Joe Bastardi / June 24, 2013

No Country for Old Weathermen

The movie *No Country for Old Men* is one of my favorites as the Tommy Lee Jones character tries to cope with a a world gone mad. Here’s one of my favorite passages: >”You can’t help but compare yourself against the old timers. Can’t help but wonder how they would’ve operated in these times.... I don’t know what to make of that. I surely don’t. .... [I]t’s hard to even take its measure. It’s not that I’m afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willing to die to even do this job – not to be glorious. But I don’t want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don’t understand. You can say it’s my job to fight it but I don’t know what it is anymore. More than that, I don’t want to know. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He would have to say, okay, I’ll be part of this world…”

The movie “No Country for Old Men” is one of my favorites, as the Tommy Lee Jones character tries to cope with a world gone mad. Here’s one of my favorite passages:

You can’t help but compare yourself against the old-timers. Can’t help but wonder how they would’ve operated in these times…. I don’t know what to make of that. I surely don’t. … [I]t’s hard to even take its measure. It’s not that I’m afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willing to die to even do this job – not to be glorious. But I don’t want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don’t understand. You can say it’s my job to fight it but I don’t know what it is anymore. More than that, I don’t want to know. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He would have to say, “Okay, I’ll be part of this world…”

I know how he feels.

What I’m seeing today, and it goes beyond the climate fight, makes little sense to me. An agenda that once preached global warming has been turned into something that’s now simply climate – the back-and-forth weather that has occurred naturally throughout the ages. Propagandists say that skeptics deny the existence of climate change – a redundant term – and then seek to isolate and demonize those of us who point out their fallacies. They are relying on the fact that most people never bothered to look at history. Guys like me make a living off researching the past to give us an advantage looking forward. Yet we have a whole group of people who have changed the rules of the game because they are getting beaten. (Remember, we were supposed to be beyond the tipping point by now because of man-made global warming.) They take events from the past that many may not know about, pull out examples of it happening today that everyone can see in an instant, and claim it’s because of anthropogenic “climate change.”

I can give example after example, but here’s one using global sea ice. You know all this screaming about the Arctic ice cap? Consider these points:

  1. It’s done at the expense of a record high Antarctic ice cap.

  2. How about this inconvenient fact: The Arctic had more ice melt at the end of the last warm cycle of the Atlantic (our presently warm AMO should end in several years).

The first picture below is from 1962 of submarines surfacing at the North Pole with virtually no ice around them.

Now look at this latest picture of the North Pole – a nice, sunny, icy kind of day.

If the Pole had little ice around it like it did in 1962, you can be sure it would be plastered all over every mainstream paper and environmental blog. But would they tell you that it has happened before and should actually happen again in this warm cycle?

Or how about this: Sea ice records conveniently started on most charts when it was at a peak in the late 1970s. Why didn’t we start it in 1975?

I love the movie “No Country for Old Men” because there is a real message that pertains here. In all the craziness you have to stay true to what you know and love. I have loved the weather since the first day of my memory. I know the climate because of my love for the weather and my effort to find out what drives it. It’s like the study of history: Find out why things happen and apply them to tomorrow. I will always have the weather, even when this fight is over, and that drives me. But if your goal is to save the planet, or to force your way of doing things on someone else, or if everything you have done is based on the idea that man is causing the climate to change, what happens if you are found to be wrong? What do you have? What happens when your belief – that only through the collective can there be progress – is challenged by people who cherish individuality and believe that’s the best way? The individual does not wish to limit other people, and it doesn’t threaten his or her beliefs that they can do it on their own. But someone who believes everyone must be on board is threatened by the idea that someone can be right on their own. And that may be a reason for all the craziness we see. It leads to a huge difference in motive.

The end of the movie, a second dream recollection, hit me like a ton of bricks:

But the second one it was like we was both back in older times and I was on horseback going through the mountains of a night. Going through this pass in the mountains. It was cold and there was snow on the ground and he rode past me and kept on going. Never said nothing. He just rode on past and he had this blanket wrapped around him and he had his head down and when he rode past I seen he was carrying fire in a horn the way people used to do and I could see the horn from the light inside of it. About the color of the moon. And in the dream I knew that he was going on ahead and that he was fixing to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold and I knew that whenever I got there he would be there. And then I woke up…

That somehow the light from what came before will guide us in the future provides some comfort to me. But what happens if that light is hidden or there are people seeking to put it out? I guess the only thing left to do is to fight without losing your soul.

The ultimate irony: Tommy Lee Jones was Al Gore’s roommate for a time in college.

I told you things are crazy. The lead actor in a movie that means so much to me was a roommate of someone who represents a part of the agenda I can’t make sense of.

Joe Bastardi is chief forecaster at WeatherBELL Analytics, a meteorological consulting firm.

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