Sunday, December 24, 2006

Green wave breaking -- Green Lip Syndrome

Consider the physics of democracy. The first law of democracy is every squeak gets some grease. The second law is that when a cry for action is met by an equal and opposite response then no action is taken. This leads to system behavior that is described by the Hot Air law.

The Hot Air law is written PV=nRT, where P = pressure, V = volume or loudness, n = number of screamers, and RT = rhetorical temperature. RT is measured on the Direness scale, which ranges from (1) nice but not necessary all the way to (10) imminent catastrophe.

In the case of climate change n has been pretty much constant but RT has gone ballistic. P and V have both increased as a result, but because of the second law no real action has been forthcoming. In fact the ratio Action/RT remains approximately equal to zero because the science is unsettled. Conversely, the ratio of rhetoric to action is approaching infinity.

The result has been a dramatic increase in Green Lip Syndrome or GLS. Green Lip Syndrome is characterized by politicians making repeated gestures toward climate action while still doing nothing. One of the most common forms of GLS involves setting lofty targets with distant dates, while running for office in real time.

In this case the physics of democracy is driven by the physics of reality. The great green wave is breaking on the unquenchable fires of civilization. The screams are deafening but physics is deaf.

David Wojick


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