Democrats & Liberals Archives

In Bali, U.S. Will Not Lead

Most of the world agrees that Earth faces a huge climate-change crisis in about 20 or 30 years. At least 10,000 people are meeting in a UN sponsored meeting in Bali to decide what to do about this. And the biggest obstructor is the biggest polluter: U.S. The greatest power on Earth will not lead.

According to the UN, drastic cuts in CO2 emissions are necessary:

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in its landmark reports this year that annual worldwide emissions must be cut at least in half by 2050 to avoid the most serious consequences of global warming, such as severe rises in sea levels and prolonged droughts.

To help meet this requirement, it was suggested that caps be assigned to nations and a cap and trade system set up to allow poor countries that do not pollute a lot to sell their quotas to rich countries that pollute a great deal. The poor countries would then be able to buy non-CO2-emitting energy sources.

Here's the American answer:

Chief U.S. negotiator Harlan L. Watson reiterated that position Wednesday. "The reality in this business is that once numbers appear in the text, it prejudges the outcome and will tend to drive the negotiations in one direction," he said.

A Republican against numbers? As any Republican CEO would tell you, without specifying goals - another word for numbers - your corporate plan is worthless. Of course numbers "will tend to drive the negotiation in one direction" - towards reduction of world CO2 emissions.

As a result of American obstinacy, China and India are holding back:

China's climate change ambassador, Yu Qingtai, said his country might eventually be willing to adopt caps, but only if it received major technology assistance from Western nations for developing cleaner energy processes. Such assistance has not been forthcoming, he added.

Indian representatives also called for technical assistance and said their nation's economy was too immature and fragile for them to accept emission caps.

China and India make a good point. We spend billions of dollars through the IMF and the World Bank building big CO2-spouting projects in these and other developing nations. Why don't we help them with CO2-free projects?

I don't expect Bush to change his attitude. We're lost until a new president takes over in 2009. As Al Gore said at the conference:

My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali.

U.S. today will not lead. We must elect a president that will lead the climate-change fight.

Posted by Paul Siegel at December 13, 2007 4:53 PM
Comments
Comment #240679

If “most of the world agrees that Earth faces a huge climate-change crisis in about 20 or 30 years,” then why are they waiting for the US to lead the way?

One would think that they would be doing everything they can to stop it, if they really believed all this doom and gloom crap.

So china and india “make a good point” by doing nothing, but the US is being obstructive by doing nothing?

Damn the evil US.

Posted by: kctim at December 13, 2007 5:24 PM
Comment #240686

More and more I am convinced that global warming is nothing more than a scam to “fleece” richer countries in a massive wealth redistribution “scheme”.

Your quotation does nothing to dissuade my feelings, and, ironically, reinforces them…

“China’s climate change ambassador, Yu Qingtai, said his country might eventually be willing to adopt caps, but only if it received major technology assistance from Western nations for developing cleaner energy processes. Such assistance has not been forthcoming, he added.”

Now…just who ARE those “Western nations” that are supposed to put out “major technology assistance”?

The U.S.?

So…I’m supposed to pay income taxes so that China can do what THEY are supposed to do ANYWAY?

Woah, hold up one minute.

Why, exactly can’t THEY reach into THEIR back pocket? Why do I and MY TAXES have to do it FOR them?

Now, some country like, say, Bangladesh…or Costa Rico, I could halfway stomach it. But CHINA?

Come on, their economy is booming! Why do I have to support and subsidize THEIR economy?

I really don’t see why they can’t do a little deficit spending and let me keep MY dollars in MY pocket.

More and more and more global warming is looking to me like a global redistribution of wealth scam.

Posted by: Jim T at December 13, 2007 6:12 PM
Comment #240687

“Come on, their economy is booming! Why do I have to support and subsidize THEIR economy?”

And how much has America recently borrowed from China to bail out our own economy?

Posted by: Rocky at December 13, 2007 6:17 PM
Comment #240689

Kctim,
Several conflicts make negotiations complicated.

The US and European countries put the most greenhouse gases in the past. Should they be held responsible today?

Should other countries be satisfied with the current status quo? Is it fair for the countries which are already industrialized to demand restraint from developing ones?

In other words, should all countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions equally, since everyone is at dqually at risk in the future? Or should the ones who contribute the most reduce the most?

I’ve said it before- I think nationalism will prevent cooperation.

Jim T,
I’m not sure “technological assistance” for other countries automatically means taxation for US citizens.

But you express an attitude which sums up why nothing will happen as a result of Bali. Why change, when it means possible sacrifices and cost? A lot of people have a vested interest in keeping everything the same today, regardless of what might happen tomorrow.

Posted by: phx8 at December 13, 2007 7:32 PM
Comment #240691

Paul
Your title is strange.You expect us to lead? Did you expect this adminisration to do anything but block progress.There is a slim reed of hope that the next president might be able to go forth but even that is doubtful.The wealth and power of the ruling class is largely based on fossil feuls and they will not get off the throne easily.

Posted by: BillS at December 13, 2007 8:51 PM
Comment #240692
To help meet this requirement, it was suggested that caps be assigned to nations and a cap and trade system set up to allow poor countries that do not pollute a lot to sell their quotas to rich countries that pollute a great deal. The poor countries would then be able to buy non-CO2-emitting energy sources.

Please, Paul, explain to me how this in ANY way stops or finds a solution to Global Warming? In fact, what does it have to do with Global Warming at all, other than a way to redistribute wealth?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 13, 2007 8:55 PM
Comment #240694

No doubt, Bush is a disaster of a president, utterly incapable exerting leadership. Bali is just one more example of just how extremely pathetic Bush is.

The dollar is tanking, bad, and at some point other countries are going to punt on the currency. Why should they finance our profligacy, and keep us in the style to which we’re accustomed? Especially if it’s causing them to lose money? We’re faced with a tsunami of debt. With Bush in charge for another year, and the flat earthers telling the rest of the world to stuff it with their intranigent attitude exhibited at Bali, it’s unlikely other countries will be anxious to bail us out. But we have a whole lot of arms. We spend as much on weapons as the rest of the world combined. Anyone think we’ll go quietly?

Posted by: phx8 at December 13, 2007 10:08 PM
Comment #240707

Jim T,

I really don’t see why they can’t do a little deficit spending and let me keep MY dollars in MY pocket.

I’m sure every people think the same as you, but replace “dollars” in your phrase by their own money currency (euro, yuan, rupee, ruble, pound, whatever…) and “they” by another major polluter.

Nobody wants to pay for CO2 pollution.
No problem. Everybody will pay far more times in the future. What’s worry people today is their pocket, not their grandchildren pockets in the future.

Screw the future.
And we do it so well.

More and more and more global warming is looking to me like a global redistribution of wealth scam.

More and more global warming is looking to me like a global solution to human mediocrity and lack of humility.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 14, 2007 6:10 AM
Comment #240713

Rhinehold-
I believe the idea (and we’re not guaranteed this will work) is that small countries might at once gain both the werewithal and the incentive to avoid carbon emitting technologies. It would supposedly provide a market incentive for them to go green.

I think there are plenty of ways that this might work, including the fact that big first world-emitters constitute more of the problem, and easily have the resources to buy themselves out of the responsiblity.

The thing is, though, I don’t think things are going to get better as long as the United States shows little real interest in making sacrifices and going the distance to solve this problem. We’re going to get wimpy, watered down international policy as long as everybody has to pussy-foot around America’s fossil fuel addiction.

Oh, by the way, Gore detractors: Al Gore is putting his money where his mouth is, as far as his home is concerned.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 14, 2007 8:08 AM
Comment #240716

Phx8
I understand negotiations are very complicated, but that should not stop a country, who says they care about global warming, from doing what they want the rest of us to do.
Why must they wait?
Why can’t they do their part to support their line of thinking, while they are waiting for the rest of us?

Why is the US the bad guy for not leading the way, but other country’s are making “good points” for their inactions?

This line of thinking is just another example of why the global warming crowd is seen as a cult-like religion by many.

Posted by: kctim at December 14, 2007 9:39 AM
Comment #240718

kctim-
The problem, actually, is an economic problem.

At least in the beginning, everybody who goes green will take a productivity hit for it. Business, being what it is, will go whereever they can do business cheapest.

This has to be done more internationally, with America taking the lead, or otherwise it won’t work quite as well.

As far as religions go, we have actual, verifiable reasons for thinking the way we do. Climate Change contrarians tend to grasp for every reason not to believe that they can. Between definable reasons why we should take the threat seriously, and “any that sticks when thrown against the wall” approach why we shouldn’t, why we should doubt, I’ll take my chances with the more disciplined line of reasoning.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 14, 2007 10:17 AM
Comment #240722

kctim,

Why is the US the bad guy for not leading the way, but other country’s are making “good points” for their inactions?

Inactions? What are you talking!?

Regulate mandatory MPG in Europe to 50 in 2012, while US is targeting 35 not before 2020 is inaction?

Inactions, when everywhere in Europe green housing is widespreading?

Inactions, when 66% of all wind power is made in EU, twice than 6 years later?

Inactions, when, even in US, California green regulation allow californians, 12% of americans, to consume now only 7% of electric power

Nobody wait.
Except for deniers, every people, nations and companies worldwide have starting to use more and more renewable energy sources, to be more environmental neutral and to adapt it life style to use less, not equal, not more but less resource to do the same as before…

This line of thinking is just another example of why the global warming crowd is seen as a cult-like religion by many.

Then you’re regarding global warming like an atheist regarding religious beliefs.
Now you can experience what a minority regarding a belief suffer from the majority intolerance.

Welcome onboard!

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 14, 2007 11:12 AM
Comment #240725

Stephen
Economics or not, IF they are really concerned about it and truly believe it needs to be done, they should lead by example instead of worrying about others.

“we have actual, verifiable reasons for thinking the way we do”

Fine, but is forcing it onto others the best way to get them to listen and act? As with religion, many people will reject what is being said, if it is forced upon them. Add to it the fact that it is not an absolute and people will be even more willing to reject it.

Some will reject things no matter what. Nothing will change their minds until they see it first hand. For me, its the pearly gates.

But, many others will reject things because of who or what is behind it all. How it is presented is crucial to whether it is openly accepted or rejected.
Take gay marriage for example. You get two flaming queens as spokespeople and people reject it because they don’t want “that” living next door. BUT, if you get two regular joes, who better represent the gay population anyways, then you get people accepting the fact that its not really that big of deal.

You want results? Stop using scare tactics. Stop forcing it onto people. Stop treating it as a religion and it is the only belief on the matter.
Instead, present only the facts and give people the time to understand them and eventually, the people will accept them.

Posted by: kctim at December 14, 2007 11:22 AM
Comment #240726
buy themselves out of the responsiblity.

And here’s the problem. We allow the rich countries to pay off their polluting and continue doing it. People get what they really want (money from the rich countries without doing anything for it) and the problem CONTINUES ON.

Inactions? What are you talking!?

Interesting, tell me, does McDonalds still sell things in styrofoam in Europe? Haven’t seen any here since the early 90s… (I miss my McDLT but they’re still sold in London!?)

Do you want to get out a list of good / bad things that both regions do and don’t do? I mean, cherrypicking is frowned upon, isn’t it?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 14, 2007 11:25 AM
Comment #240727

Philippe
Read Paul’s post.

“As a result of American obstinacy, China and India are holding back”

They are “holding back” because of the bad ole US. IF, they truly want to stop global warming, they should be acting on their beliefs to stop it, while at the same time, working with the US to get us onboard.

“Now you can experience what a minority regarding a belief suffer from the majority intolerance”

First, I am an atheist and I have never suffered at the hands of religious people. Probably because I don’t fear them as so many others do.
Second, the global warming majority are VERY intolerable of people who dare question their “theories.” If its wrong for the religious majority to be intolerant differing views, then its wrong for the global warming majority to be intolerant of differing views.

You don’t want Reverend Joe telling you are going to hell if you don’t change your life.
They don’t want Reverend gore telling them the world is doomed if they don’t change theirs.

Neither side will be accepted if they use force to be accepted.

Posted by: kctim at December 14, 2007 11:37 AM
Comment #240728

Look…and I want everyone to understand this…I do my part to be green. It only makes sense.

I buy the light bulbs that use less electricity and last for 3 years. I bought a Toyota Yaris that gets 34 city/40 highway. With the price of electricity and gasoline, it only made sense to go cheap and green.

However, I don’t want my income tax raised so my dollars can go to a redistribution of wealth scam…and I truly believe that global warming is nothing more than that.

Philippe…you said:

“I’m sure every people think the same as you, but replace “dollars” in your phrase by their own money currency (euro, yuan, rupee, ruble, pound, whatever…) and “they” by another major polluter.
Nobody wants to pay for CO2 pollution.”

Do you, Phillipe? You live in France, right? You know how much you pay in taxes. Add another 3%, 5% or even 7% on top of what you already pay. Is that acceptable to you? Or if not a tax increase, how about your government diverting money from internal use to “gifting” a nation that ignores Kyoto. Less social programs, less health care money…less money for infrastructure.

I don’t mind HELPING emerging nations with implementing green technology, but I am thoroughly against using our tax dollars to GIVE it to them.

I am an old school conservative. I will gladly give a hand up…but not a hand out.

Emerging nations should pay a significant portion of this technology at the very least.


Posted by: Jim T at December 14, 2007 11:49 AM
Comment #240730

Many of you appear surprised that this scheme will mean our dollars will flow to emerging nations as have many of our jobs. It is apparent that this is the goal of the liberal globalists. Many liberals and their candidates for president want to increase corporate taxes as well. They never tell their cooing audiences that American business pays higher taxes than any other developed nation in the world. They never tell the public that Japan corporations pay no taxes at all. Elect a democrat liberal and more jobs, more money and more businesses will leave the U.S. Perhaps they will be satisfied when the U.S. is a 3rd world country. By then, there will no longer be a man-made global warming crisis as it will have been demostrated that it was all nonsense to begin with. I wonder how many of those 10,000 meeting in Bali would have been there if it was held in Belieze and the travel mode was by ship? The majority of U.N. members hate the U.S. but love our money. Let’s move the U.N. to Belieze or some other poverty stricken and hellish place.

Posted by: Jim at December 14, 2007 12:44 PM
Comment #240736

Paul, China and India are the reason the US won’t lead. We shouldn’t have to lead b/c it’s a hoax anyway; I’m glad the US isn’t getting “played” with this crap. By the way, China will (soon) be the biggest polluter; good to know that you’ll have something negative to say about them when it (indeed) happens.

Posted by: rahdigly at December 14, 2007 1:44 PM
Comment #240739

Let’s get a few things straight. I do not encourage doom and gloom. I present a problem and suggest solutions: U.S. MUST LEAD!

I hear a lot of talk of “sacrifice” and “spreading the wealth.” This sounds ridiculous to my ears. I can see skeptics thinking this way. But if you think there is a world crisis looming, this makes no sense. You are not asked to “sacrifice” but to be prudent and do something to prevent future catastrophe. You are not asked to “spread the wealth” but to help poor nations contribute to the solution.

We are stuck with our competitive thinking: If I give something away there will be less for me. We must change. We have a tremendous threat to every single nation on Earth. We must help each other to prevent this catastrophe.

We need a little more cooperative thinking.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at December 14, 2007 2:38 PM
Comment #240746

SD,Paul and all
The US will never lead and it is conter-productive to even expect it. There is a paradigm shift well under way. Developing countries are taking the lead. For example,Brazil is the #1 fuel alcohol pruducer, The Philippines exports solar panels and is building,a long with other S, Asian countries, a substantial biodiesel capacity.No doubt we will be getting energy tech advances from them.The reasons for this are many. One is the leapfrog effect. The best example of this is many developing countries are ahead of us with cell phone distribution. They never had to make the huge investment we did in land lines and the lethargy that goes with that.Another reason is economic. When gas gets to $3 a gallon here it is a pain. In places where that represents a half days wages its more than a pain. It is a call to action.There are other factors involved also such as less influence by oil trust on governments,weaker patent protection for oil companies to sit on technology etc.

Posted by: BillS at December 14, 2007 4:16 PM
Comment #240748

kctim-
People have accepted them. polls on the subject show over three-quarters of Americans believe there is a problem.

The biggest problem is the small minority of naysayers, without equal or greater scientific authority backing their claims, using politics to frustrate what most people agree to be necessary measures.

The reality is, there are winners and losers with every policy change, and we can get absolutely nowhere without policies that force some degree of compliance on corporations and governments.

The scientific research itself indicates some things that are scary on a prima-facie basis. If we filter out everything that might qualify as a scare tactic by some people’s standards (that is, anything that might actually frighten people) we might end up unable to tell them how bad the situation really is.

I think your biggest problem here is that you’re accepting much of the Right Wing propaganda about how we’re “forcing” this on people, how we’re using “scare tactics”, and how we’re “making a religion” out of it. These rhetorical conceits are part of a deliberate campaign on the part of right-wing politicians and interest groups to discredit and slow environmental regulation.

These words, these rhetorical flourishes are about one thing: making the science look as if its been adulterated with political and cultural considerations, to line up those who have been taught to fear liberal intrusion of any kind behind resisting regulation and legislation to deal with the problem.

The science is telling us we have a serious problem. The world is already changing, and future changes may very well be frightening in their consequences for us.

There are many things that conservatives, independents and libertarians have chosen to allow to get worse in the name of not falling for scare tactics and gloom-and-doom predictions. Our current mortgage crisis, the war in Iraq, and the labor and regulatory situation in America are but a few examples. Serious problem cannot be ignored forever simply because we don’t like the consquences of having to deal with them. Sooner or later, we have to make the tough decisions.

Jim-
What are the personal tax rates and income tax rates, though? Europe and Japan have significantly greater taxes, and much more expectations of their social welfare programs. As for Third World Countries?

Well, working according to the Republican’s principles these last few decades, we have exported jobs, kept wages stagnant, made people more reliant on debt-financing for everything they get, discouraged saving, and cut taxes on the rich in all kinds of different ways. Result?

A smaller Middle Class, more insecure in their employment, with greater economic disparity between them and their rich counterparts than at any other time since the Great Depression.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are pushing for laxer environmental regulations, greater corporate power, greater executive power, more militarization of society…

Stop me when I quit describing precisely the kind of characteristics we associate with Third-World Countries.

You know: disregard for living conditions, for civil liberties, for economic equality, those kinds of things.

These are the kinds of things liberals and progressives like myself want to prevent, not bring on.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 14, 2007 4:28 PM
Comment #240755

Stephen
“I think your biggest problem here is that you’re accepting …”

BS! I happen to believe man has an impact on this warming and that we should start taking moderate measures to curb its affects. But, I also believe it is part of a natural cycle which we cannot control.

I also am not “accepting” any made up propaganda, but am speaking about what I observe.
On here, Siegel writes about how we must act now or the end is near. The so-called news reports tell us that if we don’t turn green, we don’t care about the earth and cable channels run sad little stories of polar bears starving, ice melting and predictions of what will definetly happen if we don’t change now.

“The science is telling us we have a serious problem”

No Stephen, the science is telling us a serious problem is possible. They have given us “theories” of what may happen if we do not change our ways.
The fact that you guys demean or outright dismiss those scientists and regular people with a differing view, and predict armageddon, is why it is said to be like a religion.

“Serious problem cannot be ignored forever simply because we don’t like the consquences of having to deal with them. Sooner or later, we have to make the tough decisions”

Thats funny Stephen. The right says the exact same thing about you guys and terrorism. In fact, those two things have a lot in common don’t they?

The right talks about terrorists and how the world needs to act to neutralize them. Ignoring them doesn’t work, as 9-11 showed, so we must act now to stop them. Meanwhile, the left is demanding absolute proof before any action is taken and over acting on information not 100% proven, leads to harm and errors being made. We must fully understand the causes of terrorism in order to have a positive affect on stopping it.

The far left talks about global warming and how the world needs to act to neutralize it. Ignoring it doesn’t work and we must act now or the gore flood will wipe out the earth. Meanwhile, the right is asking for absolute proof and full understanding of the causes of global warming, so that we can have positive results with the least amount of harm.

You want people to understand and respect whats really going on? Quit acting like televangelists.

Posted by: kctim at December 14, 2007 5:24 PM
Comment #240758
By the way, China will (soon) be the biggest polluter

It already is.

But if you think there is a world crisis looming, this makes no sense. You are not asked to “sacrifice” but to be prudent and do something to prevent future catastrophe.

Actually, you use the usual progressive trap here, no one is asking anything, they are trying to force people to do something.

And so far, I haven’t seen this ‘catastrophe’ looming as you do. Please show me where millions will die, even the IPCC has come nowhere close to saying any such thing…

You know: disregard for living conditions, for civil liberties, for economic equality, those kinds of things.

These are the kinds of things liberals and progressives like myself want to prevent, not bring on.

You realize that people can see that in one breath you talk about taking away personal liberties and then stand there in the very next one and beat your chest about how you defend them, right?

The progressive basis of governing requires a suspension of personal liberties, which is what makes the break with progressives and classic liberals (libertarians).

Posted by: rhinehold at December 14, 2007 5:36 PM
Comment #240761

kctim-
Try effective measures. Then let’s see what effective will have to be.

You are accepting propaganda. That line about Global Warming being a religion is standard Republican Contrarian rhetoric, and it’s not any accident. They’re trying to take the overwhelming scientific and popular consensus on the matter and make that seem disturbing to folks like you, an example of creeping liberalism. They’re also doing the same things in terms of secularism, too.

And you know what? It’s an impossible charge to refute, especially if you’re going to define religion on strength of belief alone.

You’re taking issue with the media coverage, the politics, the economics, all the little side issues that don’t amount to a hill of beans if the science is right. So far, though some parts of our understanding have changed, and open questions remain on how much climate change in in what ways, there are no credible models out there that don’t cite increasing CO2 emissions making the problem worse. That was essentially the message of the last IPCC report: we can’t figure out a way to make the numbers say Global Climate Change isn’t happening, and that we aren’t the ones making it worse.

That a natural cycle may be part of this, does not make things better. In fact, that might require more urgency than if our greenhouse gases were dealing with a neutral or cooling scenario. It is the capacity of these kinds of gases to retain heat when it might otherwise escape. Pour more heat into the system, or have other factors keep more in, and the added CO2 magnifies what might otherwise be a lesser effect.

It gets even more problematic if you consider that the system may have tipping points that if reach would cause the system itself to reinforce greater, more violent, more profound change. Scientific studies tell us we are not dealing with a system that changes slowly and gracefully.

As far as your terrorism comment goes, I don’t see the connection. Difficult choices might be avoiding a practice that some might consider expedient. Abu Ghraib was about doing whatever it took to soften up the prisoners, so we could get intelligence to protect the soldiers and root out the insurgents. By taking the path of torture, though, we ended up create a problem for ourselves out of proportion to whatever benefits the torture might or might not have yielded.

You think neutralizing the terrorists is simply about destroying them, killing them, interrogating them without going about the niceties. That, though, does not yield reliable information, does not advertise our true intentions well, nor does it strike at the strategic root of the enemy: their ability to recruit. Instead, it makes them easier to recruit. It’s one thing to make up crap to make the US look evil, it’s another for America to commit actions that do that for real, with no way for people to credibly deny it.

The Right wants to stick with its fantasies of how the world works, of what constitutes valid authority. The world has moved on.

It’s time for people to get moving with it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 14, 2007 7:01 PM
Comment #240763

SD What amazing patience you have. I am finding it interesting how how some of our brighter RW commentators are slowly,ever so slowly opening their eyes.Its funny after a huge preponderance of evidence they frame their arguements in terms of precieved style as opposed to evidential.Jack had me LOL when he claimed that he was proud of Al Gore but was still going to pick on him and that he does not like to be called an enviormentalist when he clearly is. You have gotten KCTM to admit there is a climate change problem,effected by human activities that calls for some “moderate ” change.Just so long as nobody tells him its important he is willing to help.I guess we will have to take it. We need as many on board as possible.Congratulations.

Posted by: BillS at December 14, 2007 8:01 PM
Comment #240764

It’s very sad (and quite troubling), but the fact is that the debate over this issue has been utterly corrupted. I don’t mean the debate on this website, but the debate at large.

On the anti-global warming side, we have certain corporations, industries, and investors looking out for their bottom lines, and many others with a desire to continue living lifestyles that would be threatened by instituting measures to correct such a problem as this.

On the other side, we have those who see this as a great opportunity to achieve what they’ve been trying to do since Karl Marx wrote Das Kapital: subject the entire world economy to iron-fisted government control.

This problem—of people with their own agendas setting the terms of the debate—is immeasurably exacerbated, I might add, by letting those like Hollywood celebrities and failed and angry American presidential candidates set the tone.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at December 14, 2007 8:13 PM
Comment #240774

Loyal op, if you truly want to see what life is like without the burning of fossil fuels, just take a look at the people freezing out in the mid west (due to the storms). They are without power & heat and that’s exactly what you’ll have, if you buy into the “man-made” global warming hoax. Think about it…

Posted by: rahdigly at December 15, 2007 1:31 AM
Comment #240777

“In a dramatic turnaround, the U.S. agreed to a compromise that sets a two-year timetable for reviving an ailing, aging climate treaty.”

NY Times story this morning. Guess the Bush administration didn’t want the next Democratic president receiving all the credit for working on this issue.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 15, 2007 5:01 AM
Comment #240782

David,
It’s pretty ridiculous. The US agreed to continue negotiations. No set or binding goals will be set. In return for this “concession,” a footnote will include recommendations for goals made by scientists.

Clap. Clap.

Typical Bush. Apparently a short speech by Papaua-New Guineau told the US to “lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Since Bush cannot lead, and no one in the world follows the US anymore, yet there’s nothing to gain by generating negative press, the Bush administration agreed let a “turnaround,” take place-

- and actually agreed to nothing concrete or binding whatsoever.

But it gives the Bali conference supporters a desperately needed fig leaf. Everyone realizes nothing concrete will be accomplished until Bush is swept aside. Until then…

Posted by: phx8 at December 15, 2007 11:56 AM
Comment #240785
To help meet this requirement, it was suggested that caps be assigned to nations and a cap and trade system set up to allow poor countries that do not pollute a lot to sell their quotas to rich countries that pollute a great deal. The poor countries would then be able to buy non-CO2-emitting energy sources.
Please, Paul, explain to me how this in ANY way stops or finds a solution to Global Warming? In fact, what does it have to do with Global Warming at all, other than a way to redistribute wealth?

Ok, so I know my question was pointed to Paul, but seriously, can’t anyone answer this one for me? BillS? Stephen? phx8?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 15, 2007 1:16 PM
Comment #240786

BTW, let me point out a recent article that might go along with this topic…

In 1961 it was argued that eating meat was bad for humans, that it would increase our cholesterol and cause heart disease. Initially there was a lot of scepticism but within just a few years only the scientists who were backed by the meat industry would argue against this, consensus was on the side of a diet consisting of fat was bad for us. Even recently when Dr. Atkins put out a diet plan that relied on a high mean intake, many doctors warned against it.

Now we find that the whole notion was wrong to begin with. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22116724/

See, bad initial data and conclusions can spiral into decades of scientists thinking one thing but in reality they are building upon assumptions that were never proven but accepted as written.

Is that what is happening here? I can’t say for sure, it’s not my place. But after the many other issues that we’ve had in the recent past that follows this trend (nuclear winter, DDT, mega-famines, global cooling, acid rain, Repetitive Strain Injury, bird flu, the millennium bug, SARS, toxic PVC, poisonous breast implants, the end of oil, death by fluoride, the Chernobyl doom, the BSE beef that would eat your brains) all proven to no be the big deal that we were told, I’m not sure I’m ready to jump on board with both feet without continually questioning what I see and read.

Call me a sceptic, I’ll take pride in that label.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 15, 2007 1:45 PM
Comment #240787

LO
There is no real debate. 6 years or so ago there was sufficient questions yet to be answered. They have been. There are those that wish to dismiss the answeres because they have a vested interest in doing so. That is not an empirical debate but a discussion of policy disguised as one.

Rhinehold
We already fund developement in the third world. So does China and Europe.The method you pointed out is convoluted at best. Perhaps a better more simple approach would be a change in the type and varity of the projects funded.At any rate there should not be some huge shift in wealth involved although the comparitive wealth of developing countries can and should improve.If anything that should help our economy as they would have more purchasing power.
As I mentioned previously,developing countries have an advantage in some ways. They are not tied to an existing infrastucture as much. For example,take a look at our great interstate highway system. It represents an enormous investment. What would it look like if we were to do it over again takeing into account what we now know about fossil fuels downside(price,scarcity,pollution etc.)Most likely it would be a national rail system for the movement of most frieght and people. We do not have it to do over again but a developing country may.

Posted by: BillS at December 15, 2007 1:53 PM
Comment #240789

BillS,

That doesn’t answer the question though… How was the system developed in Kyoto of rich countries being able to continue to pollute by giving money to developing nations in any way going to stop emissions and/or Global Warming?

I am not arguing against helping the third world countries, in fact the US does that quite alot. It just seems that a lot of people are upset that we didn’t sign Kyoto when, to me, it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with actually stopping Global Warming, which is what I though the point was?

Posted by: Rhinehld at December 15, 2007 2:03 PM
Comment #240793

Funny how sooo many are so positive that they fully understand and KNOW that global warming is going to happen and kill us all (or our kids actually)when we haven’t even gotton a handle on the daily weather yet.

“30% chance of rain” they will say as I am standing in terrential rain thinking “don’t ya mean 100% padre?”

I live in Northern Michigan and my poor mother keeps prolonging her trip from Missouri to here because the weathercasters keep telling her we are expecting blizzards soon. In reality, it has been beautiful for weeks and I have not even had to scrape my windshield.

“Expecting blizzards soon”…..hmmmmmm….what a prediction padre, yes, sometime in Michigan this winter we will have a blizzard. It would be helpful to know when….

My point is that the so-called naysayers of global warming (myself included) are not so much saying that it will NEVER happen as much as saying these yahoos have no idea when or why. And it just plain yanks our chains when they pretend to know it all as a certainty. You will gather more people stating it as a hypothesis than as a fact.


One last footnoot……

Funny, that when we say that Al Gore needs to lead by example and stop using private jets, we are told that it is more important to get the message out to the public than worry about that and that sometimes there isn’t a commercial line available to get him there.

My response is…if you are waiting at one of these types of seminars and he can’t show for it…doesn’t that make more of a statement to those waiting….”I am sorry folks but due to the lack of a commercial airline beng able to get Al Gore here we will either have to postpone a few hours or issue rainchecks to this event for another time”…..now that’s a statement!!!!!

Posted by: Traci at December 15, 2007 3:45 PM
Comment #240797

Traci,
No one- not even the most die hard scientific skeptic- denies the climate is changing & that Global Warming is occurring. No knowledgeable person or organization denies that. That debate is over. Done. Stick a fork in it. And get a clue.

The dispute is the cause. Is it natural? Roughly 2% of scientists believe that. The other 98% say Global Warming is being caused by greenhouse gases produced by humans. The 2% do not have consistent evidence to support natural causes. The 98% have abundant evidence to support their conclusion. They know how it is happening, and the data consistently supports this.

Rhinehold,
I don’t think the cap-and-trade approach will work. I don’t think any schemes involving carbon credits will work, either. Just my opinion.

I think it will take a radically new alternative energy technology, probably combined with a science-fiction type solution. Until then, nationalism will drive countries to pursue their economic self-interest, because it is much easier to stay in denial.

Posted by: phx8 at December 15, 2007 4:25 PM
Comment #240801

This should be viewed as encouraging:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071215/ts_nm/bali_saturday_dc_15

Posted by: Jane Doe at December 15, 2007 4:55 PM
Comment #240805

I don’t know why, even if we have no attention of following them, we didn’t just sign and ratify the Kyoto Protocols ages ago.

That’s exactly what all the countries who DID ratify it and now berating us over it did. Adopt it, feel good about themselves for doing so, and then ignore it completely.

Probably it’s because, as with every other instance of International law, nobody cares if anybody else besides the United States follows it.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at December 15, 2007 6:50 PM
Comment #240820

Jane Doe,
All of the leading Democratic and Republican presidential candidates acknowledge AGW, with the exception of Thompson***. The Bush administration could have refused to let anything come out of Bali, but with the exception of a few remaining nutjobs like Inhofe, most Republicans would not want their party to be saddled with the additional infamy of destroying international cooperation the the issue. Nothing concrete will result from the “success” at Bali, other than providing a framework for continuing negotiations after Bush leaves office.

*** To be fair, Thompson says that when it comes to AGW, he doesn’t know. That seems consistent with his approach to most issues. If lazy people ever get around to voting, Thompson will win in a landslide.

Posted by: phx8 at December 16, 2007 12:49 AM
Comment #240821

phx8m your comment requires a huge correction. The vast majority of scientists versed in the climatological and geological data surrounding global warming, agree it is happening. And they agree that human activities are contributing to it in the large majority, but, a majority also say, they have insufficient data to determine how much of the global warming rate is due to natural vs. human causes. Therefore, they cannot predict how much mitigation can be accomplished, or over what time frame.

Logic dictates however from this, that mitigation effort and cost is the ounce of prevention prudence so often speaks of, provided the cure does not kill the patient (to mix metaphors).

There are extremes on both sides of this argument. Destroying whole economies through unsustainable debt which in turn causes millions or billions to die of want in the name of mitigating global warming is as extremist a position as those who say don’t spend a dime or lift a finger until we have proof that the dime and effort will solve the problem.

The rational approach is to establish both spending and effort priorities that will maximize potential mitigation, without destroying huge population’s survivability politically, economically, and socially. And of course, continue the research and modification of those priorities as new research results warrant, in a timely fashion.

Global Warming can become the single most proponent of world international peace modern humanity has ever seen. Nothing draws people together in cooperation like a mutual threat. Global warming is potentially about as mutual a threat to all nations and people as a giant asteroid heading toward earth or an extraterrestrial invasion force on the way. Politicians would do well to observe this potential for international cooperation and use it responsibly and constructively. Which is what makes the Kyoto or subsequent agreements so potentially beneficial in so very many ways besides addressing global climate change and pace.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 16, 2007 12:58 AM
Comment #240825

David,
The Fourth IPCC Report addresses the question which you raise:
“… A majority also say, they have insufficient data to determine how much of the global warming rate is due to natural vs. human causes. Therefore, they cannot predict how much mitigation can be accomplished, or over what time frame.”
The First Working Group looks at this isse on pages 3-4& page 10 in the summary for Policymakers. The radiative forcings, both natural and manmade, are measured. As a result of the measurements, they conclude it is “highly likely”- that is, a likelihood of greater than 90%- not 90%, but greater than 90%- that humans are causing warming.

Time frames and the amount of mitigation possible can be estimated. The various forecasts depend on what humanity chooses to do. Forecast estimates by the Third Working Group cover ranges of possibilities.

Of course, there are uncertainties. A massive volcanic eruption could create a year without summer. Natural feedback loops cause even more uncertainties, and unfortunately, these paint worse pictures than presented by the IPCC.

So we are working with greater than 90% certainty and we are working with reasonable forecast ranges which will vary, depending upon what, if anything, human beings choose to do.

But to concede a point, absolute 100% certainty is not possible, and it will never be possible until after the fact. We’re in agreement, waiting until after the fact poses unacceptable risk.

Should we be optimistic? You write: ” Global Warming can [lead to}… international peace… Nothing draws people together in cooperation like a mutual threat.”

Pardon me for playing Dr Doom, but I really don’t think most people see the threat in the first place. Some know it is a problem; but AGW isn’t seen as an imminent crisis, or a threat of perilous nature. It is too abstract. A lot of people have a vested interest in denying it. AGW is too slow to develop. Worse, it is happening the fastest and to the greatest extreme in the far north (exactly as predicted by climate models). But who cares about the far north anyway? It’s cold. Hardly anybody goes there. Only 10% of Americans even have a passport. Record setting temperatures in the arctic are way beyond the range of what most people are capable of caring about.

Making changes big enough to make a difference won’t happen until something so bad happens, it demands immediate action. But the problem is that the energies involved are truly enormous, and the problem will be too far advanced by that point…

Posted by: phx8 at December 16, 2007 2:09 AM
Comment #240827

Rhinehold-
First, don’t be so quick to buy what a few researchers are saying, just because it might suit what you’d like to hear.

Second, even if true, this can only be generalized in the most vague fashion: scientists sometimes believe things that are not true. Okay, but does that conclusively imply that they’re wrong about any specific matter?

Or put another way, what the heck would this person’s research have to do with Climate Change? Not much at all.

Scientists can be wrong, but that doesn’t mean that on a particular matter they are wrong. That has to be demonstrated on its own, with relevant facts and research.

Traci-
Thirty percent chance means there’s a one in three chance you might get rained on. That’s just like there being a fifty percent chance of getting heads when you flip a coin.

They have to work with such things, because the atmosphere, especially on a more local level, is chaotic. They can’t forecast every little turn of the winds.

However, they can get a pretty good grasp of what a system is generally going to do.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 16, 2007 8:24 AM
Comment #240828

phx8-
I don’t think you’re right about people. I’ve read a lot of work that says that people are noticing the changes right in their backyard. The numbers who believe this is a real problem are an overwhelming majority. Let’s also not forget that Gore, the leading spokesman on this matter, managed to get blockbuster box office for a documentary about this global warming presentation he makes all around the country. That looks suspiciously like interest to me.

I think the typical attitude about Americans, that they lack the capacity or the will to respond to major problems is wrong. What they lack are leaders willing to take their deferred hopes for sanity in government somewhere. We lead on just about every major issue, phx8. Our only problem is that people in Washington still aren’t getting the message, not even in our own party.

The only thing we can really do is make compliance with America’s policy desires a condition of future employment for the politicians there. When we do that, we’ll get the leadership to get what we want changed.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 16, 2007 8:51 AM
Comment #240839

Stephen
“It’s time for people to get moving with it”

Was that not what my first post was concerning?
I was not questioning the “science” or “theories,” but was questioning the lefts tactics. Contrary to what you want to believe, forcing people to believe as you, does not work. Especially if they are able to find holes in it.

Again, I compare the global warming doom and gloom nuts to a religion because you guys are behaving as they do. Not because of some mythical right wing propaganda you are convinced of.
Telling everybody the world will soon be a huge trash pile, did not work. But a single, crying Indian asking people to think, had a significant affect.
You cannot force people to learn and accept.

You not seeing how similar the lefts actions with global warming and the rights actions with terrorism, is exactly why things won’t change.
You are right and they are wrong, always! Never works and does nothing other than breed more contempt each other.

Good luck with forcing your agendas onto everybody. It worked so well for you all in the 90s and for the right recently.

Posted by: kctim at December 16, 2007 3:13 PM
Comment #240841

BillS
“You have gotten KCTM to admit there is a climate change problem,effected by human activities that calls for some “moderate ” change.”

This is where you guys are so screwed up in your partisan way of life Bill.
I have never said I do not believe in global warming. But, as with all other leftist issues, anyone who dares question how the left tells them to think, I am automatically labeled as “bad.”

“Just so long as nobody tells him its important he is willing to help. I guess we will have to take it.”

Lets see. I give a little personal experience on why your fear tactics are such BS and then offer some advice on what I believe would work better.
It doesn’t fall in line with cramming leftist thinking onto everybody, so its wrong. Gotcha!

“We need as many on board as possible.”

Then quit treating them as dumbasses because they dare question what you want them to blindly believe. Quit trying to scare them into submission.
You don’t like to hear about muslims taking over the US everyday and they don’t like to hear how the world is ending everyday.

You want as many on board?
Quit trying to dictate how they think and live their own lives. It would help you guys out on more than just this issue.

Posted by: kctim at December 16, 2007 3:23 PM
Comment #240843

Stephen eloquently and succinctly said: “The only thing we can really do is make compliance with America’s policy desires a condition of future employment for the politicians there. When we do that, we’ll get the leadership to get what we want changed.”

That is the path of hope to our future. All others lead to deficiencies in action and becoming overwhelmed by the challenges the future presents for current deliberation and decisive effort.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 16, 2007 4:00 PM
Comment #240907

Rhinehold,

Interesting, tell me, does McDonalds still sell things in styrofoam in Europe? Haven’t seen any here since the early 90s… (I miss my McDLT but they’re still sold in London!?)

No styrofoam in France since 90s too.
What’s the point?

Do you want to get out a list of good / bad things that both regions do and don’t do? I mean, cherrypicking is frowned upon, isn’t it?

I wasn’t.
Kctim asserted that “other countries” were inactives. Which I disagreed with.
Saying “other countries” are not inactives against global warning, contrary to his claim, doesn’t mean I’m saying US are inactive either.

kctim,

“As a result of American obstinacy, China and India are holding back”

They are “holding back” because of the bad ole US. IF, they truly want to stop global warming, they should be acting on their beliefs to stop it, while at the same time, working with the US to get us onboard.

They’re holding back because they follow US example. Why developing nations should contribute the first/the most to fight global warning due to developed nations crazy productivism since a century???

And, AFAIK, they’re working with US to get american onboard. Bush’s america refuse everything, as proven in Bali again.

Jim T,

“Nobody wants to pay for CO2 pollution.”

You know how much you pay in taxes. Add another 3%, 5% or even 7% on top of what you already pay. Is that acceptable to you?

To protect my kids future, that’s pretty cheap in fact.

how about your government diverting money from internal use to “gifting” a nation that ignores Kyoto.

First, soon, the only nation that will ignore Kyoto will be US, alone. France “gifting” US sounds very weird, isn’t it?!?

Second, it’s not a “gift” but a Carbon cap & trade system exchange. If France was buying not emitted CO2 emission from another nation, that would means that this nation work harder than France to reduce its emission, and that France became far worst in its CO2 emission. In such case, my country will pay his laziness the money it get from *not* investing in less polluting technology.
Sounds fair to me.

Less social programs, less health care money…less money for infrastructure.

The globalized free market has already done that in a huge scale, no need Kyoto Protocol for that.

Plus, I’ll bet that reducing our pollution will help our health care, improve our infrastructure efficiency and reinforce our social network (less individualism).

I don’t mind HELPING emerging nations with implementing green technology, but I am thoroughly against using our tax dollars to GIVE it to them.

*Where* do you see “give” written???

Emerging nations should pay a significant portion of this technology at the very least.

Doesn’t matter. What matter is that each polluting nation *must* contribute according to their burden.

Which is not the case currently.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 18, 2007 5:40 AM
Comment #240910

Rhinehold,

How was the system developed in Kyoto of rich countries being able to continue to pollute by giving money to developing nations in any way going to stop emissions and/or Global Warming?

Buying non-emitted CO2, not “giving” money.
What polluting nations are supposed to do is a) reduce their pollution bellow 1990 level or b) buy non-emitted CO2 from nation who did reduce in order to compensate for their own, actual emission. The cap making it each year more expensive this b) choice for them…

No way this was a “giving”.

it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with actually stopping Global Warming, which is what I though the point was?

Stopping was never the objective. Slowing, reducing its scale was/is.
And the point was/is to set up an incentive policy for nations to reduce their CO2 emission, by making cheaper for them than continue to pollute.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 18, 2007 8:15 AM
Comment #240913

Jim,

The majority of U.N. members hate the U.S. but love our money.

Would you rather want that a majority of UN members hate the US *and* your money?

May I recall you that US debt is owned by these “haters” members. The day they will hate dollar too, dollar will sunk, pushing your country lifestyle to its real sustainable level.

Are you ready that the world hate your money too?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 18, 2007 9:06 AM
Comment #240915

LO,

On the anti-global warming side, we have certain corporations, industries, and investors looking out for their bottom lines, and many others with a desire to continue living lifestyles that would be threatened by instituting measures to correct such a problem as this.

Good definition.

On the other side, we have those who see this as a great opportunity to achieve what they’ve been trying to do since Karl Marx wrote Das Kapital: subject the entire world economy to iron-fisted government control.

Bad definition. On the other side, we have those who see this as a great opportunity to achieve a mind change in human behavior: remember him his species lives depends on this little planet resources, some renewable, some not (on humankind lifeline scale).

The fact you see environment friendliness as an iron-fisted government push attempt is way above my comprehension…

This problem—of people with their own agendas setting the terms of the debate—is immeasurably exacerbated, I might add, by letting those like Hollywood celebrities and failed and angry American presidential candidates set the tone.

Hum, do you ever consider that the climate change is debated way outside the US borders too, maybe even more, and that your Hollywood celebrities or former US presidential candidates doesn’t set the tone of all debate worldwide?

Please, stop being American centric, in particular on global issue(s). Thanks.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 18, 2007 9:23 AM
Comment #240916

Philippe
Calm down some man. It’s all good.

“Kctim asserted that “other countries” were inactives. Which I disagreed with.”

I asked why Paul comes down on the US for doing nothing, but yet praised China and India for doing nothing. Nothing more, nothing less.

“They’re holding back because they follow US example.”

One would think that if they truly believe the dire predictions associated with global warming, they would act and not wait for the US.

“Why developing nations should contribute the first/the most to fight global warning due to developed nations crazy productivism since a century???”

China and India, not BFE.

“And, AFAIK, they’re working with US to get american onboard.”

I’m sure they are. I just don’t think they have to wait for us to act IF they believe its a problem.

“Bush’s america refuse everything, as proven in Bali again.”

Don’t worry my friend, the Dems will win in 08 and America will start bending over backwards to become just another European state and please the world again.

Posted by: kctim at December 18, 2007 9:29 AM
Comment #240928

kctim,

I asked why Paul comes down on the US for doing nothing, but yet praised China and India for doing nothing. Nothing more, nothing less.

And I explained to Rhinehold that, at first, you said “others countries are inactives” which without any extra context is taken as “others countries than US are inactives”, which I disagree with.

You since clarified your over-generalized statement, reducing to China and India.

One would think that if they truly believe the dire predictions associated with global warming, they would act and not wait for the US.

China is building nuclear power plants, to diversify from its currently manly coal-based plants.
When US will build new nuclear plants again?

China and India, not BFE.

Sorry, what BFE acronym stand for here?

I just don’t think they have to wait for us to act IF they believe its a problem.

They do.

For example, China vehicle fuel-efficiency is already stricter than US one.
They even have implemented a vehicle tax policy which imposes a levee of 1 percent on smaller-engine vehicles, but up to 20 percent on larger-engine vehicles, to discourage their use.
Could you imaging that in US? When?

Another example : China is already the world leader in the use of solar hot water.

I’m not that a fan of China, but their pragmatism is as good as American ones, but the scale is not on the same league. They are *already* facing big environmental issue, and to sustain their economy they’ve already see that they should sustain their environment.

The scale difference play a big role here.

India is, unfortunately, late. Both economically and environmentally.

Don’t worry my friend, the Dems will win in 08 and America will start bending over backwards to become just another European state and please the world again.

Nobody wants that. In particular European.
What we hope is US coming back at the World table in good faith and will, not afraid of future and others.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 18, 2007 10:55 AM
Comment #240952

Look at what the “alarmists” are doing now; instead of using (consensus) “science”, now they’re just flat-out CRYING!!! What a Hoax!

Ann Coulter could have used this “guys” name instead of Edward’s. :-)

Posted by: rahdigly at December 18, 2007 2:57 PM
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