Democrats & Liberals Archives

Principle 1: Watch and Take Notice

The world is not constructed for our convenience, to make things easy on industries, or easy on politicians. They don’t get pitched softballs over the plate every day. The brave and the wise confront the real problems, and try to find the experts in the field so they can do it right. Government is not merely about winning elections, it’s about confronting the real problems of this country, and the real serious problems to be sure.

Global Climate Change is real. Let me state that outright. Arctic Sea Ice is retreating more every summer, and that means that the North is going to get colder in the winter.

Huh?

Yeah, and more snow, too.

That's the real world for you. Very little sticks to expectations. Isn't Global Warming supposed to heat everything up? Isn't less arctic ice supposed to warm the North through the dark sea water absorbing more energy?

To a certain extent. But given that this is the real world, nothing is so simple, especially in atmospheric physics.

Weather and climate are not indeterminant, which is to say, that if you knew everything about starting conditions and could measure precisely enough, you could predict the weather exactly. Sadly, though, even the smallest whisper of difference (sometimes literally) is enough to throw off the precision of a weather or climate forecast. Climatologists are not being incompetent or showing their ignorance when they give you a range instead of a precise figure. They'd be BSing you if they ever gave you a flat figure and insisted on it, because it's not physically or computationally possible to give you that precise prediction.

We first got a hint of this in the Sixties, with the discovery of the Butterfly Effect and the Lorenz Attractor.. I think it's important to emphasize both sides of Chaos and Complexity theory when talking about real world ramifications, because while the effects of such non-linear, non-periodic behavior confound easy nailing down, chaos effects are not arbitrary or random. There is a pattern to things, a discernable pattern, though you can't always make absolute predictions about things.

Climate, really, is a mix of factors as well, and by pumping a huge amount of CO2 into the atmosphere, we're not merely heating things up, we're changing the dynamics of the system as well.

Among other impacts, such changes in sea ice cover could have significant and seemingly contradictory impacts on weather patterns in mid-latitudes. Rising heat from a warmer Arctic may increasingly disrupt the circumpolar winds that normally confine cold air within Arctic realms, allowing blasts of cold to hurtle south, similar to what happened when parts of the United States were buried under thick snow this past winter.

Wind, as we're taught in school, is the movement of air caused when warm air rises and cool air descends. Which is to say, temperature differences play a large role in the way our atmosphere moves around over the globe. We are also taught that temperature affects the capability of air to hold moisture. Warmer air holds more moisture before it has to condense out into clouds, fog and rain. Temperature also changes pressure, and pressure affects how weather systems develop, as well as the winds and the moisture content.

So, right there, the CO2 increase confounds three other variables: where the air moves and at what pressure and moisture content. In this case, it seems, the winds that were keeping cold air further North are being messed up by the thermals rising off of the newly uncovered sea water.

In other situations, the difference might be one of whether enough rain gets to an area, or not. If the prevailing winds change in certain places, that may lead to the place in question drying up. Also at issue are the rivers and streams fed by the now-diminishing glaciers. That, too can lead to crops and people not getting enough water.

Before we go taking our own climates for granted, realize that eight thousand years ago, the world's largest desert was a grassland, and people once swam in a place which is one of the driest on Earth today. The Amazon itself could become a desert instead of a rain forest. It was like that in the past.

Climate Change isn't gentle. The changes that opened up and closed the land bridge of Beringia up in Alaska took place over a few centuries, in some cases, over just a few decades.

Some allege a sort of political agenda when told things like this. Some bring up the specter of socialism. I just take the word of professionals whose job is to study such things. Could political motivations really hold back the tide, if the results were not as they were? In my mind, it is dangerous to place politics ahead of professional opinion. Anybody can argue that somebody else's side is just politically biased. But it's more a cheap debating tactic than it is a serious manner of debate.

It won't be simple or easy to respond to what's going on, but what sensible alternative is there? To defy the facts, defy the evidence is to tempt fate, to set yourself a reckoning on the consequences of the policy that has been constructed in contradiction.

If a chemical is a carcinogen, and we let polluters spread it, sooner or later, somebody will want it cleaned up, and that will cost money. People will seek medical treatment, and that will cost money. But most importantly, people will suffer when they did not have to, just so a few can prosper. That doesn't seem right to me, or sensible.

In my experience, waiting to deal with the various problems, waiting to deal with many problems only makes it more difficult to act in our own interests later. If the factory is founded with better standards as to emissions and waste at the beginning, you will not suffer the consequences of having to clean up and clear up the problem later. You will not have to choose later between prosperity from jobs and prosperity from not having a toxic legacy to deal with. If you just allow things to get screwed up, sooner or later, you reckon with the facts not the promises of what your politics has done.

We need to learn how to live within our material means, not create a long term problem for our society through short-sighted permissiveness of activities that can cause long term harm.

After all, the children and the children's children will have to deal with the consequences of all we have done. They will be the folks who have to figure out what to do with the messes we saddle them with. If we leave behind toxic substances in their drinking water, it's they who will either drink it, or have to figure out how to filter it out. If those substances get into the food, into the animals that eat the contaminated feed or drink from the contaminated wells, well then they have to eat it.

If global warming changes the places where they can grow the crops, they pay for the failure of crops, the relocation of the farms and everything. They have to figure out what to do with the irrigation and the other concerns. They have to figure out how to deal with the more violent weather, the harsher droughts, the harder rainfall, the fiercer storms.

Will Americans of the future be poorer for what we've done, sicker, angry at us for the blight we've left them in place of the green and good we inherited? That's the question we must ask, and its not a question that mere politics will afford an answer to. Doing what's in the public's best interests and what's in the best interests of future generations won't always be popular with some, who by simple habit or belligerent selfishness see their own gain as more important than the sustenance of our civilization, our way of life later. Some do take the attitude that we'll all be dead in a hundred years, so why bother worrying about it.

Well, history and the world are full of people who went that way, and suffered for it. Folks who thought about the gain of today, and not the legacy of tomorrow.

The next few generations and next few decades, all too often, have disappeared from the view of Americans, as we constantly chase around the shifting priorities of today.

I think it should be obvious where that attitudes left us: staring down the barrel of any number of serious challenges to America's future as a dominant, prosperous power. Despite everything that some promised, their short-term fixes, and short-term philosophies didn't bring the long-term solvency and security that they promised.

Americans have gotten themselves into a situation where they're struggling to meet the demands of today's problems, because for all too long they put off dealing with the looming issues of our times. The problems they failed to face yesterday have become today's problems. Yet, as human nature sometimes has us do, we're still chasing last-minute fixes and trying to keep the short-sighted system that's gotten us where we are today.

It's time to start facing the realities that face us, and that will face us, if we do not act properly.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at November 19, 2010 8:45 PM
Comments
Comment #313639

As far as the challenge goes, Post #1 is passed!
Thanks, Stephen Daugherty.

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 20, 2010 6:19 PM
Comment #313643

But, what of evolution? What if we’re suppose to suffer the effects of our carbon use? The world has indeed stored this carbon for eons. Why should we think of ourselves, correction, why should we let 535 people decide for the rest of us what is best for the future of this planet?

I’m sure there are things we can do individually, and there are things we can do as groups to minimize, not the amount of CO2 that is in the air, but the amount of money spent on things we use for convience but could do without, by making personal decisions.

I fail miserably to understand why we let 535 people decide what is best for us in the long run. We should be able to teach our children to turn out the lights when we’re not using them. We don’t need a law to tell us to do it. Perhaps a more productive measure to thwart the effects of man made polution would be for the federal government to take a persuasive role in social developement instead of a role driven by force! Maybe, if the federal government was known for accepting and deciminating ideas and facts instead of mass producing laws, we would be more acceptable to change for the better, for our own individual advancement.

Maybe that is what Change is, making our government change it’s point of view!


Again, Congradulations on Post #1, Stephen Daugherty.

Well Done!

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 20, 2010 6:53 PM
Comment #313647

WW,

Perhaps the reason we rely on the 535 is simply that we can only influence a small, almost insignificant part of the problem/solution. We rely on them because we should be able to. That we cannot, is also our fault, because we’ve relegated our responsibility of voting in responsible people to man those oh so important posts to partisan nonsense, and now don’t know quite what to do about it. While we can do our little positive bit, it is they who hold the bully pulpit, and who control the purse strings. Thus, our best bet is to turn the unnecessary lights off, and then begin to hold our elected representatives feet to the flame, if they worry excessively about reelection.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 20, 2010 7:31 PM
Comment #313649

Marysdude, if I took your entire post into account I would agree with you.

I’m withholding comment on individual statements because eventually, I agreed with you.

Are you familiar with Rob’s challenge to Steven Daugherty?


Posted by: Weary Willie at November 20, 2010 8:07 PM
Comment #313650

Stephen

The problem is not so much proving climate change. It is deciding on what steps to take in response.

Let’s get some things clear. The climate change scientists believe that there is ALREADY enough GHS in the air to create climate change. This is baked into the system. Stopping climate change is no longer possible and has not been possible for years.

The system is indeed complex,as you say. We don’t know if or how changing our habits will change the outcomes. Change, per se, is not bad. It is the speed and dislocations the change may cause. If the world changes by 2100, it will probably be worse to change it back to the condition of 1950 than to leave it as it has become.

We can adapt to changes in climate and should start thinking about that now.

The focus of attention should change. The U.S. emissions have dropped from their peak and there is a good chance they will decline further. BUT by 2025, China alone will emit more CO2 than the whole world did in 1990.

This horse has left the barn. Closing the door now doesn’t help. We have to figure out how to adapt. The climate of 1950 was not “ideal” or “normal” any more than the climate of 10,000 years ago, when the half the northern hemisphere was covered by ice or during the Eocene, when it was so warm that forests grew large above the Arctic Circle.

Stephen, your own post makes what I wrote in the above paragraph abundantly clear. the question is what do we want to do about it.

Posted by: C&J at November 20, 2010 8:13 PM
Comment #313651

WW,

I’m not sure how I can change what I said. I indicated that ‘we’ve’ relegated our responsibilities to partisan politics. Do you disagree with that? Then I said that, because ‘we’ve’ put ourselves in this position, we can’t quite figure out what to do about it. Do you disagree with that? I truly thought that I was giving a pretty good response to your quandry about our reliance on the 535…my bust.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 20, 2010 8:31 PM
Comment #313653

My limited environment is deciding this for me. I’ve been driving an 18 year old Dodge Truck for over 8 years now. It carried me back and fourth to my job for six of those years, and like an old horse, will continue to do so.

For the last 2 years my Dodge truck hasn’t had to travel the 72 miles each and every day of the week to and from work because there was no longer any work for me.

Do I say, “President Obama, By necessity, make my heating bill skyrocket!”?

Or do I buy a newer, and more efficient furnace? Do I replace old, aluminum electric wiring with a new, efficient wire?

I’m not willing to wait for Obama to bribe me to replace the wireing. That pretty much defeats the purpose of having a U.S. Constitution.

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 20, 2010 8:42 PM
Comment #313654

Marysdude

I think you are right, but need to go farther. IF we had great politicians who would do exactly what we think they should, what would that be?

As Stephen explains, we are dealing with both a complex natural system, which even our best scientists do not really understand PLUS a complex social system, which will not respond in a linear or even predictable way when confronted with changes in laws that change people’s basic habits.

We have learned that the Kyoto idea was a bust. Even had it been ratified by all involved, they/we were not in a position to make it work PLUS since it left out countries like China, India & Indonesia, the leverage it would have created is like peeing in the ocean and anticipating a flood.

Posted by: C&J at November 20, 2010 8:45 PM
Comment #313655
I’m not sure how I can change what I said. I indicated that ‘we’ve’ relegated our responsibilities to partisan politics. Do you disagree with that?

No I don’t! I said I agreed with you.

Are you familiar with Rob’s challenge to Steven Daugherty?

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 20, 2010 8:50 PM
Comment #313658
I think you are right, but need to go farther. IF we had great politicians who would do exactly what we think they should, what would that be?

Posted by: C&J at November 20, 2010 08:45 PM


That would be local government.

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 20, 2010 8:58 PM
Comment #313662

That would be parenting.

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 20, 2010 9:20 PM
Comment #313663

C&J-
We have an element here that is completely under our control. Many of the forecasts made are based on what we are projected to put out, not merely what we’ve already put out. If we change what we’re doing sufficiently, we may fall short of some critical thresholds.

The science is a sign that says “Minefield ahead.” If we heed that warning, take it seriously, and act, we could do some good.

Weary Willie-
Thanks for noticing.

Two things to keep in mind: Evolution is slow. That’s why evolving brains was a good thing: it helped us leap past just adapting slowly, biologically, over time.

Second, nobody, no population starts off with a clean slate. Mutations are constantly happening. Most don’t mean anything or don’t help, but enough are functional so that they hang around, and with virtually every creature on the planet, you have one successful or neutral mutation stacked on another. We’re all mutants, full of variations on different genes.

And some of those genes and their effects will help us face the pressures for survival and reproduction, some of them won’t help us a bit, and some of them will just yank us to the bottom like a boat anchor, in terms of surviving to pass on genes.

But it’s not about destiny. It’s not about perfection. It’s a provisional system, where the mutations and the collection of traits they create only have to be good enough to ensure that they move on. As a matter of fact, some beneficial traits, if allowed to become exaggerated, will become liabilities. It’s a tricky balancing act. Every trait has its advantages and its costs, and the economy of evolution is fairly nuanced in the balancing of these.

And, of course, not everything that evolves evolves itself into a good place. A trait that helps a creature survive, but which ties it to an unsustainable resource, or requires a connection to another creature whose destruction would put them out of luck can be a big liability.

As for why we let 535 people make those decisions?

Well, part of the virtue is that they can require things of people, with authority behind them. So Governments a critical part of that. I do think that there’s a critical component of culture and education that’s at work here as well. People need to know the consequences of their actions, of events as they unfold. They need to know the truth about the policy, and what letting some of the things happen means for them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 20, 2010 9:33 PM
Comment #313665
Well, part of the virtue is that they can require things of people, with authority behind them.
Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 20, 2010 09:33 PM

Thanks for letting me know!

Why do we let people require thing of people with authority behind them? Shouldn’t people’s ideas stand on their own? Should a chosen few have authority over the ideas of others before they are considered a viable alternative?

Government is not a critical part. Most of the time, when someone does something, it doesn’t effect someone in another state.

Only the federal government does that.

it helped us leap past just adapting slowly, biologically, over time.

Thanks for that too, Stephen Daugherty!

All I have to do is watch what you do! You can jump all you want! I’ll be right behind you, waiting for you to find the clif.


Posted by: Weary Willie at November 20, 2010 10:20 PM
Comment #313666

Perhaps we’ve allowed (encouraged?) that 535 to be and do exactly what they are doing right now…pretty much nothing. I understand that government cannot do all there is to do, or that we would want it to do, but there are two things it can do, ie, it can push us in the right direction by providing information and education, and it can get out of the way when we achieve momentum in the right direction with the knowledge we’ve received by way of that information and education.

Since we cannot all live in that cabin on the mountainside, and cannot all survive in a wilderness situation, a good governing body can set the rules by which living together is not so traumatic as to be unbearable.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 20, 2010 10:22 PM
Comment #313668

For the most part Marysdude, I agree, again! We’re both doing something here.

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 20, 2010 10:50 PM
Comment #313669

Stephen

The science says minefield ahead, but the ship cannot be turned to avoid it. The mines were set decades ago. There is the lag effect, but even if we produced no CO2 anymore, the changes are baked in. It gets worse. Even if WE in the U.S. stopped producing all CO2, the Chinese have taken up the slack.

We cannot heed the warning to avoid your minefield.

The bottom line is that the world climate WILL change. There is absolutely, positively no way to stop that.

IMO - we are still occupying that hopeful stage where we think if we replace a few light bulbs and get rid of SUVs, it will be okay. It won’t.

We need a whole new paradigm, one that recognizes that change will come and that which cannot be avoided must be embraced. We should be developing with biotechnology and breeding, plants and animals that can thrive in the new environments. For example, the Brazilians have developed a type of soybean that can grow in the tropics. This was supposed to be impossible, but it isn’t.

Some of the changes will be beneficial, BTW. For example, southern pine trees will grow better and stronger in an environment with more CO2. A tree that used to take 40 years to mature will do it in maybe 30. We should spend a little effort trying to figure those things out.

We should also plan long term investments. For example, water supplies will shift. In some places there will be more rain and some less. We can begin to make investments to adapt.

I believe we will shift out of a carbon based economy by mid-century. New technologies will make that possible. The change will be technological, not political. But this will not happen in time to prevent the changes.

There is nothing anybody can do to prevent the climate change, so we better figure out how to live with it. This is something politicians may be able to help with.

For example, how stupid do we have to be to invest in things like rebuilding below sea level areas such a New Orleans? Why do we continue to allow and even encourage development on low lying coasts and barrier islands? Let’s build new infrastructure on higher ground. And let’s study how to grow crops and trees under a variety of likely scenarios.

Posted by: C&J at November 20, 2010 10:53 PM
Comment #313672
let’s study how to grow crops and trees under a variety of likely scenarios.
Posted by: C&J at November 20, 2010 10:53 PM


There’s no time, C&J! Our children need to know how to put on a condom and understand the guy with 2 dads.

Our school system resembles The Family Guy!

You study the crops and trees. We’ll come to you, eventually.

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 20, 2010 11:20 PM
Comment #313675

How would children learn if there were no public schools?

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 20, 2010 11:49 PM
Comment #313679

The history of New Orleans is one of growth, and until recently of prosperity. That stellar city did not just spring into being. It was placed there for commercial and defensive purposes. To say it should not have been there in the first place is not exactly right, and to say the three million or so residents who would have to be relocated in order to abandon the area most effected is not exactly right either. Perhaps the best solution for New Orleans is the one we are taking…rebuild with better protection.

Moving a city of that size, and believing it would not grow back, for the same basic reasons it grew there originally? Remember we are heading for third world status, and shoring up defensives will be one of our main functions, and the commercial positives of New Orleans will increase rather than decrease.

It has been established that climate change is somewhat unpredictable, so who’s to say that New Orleans will not end up in a safer position ‘naturally’? :)

Posted by: Marysdude at November 21, 2010 7:29 AM
Comment #313680

>How would children learn if there were no public schools?
Posted by: Weary Willie at November 20, 2010 11:49 PM

WW,

The way they did before public schools…the wealthy, the random lucky one, the self taught, and the few coop schools in some locations.

I think it was you who said you were nearing seventy. When we grew up public schooling was at its peak. In fact we, you and I, have lived through the bast that America has to offer. It was not perfect, and some among us, like black people, Indians, and such, suffered either outright debasement or neglect. But, for those of us lucky enough to be born white, it was the best of the best, We came up after the great depression, the great war was ending, the middle class was developing by dint of education, unionization and the GI Bill. Life was gooood!

It will never be that good again. We just have to help those who come later as best we can. One of the ways is to help them solve some of the environmental problems before they get to be too difficult to solve, and to help set the table for those problems we have not yet envisioned.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 21, 2010 7:40 AM
Comment #313685

Marysdude,

>It will never be that good again.

Nonsense! I hate that sort of whistful looking back and self defeatism. It will be better.

Being an atheist, I don’t believe in intelligent design, but maybe there is a reason people get old and die, and young people are born with new enthusiasm.

Good riddance, prejudices, materialism and idealistic namby pambyism. Welcome to a better delivery system of information, globalism, and greater honesty and pragmatism from the coming generations.

Posted by: gergle at November 21, 2010 9:13 AM
Comment #313689

Weary Willie-
Look, if you want to base everything on abstract philosophy, be my guest. But no society can long survive without moderating the behavior of some of it members. That simple. At some point, you have to be able to put a stop to bad behavior both by majorities and by minorities. It’s a difficult trick, but that’s what the Constitution and its amendments are built to do, and rather well, I think.

You folks have had your chance to try things your way. It didn’t work out. But your people and mine should heed the less, rather than ignore what really happened so we can continue on with the same unsullied political beliefs.

You say I’m basically going to jump off the cliff. But more often than not, I’ve been the one telling people, pull back from the edge, watch your step.

C&J-

The science says minefield ahead, but the ship cannot be turned to avoid it. The mines were set decades ago. There is the lag effect, but even if we produced no CO2 anymore, the changes are baked in. It gets worse. Even if WE in the U.S. stopped producing all CO2, the Chinese have taken up the slack.

I frequent a lot of the publications and read much of the literature about this subject, and I can say that it is only partly the case.

There is global climate change that we can’t avoid. But there’s also a significant amount that is not guaranteed, that is dependent on our future behavior.

And China’s for that matter. But we have little authority to lecture others, with our level of emissions until we do something about our own. Besides, if China wants to screw things up, let them the mistakes, while we do the right things.

Other countries, China included, are looking to get in on the new industries. The change has started. The question is, are we willfully consigning our portion of the world economy to energy obsolescence?

We can heed the warning, you’ve just been listening to too many people who draw their paychecks from sources that would prosper if we did nothing.

We may have to adapt to some permanent changes, but if we act promptly, we can lessen the severity of those changes. It’s all a matter of changing our future behavior. The more we fail at this, the more expensive and problematic the circumstances we have to adapt to later.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 21, 2010 9:32 AM
Comment #313691

Marysdude

We don’t need to “move” New Orleans. We just should not expand or rebuilt on areas that are already below sea level.

Re the climate uncertainty - there is no scenario predicted by any of the scientist that lowers sea level. Almost all envision a rise.

If we don’t want to take science into account, there is no use in planning for any changes. This is exactly the problem with planning for climate change. People really enjoy shifting blame and talking about disasters, but they don’t want to actually take the difficult steps to prepare for them.

Stephen

Re China - we have every right to criticize China. This is not a religious debate where we have to be w/o sin. China is the biggest CO2 emitter today. Within ten years they will be producing more CO2 than the whole world did in 1990. The U.S. and Europe were the problem of the past. China and others are the problems of the future. Unless they address the problem, nothing we can do will make much difference, except for those who like to feel morally right.

Being “morally right” along with $1.50 will get you a cup of coffee at most restaurants.

Re “minefields” - read those sources more carefully. There has been a concerted effort to downplay the inevitability of climate change because people feared that it would make people give up on CO2 reductions. We should indeed try to find ways to produce energy cleanly. We have some of these things like nuclear power already. But we also need to adapt.

Posted by: C&J at November 21, 2010 10:42 AM
Comment #313692

gergle,

Perhaps I should have said the best ‘material’, and ‘comfort’ years are behind us. There can be a better world, but it needs to be started pretty soon, or may never develop. Defeatism…perhaps, but might be pragmatism just as well.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 21, 2010 11:06 AM
Comment #313693

This is a loop circle. We should continue to rebuild New Orleans, but we should not rebuild it…or we should move it, or we should move only part of it, or we should move only a little bit of it. The thing of it is, in order for it to do what it has done, and was intended to do, and to continue to do what we want it to do, we must accept that parts will, of necessity, be below sea level. The sea was held at bay for a long time, and only became a threat when we let down our guard. We let that guard down because taxation became a curse word.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 21, 2010 11:13 AM
Comment #313696

Marysdude

Re New Orleans - there is a simple solution. Let people rebuild who want to rebuild, but don’t subsidize it. In other words, don’t give special insurance breaks or help. If someone wants to build his house and pay whatever the market rate is for insurance, that is okay with me. But let’s not hear the crying with the inevitable takes place.

There are two categories around of New Orleans. Some parts are above sea level or represent significant infrastructure that can be saved and kept profitable. Other parts are low and would be best left or returned to nature.

That is why it is smart to let people decide based on their real assessments, i.e. not getting something free from taxpayers.

Posted by: C&J at November 21, 2010 12:51 PM
Comment #313707

No offense Stephen, but I can’t believe you tried to take on one of the most complex topics of our time in a blog post.

Even the most astute scientists in the world disagree on many scientific factors such as the causality and inevibility of so-called Climate Change.

Ironic story: My wife, no scientific neophyte, went to a state-sponsored teacher’s workshop two weeks ago. One of the key topics was Global Warming. Delaware’s chief climatologist led the workshop. What’s fascinating is that he used to be on the scientific side of Global Warming “is real’ argument.

During his workshop, he showed all sides of the argument and presented nearly all of today’s compelling arguments to his audience of Delaware teachers. He resolutely debunked the Global Warming argument.

When I aksed my wife about her training workshop, I expected to KNOW what the conclusions would be from the climatologist (having read a lot of his reports and stories on the subject); however, my wife told me an opposite story. I was aghast! My wife summarized the arguments made and was clearly convinced of how the data was presented.

The other fascinating nugget of truth is that Climate Change is big business for universities and other research organizations. If Climate Change is challenged to the point that it’s an overraction to the natural ebb and flow of million-year temperature fluctuations, major funding money will be minimized. Thus, challenging that Climate Change is not only real, but it’s imminent becomes a self-serving science in and of itself. Self preservation is a strong elixer.

This doesn’t mean that one view over another’s view on this topic is more correct than the other’s. It shows how people’s understanding can change over time, especially when one looks beyond the ‘sky-is-falling’ fear that documentaries such as an Inconvenient Truth promulgates.

Recycling, conservation and other ‘green’ strategies are all good. But we must not get fooled by the over-the-top prostitution that the ‘green’ label has become. Many corporations and individuals (Al Gore, notwithstanding) are becoming millionaires and billionairs off of nothing more than a lot of the it-makes-me-feel-good green consumer.

Common sense dictates that CO2 and other green-house gases and fossil fuels are bad for our environment. Of course they are! But to fundamentally frame this argument and cast it using fear as the main element is no better than what George W. Bush did after 9/11 making the case that we HAD to go into Iraq. Fear and Reality are not the best bedfellows.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at November 21, 2010 2:54 PM
Comment #313710


C&J, New Orleans cannot be singled out for such treatment. First there is the matter of above and below sea level. What is built above sea level can be severely damaged and possibly wiped out by another hurricane. This is true of the entire Gulf region. This thinking could be applied to other regions of the country as well, major fault lines, tornado alley, etc,.

Turn the bowl into a grand park, and reevaluate our architectural aesthetics, building techniques and building materials.

Science says it is to late to stop global warming so we should just get used to it? Perhaps that is true. Perhaps humans have done enough and nature will take over from here with methane released from tundra and inversion layer rollovers in lakes and oceans. But, I believe we humans should do all we can to reverse the trend because there are huge differences for outcome and recovery when comparing a 3 meter sea rise and a 30 meter sea rise or possibly even a 90 meter rise in sea levels.

Under the waters of many coast lines is the reminder that humans have suffered a similar fate in the past and accounts of that disaster suggest that it had quite severe consequences for populations at that time.

Evacuating a few islanders is one thing, but evacuating significant portions of the worlds coastal waters is quite another.

I imagine that the people of the next century would be very appreciative of us if they knew that we had seriously considered the potential threat to them and we did what we could to reverse the damage that we have done.

Posted by: jlw at November 21, 2010 3:33 PM
Comment #313711

Kevin,

Are you refering to David R Legates?

Posted by: gergle at November 21, 2010 3:45 PM
Comment #313713

jlw

Nature never “takes over”. Nature just is. There is no plan. It doesn’t reward or punish us. Some things we do work better than others for our own well-being. Nature doesn’t care.

Re New Orleans - I mention that because it is the most in the news. The same goes for all these ecologically sensitive places, such as barrier islands, river banks, steep slopes etc. If we just do not bail out people with cheap insurance and relief, they won’t be able to build on these places and if they do it won’t cost us anything.

Much of the bad building policy and ruinous water policy is actively subsidized by the taxpayers. If we just stop doing that, many problems will no longer be problems.

If you have a house on a floodplain, I would say that your fellow citizens should help you - ONE time. After that, you probably should move to higher ground.

Posted by: C&J at November 21, 2010 4:43 PM
Comment #313714

jlw

Let me add that we can produce maps and estimates of how natural events will affect us. In some places we can tell within a few meters what the risks may be. This is especially true for flooding.

Risk is not the same as disaster. You may live in a risky place and never suffer, or you may live in the least risky place in the world and suffer from a freak accident. BUT we can figure the odds. That is what insurance does. If you can find someone to insure your place or if you are willing to assume the risk, I have no problem with your decision. But if you demand subsidized rates or special bailouts, than it is not right.

If you live below sea level, you should expect to pay big money for insurance. Enough said?

Posted by: C&J at November 21, 2010 4:48 PM
Comment #313722

C&J,

You have written many times about subsidies, and many times about New Orleans. Katrina cost a bunch, but that cost was mostly because we had not kept pace with levee deterioration (again tax has become a curse word). But, there are thousands of subsidies that cost as much or more than subsidizing a little insurance in New Orleans. Perhaps we could concentrate on those that cost us the most first? Frankly, I’m for dropping such subsidies along the coasts, etc., because that might curtail some of the growth of cement and Glass monstrosities that profligate in those type areas. But, the subject was climate change, and whether we should just sit back, relax and let it happen because we’ve let it go too long already, or attempt to change our ornery ways, and solve at least some of the problem. Personally I prefer to proact, and when that is no longer available, react, because ‘inact’ doesn’t ring true as the American thing to do.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 21, 2010 7:16 PM
Comment #313727

Marysdude

I know you think of me only as a capitalist, but before that I was an environmentalist. Ecology and economy are similar subjects. The words are derived from the same Greek word (οίκος) which means household or home. The reason I don’t like spending all that money around places like New Orleans is primarily environmental. The wetlands should not be pumped out. I don’t cut trees or do much of anything else on almost 1/3 of my land in order to protect wetlands and water resources. We don’t maximize profit. It is just not right to mess with those things any more than you have to. These places flood. flooding is natural. It creates habitat and cleans the water. Should we build walls and levees so that we can build more houses, or maybe should we build more houses on places where we don’t have to go through all that trouble?

I understand that we need to make some port improvements and some levees. But we should do it sparingly. Speeding the waters of the Mississippi out to sea, instead of letting them meander through wetlands, is an ecological mistake. That it is also an economic mistake just compounds the problem.

I really fail to see the reason for the enthusiasm to rebuild areas that nature will again destroy. IMO, many liberals got the idea to rebuild New Orleans in all its parts as a way to criticize George Bush. Yes, it was just that petty. But Bush is gone. No need to pretend it was a good idea any more.

So let me be clear. If it cost absolutely nothing to build the levees etc to allow the rebuilding of the below sea level parts of New Orleans, I would still be against it, because of the economic/ecological reasons mentioned above.

Posted by: C&J at November 21, 2010 8:01 PM
Comment #313728

C&J-
Some change is inevitable. Not all. The distinction is important, because it could mean the difference between one degree Farenheit of warming, and six.

Perhaps they’re wrong, but with the way these models work that’s not a certainty either.

The question is, what’s the proper, winning gamble here? If we’re taking our chances, what do we benefit from, and see the least cost from?

Fuel Efficiency? A winner all around. Same energy does more work.

Getting off of fossil fuels? A winner all around, because they’re in limited supply, and will cost more and more as the decades wear on. That won’t be true of alternative and renewables, in many cases.

Leading the world in this charge? A winner all around, because we get the jobs, the investment and the imports, rather than everybody else.

Even if Climate Change is all inevitable, which it’s not, it’s the right way to go. It’s all a matter of how high the emissions are allowed to stay. Even China IS changing, and will change, in order to avoid the problems of an energy policy that is dependent on scarce fossil fuels.

Americans need to be the leaders here, not the folks who come in second.

Kevin L. Lagola-
Tell me: has anybody actually shown which natural climate cycle is actually responsible for this?

See, that’s the tricky part. You can offer a hypothesis about Milankovic cycles, natural releases of CO2, Clathrate Guns, rises in levels of Solar irradiance, but then you have to prove yourself right.

As for fear? Well, let’s take an example. We assumed that the Greenland Ice Sheet would take thousands of years to melt. But what we didn’t know about was that the way the meltwater went through the structure of that Ice Sheet would make it go faster. Now, we face that happening in a very short amount of time.

What, pray tell, is the appropriate emotional response to this? Nervous paralysis? Decadent ennui? Or perhaps fear and the courage to confront what we fear.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 21, 2010 8:06 PM
Comment #313733

David R. Legates is funded by Exxon Mobile for his GW contrarianism, for those that don’t know.

Posted by: gergle at November 21, 2010 8:31 PM
Comment #313736

Let the climate change proceed. We here in Memphis, TN want beach front property, too. Apparently it was some millions of years ago. I hope my house isn’t too far inland.

Memphis - the New New Orleans.

Posted by: LibRick at November 21, 2010 9:04 PM
Comment #313741

Stephen

I believe in fuel efficiency, planting trees, conservation etc. The problem is that most other people do not. They say they do when asked in opinion polls, but they don’t change their behaviors or do it in ways that are frankly a little silly, i.e. gets an energy efficient bulb, but still drives many miles to work.

I have reasonable faith in technology to come up with carbon light products in the medium term. I have good faith in market forces, i.e. price, to change consumption in the short term. I have near zero confidence in government measures and international agreements. Such agreements work when only they no longer matter.

The U.S. CO2 emission dropped more since 2000 than those of countries (taken as a whole) that signed on to Kyoto. Meanwhile, people who claim to be concerned about CO2 as the world’s biggest problem continue to oppose nuclear power, natural gas extraction and higher energy prices, things that work to reduce CO2. Some of them even oppose wind, if the windmill is near the Kennedy compound.

So we better adapt, because what is coming is already rolling down the hill toward us, some of us just ain’t heard the word yet.

Posted by: C&J at November 21, 2010 10:08 PM
Comment #313742

Stephen

Re China - China is using everything it can. It will use more CO2 AND more wind. They have no real intention of replacing CO2. They just need everything they can get.

The Chinese have a long history of talking one way and doing something else.

Posted by: C&J at November 21, 2010 10:10 PM
Comment #313743

>The Chinese have a long history of talking one way and doing something else.
Posted by: C&J at November 21, 2010 10:10 PM

I don’t suppose there is any other nation you can think of that does and has done this very thing? Even perhaps to its own native peoples? Even perhaps to the peoples whom it actually transported great distances to exploit? Even perhaps…never mind…

Posted by: Marysdude at November 21, 2010 10:28 PM
Comment #313746

Marydude

Okay, if you want to feel guilty, go for it. I am looking forward and being practical. We know we cannot depend on the Chinese words conforming with Chinese deeds in this case.

Perhaps we can make an automatic note saying something like, “no matter what anybody does, we recongize that American liberals will point to something in the American past as worse, so we stipulate that and move along.”

Posted by: C&J at November 21, 2010 10:44 PM
Comment #313750

C&J said: “We know we cannot depend on the Chinese words conforming with Chinese deeds in this case. “

Yeah, like the rest of the world knows America can’t manage its finances and is not above invading other nations without justifiable cause, despite America claiming otherwise.

I agree, that it is foolish to depend on Chinese rhetoric. But, let’s be clear. One can reliably depend on Chinese actions as an indicator of where China is going. And China is invested HEAVILY in a stable, well regulated, and predictable economic global growth path. Hence, the enormous number of trade compacts China has been initiating throughout the entire world on every Continent. China has not created a Recession-proof economic growth path by being either unpredictable or stupid. And China is one of the few nations which did not experience a Recession or near recession over the last 3 years.

In fact, China has welcomed the global recession in part, due to its slowing China’s overheated and inflationary economic growth of as high as 16% GDP down to 5.5 to 6%.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 21, 2010 11:39 PM
Comment #313758

C&J,

It is very strange to me that we can take a ‘given’ that we have done evil things in the past, and continue to do evil things even today, yet find enough fault with other nations for doing the very same things that we condemn them for it. Okay, if our levels of idealisms are that low, and our ambitions for materialism is that high, I say it is a ‘given’ that other nations have that selfsame problem. The ONLY way forward is to assume that if we lead in the right direction they will follow. Apparently they followed us in the other direction for a very long time. Why not give common sense and decency a chance this time?

Posted by: Marysdude at November 22, 2010 6:48 AM
Comment #313759

>Perhaps we can make an automatic note saying something like, “no matter what anybody does, we recongize that American liberals will point to something in the American past as worse, so we stipulate that and move along.”

C&J Which part of that do you find fault with?

A. That Americans have done bad things (and are still doing them), or

B. ‘Liberals’ will say that America has done bad things (and is still doing them)

Posted by: Marysdude at November 22, 2010 6:53 AM
Comment #313770

>Perhaps we can make an automatic note saying something like, “no matter what anybody does, we recongize that American liberals will point to something in the American past as worse, so we stipulate that and move along.
Posted by: C&J at November 21, 2010 10:44 PM

Weary Willie,

Take note of the shot over the bow, and who took the shot, please. ‘Twas not me.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 22, 2010 10:46 AM
Comment #313774

We can look to what China is doing, and point fingers at them, but that’s merely an excuse not to do what we should be doing. It’s a tu quoque argument: maybe excess Carbon emissions are bad, but China’s doing them to, so we can’t stop using them.

Bullcrap. We can get ahead of China. Indeed, we should, so we’re exporting this technology instead of them. Whatever they’re intending as far as curbing carbon emissions, they’re definitely getting into the business of making the green technology, and we should be moving ahead of them.

It will also be easier to put international pressure on the Chinese if we’ve got nearly every other country in the world going green. We can get developing countries easier if we can develop cheap economic version of green technology, so they don’t have to recapitulate every step of the technological development ladder.

But if all we got is self-interested disdain for taking that step, what business do we have telling them what to do with their energy economy?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 22, 2010 11:41 AM
Comment #313786

I find it interesting that many argue for more government regulation in our markets and financial institutions to prevent problems of the sort we have just experienced while not arguing the same when it comes to land use.

We know for certain that some areas of our country are very likely to experience tremendous damage from flood and wind in the forseeable future. Rather than regulate such land use to prevent or reduce forseeable catastrophies, it seems to me we encourage it by spending tax money to promote such irresponsible behavior.

Many appear anxious for our government to spend huge sums along with much regulation in an attempt to reduce CO2 emmissions while the verdict is still out on whether any such effort is necessary or effective.

Some argue that renewable energy must be pursued at any cost for any variety of reasons.

Despite the fact that we are possibly facing national bankruptcy in the next decade or so if we don’t change our spendthrift ways many continue to argue that we can reduce our deficit, increase employment, fix global warming, eliminate poverty, police the world, revitalize our national infrastructure, fund more educational spending, and much more with borrowed or printed dollars.

I am hoping that those who advocate all this spending can help me understand how we will pay for it.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 22, 2010 4:54 PM
Comment #313790

Past experience says we’re going to pay for it with class warfare, hidden fees, penalties, and fines. Given what we’re experiencing in our airports it should be a piece of cake for the government to eventually pay for it.

This has been a very good post as WatchBlog posts go. There has been alot of common ground uncovered. Some I wouldn’t have expected.

Royal Flush has listed a number of things that our federal government is wasting money on. I’m not saying the projects are a waste, I’m saying addressing them on the federal level is wasteful.

I question why the federal government should foot the bill for disaster relief when the residents pay insurance. Why do people pay for insurance and then expect the federal government to provide relief? Are states paying for insurance from the federal government just as citizens pay for insurance?

Is there a Disaster Relief Insurance Company that the states patronize?

The general welfare clause is not an end all-cure all for our individual woes. There is no reason why Bush has to fly over and Obama has to poke in the sand before anything gets done. That is not the way things are suppose to work in this country. For too long we’ve been expecting the federal government to do everything for us. How do we pay for it? We stop expecting the federal government to be our benefactor.


Posted by: Weary Willie at November 22, 2010 5:42 PM
Comment #313792
Insist on reasserting American Exceptionalism by having every student in taxpayer-financed schools, whether K through 12 or in the state college and university systems, have a brief course annually on the Declaration of Independence, its assertion of self-evident truths, and its declaration that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The time has come to reassert that we are Americans, and America is a learned civilization.


Posted by: Weary Willie at November 22, 2010 6:26 PM
Comment #313793

RF said: “I am hoping that those who advocate all this spending can help me understand how we will pay for it.”

That would be an impossibility, RF, not because of any inability on your part to understand, but, because no such rational argument can be made that we can pay for all that we have been doing. Thanks to the last decade of governance by Democrats and Republicans, our government is broke, and going broker with each passing year.

It is not too late to turn back from the economic abyss that lies ahead, but, that would required serious political reforms to remove the wealthy special interests from the pockets of our politicians, freeing them to legislate on the merits of the solutions, instead of the lobbying of their campaign donors.

And the only way I see that happening, is if voters demonstrated to incumbents of BOTH parties, that reelection going forward depends on satisfying the common demands of the majority of the public, not how much money they can raise for reelection. The anti-incumbent vote has to double over the next two elections to force such political reform, or, we will certainly run out of time to avert that abyss.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 22, 2010 6:32 PM
Comment #313796

Weary Willie said: “For too long we’ve been expecting the federal government to do everything for us. How do we pay for it?”

Well, the American people are about to get a huge lesson in what their State and local governments CAN’T do for them, because they too are broke. State and local governments take 6 times more taxes from businesses than the federal government. (Source: Treasury). Want jobs? Look to the State and Local governments to reduce that 400 plus billion dollars a year in business taxes. Federal treasury only takes 71 billion.

Your reason has a certain logic to it. But, in reality, as conditions get worse in America, it is the federal government the people will look to, not their State and local governments, 3/4 of which are now running, or about to run, deficits.

Throughout the history of our nation, when the State and local governments are unable to provide for the public demand, it is the federal government the people have looked to - from security on Indian lands, to Poverty insurance in retirement years. Demand on federal government is going to grow, not lessen. That writing is on the wall.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 22, 2010 6:41 PM
Comment #313797

Royal Flush-
Your party is pushing a budget approach that objectively raises the rate of deficit spending compared to its alternative from the other party.

If we’re facing National Bankruptcy, a huge part of it owes itself to initiatives that attempted supply side stimulus through tax cuts, as well as very expensive military adventures and fiscally mismanaged entitlement programs.

Republicans had the chance to use the Federal Government’s bargaining power to reduce what taxpayers were paying for drug. Instead, they let the pharmaceutical companies gouge American taxpayers for it. They had the chance to run additional medicare programs more cheaply and efficiently in-house, but instead chose to hand hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars to the companies that wasn’t even used to pay for patient expenses- just a subsidy, handed to them at cost to the taxpayer.

Objectively speaking, The Obama administration and the Democratic Congress cut the fat out of Republicans spending programs, so that their spending programs would not cost the Taxpayers a dime more. Democrats made government more efficient when they had the chance, Republicans made it less so.

And some, yes, comes from increased taxes. But you know, if we had actually paid for all of the spending that the Republicans started, we might not be in this mess.

And if Republicans get their way, America will get further away from a balanced budget, not closer. There is no indication that there was an attendant improvement in the economy due to the Bush tax cuts. In fact, hiring was the worse since WWII, even if you didn’t count the recession. With unemployment the major concern for our economy, the major driver of entitlement spending, the major driver of economic problems like poor business, and the major driver of our fiscal problems through lost revenues, the only reason to extend the tax cuts is to avoid taking money out of the economy.

But then, if we’re talking the Rich, they’re not spending it. The Middle Class and poor are. So, really, the best idea is to maintain tax cuts for them, so they don’t reduce their spending, and hurt the economy, and don’t add the hundreds of billions to the deficit just to watch a poor return on the investment from the rich saving the money.

I know the Republican’s contributors will be sad, but better that than more money to pay back that we shouldn’t have to.

If you want good talk on fiscal matters, elect a Republican. If you want actual action, elect a Democrat.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 22, 2010 7:03 PM
Comment #313798

Mr. Daugherty writes; “Before we go taking our own climates for granted, realize that eight thousand years ago, the world’s largest desert was a grassland, and people once swam in a place which is one of the driest on Earth today. The Amazon itself could become a desert instead of a rain forest. It was like that in the past.”

Isn’t that interesting, who could have possibly believed that climate change began long ago before man’s intervention and continues today.

Isn’t it interesting that the proponents of global warming tell us that warmer weather over a short period is proof of global warming and that cooler weather over a short period is proof of global warming. I suspect, than normal weather over a short period would also indicate global warming.

I recall the hysterical predictions not long ago that we should expect more droughts and hurricanes than ever before. They also have mysteriously failed to materialise.

Now, Mr. Daugherty is crediting natural factors such as ocean currents, for the fact that temperatures have failed to rise as predicted. However, we are assured that this cooling effect is merely “masking the underlying warming trend”, and that the temperature rise will resume worse than ever by the middle of the next decade).

Now I am not a climate expert, or expert in anything for that matter, but I am confused on this subject. We have based our predictions on computer models, the computer models so far have failed to predict climate change as promised, we continue to trust the computer models while admitting there are “natural factors” we don’t understand and can’t predict with any…(wait for it) “predictibility”.

And yet, we are asked as a nation, to submit to paying for enormous costs; and submit to freedom robbing regulations to delay or modifiy what we can neither predict correctly or prove scientifically.

Dam…I’m getting a headache trying to understand all this. Please help Mr. Daugherty.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 22, 2010 7:17 PM
Comment #313800

Thank you very much Mr. Daugherty for your comments on how we may have gotten into this financial mess.

Now, back to my question…will those who advocate all this new spending help me understand how we will pay for it?

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 22, 2010 7:24 PM
Comment #313801

Marysdude

It is silly and irrelevant, and it has become something of a throw away line.

I think there is a good analogy. You come in and tell me that there is a big accident on the freeway and maybe I should avoid it. My response to you is that you are a horrible driver and caused an accident before.

It takes perhaps useful information throws it away.

I don’t really understand why some people like to trash their country so much. No matter what the subject, they have to confess the sins of America. You know what I am talking about. Honestly, why do you do it? What purpose do you think it achieves?

It is a kind of reductionism. It brings everything back to a kind of religious concept of original sin.

Posted by: C&J at November 22, 2010 7:28 PM
Comment #313805

Cut spending, without placing more people on unemployment…raise taxes on those who are able to pay them.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 22, 2010 7:31 PM
Comment #313808

C&J,

If you are going to discuss what needs to be done by the Chinese, and at the same time are unwilling to discuss what the US has done to hurt the Chinese, I see it as an effort in futility. Sticking our heads in the sand, trying to deny our part in the world’s ills, is hardly the best way to convince the world to accept our word going forward. Pride is better served by those who have done prideful things. It is as if you wish to hide from the past instead of facing it. Bad behavior never changes on its own, it needs exposure. We crow out loud about the Marshall Plan, disaster aid, etc., perhaps now is the very best time to expose the warts.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 22, 2010 7:39 PM
Comment #313809

This was one part of the discussion I thought some had come to an agreement with, per se. One of the reasons I liked this post was an acknowledgment and agreement that the GW thing needs to be addressed, but focusing on GW as a man made and man controlled thing is really unprovable.

So,What? We have more hurricanes now because it’s getting warmer! So, What? Should we really be wasting our resources writing down someone’s CO2 and selling it to someone else? I don’t think we do because the exchange in Chicago just folded up shop.

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 22, 2010 7:44 PM
Comment #313810

Cut spending, without placing more people on unemployment…raise taxes on those who are able to pay them.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 22, 2010

That’s possible with the approval of congress and the president. Can you flesh this out for me a little? Cut what spending? Can you identify those who can afford tax increases?

How much will be save by these methods and is it enough to balance our national books, or at least be a good start that will make a difference?

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 22, 2010 7:49 PM
Comment #313811

I don’t think we do because the exchange in Chicago just folded up shop.

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 22, 2010

I’m not certain Weary, but I beleive the exchange in London is about to meet the same fate.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 22, 2010 7:52 PM
Comment #313815

There’s no reason why we couldn’t insist we replace the wage of a senator with the wage of a small business owner’s secretary. We say competent people would shy away and not take the job! Kinda’ like a job Americans won’t do. If these people in Washington are competent then I would rather have an unemployed accountant in that position, or his secretary!

Why do we think the federal government is the end all-cure all?! I don’t get it!


Posted by: Weary Willie at November 22, 2010 8:02 PM
Comment #313817

Why do we think the federal government is the end all-cure all?! I don’t get it!

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 22, 2010

Willie…I dont get it either.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 22, 2010 8:04 PM
Comment #313818

Marysdude

It is just reductionism. If you cannot see it, I cannot help you. That is why I proposed the disclaimer - kind of like those warnings on cigarettes.

I bet when the Chinese discuss their plans, they don’t consider all the ways they may have hurt the U.S. Or done bad things? Do you suppose that when they plan to keep their currency low, one of them complains that millions died needlessly during the cultural revolution? Does this bother you? Do you think others constantly kick themselves in the rear no matter what the subject? If not, why do you think it should work the other way around?

I bet your favorite part of the Bible is John 8:7. It is nice for the religiously minded, but makes less sense for practical politics. I doubt if you behave like this in your daily life and if you do, you must be very popular in poker games and on used car lots. But don’t mistake it for love.

Posted by: C&J at November 22, 2010 8:07 PM
Comment #313819

This GW stuff is so complex I bet God himself couldn’t explain it (that is unless you’re an atheist, but that wouldn’t matter either).

Did anyone see the new Climate movie? Can’t remember the name. It shows how Europe is spending Billions of dollars to effectively change the average temp. on earth by like .5 degrees farenheit.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at November 22, 2010 8:22 PM
Comment #313824
Weary Willie said: “For too long we’ve been expecting the federal government to do everything for us. How do we pay for it?”

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 22, 2010 06:41 PM


Context, Remer!

I thought we learned that lesson!


The general welfare clause is not an end all-cure all for our individual woes. There is no reason why Bush has to fly over and Obama has to poke in the sand before anything gets done. That is not the way things are suppose to work in this country. For too long we’ve been expecting the federal government to do everything for us. How do we pay for it? We stop expecting the federal government to be our benefactor.

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 22, 2010 05:42 PM

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 22, 2010 9:06 PM
Comment #313825

That’s what being an American is all about!

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 22, 2010 9:51 PM
Comment #313829

C&J,

The Chinese are not idiots nor are they ignorant. They can think as well as you or me. We tell them that exploitation is bad, that raping the land is bad, that overuse of carbon fuels is bad. Why in the hell should they pay ANY attention to us unless we are willing to discuss why all those things have been good for us over the years, but suddenly when they want to indulge, we ask them to stop. That is why honesty is the only way forward. Anything less is suspect. You can call it reductionism (I’m not absolutely sure which type of reductionist you think I am), but if you have an argument with my reductionism, please present it. Perhaps the Chinese don’t list all the things we’ve lied to them about every time they sit down to palaver about the world, but they have to consider our honesty in past dealings before they accept our word for anything. The world may not be black or white, but it has black and white in it.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 22, 2010 11:06 PM
Comment #313830

>That’s what being an American is all about!
Posted by: Weary Willie at November 22, 2010 09:51 PM

WW,

Would you automatically assume that all Americans agree with your description of what an American is? Remember there are about three hundred and fifteen million of us. I’m one, and I’m not sure I agree with you. You are right about not wanting the federal government to do everything, and perhaps it tries to do too much, but the federal government cannot be restricted to three functions if we are to continue to prosper as a nation either. Reduction of federal powers to the level you seem intent on can and will lead to either a despotic take over or anarchy.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 22, 2010 11:12 PM
Comment #313835

Royal Flush-
You do need help, Mr. Flush.

First, Climate changed doesn’t have to be dependent on us, a recent phenomena alone, for us to affect it. Just because avalanches, for example, have occured for as long as there’s been snow on mountains, and will occur long after we’re gone, doesn’t mean we can’t cause avalanches to occur. Natural, ancient, and everlasting does not mean imperturbable by the hand of man. I mean, we’re removing the tops of mountains in Appalachia, and it doesn’t get more ancient, or more (from our perspecting) everlasting than that.

Second, what we’re dealing with isn’t merely a matter of warmth, it’s a matter of heat and it’s dynamics through our atmosphere.

If you actually read what was in the report, you’d find that it talked about the circumpolar winds breaking down, allowing arctic temperatures to move further south. And all that has to do with Dark sea water absorbing heat where once reflective light was simply bouncing it away.

The contradiction you offer is false. We’re not saying that it’s warming and it’s not. We’re saying the heat energy circulating in our atmosphere, whether its the warmth that feeds and strengthens hurricanes, or the warmth that causes updrafts that disrupt the containment of cold air by circumpolar winds, is having an effect on the weather.

You can talk about hysterial predictions, but droughts have increased, enough to undermine the value of the longer growing season that warming has brought.

As for Hurricanes? Evidence suggests that it may be the intensity and feeding power of the hurricanes, rather than the number that is increased. Scientists are not ignoring the confounding factors of currents and natural variability, but if something’s warming the planet, one obvious consequence is going to be warmer waters for Hurricanes to feed off of. Hurricanes are heat engines, so that will mean, by necessity, Hurricanes with more energy flowing through them. That means higher winds, higher intensities, greater expansion in size.

You’re offering people false dilemmas here. We don’t have to control to influence. It’s not either warming or cooling. The arctic will remain relatively cold, the tropic relatively warm. Winter is not cancelled forever. What these results demonstrate is that the problem isn’t merely that things will get hotter, it’s that the weather we depend upon will not stay as it has been.

It’s not going to. The patterns of drought and rain, snow and sleet are going to change. We will be forced to adapt.

The question is, are we adapting to a slight increase, or a drastic change, unlike anything we’ve seen in human history.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 23, 2010 12:14 AM
Comment #313861

Mr. Daugherty writes; “The question is, are we adapting to a slight increase, or a drastic change, unlike anything we’ve seen in human history.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 23, 2010

That comment really confirms my belief that we don’t know enough about climate change and its causes to attempt anything so drastic as much of what is being proposed today. As for recorded human history…it is but a blip on the chart of naturally occuring climate change not influenced by man or man’s activities.

You managed to miss the entire point of my comments to which you responded. Costly spending and harming regulations are unreasonable when based upon predictions using computer modeling which have proven to be unreliable. When reality doesn’t match the prediction some MMGW proponents merely introduce another factor to explain why the computer modeling didn’t predict correctly.

It is obvious to me that we don’t even have a theory about climate change at this time. What we have is science collecting data and attempting to interperlate results with ever changing parameters.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 23, 2010 12:59 PM
Comment #313865

The K-T extinction (the asteroid impact that killed off the dinosaurs) took out about 60% of all animal life. In fact it is possible that without the dinosaur extinction, humans would not be alive today (killing each other off). But, anyway, that mass extinction may have occupied as much as two million years. Dinosaurs did not really want to die, so they took their own sweet time about it (it took them as long to die off as humans have been alive).

Man’s impact on nature will not likely be as rapid or as devastating, but we are not sure how comfortable animal life was during the ‘great extinction’, and it would behoove us to take as much care of our environment as possible.

I personally am not as concerned about GW for its changes in climate patterns, as I am with the current trends of environment created breathing disorders, cancers, skin problems, etc. Those things are being felt directly by people alive today, and they are becoming more prevalent as we type this stuff on the WB site. We should be known in the future as the ‘great polluters’.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 23, 2010 1:29 PM
Comment #313872

Off subject but very funny for many is this quote from Democrat strategist James Carville.

“If Hillary gave up one of her balls and gave it to Obama, they’d both have two.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 23, 2010 3:21 PM
Comment #313887

RF,

Pretty funny the first time he told it…about Cheney and Bush…not so funny this time around…:)

Posted by: Marysdude at November 23, 2010 5:31 PM
Comment #313890

Marysdude

I didn’t say you were reductionist, but you do use it. You reduce every argument to how bad the U.S. has been.

Do you really believe that the leaders of China are particularly concerned with “our example” or our lies? Recall that somewhere between 30 and 50 million died of starvation or actual violence during the cultural revolution and tell me that the party ruling China is really so worried about historical wrongs. There is really not much use talking about this. I know that you cannot really act on your purported beliefs w/o getting ripped off by everybody who can gin up a grievance. Or maybe you do and that is what makes you so mad. I don’t know.


I am on the American side. That means that I recognize our many flaws, but I don’t let our opponents, who usually have more than enough of their own, use it against my country. Sorry if I am not magnanimous to believe that we have to be completely w/o fault to cast the first stone. I am not that religious.

BTW - I don’t know if you are an investor. I have some small investments and I have learned not to trust the Chinese firms or regulators. I refuse to invest directly in China, because I cannot deal with the duplicity. My advise to all small investors is that if they want to benefit from Chinese growth, do it through investments in firms that are trading there and know how to work with them.

We don’t need to talk about “honesty” as a value, but the Chinese are not “transparent”.

Posted by: C&J at November 23, 2010 6:00 PM
Comment #313896

The Chinese are not honest or transparent. That is a given. The Chinese are meaner than venomous snakes, that is also a given. Perhaps it is okay with you if MY America tries to outdo them in their dishonesty and meanness, but it is not quite so okay with ME. Dishonor is dishonor no matter who practices it, and it is what causes stupidities like Viet Nam and Iraq. And they are what turn in to suffering and death to Americans. We NEVER have to sink to the level of our protagonists, as long as we are observant and staunch in our negotiations. For the same reason we don’t have to drink with an alcoholic, we don’t have to lie to a liar.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 23, 2010 7:36 PM
Comment #313903

Royal Flush-
I have to wonder what it would take to disconfirm your point of view. You expect science to give you answers that aren’t really physically, muche less computationally possible, before you call things reliable.

Even as long ago as 1998, they were able to feed past figures into their models, and recreate the years that came after. Unless you have clear evidence of unreliability, I think it will only be fair to suggest to reardes that they disregard your false skepticism here.

We have a theory, we have an idea of what’s going on: that human generated carbon emissions are kickstarting climate change by amplifying the greenhouse effect of our atmosphere.

We have plenty of evidence to confirm the source, to confirm that it’s the dominating factor, to confirm that the warming is actually occuring. It’s not a perfect science, but there’s no such thing anyways.

The question is, do you have anything more than trash-talk in scientific language and unmoderated speculation to offer us?

The real problem here is that you don’t appreciate the problem of science properly. Science is a process of getting better answers, not an infallible collection of unquestionable knowledge. Scientists will calibrate, will process and reprocess results, looking for the holes in their theories, the flaws in their measurements. Unfortunately, the press, often scientifically illiterate, reports on every scientific question without really reporting on the process, and the necessity for it.

Scientists will continue to collect data, because without the ability to put the whole climate in a lab, that’s the best they can do for providing a real baseline for their theory. They will continue to interpolate, and do all the modeling, because as imperfect as all that is, there is no perfect alternative.

I mean, what do you offer instead?

More doubt, more saying, oh, this is just a blip in history? Well, did you not read where I said that climate can change damn fast? One transition took no more than nine years. The Sahara crossed from grassland to desert in a matter of two centuries.

And you know what? That time of transition, and the results might be a blip in terms of billions of years of natural history, but from our perspective, it’s going to be a hell of a long ordeal. We’re already seeing, within our lifetime, the collapse of ice shelfs and the pack ice up North which endured for tens of thousands of years.

I’m not going to put my politics first when I interpret the science I hear about. I’m going to find out what people who know what they’re talking about think, and figure out the politics as appropriate to that.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 23, 2010 8:21 PM
Comment #313966

Stephen,

Nice post; I agree with both you and C&J. I don’t think that they are opposite viewpoints. We definitely need to reduce and eliminate green house emissions to reduce any future impact of climate change. However, climate change is a given, you last source cited agreed. So, while taking steps to eliminate further changes, it is also time to think and plan how we will live with it.

I think that there is a tremendous opportunity not just to be the leaders in the next energy sources, but also in the planning and logistics for how to deal with the challenges of global warming.

Posted by: Rob at November 24, 2010 6:22 PM
Comment #313967

Stephen,

You said, “We can look to what China is doing, and point fingers at them, but that’s merely an excuse not to do what we should be doing. It’s a tu quoque argument: maybe excess Carbon emissions are bad, but China’s doing them to, so we can’t stop using them.”

I don’t think it is an excuse to stop doing what we should, but it would be counterproductive to view climate change as a domestic problem. Ignoring the enormous impact of the developing economies on climate change is not a productive path to solving the problem either. If we are to be truly serious about it, it has to be a foreign policy issue. We are well within our rights as a nation to insist that they measure up to the same goals and objectives in meeting the problem that we sign up to.

Posted by: Rob at November 24, 2010 6:37 PM
Comment #313983

Rob,

China is a sovereign nation. Insist is a pretty strong word. China has followed our lead in many things, like exploitation of labor, overuse/overkill of life and resources, and living in denial of ever doing anything wrong. China is playing catch-up with a nation they’ve been in awe of for decades, and is emulating as best it can given our differences. Why not get to the good stuff first…then taunt them into following our lead?

Posted by: Marysdude at November 24, 2010 10:22 PM
Comment #313991

Mary’s,

I think you underestimate china. They didn’t follow our lead exploiting labor, they’ve been doing that for over a thousand years in ways that we haven’t seen since the civil war. I fact, it is only since the 80’s that they have followed our lead and reduced the explotation of labor. They aren’t in awe of either, they are a proud nation that are and have been a world power for centuries.

I believe that we have every right to insist that they chnge along with us and lead the rest of the world in reducing and eliminating climate changing pollution.

Posted by: Rob at November 25, 2010 12:40 AM
Comment #313999

Rob,

Think about the word ‘insist’. It leaves few options when a nation refuses to go along with the insistence, as most nations would do out of hand. Assuming you are correct in everything else you said, which I could argue for years about, we have no right to ‘insist’. When China says, “Insist all you want, America, We are the largest, and soon the most wealthy, and have our own nuclear arsenal. Just what do you intend to do about it?”

We can then rattle our ineffective sabers, take all our troops out of the Middle East, and attempt a preemptive invasion, go to our own arsenal of nukes, which is second to none, or we can tell China, “Well, if you don’t do it, we won’t either”. Of course we could threaten to boycott by not buying Chinese goods, and/or not paying that trillion dollars we owe them. Either of those last would start another civil war here at home, and not paying a debt would start a world-wide depression.

Good luck with all that ‘insist’ thingee.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 25, 2010 8:12 AM
Comment #314008

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “You expect science to give you answers that aren’t really physically, muche less computationally possible, before you call things reliable.”

That’s the point isn’t it Stephen. How can I rely upon “answers” to unanswerable questions? I have a BS and am consider a scientist. As a scientist I understand the difference between provable facts and theory.

There are a great many theories concerning GW and the impact upon it by man. I have no problem with theories however I don’t believe, as a country, we should proceed to enact very restrictive regulations and spend huge sums of scarce financial resources to address a multitude of theories unproven by any facts.

As for computer modeling to predict climate, that is a giant leap of faith, not science. It requires constant tweaking of the modeling input to force predictions agreeable with a certain school of climate theory. It sometimes appears to us who doubt computer modeling, that a certain result is predetermined and the data feed into those modeling programs are in constant flux to accomodate the expected result.

At any rate Stephen, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. You and I will both be giving thanks to God for all His blessings.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 25, 2010 12:49 PM
Comment #314014

Since Carbon based energies are finite, and 90+% of real scientists agree that they have a direct negative effect on our health, and about that many agree that they contribute to global climate change, does it not make sense to start replacing them as fast as we can? The reasons for doing that are legion, and the reasons not to are poorly backed by science or common sense, that they are fool hardy.

Because of conservative insistence, we are running way behind in Embryonic Stem Cell Research, and now, for the same reason, we are falling behind in the race for a Carbon Free Energy Program. The Carbon thingee would put us back into the race for top economy. It would seem that conservatism is at odds with itself.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 25, 2010 2:50 PM
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