Playing “Let’s Pretend”

There are two kinds of “let’s pretend” games.

The first is intended to illustrate a principle. For example, let’s pretend that you have a teenage son. You don’t have much money–you live in low-wage, “Right to Work” Indiana–so you’ve been saving  for several years in order to send him to college. He’s also been depositing money from his part-time job into the joint savings account the two of you have established.

One day, you discover he’s dropped out of high school, and taken all the money to buy a car. He explains that he needs a car now, to get to his job at Burger Heaven, where he makes three dollars an hour more than his friends who work elsewhere. Besides, he argues, the future benefits of a high school diploma (forget college) are speculative.

Would you dismiss the unequivocal data about education and lifetime earning disparities and general well-being? Would you endorse his decision to make more money now and damn the future?

Business groups evidently think the kid is doing the right thing.

According to a story buried a couple of days ago in the Indianapolis Star, a coalition of national and state business groups is fighting new rules on greenhouse gas emissions. Indiana  Gov. Mike Pence says Congress should quash the pending regulations because they would hike energy bills and cost jobs.

The new rules will cost businesses and consumers some money now. Those rules, however, are a necessary part of a still-inadequate effort to slow global climate change. It bears repeating that there is no scientific dispute about the reality of that climate change.  We are already seeing its effects. 

Too bad, say the members of the business coalition.

The business coalition, of course, is playing the other “let’s pretend” game–the one being played by people who prefer keeping an extra buck or so in their pockets now to addressing climate changes that will make life miserable for our children and grandchildren. The game played by pretending that the science is flawed, that the warnings are speculative, or that a heavy winter snow is proof that there is no “global warming.”  

As scientists have been telling us for quite some time, a warming planet changes climate patterns. Hurricanes increase in intensity; Alabama and Texas get massive snowstorms while the Arctic ice melts; California has droughts, sea levels rise, species lose their habitats.

All of these things are already occurring. Dealing with them is already costing us a lot more than compliance with federal regulations will cost, and failing to deal with climate change now–pretending that it’s a “hoax” or that the science isn’t settled–is ignorant at best and dishonorable at worst.

When the son who left high school is fifty and still making minimum wage, how will you justify letting him drop out?

When our grandchildren ask why we allowed the seas to swallow New York and Florida, why we failed to prevent the loss of twenty-five percent of the Earth’s species, and why we didn’t protect large areas of the planet from becoming uninhabitable, how will we justify our shortsightedness? Are we going to admit that greed and immaturity–our unwillingness to be even minimally inconvenienced in the here and now–led us to pretend it wasn’t happening?

Playing “let’s pretend” is for children. The businesses fighting for their right to keep polluting need to grow up.


  1. The problem is our science has become politicized. Instead of engaging in the scientific method, asking for people to examine the scientific theory and engaging in debate, you have a crop of scientists who believe their job is to promote a political agenda and are willing to bend the rules of science to do so. When challenged, they scream that the debate is over and that their “science” is above being challenged.

    As far as climate change, the climate has always been changing. The claim, in fact, is dangerous anthropogenic global warming. There is no reason to believe today’s temperatures are somehow the ideal. The temperatures have been warmer today and man does better in a warmer climate. There is simply no evidence that man is causing the relativity small increases in surface temperatures (atmospheric temperatures is much smaller.) It’s all speculation built on feeding select information into a computer and coming out with a projection.

    The alarmists are quick to dismiss weather as proof of climate when it is used by the other side. But they don’t hesitate to use it when they think it is in their favor. You mention “Hurricanes increase in intensity; Alabama and Texas get massive snowstorms while the Arctic ice melts; California has droughts….” That’s all weather. Plus, hurricanes haven’t increased in intensity or frequency. A 100 year study by a scientist who actually believed in global warming disproved that. Tornadoes are also way down. Artic ice dramatically increased this season. As far as the California drought, the global warming theory is that precipitation increases not decreases with the greenhouse effect. There seems to be no weather that won’t prove the theory We constantly have weather aberrations and we’re having no more today than we have always had.

    All of the proposals to address the so-called problem of global warming, there is nothing to suggest they will have more than a negligible effect on the so-called danger. And who will be hit the hardest by the draconian measures to address this supposed danger to our Earth, measures which will devastate if not wreck our economy? The poor.

  2. This ties in exactly with my comment on Indiana legislative & executive collective IQs. Intelligent people could easilly see this, and work to prevent, not perpetuate these practices.. This simply implies to me that Ms Kennedy is possessive of a high IQ. Mike Pence is not. Simply an implication. He should understand that a million dollars couldn’t buy an acre of land in the Maldives because Mother Nature is reclaiming it and she ain’t for sale!

  3. Paul, you are smart guy, so as a smart guy you would be better off not reading and spouting polemics and ideological stuff, but something more substantive. This is too serious for that kind of thing. Please just read any one of the 13 chapters of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They certainly are somewhat technical, but they are not impossible, and they use common language instead of statistical probability numbers. No ideology. No polemic. Just a report of what we know, into 13 chapters, and it is not good.

    I don’t know who that guy is who supposedly looked at the 100 years, but please just check out Chapter 2, “Atmosphere and Surface”, Topical Storms starting on p. 216. You really need to know what you are talking about here, because the data are not just compelling. If you don’t want to look at one of the 13 chapters, read over the Summary for Policymakers. This is just too serious for ideology. The data are frightening, as they should be.

    It has been said that denial will take you through hell. If you engage in too much of it, it will lead you to it.

  4. Yeah, about that 100 year study Paul, maybe you could provide us with a source. Even then, funny how scientists are a bunch of misleading conspirators until they find a dataset that fits your preconceived notions of the world.

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