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Tuesday, January 17, 2006 at 04:10 AM

At the least, somebody's worried about global warming....

James Lovelock, to many, seems extremely pessimistic: He's convinced that anything else we do is utterly useless, that our damage to our biosphere is now at the "failsafe" point. Failsafe? Also, know as "Point Of No Return".

Others disagree, saying we've still time to do damage control. The idea is that somewhere between the Project for a New American Empire, and Road Warrior XXII, lies some hope for the future.

I dunno about that, I tell myself. Not everyone read Frank Herbert's Dune and saw what I saw in the yarn.

Like all good writers, oft, they slide sideways into a clever yarn some political commentary; thus, Wells' The Time Machine becomes a wry satire on upper-class dolts versus lower-class workers, Dr. Jekyll And Mister Hyde becomes a piece on alcoholism...

...and Dune, read again, should scare the living piss down your legs. It was on the second read, that my brain did the following math:

CHOAM = Exxon-Mobil
Paddasha Emperor = Dubya
Arrakis/Dune = The Middle East
Fremen = The Third World angry at guess who..


Spice Melange = Oil

Herbert, you clever person, you. What was supposed to be a tough, yet wild epic was really a cute, but nasty aside....at ourselves.

In Dune, the spice Melange is worth killing for, worth dying for, and worth, well, loads and loads of money, of course. Obviously, it cannot be synthesized, and like saturated hydrocarbons......a drug with a hideously painful withdrawal.

Oil? A drug? Painful withdrawal?

Most think "oil" and their brains immediately think "gas tank of vehicle". The fix, then, should be easy, no?

Think again, friend. Our current society is too dependent on not only oil, but natural gas and coal:

-We cannot eat without natural gas. A derivative of gas becomes Ammonium Nitrate, Earth's most popular fertilizer...
-Plastics? Again, natural gas. Ask Dow how it works...
-Drugs. Cosmetics. Toys. Games. Software. Computers. Big Macs. Implants. Jobs. Everything we do these days....yep, we are that hooked...
-Power. Don't like nuclear, friend? Fine, but the usage of coal-fired power is on the rise...

And yes, it's all very damaging to the biosphere's mechanism, as I speak, I sat outside on New Year's day. Without a jacket. Without much of anything. It was that warm.

That scares me. It scares others. South Carolina used to get snow. Snow? Ice storms. But a New Year's day? Shirtsleeves? What the hell is going on?

And of course, those in charge of the global empire don't dare accept this: It would spoil, ruin and royally destroy....everything. Is their claim even remotely possible? Is it such a stretch...that attempting to rid ourselves of global warming....would it really shut things off?

It depends on whose data you study. One, such as Lovelock, says, yes. Pulling the plug to slow or stop global warming, to many thinkers, means, no anything anymore, a return to horses, buggies, midwives, town criers and well, back to around 1000 CE...or earlier.

Others are more optimistic: Some biodiesel here, more nuclear, possibly thermonuclear in years to come. It may well work.

Unfortunately, some hard choices will have to be made, like it or lump it. The exact choices to be made, we can now expect...will be anywhere from "ouch" to "kill me now, please". It will just depend on what we want more of: Money or snow, jets or milder winters, or....life or death.

To that, Dune becomes a warning sign up ahead, one we should've seen a few miles back, but for obvious reasons, we, collectively, chose to ignore. More oil wars? I expect them, an invasion of Syria, I swear is next. China and India, too, may well want to play this insane game. I also expect South Carolina to become the next Mexico, climate-wise. I also expect it's going to get nasty, and soon: We should well see the first Category Six hurricanes within this decade, if not sooner.

And all for a damned drug, for which, we cannot seem to exist without. Hard choices, indeed.