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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Survivor: Climate-Change Island

opinion@dailylobo.com

I’m pitching a new climate reality show in which contestants use cap-and-trade with carbon credits to support their individual lifestyles. The person with the fewest carbon credits at the end of each week will have to live without water for the rest of their lives, and thus the winner, in this case, will literally be the last one standing.

Scientific reports on global warming typically employ a clever subterfuge, using alien units of measurement, such as cubic centimeters or degrees Celsius, to purposely confuse those fortunate enough to have been born and raised to think in degrees Fahrenheit and inches.

When you visit a new country for the first time, you throw the currency around as though it were Monopoly money. That is, until you need to get more dinero, and are shocked to realize what effect the exchange rate and your spending habits are having on your limited travel budget.

So let’s be sure of something here. The greenhouse gases we’ve generated have already pushed the average temperature of the planet up 2 degrees Celsius. We stand at a threshold, where continuing to increase the percentage of carbon in the atmosphere will lead to an additional 4 degrees Celsius in warming. I know what some people are probably thinking: “Those damn Klingon units again! Celsius must be like Monopoly money, or at least not nearly as valuable as our beloved Fahrenheit degrees.”

Media reports lift terms verbatim from those scientific releases, but they rarely do the heavy math for us. Faced with the daunting task of learning how to use the unit-conversion app on our latest social networking device, we are gratefully distracted by an incoming message, and forget all about whatever that science issue thingy was.

Well, contrary to nationalistic rumor, a C is worth more than an F in this case, and a total of 6 degrees Celsius translates into more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit. This means if mankind does not immediately reduce fossil-fuel consumption, we are headed for a major shift in climate zones and what has been tactfully termed “global chaos.” Ice is breaking up and melting faster than you can fly a jet to the Bahamas. It may not be around for much longer, so if you see any, snap a picture for posterity’s sake. Ditto for much of the vegetation, crops and water in the beautiful Southwest. So now that the math has been done for you, and I’ve got your attention, who would like to be on the show?

Oh heck, we’ll just take everyone.