Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bush Fails Basic Algebra: A + B > A

This one takes the cake:

"New technologies will change how we live and how we drive our cars, which all will have the beneficial effect of improving the environment," Bush said. "And in my judgment we need to set aside whether or not greenhouse gases have been caused by mankind or because of natural effects and focus on the technologies that will enable us to live better lives and at the same time protect the environment." (Bush Snubs Gore Film on Global Warming - Yahoo! News)

Let us review a little algebra, of the type most students are expected to master by the seventh grade:
A + B = some number greater than A (provided B is positive)

Now, let A = the amount of carbon and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere prior to, let's say, 1800. We can call this the equilibrium state, because the atmosphere was more or less in equilibrium, and humans were burning very few fossil fuels (maybe some coal here and there, but at that point almost all human energy needs were satisfied by methods such as burning trees, which is zero-sum because burning trees simply puts carbon back into the atmosphere that the tree had taken out during its lifetime). Here's our equation:
Equilibrium + B = some number greater than Equilibium

Ok? Now, let B = the amount of carbon and other greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere since 1800 by burning fossil fuels. We can call this "gases caused by mankind," because we are pumping up oil and digging up coal that has been safely buried beneath the ground, and releasing its by-products, such as carbon, into the atmosphere. Here's our equation now:
Equilibrium + Gases caused by mankind = some number greater than Equilibrium

Let's review. George Washington, riding along on his horse from Virginia to Philadelphia, did not contribute to global warming because the carbon dioxide that came out of his horse (from both ends) was simply reprocessed from the grass the horse ate, which had previously taken an essentially equal amount of carbon out of the atmosphere during photosynthesis. George Bush, on the other hand, when flying from Crawford to DC, does contribute to global warming, because the carbon put into the atmosphere by Air Force One had previously been trapped in a liquid or solid state beneath Saudi Arabia or Texas.

A + B > A. It's that simple. A true leader would recognize that B is currently way larger than safe margins, and is getting even bigger every day. True leadership would insist on doing something about the size of B. Failed leadership chooses to "set aside" science and basic algebra.

Man oh man, the Bush regime is a scourge on the planet.


Blogger Tucker Lieberman said...

Great post. Thanks for increasing the knowledge level around here. The carbon cycle really ought to be taught along with pre-algebra--or at least as part of Driver Ed!

Watch your MPG: I don't think you're getting full mileage out of Bush's quote.

Read it again: "...we need to set aside whether or not greenhouse gases have been caused by mankind or because of natural effects..."

He didn't ask whether human activity affects the global climate. He questioned whether human activity produces greenhouse gases at all. He probably meant the former (I wish I could say "undoubtedly"), but that's not what he actually said.

12:57 AM  

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