business news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, chiming in on the ongoing discussion here about whether climate change requires that traditional benchmarks of capitalism need to be adjusted to some degree, - which was prompted by a piece that I ran by Tufts University senior Meghan Smith - one MNB reader wrote:

You are assuming that climate change is completely the result of humans. Read counterpoints to that. I suggest "Inconvenient Facts," by Gregory Wrightstone if you claim to have an open mind that you are espousing.

I responded:

Actually, I'm not assuming anything … I am trusting the vast majority of climate scientists who believe that human beings have contributed to the climate crisis, and who argue that it would be foolhardy to do nothing to try to combat it.

I'm not a scientist … though when I googled the book you mention, I did see an awful lot of entries that debunked the book, citing its willingness to twist data to support its own biases and promote myths that many educated people feel are unsupportable.  (I feel like this is the same argument that took place during the pandemic, when what should've been a public health policy conversation somehow became a political football.)

That's okay.  We're not going to resolve the argument here, and MNB probably isn't the place to have an extended debate about the source of climate change.  I don't expect to persuade you, and you're probably not going to persuade me.

Here's my bottom line feeling.  I think it seems utterly reasonable to believe that human beings have contributed to climate change, and that it makes a lot more sense to try to do something about it and then find out it was not necessary, as opposed to assuming that nothing could be done about it and then find out we should have tried.  Especially when there seems to be ample evidence that while this approach may upend some traditional businesses and industries, in the end it will be good for the economy.

So I'm sorry.  I'm not going to read the book, because I just don't need to go down that rabbit hole.  If I do, I might not find my way out, and then I'll start using MNB to spout QAnon conspiracy theories, and eventually I'll find myself joining the Proud Boys.

I heard back from this reader:

Kevin, I don’t expect a response. I have been a faithful reader of your daily column for over 20 years. I don’t always agree with you, but appreciate your insight and the fact that you make me think.

I wrote about possibly reading a book that would be contrary to popular opinion about climate change. I want to be clear, I believe that the climate is changing, but not all to blame on the human impact. I can understand you not wanting to read the book and I have also read the comments that are opposed to his fact finding.

What I take issue with is how you went from not wanting to ready the book to linking that to Q-Anon and the Proud Boys, assuming that is where I reside. I am a proud Conservative-Republican. Saying that, I am not a supported of Donald Trump and wish he would just go away. I believe that Biden won the election fair and square. I don’t espouse the beliefs of Q-Anon or the Proud Boys. I was appalled and greatly disappointed in the events of January 6, 2021. Just because I question, as do many scientists, the popular opinion on climate change does not lump me in that group.

In spite of this, I will continue to read your email daily and listen to your comments because they challenge my thinking.

P.S. The other area I’m sure we would be at odds is, I’m a lifetime Yankee fan, but am glad to see the Mets having a great season to date.

Really?  A Yankee fan?  Well, that's just too much.

Just kidding.

First of all, of course you get a response … not to mention a posting of your entire email.

First point.  I did write yesterday, "I think it seems utterly reasonable to believe that human beings have contributed to climate change…" The key word there is contributed.

When the history of this time is written - assuming, of course, that humanity survives the cluster-muck that the world is right now - I have no idea the degree to which the human impact will be judged to have contributed to it.  I just think it is naïve to think we have nothing to do with it, considering how much crap we spew into the atmosphere and dump into the oceans.  We may actually not disagree all that much on this one.

As for the QAnon-Proud Boys crack … that was me being a wisenheimer, and sometimes I'm not as funny as I think I am.  (My kids tell me that all the time.). It was not fair to make that linkage, and I did it largely because the line made me laugh.  I apologize for lumping you in with nutcases, insurrectionists and seditionists.  That was not cool of me.

But a Yankee fan?  Geez…

By the way, another MNB reader weighed in:

You might be a touch over the top with the hyper pejorative view of one of your readers opinions; then ending it with an ad hominem assault on the poor Proud Boy, QAnon theorist who probably doesn’t know what that is let alone that you think he is one. You’re becoming a bit like Aunt Eleanor yelling at crazy Uncle Stosh at Thanksgiving dinner. We are uncomfortable with the fireworks but at least the food is good.

I'm glad you like the food, at least.

Lots of reactions to Michael Sansolo's PSA (public service announcement) yesterday about another kind of PSA (prostate-specific antigens) that also offered a seat-of-your-pants business lesson.

Among them, this note from an MNB reader:

Thank you to Michael for sharing his PSA.  Five years ago my PSA tested high, it fluctuates up and down with every test. I’ve had two biopsies, all which came back negative for cancer.  Something that needs monitoring going forward.  I appreciate his candor on this subject. 

And from MNB reader Steve Burbridge:

Thanks for the PSA about PSA's and the impact of cycling on one's nether regions.  As an active cyclist and a guy of a certain age, this really hit home.  I have not thought about the impact of many hours on a bike seat and how that can impact my PSA results.  But I am now and will ensure that my GP is aware of this.

For anyone else interested in seats that are "prostate-friendly", I would suggest the link below.  Livestrong is a good reference for many things exercise-related and they recommend seats from some very well-known names in cycling.  I am planning to make a purchase and change my seat; for $150 it is worth it.