk but has refused to wear the symbolic twisted red ribbon. He is confronted by an angry group of fellow walkers, and one asks him, “What’s the matter. Why won’t you wear the ribbon? Aren’t you against AIDS?”

That last question was revealing. It tells us that the walk participants hadn’t the least interest in the science of disease transmission, of proteins and polymerase chain reactions, of horizontal DNA transmission rates, and so on. Being against AIDS—and all that that entailed—was all that mattered.

But you cannot be against a disease. Viruses and bacteria aren’t political, don’t take a stand, and haven’t even the nervous system to be aware of their disruptions. They are immune to protests and activism. No matter how politically pure of heart you are, you can still be infected.

And now we learn, via the Telegraph, that a number of prominent celebrities have “have all joined protests against climate change.” Miley Cyrus herself has even penned a song which contains the line, “You know that you want to” help the Earth. Deep. Cate Blanchett has dictated, “Political failure at Copenhagen in December is quite simply unacceptable.” Unacceptable!—do you hear me?

Yes, star power will help. Gaia herself will finally awaken and decide that, from the moment Leonard DiCaprio became environmentally aware, the Earth’s climate will henceforth no longer change. It will remain static and ideal. Every day will be like a summer’s afternoon, rain will be plentiful, clouds will be fluffy and inspirational, and those who own expensive beach houses will never again have to worry about erosion.

Sigh. You cannot be against climate change. The climate has never, not ever, been static. It is always changing, and always will change. No matter how many activists, no matter the number of celebrities or how pretty they are, none can ever change the fact that climate change is normal and unstoppable. Perhaps not always beneficial—that’s just tough if it isn’t—but entirely natural.

But logic hasn’t stopped Global Cool, which calls itself “an environmental charity” and “which has enlisted celebrities”—celebrities!—“to help to make saving energy an ‘aspirational lifestyle'”, whatever the hell that is. If you really want to depress yourself, log on to their home page.

It is yet more evidence that man-made global warming—a.k.a. climate change—has always been more about politics than about science. Scientists like Jim Hansen et al. have forever tarnished their reputations and invited skepticism of their work by engaging in “activism.” We can never be sure that scientists are telling us the truth about their research when they are also engaged politically. Climategate has enforced this already common view.

And since we learn that Global Cool also engages in “carbon coaching,” we can see that global warming is also about making a fast buck. Well, we already knew this when we saw all the big-name companies jostling to take sides in various Cap and Trade schemes. How to cash in? What politicians can we get on our side? were the big questions. Al Gore, like the television preachers of the ’80s, famously became wealthy by touting his hellfire and death scenario. And celebrities, as they always do, looked to see what cause was most popular and then competed with one another to be more “for” it than their colleagues.

But these ploys were for the already rich and famous. It took some time to figure out how the little guy could cash in. This is why we can be grateful to Global Cool (no doubt there are other firms), for its gift of a workable environmental get-rich-quick scheme. And a perfectly legal one, too!

Like becoming a “life coach”, signing up as a “carbon coach” requires no expertise nor credentials, and clients expect no success, which would require a quantitative definition, of which there is none. In the days of yore, the equivalent scam was psychic forecasts and palm readings. But you have to be careful about those, because in some locales fortune telling for money is illegal. Not so for preaching the green.

Thus, my official announcement: I am now a carbon coach. For every $39.99 sent to me, I will detail one way in which you can become greener. Cash or Paypal accepted. Email me at matt@wmbriggs.com for details.

This is a serious offer! I will gladly accept your money.

Update: It’s been several hours and nobody has yet availed themselves of my services. So the next ten emailers get a 50% discount, plus their third carbon coaching session free!

Update: I was a little late in posting this, but reader Ian sent these cartoons in. Blunt by Knutz.

12 Comments

  1. Sorry, I’ve already spent my money on gift certificates:

    http://www.carbonoffsetsgift.co.uk/

  2. Ptwing! That’s the sound of your bullets of reason ricocheting of off dense celebrity skulls.

  3. Goofy site, “Global Cool” is with a curious article about aircraft exhaust & contrails suppressing sunlight to the UK, causing things to cool down by some 10 percent!!! — which supposedly was a good thing given the human-induced warming concerns. But wait: …this same brief article goes on to state, without explanation, that this same aircraft-induced cooling causes warming.

    Get that? — aircraft cause both cooling (bad) AND warming (bad) over the UK; see: http://www.globalcool.org/news/633/planes-steal-our-sunshine

    Actually, there are reasons why either cooling or warming might result from clouds….but certainly not both at the same time!! This is a topic filled with uncertainty & absence of objective data; however, some interesting research is underway (I’m betting the CERN CLOUD experiment will be particularly revealing).

    Cloud stuff aside, this illustrates the temperment of such people & their need for both something to complain about AND something they can punish themselves about. An older article on the WSJ sums this neurosis up nicely:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121486841811817591.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

  4. “Gaia herself will finally awaken and decide that, from the moment Leonard DiCaprio became environmentally aware, the Earth’s climate will henceforth no longer change.”

    Or else she will create Captain Planet and the Planeteers, which is doubtlessly the source of most Kyotoists’ information about the environment.

  5. “You know that you want to help the Earth”

    The last time I asked the earth if it needed help, I didn’t receive any response. I still don’t know how you can help an inanimate object.

  6. In California we don’t need to hire our own personal carbon coaches since we already pay the state to do it for us. Just look at what our benevolent overlords at the California Energy Commission did for us recently when they imposed energy standards on televisions. As quoted in the LA Times, Commissioner James Boyd said “Efficiency is the cheapest and simplest way to save our citizens money, to provide a good quality of life and to drive our economy.” We citizens can’t be allowed to use our own criteria which might rate sale price or picture quality above energy rating. We just can’t be trusted to do the right thing for our quality of life or the economy. Thank goodness we have someone to do that for us.

  7. Global Cool, we are pretty so do what we say. Everyone knows that attractive people know more that “ordinary” people.

    Regarding Aircraft, we have had as close to an expiriment as climate science has ever had. In September of 2001 planes around the globe were grounded for 2 days. The reduced cloud cover did lead to some ammount of warming. So, Tavel! The world depends on it!

  8. Nah. My Tarot cards can do better than that. Understand I do not charge for the prediction for I make none: as I explain if you believe that pieces of pasteboard can tell the future then ask them. I will explain to you what the cards and deal means according to the standard methods of prediction: but you must interpret the result for yourself.

    The only thing I charge for is the use of the cards themselves, my oldest set dates from the 17’th century, and very beautiful it is too. But they are very expensive to maintain, I had to send a 19th century set back to be cleaned, steamed, pressed and blocked and you wouldn’t believe how much that costs.

    Kindest Regards

  9. You can have the money (say how) but I’m already sick enough — I don’t need to get greener.

  10. Briggs

    December 5, 2009 at 11:10 am

    DAV, everybody,

    IRS-traceable funds may be sent via Paypal to my email: matt@wmbriggs.com Cash may be left under a certain tree in Central Pak: email for details. Cars and other large appliances may be shipped directly to my address, which is conveniently found on my Contact page.

  11. On its way. When the Ford Expedition arrives there will be a modest $8,327.42 COD S&H fee. I sincerely hope you appreciate this — it was damn hard to get it into that tiny envelope.

  12. Oh, yeah! Thanks for the braille tip but I don’t think the planet is salvageable. I haven’t recently joined hands with savethefore.org to provide haven and retreats on Mars (which was invented by Al). Try the web site for gory details on the available Mars homesteads.

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