(From my lecture series, My Three Euro Cents on Your Worthless Dollar. The full version, available only to subscribers, costs $100 and will be used to fund my depreciated stock portfolio a year from now. For the live audio version in which I read the lecture in a well-informed voice in the Sakala Centre, add 20 euros. For reverb and crowd reactions, add an additional 5%, preferably in an emerging currency.)
Global warming is like economic downturn. Both, it seems, can safely be ignored for a long time, before a general alarum is sounded. Only somewhat later do we see the people reponsible for the situation rolling up their sleeves ... (Applause) and doing the right thing -- buying more time.
The climate and the economy are also similar in that just as it can get cold in liberated Baghdad and Kurds and Sunni Arabs make snow angels together on a given day... (Applause.) ...while global temperature continues to warm, individual stock performance can be completely different from the general economic situation as well, even in a recession.
Let's look at the first example -- delayed reactions.
It's sort of arbitrary as to when the general call to arms is issued. It usually happens obliquely. Just like you can't rely on news affecting the price of a stock the way you think it should, the trigger for a general realization ends up being something else. Al Gore -- (Boos.) ...Al Gore would probably never have made An Inconvenient Truth had he been inaugurated. That film was arguably the first big message to hit our poor hot-water-addled frog brains. The overarching conclusion is sobering: perhaps we should be more thankful that Bush won. (Applause.) Thus, thanks to President Bush, people are starting to understand.
We could have gladly kept on ignoring the warning signs abroad -- the plight of the polar bears and Inuits (north of our borders), Kyoto (Japan), Katrina (the Third World). Instead, we can acknowledge these developments and we can reference them. Then we can continue to go forward.
In the case of the US economy, it seems it was only because a big bank decided to step in and bail out a smaller lender that we are suddenly keenly aware of everything else, of just how rotten the real numbers are across the board. All of a sudden, we are aware of the trade deficit. (Scattered boos.) I know, I know. But it's true. We are buying more and more oil and no one is buying our exports even though they are cheap. Because there are signs that China is even starting to control the entire supply chain, like Russia controls its oil chain. Look at yesterday's news from Estonia, about the exclusive Chinese container superterminal to be in Muuga.
Luckily, we have a president who is ready to take action by attacking the problem not at its source, which would involve unquantifiable shaping of values and diplomacy, but by way of a stimulus, by gently warming the perimeter by manual friction -- an example of the "hands on" style of leadership we need. Namely, cutting taxes on the people best poised to address the problem were they not crippled by the groaning weight of supporting the domestic manufacturing worker lifestyle.
Meanwhile, the American public should buy stock in foreign oil companies so that they can recoup some of what they stand to lose at the filling station. The house may always win, but it won't win by as much. (Applause.)
Going back to global warming, the analogous solution to the president's gentle stimulation is patently obvious -- to airlift some of the recent snow from Iraq and Northern Saudi Arabia -- before it melts -- to other areas in the world that need colder temperatures. Of course, not to be overlooked is demand in the ski areas hit recently by warm tempertures in Vermont and the Lake Placid area. (Applause.)