Democrats & Liberals Archives

President Bush: The New Environmentalist

“The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Monday that the EPA was required by law to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as pollutants,” according to the L.A. Times. Bush said he took the ruling “seriously.” Does this make him a newly born environmentalist?

No, not yet:

Asked about the [Supreme Court] decision at a Rose Garden news conference, Bush said, "I have said that it is a serious problem. I recognize that man is contributing greenhouse gases." But solving the problem, he said, must not cut into economic growth. ....... He also said China and India must join the global warming fight. "Unless there is an accord with China," he said, "China will produce greenhouse gases that will offset anything we do in a brief period of time."

I believe we can fight CO2 and increase economic growth at the same time. But I can see why a person could be skeptical about this. But China? Why place the burden on China when the U.S. is the greatest CO2 pollutant of all? The L.A. article presents a chart that shows U.S. producing 22% of all CO2 emissions in 2004. China is next with 17%.

We are the biggest polluter in the world and we must take the lead in reducing pollution. How on earth can we claim to be world leaders if we do nothing in the face of an expected environmental calamity?

Congress is working on legislation to clean our environment. Will Bush sign the legislation when it eventually comes to his desk? He should if he is "serious" about global warming.

As far as China is concerned, it's true that eventually - about 2015, according to the L.A. Times chart - China will produce more CO2 emissions than the U.S. This, however, is a problem that belongs to Bush. Diplomacy is needed to get China to cooperate with us and with the rest of the world in reducing CO2 emissions. Will the newly born environmentalist appoint a special environmental negotiator to convince China, India and other countries of the extreme importance of reducing CO2 emissions as soon as possible?

Posted by Paul Siegel at April 4, 2007 5:04 PM
Comments
Comment #215059

It just makes Bush a champion of big corporations by having delayed their expense in complying with the law through the Administration’s refusal to enforce it by telling the EPA to back off.

Just another example of this administration demonstrating that laws are for other people to abide, not them.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 4, 2007 6:04 PM
Comment #215066

I’ve been listening to a lot of right wing media and boy are they FUMING mad. Sean and Rush and Neil and some of the local guys just screaming in the mics fuming mad at the world and Al Gore.

So how many of those justices were put there by Republicans? Isn’t it 7 of 9?

Posted by: muirgeo at April 4, 2007 7:04 PM
Comment #215067

A true leader on the issue would have started us on an Apollo like project for renewable fuels. The ultimate goal would not only be for our country to be energy independent but that our citizens would have more choices of what fuels they use and better still be able to produce their own energy and store it to run their autos and home completely independent of multinational oil and coal companies.

Further the results of such would have created a technological boom spurring the economy as much as the PC and internet revolutions.

But instead Bush bowed to his Oil masters and half a trillion dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives later we are more enslaved then ever to their oil and ever rising prices while the oil barons amass greater and greater wealth and power.

And there are still peons out there doing their bidding and defending this as some sort of free market system the results of a Constitutional Republic.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 4, 2007 7:11 PM
Comment #215074

muirgeo,

Can you please show me in The Constitution anything that give our government the right to do your renewable fuels project? I can not find it in my copy.

Posted by: David at April 4, 2007 8:03 PM
Comment #215079

If anyone wants to be taken seriously about global warming, they’d ignore the “man causes it” nonsense. We don’t. The sun has, does, and will continue to do so. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XttV2C6B8pU

Posted by: EdB at April 4, 2007 8:19 PM
Comment #215084

muirgeo,

Can you please show me in The Constitution anything that give our government the right to do your renewable fuels project? I can not find it in my copy.

Posted by: David


Yeah it’s right there after the part that says, “We the people….

More specifically Article I Section 8 Paragraph 1

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.

What? You think the Manhatten Project and the Apollo Project were illegal? I’m glad you weren’t in charge back then.


Posted by: muirgeo at April 4, 2007 9:02 PM
Comment #215085

Regarding the Youtube movie. Basically they are being dishonest about the Suns recent influence on climate. The fact is solar irradiance has not increased in 40-50 years and the temperature is soaring.

Here’s the graph they use in the movie;

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t63/izzy_bizzy_photo/capture3.jpg

Notice the red line for solar output stops at 1980. Wonder why?

EdB do you know what has happened to Solar output since 1980?

Posted by: muirgeo at April 4, 2007 9:06 PM
Comment #215086

David, it’s right there in the preamble: “Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Once you realize that we have responsibility to secure our blessings for posterity, and that environmental degradation harms the ability of our descendents to enjoy liberty, and that nowhere in the constitution is activity taken to preserve the environment FORBIDDEN (and make no mistake, the constitution is nothing more or less than a list of limits on the government), it all flows from there. Since it is not something that is PROHIBITED of the government, there need not be a specific right granted within the constitution.

Oh, and regarding “The Great Global Warming Swindle” swindle, I encourage you, read this (although I doubt you will): http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/03/swindled/

Posted by: Jim M at April 4, 2007 9:16 PM
Comment #215089

I understand that China will surpass us by 2009 and they will manage to do that with an economy much smaller than ours.

I agree that we need to reduce our CO2 in the U.S. too. But be sure you pick up both ends of that stick. Controlling CO2 will be significantly higher energy prices and changes in American lifestyles.

Those cheering this decision should act consequently and be prepared for those higher prices and stop pretending some feat of magic will allow everybody to continue to waste energy and pay no more.

There is no Apollo project for fuels. We have a mix of fuels already and can choose among them. We choose oil, coal and gas because those are the cheapest alternatives. We have others. We choose not to use them because they cost more. Prices for alternatives have been dropping, but they still cost more. BTW - there is not enough land in the U.S. to grow the crops needed to run our cars and trucks on ethanol or biodiesel and we certainly do not want to plow up the areas we have let become forests or grasslands.

So do not mount those high horses unless you are willing (as I am) to acknowlege that energy prices will rise, that we will need to use more nukes and that all of us will need to change our lifestyles.

Realists know these things.

Posted by: Jack at April 4, 2007 9:28 PM
Comment #215096

There is no Apollo project for fuels.

Posted by: Jack


Sure and there was no A-bomb or men on the moon until we set up a project to solve the problem.

I don’t understand the heel-dragging and the pessimism that we can’t do this. What happened to the can do attitude that built us the bomb. Where is the American spirit that said YES we can land on the moon.

I agree the first thing we should do is to stop subsidizing gas, oil and coal and let the market show their true cost. But at the same time we should be investing in a massive research project to find alternatives…likely needing about 1/10th the cost of the Iraq war.

I don’t know about how much land we need for ethanol. I do know the oil companies are doing their darnedest to make it hard to get to the market per a recent article in the WSJ.

Likewise there’s been collusion in the past by the auto industry, the oil industry and tire industry to subvert mass transit and more recently the electric car.

Posted by: muirgeo at April 4, 2007 10:27 PM
Comment #215107

muirego

There is no Apollo project because the energy “problem” is a matter of a mix of preferences. There is no one goal. Look what is happening now with ethanol from corn. It is getting massive subsidies and tarrif relief. As a result we are locking ourselves into corn ethanol. This year American farmers will plant 20% more corn. Yet corn is not the best feedstock.

The same goes for other fuels. We have too many choices and each choice has a political backing.

Think of it like this. Apollo project had the goal of going to the moon. Manhatten project wanted to build a bomb. Which fuel do you want to develop? You cannot just say any cheap fuel, because you will have a long line of hucksters telling you theirs is the only one.

Remember the Carter synfuel debackle? The best thing about it is that it DID NOT work. Otherwise we would have even more CO2 with the coal gas.

We cannot solve the energy problem because it is not a problem. It is a series of choices. If you want a car that gets 40 mpg in the city, you can buy one today. I own one. If you want solar in your house, you can have it. You need to invest around 50K.

Posted by: Jack at April 4, 2007 11:56 PM
Comment #215116
If anyone wants to be taken seriously about global warming, they’d ignore the “man causes it” nonsense. We don’t.

So, I guess you don’t take President Bush seriously. He just said, “I recognize that man is contributing greenhouse gases.”

Controlling CO2 will be significantly higher energy prices

Totally untrue. The Energy Information Administration puts the cost of a greenhouse gas cap & trade system like Kyoto at one tenth of one percent of our GDP — about $78 per family. There’s no way you can describe that as “significant”.

Stop trying to scare people, Jack.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 5, 2007 1:58 AM
Comment #215125

David,

Can you please show me in The Constitution anything that give our government the right to do your renewable fuels project?

Can you please show us in The Constitution anything that *forbid* the gouvernement the right to do renewable fuels project?

Thanks.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 5, 2007 5:14 AM
Comment #215126

So Bush say since years US will start fighting its CO2 pollution when the #2 world polluter, soon #1, will do it too.

I’ll bet than when China will be the #1, Bushies will then say US will start fighting its CO2 pollution when the #1 polluter will do it.

Ah ah, nice logic.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 5, 2007 5:27 AM
Comment #215131

All,

Your comment show that you miss the 10th Amendment which clearly shows that if this is done it must be by the states. If you don’t know it it is as follows:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

That clearly shows that the federal government should not do this.

Big daddy government does not have all the answers!! We need control of our own lives. Show me where this will make my life better and I will give money to make it happen. I just don’t like this constant that of money for project that do not give results!

Posted by: David at April 5, 2007 7:27 AM
Comment #215147

David,

Thanks for clarification. I’m french, and your federal distinctive power sharing is foreign to me, as Europe have neither a clear constitution neither a unclear constitution.

We need control of our own lives. Show me where this will make my life better and I will give money to make it happen. I just don’t like this constant that of money for project that do not give results!

Problem regarding global warming is that results won’t necessarly show up in your lifetime but only in your kids lifetime. More even, it will only help to stop your kids life to be too much worst than your, not equal, not better.

In any case, it’s far from being about *your* life but about the future generations to comes.

Unfortunatly, in long term ecology, “after me, the deluge” is the most often card played against.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 5, 2007 9:29 AM
Comment #215149

Oh, BTW, this idea we actually could control of our own lives is utopian.
We survives as much as we could, until we dies. That’s all.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 5, 2007 9:31 AM
Comment #215163

AP

If it is so cheap to do it, why have others not succeeded? How has that trading scheme been working in Europe? Are they really reducing CO2 more than the US or are they just buying indulgences. The only guys who actually are reducing are those ex-communist countries where industry collapsed and they get to replace grossly inefficient communist era equipment. They are selling what they would have anyway. I can eat that extra bacon as long as I pay the guy who doesn’t eat it anyway for his share.

I do not know about this $78 figure. The U.S GDP was $12.49 Trillion. I am not much good at math, but a trillion is a one followed by twelve zeros. If you multiply that by .001 you get 1,249,000,000. This seems like a fair amount of money to me. I do not expect this would be a one time payment, it will not reflect the total cost and may not do much (i.e. as in EU)

I am not trying to scare anybody. We can reduce CO2 and trading may be one of the tools. If we are to reduce CO2, it will cost money. The trading will do no good if we just trade. We will also need to reduce the total carbon. That means substituting other fuels or conserving energy. These are not bad things to do. But we are currently using oil, gas and coal because they are cheaper and easier than the alternatives. When we go to different alternatives, the prices we pay for energy will rise.

I think you guys are doing a real disservice to the cause by implying that a changeover can be make w/o costs and/or somebody else will pay. The bottom line is that the consumers of energy will pay. You can avoid some of the costs if you change your habits. That is the incentive to do it.

It is irresponsible to demand a solution and then be unwilling to do the needful things to make it happen. I have called this liberal bluff on many occasions and rarely do I get a satisfactory response. I am willing personally and as a society to do what we need to address this issue. I do not pretend it is somebody else’s fault. I do say, however, that unless you get the Chinese, Indians, Brazilians etc to do their part, all the efforts by the U.S. and Europe will be like peeing in the ocean and anticipating a flood.

Posted by: Jack at April 5, 2007 10:29 AM
Comment #215169
How has that trading scheme been working in Europe? Are they really reducing CO2 more than the US or are they just buying indulgences. The only guys who actually are reducing are those ex-communist countries where industry collapsed and they get to replace grossly inefficient communist era equipment.

GHG emission between 1990 and 2004: EU -0.8%, US +16%.

-0.8% is a lame result.
But it’s still better than +16%.

And I guess brits (-14%) will be glad to be called an ex-communist country, BTW.

I can eat that extra bacon as long as I pay the guy who doesn’t eat it anyway for his share.

Except that when both share and bacon size is reduced year after year, as the Kyoto protocol trade system enforce it, your both guys will eat together less bacon year after year, and even the one eating twice his share will see a lower heartbreak risk than before. Not as much as the one who stop beacon, but still…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 5, 2007 11:00 AM
Comment #215173
I do say, however, that unless you get the Chinese, Indians, Brazilians etc to do their part, all the efforts by the U.S. and Europe will be like peeing in the ocean and anticipating a flood.

It’s leading by example.
Leading by counter-example wont push China, India, Brazil etc to do their part.

Even if EU’s -0.8% is lame, the number, alone, show that stopping, if not reducing drastically, GHG emission is both possible and don’t lead to economic bankrupt.
This number is higly symbolic: it’s possible and it’s possible to do far better. Who wants to try to?

Not Bushies. Okay. What about americans, then?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 5, 2007 11:07 AM
Comment #215188

Phillipe

Do not start in 1990. What do you recall happened then? As communism fell, economies collapsed. Europeans had the opporunity to replace or shut down inefficient communist machines. That would have happened in any case. It was not a policy (except maybe the result of allied policy to kill communism, which was an environmental success.)

The Brits shut down their very inefficient coal industry in the midlands. That was dying as a result of Thatcher reforms and subsidy cuts. Chalk up yet another environmental benefit to the normal workings of the free market.

Europe also grew much slower during that period. BTW - how did France or Spain do? How did Germany do w/o the benefit of the reductions in the former communist East?

Much of this is like the rooster claiming credit for the sunrise.

Re China, India etc I am not saying the U.S. should do nothing. On the contrary, unlike my lefty colleagues, I am willing to incurr the costs to comsumers. But I am just saying that the biggest challenges of the next decades will not be in the U.S. and Europe.

Posted by: Jack at April 5, 2007 12:21 PM
Comment #215192
If it is so cheap to do it, why have others not succeeded?

What Phiippe said.

I do not know about this $78 figure.

I don’t make this stuff up. If you have a problem with the numbers, then you need to take it up with President Bush’s Energy Information Administration. I included the link in my last post.

Feel free to study it and get back to us when you know more, rather than just making defeatist assumptions.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 5, 2007 12:34 PM
Comment #215212

AP

I believe cap and trade is an important part of the solution, but all solutions MUST reduce CO2. That is the goal.

The report makes some optimistic assumptions about prices and how easy it will be to change behaviors. That is what I wrote about carbon taxes. They are cheap to consumers who change their habits. Expensive for those who do not. I do not have a problem with that.

I hope they are right re low costs, but I would not count on that. It is sort of like taxes paying for themselves argument. There may be many benefits, but there will be costs. You should be ready to pay them.

I do not think you will have trouble getting support. U.S. business is flocking to get involved. They do not figure they will lose money. I also do not have a problem with firms making green by being green.

I have written elsewhere that this whole environmental issue is turning into a business opportunity. Pretty soon the pro-business folks (me among them) will own this issue. If consumers who will not be green have to pay more, it bothers me not at all. There will be more gnashing of teeth on this side of the blog.

Posted by: Jack at April 5, 2007 1:47 PM
Comment #215216
There may be many benefits, but there will be costs. You should be ready to pay them.

I already am. And it actually feels good to sacrifice a little of my hard-earned cash on a fuel-efficient car and those twisty flourescent lights so that my son will live in a world free of the violent storms, wide spread flooding, famine, disease and the chaos and violence of massive population migrations that climate change will bring if greenhouse gas emissions are left unchecked.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 5, 2007 1:59 PM
Comment #215217

Oh, and I also realize there is opportunity in adversity. My defense, nuclear power and oil stocks are doing very well. I’ll shift my investments more heavily into green power as the opportunities become clearer. :)

Posted by: American Pundit at April 5, 2007 2:04 PM
Comment #215266

AP

I have a Honda Civic Hybrid and ride my bike to work or take the metro. That is one reason I do not care very much about the price of gas. I admit that. But others can make similar changes and we have to have incentives to do so.

Posted by: Jack at April 5, 2007 6:14 PM
Comment #215323

Jack,

Do not start in 1990. What do you recall happened then?

Berlin wal goes down in 1989, I got graduated in CS and Kyoto was ratified by 1997.

As communism fell, economies collapsed. Europeans had the opporunity to replace or shut down inefficient communist machines. That would have happened in any case.

And rebuilding the collapsed ex-communist economies didn’t take any EU wealth away from actual environmental policies funding for windfarms, solar power, etc, did it?
You can’t have it both way. It take more than a decade to Germany to do it. Meanwhile, Germany didn’t focus on environment policies as much as they could have otherwise.

The Brits shut down their very inefficient coal industry in the midlands. That was dying as a result of Thatcher reforms and subsidy cuts. Chalk up yet another environmental benefit to the normal workings of the free market.

The same free market which sales more SUVs to americans than environment friendly cars. The same that break Erika supertanker in front of France west coats. The same market that allow Firestorm to pollute freely the nearby river with their latex fixating acids in Liberia. The same market that allow abestos to be lobbyied during years as safe. The same market that spread pesticides over as much as possible land, poisoning rivers for years.

Stop kidding me.
Currently, the *free* market, if such thing ever existed, is as much contributor to the current environmental issue as former communist dysfunctional industries.

Europe also grew much slower during that period. BTW - how did France or Spain do?

Spain grew greatly. France quite froze.
And? Did our economies colapsed because of Kyoto protocol, is that your question?
Do I need to answer that!?

How did Germany do w/o the benefit of the reductions in the former communist East?

The today benefit were at first an extra cost. Germans could have choosed to replace all ex-communist machines with non-friendly environment machines, as they are well known to be, most of the case, cheaper. But they didn’t. They didn’t because they were already worrying about environment issue.

The environmental benefit didn’t came from communism collapse, as a free gift. It was not free, far from it. No, it came from environmental policy already at work in EU when this collapse happened.

And, as such, oh yeah! EU (and Germany, in particular) deserve its credit.

-0.8% is lame, regarding objectives, so we deserve a lame credit. But, with a +16%, what US should deserve then? Stop laughing about poor results of the others. Instead, do better. It should be easy, by your own logic.

Then prove it. ASAP, please.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 6, 2007 9:24 AM
Comment #215360

UN panel issues stark climate change warning

Posted by: womanmarine at April 6, 2007 3:32 PM
Comment #215504

Philippe

You miss the point. Communism by its very nature was environmentally damaging. Its inefficient industries created lots of pollution per unit of GDP. The mere collapse of this system reduced pollution. It required no additional investment.

Re the free market - you have to consider the alternative. I saw this clearly in E. Europe. When the free market came in, the environment improved very rapidly. Communism and the free market both produce pollution. Communism manages to do it w/o producing the wealth necessary to protect the environment and make life better for people.

Re E. Germany - as above. It required little investment. All you needed to do was shut some things down.

I do not know if you are familiar with the E. German car the Trabant. A Trabant was so inefficient that one sitting in your garage made more pollution than a modern car driving down the road. If you do NOTHING but get those cars off the road, you greatly decrease pollution. The same goes on a much bigger scale for industrial plants. In Krakow they had a big mill called the Lenin Steel mill. It was a disgrace of communism designed to destroy the free people of Krakow. When the evil empire fell, the plant immediately shut down its most inefficient parts. It was the profit motive. Pollution dropped.

Re the difference in emissions, As I told you, a lot has to do with the time period you chose. In 1990, neither the U.S. nor the EU was really interested in CO2. The reductions from that time came from the simple workings of economics and growth. You need to look at CO2 per unit of GDP. You can easily reduce CO2 by slowing growth. It is not a triumph. And if you inherit a failed economic system and shut it down, you can also look good.

Posted by: Jack at April 7, 2007 11:35 PM
Comment #215514

Hey, I’ll go green if the Government will provide me with solar panels on my home, and a brand spanking new electric car. I thought the Federal Government could not pass unfunded mandates upon the States. The same ought to go for unfunded mandates on the people as well! If they want to mandate lifestyle change, they should fund it! But since only the filthy rich can afford solar panels, and fully electric cars, I guess that would mean more tax breaks for the rich. I wonder how that would set with Democrats?

JD

Posted by: JD at April 8, 2007 1:19 AM
Comment #215523

Jack,

Communism by its very nature was environmentally damaging. Its inefficient industries created lots of pollution per unit of GDP. The mere collapse of this system reduced pollution. It required no additional investment.

Oh, you mean the former east germans were shutdown free too? They disapeared? No social cost? No rebuilding cost?

Yeah, that was a free gift. As communist countries collapsed, their polluting industries were shutdown and their pollution goes down.
Unfortunatly, their people lost their jobs too. Replacing obsolete industry and training people to new skills were NOT free.

Otherwise, every second world country will, well, simply don’t exist.

Re the free market - you have to consider the alternative.

Hum, let’ see. Yeah, the country champion of free market, a country that never had a communism policy, a country with far less people than former or current communist champions, this country is #1 CO2 polluter.

Yes, we have to consider alternatives. We knows communism doesn’t work fine regarding environment, no debate. But we also knows free market does no magic either.

There is no magic to find. Just stop wasting earth resource like there’s no tomorrow (aka like not caring about our kids after our death). And this could means doing the same with far less, doing less with less or doing far less with, well, pretty much nothing left.

I do not know if you are familiar with the E. German car the Trabant. A Trabant was so inefficient that one sitting in your garage made more pollution than a modern car driving down the road. If you do NOTHING but get those cars off the road, you greatly decrease pollution.

And their owner ability to goes to work and shopping. Unemployment skyrockets and growth dive.
Wait. Yeah, I think it’s what happened to Germany in the 90’s.
And it get little invest to reverse this situation, sure. That was all magic.

Re the difference in emissions, As I told you, a lot has to do with the time period you chose. In 1990, neither the U.S. nor the EU was really interested in CO2. The reductions from that time came from the simple workings of economics and growth.

I disagree here. Germany in particular had been “green” since decades. We didn’t had in France recycling trashcans that germans was used to it since 80’s. They were more ecologists than french, spanish, british or italians. The Scandinavians were environment friendly before too.

The 90’s are just 15 years ago. And I remember my travels to Dusseldorf and Colona in 90’s middle. All these windfarms along the highway… when none could be seen in France, Spain or Italy.

I really disagree with you here. West Germany was already environment friendly in the 90’s.

You need to look at CO2 per unit of GDP. You can easily reduce CO2 by slowing growth.

Sure. The poorest country of the world knows that.

I think we needs to look GDP/CO2 emission ratio instead, aka making profit/polluting ratio:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_ratio_of_GDP_to_carbon_dioxide_emissions

Sure US is the GDP champion. But it does pollute a lot to accomplish that. Meanwhile, many European countries does produce a quite reasonable profit without polluting that much.
After all, it’s a matter of producing the same with less pollution or producing always more with the same pollution?

Yeah, let’s talk about free market environment friendliness efficiency, indeed.
Again, I’ll be happy to be corrected if next year US’s GHG emissions were -16%. I won’t mind being wrong about the best way to accomplish this.
But currently, your way get +16% while Kyoto protocol’s way give in EU a, lame but still -0.8%.

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting US’s free market to show it’s pro-environmental magic at work…

It is not a triumph. And if you inherit a failed economic system and shut it down, you can also look good.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 8, 2007 5:19 AM
Comment #215581

Sorry, I screwed the link and the last line is not mine but Jack’s post I was replying to.

The corrected link is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_ratio_of_GDP_to_carbon_dioxide_emissions

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 8, 2007 4:43 PM
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