America Should Lead the World on Climate Change

Kyoto was and remains a seriously flawed agreement but the U.S. should be part of a solution. I have been observing European efforts to create a carbon market. It is easy to find problems, but they are making a good start. If the U.S. pushes in the same direction, together we can make it work. President Bush cares about the environment, but he is mistaken about some of the mechanisms to address climate change.

Let me get the caveats out of the way. It is true that trouble spots will be China, India and other developing countries currently not addressed by Kyoto. It is true that Kyoto is too much about wealth redistribution and not enough about environmental progress. It is also true that it would have been impossible for the U.S. to agree to Kyoto (the Senate voted 97-0 to preemptively reject it). Kyoto clearly will not work, but the trading mechanism in it CAN be made to work IF the U.S. gets involved soon.

Addressing climate change will require lifestyle changes. It will cost money and change comfortable relationships. Nobody wants to take these steps. I know this will come as a surprise, but not everyone is honest in carrying out their promises. Countries will obfuscate and cheat. Many world leaders are happy that the U.S. is impeding and not pushing the climate change solution bandwagon. They can make sanctimonious statements of concern and hide behind the U.S. while avoiding the really hard choices. Let's strip away this cover.

Just because we cannot do everything does not mean we have an excuse to do nothing. I am not in panic mode. I do not believe that we will cause irreparable damage if we do not address the problem immediately, but we certainly need to do something effective very soon.

Before my liberal colleagues leap, let me admit that I have changed my mind about the trading scheme. I am impressed with what the Europeans are accomplishing. I did not think they could pull it off. (As long as I am revising, let me also compliment the French on their fast train. I thought that was a non-starter too, but I was wrong.) But before everybody gets too smug let me point out that price will be the primary mechanism for sorting out this environmental problem and I have long advocated higher energy prices. Anyone who demands lower energy prices is not serious about solving environmental problems.

There is good news. Our experience with solving environmental problems has been good. We managed to address serious problems such as sewerage, particulates, acid rain and CFCs more rapidly and at lower cost than anyone predicted. The proof is that we no longer worry much about these problems and they are no longer subjects of national debate. Climate change is a bigger challenge because it is international, but if the U.S. and the EU are on board, it will work. That is the plus side of economy hegemony. We can set the standards that others must follow if they want to participate in world markets. We need to move while we still have such power.

I am confident that my party will soon come around to the right side on this issue. I will advocate for it. After all, I think there is lots of money to be made in greenhouse gas markets. We can do well by doing good. My concern is that liberals will stand in the way. You would not guess this from the rhetoric, but if you listen carefully you find the fault lines. Addressing climate change will mean higher energy prices (which "hurt the poor") and job disruption and displacement (which hit union workers hardest). Businesses can be nimble enough to take advantage of the changing situation and make money. I can hear the complaints already. The quick and clever will do well. Liberals will focus on those “left behind.”

So kudos to those foolish European idealists. With some leavening of American pragmatism I am confident we can solve most problems.

Posted by Jack at October 3, 2006 5:01 AM
Comments
Comment #185850
So kudos to those foolish European idealists. With some leavening of American pragmatism I am confident we can solve most problems.

Jack, you’re welcome!
;-)

I’m glad you start to see what some idealism could, pragmatically, accomplish. A lot less than promised but a lot better than, well, nothing.
And with US pioneer spirit joining us, Europe, it will be even better. USA will be warm welcomed when she’ll decide to do it. Many Europeans rejoiced last month when CA’s Governor annonced that California will implement Kyoto protocol. And we do know that several others states try to do it also, more or less.
What matter for us “idealist” europeans is the fact americans do care enough about world climate change and polution to stand against their own government “america way of life is not negociable” and do something by changing their way of life.

You’re one of the most reactive people, and as a nation is was a real pitty after Kyoto, thru your government voice, you looked so against changing anything in your way of life, compared to the “old” europe people, usually slow and too much idealistic…

Too bad the oil price is down again. :-(

At least, things are moving regarding gasoline. Here in France, Alain Prost, former Formula One five times champion, conducted at governement request a commission about cars energy of next generation. Yeah, asking a former autosport driver how best to spent less fuel and reject less polution ;-)
Anyway, we should next year be able to use flexfuel (88% of ethanol) cars, like brazilians does since years if not a decade with their cars, many of them, how ironic, made by Peugeot or Renault french car manufacturers …

Unfortunatly, our government is still too much soft on funding or at least pushing hybrid or fully electric cars research and development…
Sure, our electric fast trains infrastructure is great and cheap and quite ecologic, thanks for french nuclear power plants park, but sadly we fail so far to exploit our large electricty producing capabilities to power cars. We should be leading the research on new electric batteries, but no. Shame.

Well, let’s hope this “little” international project called ITER, hosted in France, will give some helpful output in the next half century…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 3, 2006 5:47 AM
Comment #185852

Philippe

I was in Paris a couple days last week. That is where I was reading about these things and seeing that it was a good start.

I was also reminded of what we can do when we work together. You are right that solutions are never perfect, but not doing everything does not mean we should do nothing.

BTW - I understand why the French are not as fat as we are. All the walking up and down through Metro tunnels is enough to keep anyone trim.

Posted by: Jack at October 3, 2006 6:02 AM
Comment #185856

I think we should also get into landscaping. I am not sure what the climate change would be but Iran needs to be a glass factory and next syria. let them know we can play ramadan also. they want each muslim to kill an american over ramadan and i say kill a terrorist nation for ramadan.

just my thoughts and then you can go hug a tree in peace.

what a bunch of horse s$#@!

Posted by: lm at October 3, 2006 7:50 AM
Comment #185859

lm,

Yeah nuking out Iran and Syria - and every other muslims nations after that because, no doubt, muslims will turn all radicals then - pose no issue to world ecosystem…

Just my thoughs and then you can go hug a nuke, Dr Strangelove.

Jack,

Keep in mind France is far from being the Europe most ecologic sensible nations. Germany, Island, Sweden come to my mind before. South europeans nations are just trying to catch up with their leadership.

BTW - I understand why the French are not as fat as we are. All the walking up and down through Metro tunnels is enough to keep anyone trim.

Yeah. I miss it, in fact. Not so great for handicaped people, though, but Paris’s subway is a n everyday, tireless sport training partner! ;-)

Now that I live in the backcountry, I’m all moving by car and starting to get more lazy and fater. :-\

Hope you enjoyed Paris. Does many french were that much anti-americanist?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 3, 2006 8:15 AM
Comment #185861

Jack, Philippe,

Please read this from
Senator James Inhofe Chairman, Senate Environment and Public Works

My favorite line.
`The National Academy of Sciences report reaffirmed the existence of the Medieval Warm Period from about 900 AD to 1300 AD and the Little Ice Age from about 1500 to 1850. Both of these periods occurred long before the invention of the SUV or human industrial activity could have possibly impacted the Earth’s climate. In fact, scientists believe the Earth was warmer than today during the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings grew crops in Greenland.`

Posted by: JimmyRay at October 3, 2006 9:05 AM
Comment #185862

oops. here is the link

Posted by: JimmyRay at October 3, 2006 9:07 AM
Comment #185863

Nice posting, Jack. I’m glad to see Team Red coming around to argue for this very important issue.

Carbon trading is a great idea - it’s the perfect market to test out a cap and trade approach since the effects of C02 are so non-local. I’d love to see the US get in the game on this.

Posted by: William Cohen at October 3, 2006 9:08 AM
Comment #185866

JimmyRay

I have written re the medieval warm period. It was also warmer during the first century and at various other times in the last 10,000 years. This is true. That is why I am not in panic mode. But the preponderance of the evidence leads me to believe that human induced climate change is a real possibility and we should take steps to address it.

The best analogy I have heard is an insurance policy for you home. When you take out insurance on your home, you do not really expect that the place will burn down. But it is so catastrophic a consequence IF it does that you are willing to pay every year for something you hope (and reasonably believe) will not happen.

It will not be a bad idea to use less oil, encourage renewables and build more nuclear power capacity in any case.

Philippe

The French I met were very nice to me. No hint of anti-Americanism. I make little concessions. For example, I dress nicely and hold the fork in my left hand when I am in Europe, but I am clearly American and nobody gave me a hard time. I speak almost no French, but I find the few words I can reasonably pronounce go a long way.

William

I think carbon trading can work. One reason it does not is because the U.S. is not involved. We should remedy that deficiency.

Posted by: Jack at October 3, 2006 9:31 AM
Comment #185869
Addressing climate change will require lifestyle changes. It will cost money and change comfortable relationships. Nobody wants to take these steps.

While I disagree with you about Kyoto being “a seriously flawed agreement,” that’s not the point I want to address. Your statement above is too harsh. What are the “lifestyle changes” we have to address? To make a big impact in the US, they are really very few and not harsh at all:

1. Take public transit where available, expand it where it is not, and penalize drivers where options are available (I propose parking taxes in areas that are serviced by transit).

2. Vastly increase CAFE standards and create “gas guzzler taxes.”

3. Create and enforce “smart growth” zoning standards that prevent sprawl for both homes and businesses.

If the above are truly “lifestyle changes,” I’d like to know how. That handles transportation, which is a big piece of America’s global warming problem. The other half is home/business use:

4. Encourage (through taxes and credits) energy efficient appliances and other electricity uses (e.g., lighting) in homes and businesses.

5. Do the same for the development of systems which use or generate energy, with a focus on supporting energies that do not add to CO2 levels.

6. Read the last 25 pages of Gore’s book for more ideas. (Why do I know this is the only suggestion that will be cited in an upcoming reply?)

I realize 4 and 5 are less precise than what I’ve written on transit, but that’s just my personal knowledge coming through. All this is doable, and can start having an impact today.

Posted by: Steve K at October 3, 2006 10:00 AM
Comment #185873

Jack,

Totally agree with you, except your party is not coming around.

Posted by: Max at October 3, 2006 10:12 AM
Comment #185874

Steve K

I like to ride my bike and take the Metro. You seem to agree. Most people do not. They prefer to drive to work. This is a major lifestyle change. Many people dislike walking 1/2 mile to get to work and they can often think of good reasons why they should not.

The other hard part is the price of energy. You saw the complaints when gas was high a couple of months ago. A high price of gas is the most effective gas guzzler tax there is. People do not like such things. BTW - how much you drive counts, not what you drive. If you burn 50 gallons of gas each week in your Honda Civic and I burn 10 in my SUV YOU are the gas guzzler.

Smart growth is also something easier said than done. Near where I live, Montgomery Co, MD & Loudon Co VA are trying something like smart growth. What is happening is that commuters move all the way to W. Virginia to find cheaper homes with more space. They drive just that much more to get to work. They drive PAST smart growth.

I think most of your proposals make sense, but make no mistake. They will be major lifestyle changes and expensive for most people.

Remember WHY we use oil and produce CO2. We use oil because it is a cheap and easy form of fuel. It has been cheaper than most of the alternatives. That is why we do not use the alternatives. We live in sprawling communities because many people like the benefit that gives them. They like the big yards. They like the good schools. Everybody claims they do not like sprawl, but that is what they buy. Conversely, try to get permission to create a denser community. People claim they want smart growth, but when a developer tries to put more people or houses per acres local groups (including -ironically - environmentalists) raise hell.

We do have to make lifestyle changes. There is no free lunch on this. I think many of the changes will be beneficial, but they will not be initially popular.

Posted by: Jack at October 3, 2006 10:22 AM
Comment #185875

99.99% of all species that have ever lived have gone extinct. The average existence for complex species is about 4 million years - right about where we are now. As a species, we are smart enough to survive an escalating climate change. There just wont be enough of us to maintain our property values.

Posted by: Schwamp at October 3, 2006 10:36 AM
Comment #185876
The average existence for complex species is about 4 million years - right about where we are now.

Homo Sapiens have only been around about 160,000 years, not 4 million.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at October 3, 2006 10:40 AM
Comment #185897

Jack,

I hope you are right that your party will come around on this issue. We can’t take meaningful steps without consensus. What one administration can do, another can undo.

I wished I shared your optimism, though, about “solving” the problem. We haven’t solved the ozone hole problem, of course. This year it’s almost as big as it ever has been because we still have to deal with the consequences of fluorocarbons trapped in the atmosphere. The problem of carbon, too, will be long term, and even if we somehow managed today to dramatically reduce world carbon emissions, we can’t escape the potentially catastrophic consequences of what we’ve already done. The game now is mitigation, as far as possible.

I wish your article contained some hard facts because we have to face them. Why was Kyoto flawed? Too ambitious? Considering the incredible threat, what’s too ambitious? We’ve seen this country devote massive resources to far less serious threats.

Posted by: Trent at October 3, 2006 12:42 PM
Comment #185899

Jack,

I’m not sure about the `preponderance of the evidence`, but I understand better safe than sorry. Should we keep the harm to our environment to a minimum? Yes. Should we tax gas so we find alternatives? I can live with that. `The sky is falling and it is all our fault’? No

Posted by: JimmyRay at October 3, 2006 12:49 PM
Comment #185907

philipi wrote: lm,

Yeah nuking out Iran and Syria - and every other muslims nations after that because, no doubt, muslims will turn all radicals then - pose no issue to world ecosystem…

Just my thoughs and then you can go hug a nuke, Dr Strangelove

Nuking out all muslim nations, and what is the down side to that? they want us all DEAD.

Go huge a nuke well that might keep things warm.

if they get their way you can go hug a knife blade as they slit your throat and cut off your head. see how that affects the climate.

still a pile of horse s*^%.

Posted by: lm at October 3, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #185913

I noticed that the repigs are avoiding the current Repig scandal like the plague….change the subject huh!!!! how many of you were supporting your pervert a week ago?????????? And you condemn Clintonfor his concentual sex while endorseing pediphilia! :snickers: Greedy Ol’ Pediphiles!

Posted by: qat at October 3, 2006 1:32 PM
Comment #185920

Jack:

I complement you twice: once for boldly changing your mind, and then for an approach for reducing carbon emissions. Bravo!

But did you have to throw in the dig on liberals?

Posted by: Paul Siegel at October 3, 2006 2:25 PM
Comment #185922

Jack,

I agree with much of that you say, neighbor (I too live in the DC Metro area). I think our difference is that I do not see these as difficult as you perceive them. That may be because I’m more willing to impose taxes and fees on people so they know the true costs of their energy use decisions. (“More accurate costs” is probably a better term.) That is a fundamental difference betweeen left and right in this country.

The people who do not like to take public transit simply have to pay more, through time and money, not to. Then they will be more likely to do so.

Mentioning “bike to work” is a non-starter in a city where the temperature is either above 90 or below 50 most months of the year. But if there is a bus three blocks away that runs every five minutes, and the alternative is a parking tax of $1 per hour at your worksite (charged to the car, not the company), then the bus looks a lot more convenient.

The reason there are so many people headed to downtown DC on the Metro every morning is because many of these people have already made that decision because of parking costs and traffic. We simply need to extend those costs to other commuters.

It’s true that people will drive past smart growth into sprawling mcMansions far from transit. But that will change if we adopt European “green zones” around cities that prevent sprawl and keep the jobs inside the city.

All the taxes and costs I cite need to be explained in terms of promoting offsets to environmental costs. It took the US more than 20 years to get people to genuinely understand the costs of waste products and benefits of recycling. We need to start the same process now with CO2 and other greenhouse emissions.

Posted by: Steve K at October 3, 2006 2:46 PM
Comment #185926

Jack,

In France a week or two ago? Now I understand why you propose higher energy prices as a part of environmental conservation…if you can go to France on your own, or if you go there at a company’s expense, you can afford higher prices. As a gentleman of the right, you seem to forget that those who mow your lawn might not be able to.

Thanks for coming around on Kyoto…you’ve come this far, how much longer before you read Gore’s book?

Posted by: Marysdude at October 3, 2006 2:50 PM
Comment #185933
Jack wrote: Just because we cannot do everything does not mean we have an excuse to do nothing. I am not in panic mode. I do not believe that we will cause irreparable damage if we do not address the problem immediately, but we certainly need to do something effective very soon.

That’s the big question.
Are we (or our children) going to suffer later for what we are doing now?

The U.S. should lead, since it, with a mere 4.5% (300 million) of the world population (6.6 billion), emits 28% of the world’s CO2 emissions.

Also, because China (with 1.4 billion people), India (with 1.1 billion people), and other nations are growing fast and the total CO2 emissions (about 24 billion metric tons world-wide) WILL increase a LOT if nothing is done.

China and India have 8.33 times more people than the U.S. Just think if China and India (with 2.5 billion people) were emitting the equal amount of CO2 per person, which would be 8.33 times more CO2 than the entire U.S. That would increase world-wide CO2 emissions to 48 billion metric tons (doubling world-wide emissions).

What if CO2 emissions per person (world-wide) were that of the average U.S. citizen (19.68 metric tons)? That would raise total world-wide emissions to 130 billion metric tons (5.4 times more than the current 24 billion metric tons).

No doubt about it. We are going to need cleaner energy, because without better alternatives, the rest of the world will do what the U.S. has done, potentially multiplying the world-wide CO2 emissions many times over the current levels.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 3, 2006 3:16 PM
Comment #185941

Guys,

I know this will make me sound like a troglodyte, but it seems to me nobody asks the question, “Is global warming a bad thing or a good thing?” I am honest enough to say that I don’t know. I’ve read quite a bit about all the bad things that are supposed to happen, but frankly, they sound very much like what I heard in the 70’s about global cooling. And oh yeahm, all the oil in the world will run out by 1995, 2000 at the latest. I’ve also heard of many possible benefits, such as a larger fertile zone for growing grains.

However, the current global climate is actually cooler than it has been in recent history (over the last 2000 years). And historically great gains in civilization always seem to correspond with increased temperature climatically.

Why does everyone always assume change is bad? Sorry, stupid question. Of course, scientists get more funding to research potential disasters. Nobody gets hundreds of grants to publish studies on why everything is really OK.

I’m not against changing our means of fueling transportation and industry. In fact, I have a few ideas for innovations myself. I’m against severe and costly restrictions that benefit nobody and will have less effect on the world temperature than a slight breeze.

Posted by: Martian at October 3, 2006 4:22 PM
Comment #185943

Martian,

Actual, global temperature is higher now than it has been in 12,000 years.

Change is not necessarily bad, and no one is saying that the planet will be unliveable. But just consider one thing, among many: if due to the ice caps melting (which they are; look it up), the ocean rises three feet, what will be the effect on coastal cities? Ten feet? Twenty? How many people, worldwide, live in coastal cities?

You seem reasonable and I’m glad you are asking questions. Do some research. Learn about the correlation between carbon levels in the atmosphere and global temperatures. Look at some projections to see how coastlands are affected, how changes in weather patterns can make arable land into deserts, etc., etc.

Posted by: Trent at October 3, 2006 4:32 PM
Comment #185946

Trent

It is flawed because it exempts most of the biggest future greenhouse gas producers, such as China and India, and is too much of a wealth redistributors. It also has a problem with base years and GDP growth. For example, the U.S. has grown about twice as fast as W. Europe. Even if CO2 per unit of GDP (carbon intensity) improved, we still would be producing more CO2. You also have the consequences of previous bad policies being rewarded. Former communist countries like Russia, for example, had hopelessly inefficient industries. Mere modernization allowed them CO2 surplus.

Even if Kyoto were fully implemented, it would reduce CO2 by little, given the above increases from developing countries.

JimmyRay

I agree. The sky is not falling. I am proposing prudent measures that would be good to implement in any case.

Qat

Yes. Very bad.


Paul

I have to do that. It is a political blog and that is what I do. Can the hunchback change his hump?

Posted by: Jack at October 3, 2006 4:40 PM
Comment #185948

Steve K

As I always brag, I ride my bike to work (17 miles) from March 22 – September 22. When it gets over 90 I just sweat more. I have been riding a bike for about 45 years and see no reason to stop when it gets a little warm or cold.

Marys

I mow my own lawn and cut my own wood, but you are right that gas prices do not concern me very much. I can afford to drive if I want, but I do not drive much and I have a Honda Civic hybrid. I was not always well off. My parents never owned a car and I did not own one until I was 28 years old and got along fairly well w/o one. It is harder now. I admit that.

I arranged my affairs so as NOT to be so dependent on a car because I just don’t like cars. When I looked for a house, I looked only in places that were walking distance to Metros and close to the bike lanes. As I was talking with Steve, these are the kinds of lifestyle changes we would all have to make. If you are interested in the environment, those are things we all need to accept.

Martian

I think the world could stand to be a little warmer. The problem is one of tipping points. The world climate tends toward extremes. We do not want to tip it over one of those points.

Posted by: Jack at October 3, 2006 4:54 PM
Comment #185950

Trent,

Sorry, you’re wrong. I know of one time period specifically. The Romans grew grapes in England for more than 5 decades! Try doing that now.

I’d give you more evidence, but I’m not really a blogger and don’t know how to create a link in this text. Look for the Junk Science website. In April 2006 they had a fairly good discussion of the issue. The historical record is addressed towards the end of the piece, so don’t get frustrated and give up too early.

The bulk of the article is the best layman’s explanation of the errors in the “greenhouse” effect I’ve read. As an engineer with some expertise in chemistry, I am quite aware of the problems with the model most people have in their heads. However, I’m not the best at explaining things simply (ask my kids about when I help them with homework), but I’m very picky about getting it right…and admitting when I don’t have all the facts.

Let’s look a little fact. A rise in sea level of the magnitude you mention is just not in the cards. It would require the melting of most of the land-based ice in the world. Sea-based ice (most of the ice in the world, BTW) cannot affect water level. Predictions of this magnitude fall into the Chicken Little category and is not backed up with good science. Remember that just because X number of scientists say something is so, doesn’t make it so. Gotta be backed up with facts! These predictions are based on climatic models that have NEVER yielded a SINGLE correct prediction. I’ll wait until someone has a better model and a successful track record before I believe these wild predictions.

Posted by: Martian at October 3, 2006 5:00 PM
Comment #185956

If CO2 emissions double, triple, quadruple, or more than quintuple (which is what would happen if every person on the planet produced 19.68 metric tons per person like the average U.S. citizen), then there’s little doubt it would have some environmental impact.

Another disturbing issue is the effect of ocean currents. Changes in the currents can vastly affect the temperatures in England (and elsewhere).

Can we afford to gamble?
Why not work harder on cleaner energy sources?
Who will take the lead, because oil corporations won’t, auto-makers won’t, and big oil-producing regions won’t.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 3, 2006 6:01 PM
Comment #185966

Jack, good post. In addition to controlling the emmissions, shouldn’t we also be promoting the effort to grow more trees and to stop the cutting of trees world wide, in attempt to lessen the impact of CO2 emmissions?

Posted by: j2t2 at October 3, 2006 6:41 PM
Comment #185967

phillipe;

“thanks for french nuclear power plants park”

i’m not on board with the global warming crowd, but i’m all for building new nuclear plants here in the US. it would definitly cut back our need for fossil fuels for production of power.

unfortunatly many people here are deathly affraid of nuclear power, you say nuclear and they see chernobl and three mile island. they ignore the advances in technology, and the fact many other countries have used it for years with out misshap.

i believe it would also help bring down the cost of producing eletricity. and at the same time help clean up the air. if you can give me cheap elect. and cleaner air at the same time, i certainly won’t bitch about that.

Posted by: califrep at October 3, 2006 6:50 PM
Comment #185977

Martian, I’m not a scientist nor engineer, so in matters such as this, I have to rely on scientific opinion, which has, by and large, reached consensus on this issue.

I have a layman’s interest in science and use RSS feeds to keep up to date, and I read all the time about the thinning of arctic ice, etc., etc., the rise in temperatures, etc., etc. and I posted a link to a story about a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that states, presumably with evidence, that the temperatures now ARE higher than they’ve been in 12,000 years.

You are relying in this instance on another report you read in a popular science magazine. And you speak of models not giving accurate predictions — well, even I know enough that what we are really looking at are trends, and these models may or may not be accurately forecasting these trends, but we cannot expect them to accurately predict climate from year to year. Even if next year and the next and the next are cooler than now, that wouldn’t necessarily invalidate the models, because that’s not how it works.

I give global warming credence because the vast majority of scientists in the field do.

Posted by: Trent at October 3, 2006 7:27 PM
Comment #185991

Jack, I agree in general with this article.

However, exception must be taken when you say: “President Bush cares about the environment, but he is mistaken about some of the mechanisms to address climate change.”

If a person cares about a problem, they take appropriate steps to remedy it. Bush has not. Therefore, it appears Bush does not care about the problem. It is politically expedient to SAY he cares, but, the proof is in the action, not the campaign words for his party’s reelection.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 3, 2006 8:16 PM
Comment #185995

Republicans are covering up gay pedophiles who are stalking minors. What am I talking about - Republicans ARE gay pedophiles!!

Posted by: Family Man at October 3, 2006 8:22 PM
Comment #185999

I have a ‘solution’.
Well…it’s not a solution to the whole problem.
It would help lessen our dependency on foreign oil AND it can be used to help the poor all over the world.
I just can’t find the right people to make it a reality.
One engineer friend believes I’ve invented a bomb equivilant to an H-bomb.
He just convinced me that - if done properly - it will work.

Posted by: dawn at October 3, 2006 8:29 PM
Comment #186001

J2t2

We should always plant trees for general air quality, soil, wildlife etc. I read that air leaving the U.S. is cleaner than air coming in from Asia, as American fields and forests clean it up. Re CO2, however, trees just postpone the problem. In the short term a young growing forest will take CO2 out of the air, but trees will eventually rot. In fact, a mature old forest produces no net CO2 reduction as decomposition more or less equals CO2 fixing.

David

A person can be sincere and still be mistaken. Bush is evidently a very good steward of his land in Texas.

Posted by: Jack at October 3, 2006 8:42 PM
Comment #186006

Jack, his ranch hardly constitutes the environment of the United States for which he has an extraordinary duty. Besides, its pretty hard to screw up the environment of that “hard scrabble” land he calls his ranch. It’s little more than limestone with 2” of poor soil on top. That is its natural state.

But, does he burn all that brush and tree limbs from the cedars and pin oaks? Or, does he pay to have it hauled off and shredded into mulch, or recycled into wood products? I don’t know. I would hope he has it recycled. Especially to support your statement that he is a good steward of his own land.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 3, 2006 8:53 PM
Comment #186012

David

Buring might be better. Fire is a natural part of the ecosystem. Shredding and mulching is not.

My point with Bush is simply that he may disagree with your (and my) analysis. He may be doing what he thinks is right.

Take the fire example above. I plan to burn the underbrush in my forest in a couple of years. This is crucial to the southern pine ecosystem. People seeing that might think it was a bad thing. They would be mistaken, but not insincere.

Posted by: Jack at October 3, 2006 9:06 PM
Comment #186019

Jack, one has to distinguish between a natural environment WITHOUT 300 million people and a natural environment WITH 300 million people.

Without people pumping billions of tons of pollutants into the air, burning is natural to the environment and the natural cycle of regeneration.

WITH 300 million people pumping billions of tons of particulate matter into the atmosphere, burning for aesthetic reasons or convenience is NOT healthy to the environment.

When discussing environment - Context is everything.

As for Bush doing what he thinks is right. Well, I have no doubt everything he has done he believed was right - he works for GOD afterall. I met many like him in psychiatric institutions who justified their actions in the name of God. Didn’t prevent them from being locked away as a safety measure for society at large.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 3, 2006 9:28 PM
Comment #186034

I don’t usually post but I think i just heard someone mention JunkScience. What a terrible website. Here is a little bit about the shill who runs it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Milloy

If you want to read a good, rational source for conservative / libertarian thought on global warming and why we need to pay attention to it, here’s a column from Ronald Bailey at Reason Magazine (motto: Free Minds and Free Markets).
http://www.reason.com/rb/rb092206.shtml

I really don’t know why libertarian republicans of the Reason Mag stripe don’t consider the public policy debate over global warming to be a victory. The old-style Democrat “Command and Control” approach has gone the way of the Dodo. If / when we solve the problem of global warming, it will be with a “cap and trade” approach advocated originally by center-rights such as Dick Lugar (i am quoting this from memory, someone correct me if i’m wrong). Now, Europe has made a few mistakes in setting up the market (notably, giving away CO2 permits instead of selling them at auction; an auction, as any student of economics will tell you, is the most efficient market there is), but that is no reason to give up. Let’s join this market as a nation and harness our powerful private sector for the common good as well as private profits.

Jack, I enjoy your writing and find you to be a logical thinker even when I disagree with what you have to say. I certainly hope you are wrong about Dems being a roadblock to progress; but speaking as a Libertarian Dem i fear that is all some of our politicians are good for at the moment.

Posted by: Jim M. at October 3, 2006 10:02 PM
Comment #186036

Dave what institution do you believe bubba should be in and do you beleieve as I do that Bubba should register as a sex offender?? why is there such a double standard when bubba did the sex thing dems said it was just about sex non of our bussiness. Why is foley under so much scrutiny, must be that he is a Republican. As far as global warming thats a joke the weather man cant tell you what the weather will be next week how can Gore predict that in 10 yrs its all over??? The same people who are claiming global warming said in the 70’s we were in an ice age.

Posted by: Thomas at October 3, 2006 10:08 PM
Comment #186046

Joseph Briggs

While it is true that homo sapien sapien (modern humans) has only been around about 150,000 years, we started the long journey up the evolutionary ladder about 4 million years ago.

As for extinction, I look at it from the perspective of intelligent design. When a scientist makes a mistake, he discards what is wrong, keeps what is right, and starts over.

In other words, he learns more from his mistakes then from his successes.

And if we as a species continue to trash this planet we call home, we will indeed join that other 99 percent!

Posted by: ulysses at October 3, 2006 10:28 PM
Comment #186049

RE: David -

“As for Bush doing what he thinks is right. Well, I have no doubt everything he has done he believed was right - he works for GOD afterall. I met many like him in psychiatric institutions who justified their actions in the name of God. Didn’t prevent them from being locked away as a safety measure for society at large.”

This from an anti-Christian, of course. I’ve met many like Remer in psyciatric institutions who justify their actions in their own name.

Posted by: Don at October 3, 2006 10:41 PM
Comment #186055

Don, my wife is Christian. Your label being absurd on its face, leaves the rest of you comment in good company.

Spend a lot of time in psychiatric institutions, do you Don?

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 3, 2006 10:50 PM
Comment #186057

Thomas, what can one respond to your comment when your comment clearly fails to distinguish the difference: sex between consenting adults, and sexual solicitation with a minor. Let me help you. One is legal the other isn’t. I will leave it to you to figure out which is which.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 3, 2006 10:53 PM
Comment #186059

D.A.N.

CO2 or any other “greenhouse” gas has a logarithmic effect. That means that doubling the amount of CO2 produces an arithmetic decrease in escaping light. Quadrupeling the amount of CO2 would thus only double the blockage. Think of a screen that filters out half the light. If I put up a second screen, 1/4 of the light still gets through. Another screen and 1/8 still gets through.

CO2 is translucent (can only partially block light at 100% concentration) in much of the infrared spectrum. Also there are many frequencies in the infrared in which CO2 is quite transparent. It can’t block light there, so there’s no need worrying about it.

Jim M.,

Sorry you don’t like the author. I only said it (the Junk Science article) was one of the best laymen’s explanation of the holes in the greenhouse argument I’ve read. Didn’t say it was my sole source. Besides, character assasination may work in politics, it has no place in science. Even thoroughly evil men can be right. Try to argue the points, not the people.

Posted by: Martian at October 3, 2006 11:10 PM
Comment #186061

Trent,

I didn’t say I’m not convinced global warming is real. I’m not, but I’m not convinced it isn’t real yet either. It’s just that I’ve done enough lab work to know it’s not as simple a thing to define the temperature of something as big as a planet. I had some difficulty with the definition of the temperature of a large vat in an experiment where we were attempting to measure the efficiency of various mixing devices.

I do believe the scientists involved are doing their best. But I don’t believe any measurements are capable of fixing the “temperature” of the Earth to a tolerance of 1-deg C over the past 12,000 years. I don’t think you can do it for yesterday even with all the data from every weather station in the world.

Posted by: Martian at October 3, 2006 11:19 PM
Comment #186062

Jim M said: “an auction, as any student of economics will tell you, is the most efficient market there is),

And one of the most socially unfair, precluding most of society from even bidding for items which have value to all. Many a revolution has been born out of such auction paradigms in which only the very wealthy are entitled by virtue of their wealth to those things with universal demand.

The great middle class of America could never have existed were the auction paradigm our only guiding principle in the 1930’s through 1970’s. And great middle classes are the remedy against potential revolutions.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 3, 2006 11:19 PM
Comment #186065

David -

But you don’t deny it. And neither does your wife.

Posted by: Don at October 3, 2006 11:28 PM
Comment #186067

Wikipedia? lollerskates! Might as well cite the town drunk.

Climate change is being promoted by the equivalent of snake oil salesmen. Their proposed “solutions” will not be complete in this lifetime or your children’s…but you all have to pay for it now. And, even when done the “fix” will be indistinguisable from random variations in climate.

Gee, where do I sign up?

Fools, each and every one of you who follows that kind of program.

Posted by: Reality Hammer at October 3, 2006 11:30 PM
Comment #186069

Dave Remer:
Well, couldn’t you structure it so that ANYONE could walk into the auction and buy a CO2 permit? What use would the average citizen have for a CO2 permit anyway? Am I missing your point?

Or furthermore if individual citizens lacked market power couldn’t a group of them get together and combine their $ to buy up permits that would then go unused (Sierra Club could do this for example)?

Martian: Would that I was scientifically versed enough to debate the merits of ice cores vs. satellite readings that may or may not have been influenced by drift. I had hoped that the link I posted would argue my point far more literately than I could.

While I normally agree with you that character attacks have no place in such debates, Milloy seems like such an unctuous character (patent dishonesty in the DDT debate, for example) that I felt compelled to speak up.

Posted by: Jim M. at October 3, 2006 11:33 PM
Comment #186071

Deny what, Don?

Haven’t heard any accusations launched at my wife - so there appears to be nothing to either defend or deny.

We are both theists, with strong beliefs in our respective religions.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 3, 2006 11:35 PM
Comment #186072

Jim M. asked: “Or furthermore if individual citizens lacked market power couldn’t a group of them get together and combine their $ to buy up permits that would then go unused (Sierra Club could do this for example)?”

You mean as opposed to the government acting on behalf of the public on issues too large for the public as individuals to respond to?

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 3, 2006 11:37 PM
Comment #186073

David -

So, what’s your beef with Christianity? You bring it up all the time, like it is a horrible thing that someone (Bush) should check his decisions against the Bible. If you’re not anti-Christian, leave it alone.

And what does God have to do with this subject anyway…it’s about HUMAN arrogance and the earth.

Posted by: Don at October 3, 2006 11:41 PM
Comment #186079

I have no beef with Christianity as a religion. I honor the teachings of Christ better than many so called Christians though I am Buddhist.

I do have a beef with fundamentalists of any religion who seek to use religion as cover for invoking their will over that of others. Running this country and managing its problems is an academic task requiring empirical knowledge, evidence, history, and efficient and effective secular answers to secular problems. The last time I read the Bible, I don’t remember it recommending God as an expert on war and war tactics, to be consulted for expertise in these areas.

When one appeals to God for justification for invading a country which has not attacked one’s own, as Bush has said he did, God is introduced into the topic at hand.

Unless GOD speaks directly to Bush on war strategy and tactics, and global strategy for defense, my question is why does Bush consult God on such matters, as he said he has. And if God does speak to him directly advising him on whether invading Iraq is a good or not good action for American defense, and how it should be done, then, as I said, I have met others like him working in psychiatric hospitals.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 3, 2006 11:59 PM
Comment #186083

Jack,
Good article. Thank you.

Martian,
“Global Warming” is a catchy phrase, but “Climate Change” more accurately reflects the situation. A relatively rapid change in climate means droughts in places where there used to rainfall, and vice versa. Many of the major cities of the world depend on glacial runoff for their water supply. To concede a point, there are possible upsides; for example, melting the arctic ice will cut distances for shipping by a substantial amount. But this has to be balanced against other drawbacks, such as a feedback loop in which melting permafrost releases large amounts of C02 & methane, which melts more permafrost, which release more gases, and so on.

Also, remember that dark water aborbs heat, while ice reflects it. Melting ice in the artic dramatically changes albedo, which contributes to the feedback loop.

The absorption of heat by the oceans causes thermal expansion. Even if no ice melted from land masses, thermal expansion will cause sea levels to rise by at least one foot over the next century, probably more.

You write:
“Doubling the amount of CO2 produces an arithmetic decrease in escaping light.”

The increases we are discussing sound very small. We are talking about an increase of a mere 3 parts per million to 4 parts per million, not doubling or quadrupling. We are talking about increases in worldwide temperatures in the single digits. Yet even those increases can cause dramatic effects upon life.

Even the small increase we have already seen has caused measurable effects…

I understand that you want absolute certainty. Unfortunately, this is a situation in which waiting that long can be disastrous. The data consistently points in the same direction. We cannot afford to wait for the Amazonian rain forest to disappear and then say, “well, what do you know, it really did turn out the way climate models predicted!” We are in the midst of the greatest uncontrolled experiment in history. We simply cannot afford to be passive about the outcome.

Did Phx8 say the rain forest in the Amazon would disappear? Yes. According to the best climate model in the world, the British Hadley model (called TRIFFID!), this will happen in @ 40 years.

Increased C02 in the atmosphere causes plants to grow fewer “pores” for transpiring, or “breathing.” Today, the Amazonian rain forest essentially creates its own climate through transpiration. Decreased pores means less water is released. This is another example of a feedback loop. Subject the rain forest to three years of drought, and it will become a parched desert in a relatively short time.

Reality Hammer,
“Climate change is being promoted by the equivalent of snake oil salesmen.”

I am not convinced by your argument. What kind of oil to you promote?

Posted by: phx8 at October 4, 2006 12:09 AM
Comment #186086

correction: C02 is increasing from @ 3 parts per 10,000 to 4.

Posted by: phx8 at October 4, 2006 12:29 AM
Comment #186087

Jack -

Speaking of HUMAN arrogance…

First, we have to postulate that humans are affecting the climate negatively. Gore thinks we are; he jets all over the place telling people we are. But scientists are in disagreement over this.

It is clear that humans are polluting; but so are termites and birds. Birds have polluted otherwise pristine areas of Alaska.

Many forms of pollution and toxins occur naturally. Nature isn’t nice. Lead occurs naturally in groundwater. Lightining burns thousands of acres of forest each year, polluting the air.

So, let’s assume that the postulation is correct: Humans are changing the climate for the worse. Which makes more sense in correcting the problem?… cleaning up the USA or cleaning up a third-world nation that still burns wood, coal, and dung in its homes?

Let’s lead the way by insisting the worst human climate-changing practices WORLDWIDE be corrected. We could be the leader (that is, we could demand pristine-ness of ourselves), yet lose it all because we live in a WORLD of polluters. That makes Jack a dull boy!

Posted by: Don at October 4, 2006 12:37 AM
Comment #186089

David -

“I have no beef with Christianity as a religion.”

And yet, just a few days ago you were attacking Christianity, equating it equally with the horrors of jihadists.

It is clear that you do not understand Christianity as well as you say. I understand Bush’s words because I have used similar language in referring to how I chose my wife. We seek God’s wisdom (that doesn’t mean that we always receive full understanding, or that we always act on the wisdom we receive) to make choices that are hard. Often, we throw a bit of our own will into the mix.

But seeking wisdom is not evil…from any good or Godly source. And you should not equate seeking wisdom from God with “justification” for behavior or decisions made. Bush is not “justifying” his decisions because “God told him to do it”. He merely is explaining how he arrived at his decision.

You are quite wrong.

Posted by: Don at October 4, 2006 12:56 AM
Comment #186090

Don,
What you are saying leads back to the original article posted by Jack. No doubt, the problem is global in scope. No doubt, India & China and third world countries need to be onboard, too. This is where leadership becomes so important. The US is far and away the largest producer of greenhouse gases. We have the largest economy, we consume the most, we produce the most. We have benefited the most, and some people feel it is unfair for us to call upon them to stop before they can enjoy the same standard of living as we do. Because we are the biggest producer & consumer, we are in a position to substantially influence the course of events.

That is why international cooperation is so important. We could have demanded Kyoto take the form we wanted. Instead, we completely withdrew from negotiations. We need to participate, lead by example, and use our substantial clout to bring others around, too.

I believe we can do it. I believe we still have the ability to innovate and adapt better than any other culture in the world. We need leadership which reflects that confidence, that deep seated belief & confidence in ourselves.

Posted by: phx8 at October 4, 2006 1:07 AM
Comment #186091

“and some people feel it is unfair for us to call upon them to stop before they can enjoy the same standard of living as we do.”

That’s a crazy argument. What does this have to do with fairness?? I thought the issue was to stop the climate change! Either we stop the change or we don’t. The best way to stop the change is to stop the most horrendous climate-changing pollution occuring in the world.

“This is where leadership becomes so important.”

We already are leading. The reduction in pollutants in America over the last 40 years is truly amazing! At the same time, the amount of pollutants from third-world nations has been increasing.

If we want others to cooperate, we have to prove that they are helping to kill the world and that it would benefit them to cooperate. Time to stop the politics, the “leadership” game, the protocols that don’t solve anything.

Posted by: Don at October 4, 2006 1:29 AM
Comment #186094

Don,
“The best way to stop the change is to stop the most horrendous climate-changing pollution occuring in the world.”

The largest single contributors are coal-burning power plants, and in particular the burning of the purest form of coal, anthracite. The US is the biggest contributor by far. What are you suggesting?

“We already are leading.”

How do you figure?

“The reduction in pollutants in America over the last 40 years is truly amazing!”

Source? Are you referring to greenhouse gases such as C02 & methane?

I think we agree that this is a global effort. The question is how to allocate the reduction. If one third world country contributes 1%, and the US contributes 25%, which makes more sense, a 10% reduction in the US, or a 10% reduction by the third world country? Do the math.

Protocols do offer a solution. Perhaps the most successful protocol has been the Montreal Accords, which significantly reduced production of chloroflurocarbons on an international basis.

As for fairness… Freezing the status quo in place is bound to strike many in the third world as unfair. The way they could see it, is that the US benefited from industrialization before other countries ever had the chance.

It does not have to be that way. There are methods for alleviating the unfairness, & for solving the problem of greenhouse gas production.
I acknowledge your point, Don, that we are all in this together, that we face a global problem that demands international cooperation. I would note that the US is the biggest single contributor to the problem, and the best hope for resolving it, not just for ourselves, but for everyone.

Posted by: phx8 at October 4, 2006 2:27 AM
Comment #186097

Jim M,

Now, Europe has made a few mistakes in setting up the market (notably, giving away CO2 permits instead of selling them at auction; an auction, as any student of economics will tell you, is the most efficient market there is),

We also give away too much permits. But I guess in the next years it will reduce.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 4, 2006 4:30 AM
Comment #186098

Don said: “And yet, just a few days ago you were attacking Christianity, equating it equally with the horrors of jihadists.”

Back that statement up with a quote in context, Don - BUT, do it in email to president@voidnow.org. I just noticed we are way off topic here. And the rules require staying on topic.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 4, 2006 5:06 AM
Comment #186099

Don,

I thought the issue was to stop the climate change! Either we stop the change or we don’t.

Not stopping (too late) but to slow down as much as possible its extermism.

The best way to stop the change is to stop the most horrendous climate-changing pollution occuring in the world.

Indeed. US is responsible for 28% of all CO2 released. Nobody ask the US to do more than its duty here, but everybody wait for americans to do *something* about these 28% of polution they’re responsible for. Like reducing it, or at least reduce its ever increasing current rate.

The same should go for other nations. Be sure that when China will be the #2 or #1 whealthy nation on earth, the world will ask them to take their responsabilities toward polution. Same for India…
At the current rate, it will be sooner than expected by Kyoto. Many changes happened since 1998, you know.

We already are leading.

LOL. 4.8% of the world people reject 28% of all CO2 (and continue to do it more and more) and you’re leading the world in reducing CO2 emission?
You should be kidding.

The reduction in pollutants in America over the last 40 years is truly amazing!

Great. Unfortunatly, it’s not enough, US is still the #1 world polluter.

At the same time, the amount of pollutants from third-world nations has been increasing.

Increasing from quite zero, yes. And stop calling China and India third-world nations, because they’re clearly not anymore. Check so news.

If we want others to cooperate, we have to prove that they are helping to kill the world and that it would benefit them to cooperate. Time to stop the politics, the “leadership” game, the protocols that don’t solve anything.

Hence what many world nations is doing, trying to prove that US are helping to “kill the world” and that it would benefit them to cooperate.
Next will be China and India, no doubt about it.

But it make more sence for nations caring about world environment issue to start pressuring the #1 world polluter first, doesn’t it?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 4, 2006 5:36 AM
Comment #186109

we are suffering from climate change. just look at the devastation by hurricanes this year. man it is the worst ever. getting worst each year and to think that we have never seen storms like this since man i cannot remember. just think gore invented the internet and still had time to warn us of the devestation of this years hurricane season. what a man. no wonder the dems are so proud of him.

hey did ya hear mark foley is planning on running on the dem ticket this year since he has been found out. after all in the dem party he will not even be noticed. just another pervert looking for “head” lines like clinton and it doesn’t matter which clinton both are looking for “head in all the wrong places” amoung the pages. wasn’t it barney franks who let his fingers do the walking through the yellow pages?

nuke a muslim nation and set a trend.

Posted by: lm at October 4, 2006 8:06 AM
Comment #186118

Breaking news: cnn reported that foley just came out of the closet and confessed he is gay. now i bet he will next anounce that he is changing party to the dnc as he will be accepted there and herald as a champion of alternate life style and sensitivity. His political horizon once shinned bright but now is ” dem “. after all the GOP gets the best and he DNC gets whatever is ” left “

what a guy, check ” page ” 1 of the NYT for the story.


it is reported that clinton is very upset as he was seen pointing his finger and shouting that this is a copy cat and he is the original ” pager”

Posted by: lm at October 4, 2006 8:46 AM
Comment #186126

Jim M

Thanks.

Don

I understand about nature. Termites are a major producer of greenhouse gas. Wetlands produce methane. Rice patties are among the worst offenders in greenhouse gas (methane) production. A volcano produces more CO2 in a couple hours than a city can all year. All these things are true.

But humans are contributing to something we may not want. I do not advocate draconian measures, but simple things, things we might want to do anyway, are in order. A greenhouse gas market is a good idea. We did a very good job with SO2 using this method. We should use less oil for lots of reasons besides climate.

Philippe

The U.S. is not the # 1 polluter. It is the # 1 emitter of CO2, which is not really a pollutant. Other countries produce a lot more soot, methane, SO2 etc. Our CO2 production is roughly in line with our GDP production. We produce about a quarter of the world’s stuff and we produce about a quarter of the world’s CO2. Not a surprise.

RE China and India - the air in many of their cities is nearly unbreathable and the water is sludge. American cities are very clean by world standards. The air in most U.S. cities, BTW, is usually cleaner than the air in most European cities of comparable size. We have done a good job in environmental protection over the years. The flaw is CO2, but that has been identified as a problem only recently. 25 years ago, people worried about global cooling and CO2 was considered harmless,possibly even beneficial. 25 years from now, I expect the U.S. will have addressed the CO2 problem as we did soot, SO2 and Nox.

lm

Hurricanes are not getting worse. It is cyclical. This year has been very calm. I guess that is why we are not hearing much about it.

Posted by: Jack at October 4, 2006 9:31 AM
Comment #186127

lm, could you focus on this thread topic please?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 4, 2006 9:32 AM
Comment #186174

Jack,

Have you read the science on ocean cooling. NASA studies found a huge natural vent over Pacific ocean’s warm pool. Between 2003 and 2005, the world’s oceans cooled suddenly, losing more than 20% of global warming heat, which was vented naturally; this occurs when sea surface temperatures rise above 28 degrees C.

Straight-line linear global warming models that predict doom and disaster do not consider such natural corrections.

I believe that the wait and see attitude has shed more scientific doubt on dire global warming predictions.

I might be more of a believer if liberals were not pushing it as part of their agenda; they use it to raise money and elect liberal politicians.
That always makes me suspicious of whatever they claim. You also have to consider the agenda of the scientists and activists who make their living promoting the global warming issue. Much of it is based on linear computer models, which are not proof to me.

Posted by: Jimmy at October 4, 2006 1:07 PM
Comment #186199
Jack wrote: A person can be sincere and still be mistaken. Bush is evidently a very good steward of his land in Texas.
Like ignoring the existing laws to restrict illegal immigration? Oh…OK, you mean with regard to the environment.
Martian wrote: D.A.N. CO2 or any other “greenhouse” gas has a logarithmic effect. That means that doubling the amount of CO2 produces an arithmetic decrease in escaping light. Quadrupeling the amount of CO2 would thus only double the blockage. Think of a screen that filters out half the light. If I put up a second screen, 1/4 of the light still gets … It can’t block light there, so there’s no need worrying about it.

Martian, There may be other ramifications of increased CO2 (some we may not even be aware of yet). Not just blocked light. So, to say “there’s no need worrying about it” does not sound responsible.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 4, 2006 1:53 PM
Comment #186239

hurricanes cannot be cyclical. al gore predicted this is our worst year yet. we are getting the coast torn all to pieces. don’t you watch cnn news. they tell us the climate is changing and this year is the hottest most dangerous ever for hurricanes. man you are living in a state of denial. the ocean us revolting against the crimes man has perpetrated against it by dumping medical waste into it.

foley is a prime candidate to run for president with hillary in 08 now that he is able to instant message teens and call it on line sex.

what a match. i understand she is so ugly that is the only sex she can get.

Posted by: lm at October 4, 2006 3:39 PM
Comment #186256

Don makes a good point that I haven’t been pushing in this blog. To quote a good tune, “You’re are so vain, you probably think this song is about you!” If I remember the numbers correctly (which it’s possible I don’t) I believe that the eruption of Mt. St. Helens released more CO2 than man has since about 1700. And somehow, we didn’t spiral into oblivion right then.

People in general, and Americans specifically, have very little understanding of large numbers. For instance we know that $1 trillion is a million $1 million, but we never really stagger at the sheer size of that number! But if you want REALLY big numbers, start calcing out the thermal capacity of the Earth’s oceans. Or the total weight of the sky, not a small number, I assure you! As a practising engineer, I don’t think we could change the temperature of the ocean by 1 deg C if we made it the central goal of humanity. I know how much effort it takes to push relatively small amounts of dirt around or to control & treat water runoff.

As for feedback loops, they’re over-rated. They sure sound scary and all, but in practise something almost always breaks the loop. For the “greenhouse effect” the deal-breaker is that the atmosphere doesn’t have a real roof. As atmospheric temps rise, the upper layers (above the CO2) will radiate more. Also, higher levels of CO2 increase the rates of limestone formation (removing CO2), and plant growth. Both lock carbon into solid form. Personlly, I can’t say whether that would make up for pore transpiration (pun intended) or not.

There are several epochs when the Earth essentially froze over entirely! Just as there seem to have been epochs where the temps were fairly warm as far north as southern Alaska. The critical thing for survivability appears to be the RATE of change really. The “greenhouse” effect just doesn’t have the power to roll up the temps that fast, even given all the “feedback loops” in the system.

However, back to my first point. Before you tell me how much carbon I’m allowed to release on not, first I want you to stop all that rotting vegetation from releasing CO2! Vegetation rot releases many times the amount released by man every year. So if I can prevent say 10 tons per year of CO2 release from that, do I get that much credit? Can I sell it on the open market? Maybe we’re on to something!

Posted by: Martian at October 4, 2006 4:26 PM
Comment #186273

Martian,

You are overlooking many potential factors. I’m an engineer also, and know that there are a myriad of chemical reactions in the atmosphere, some that are not fully understood yet. For example, the O3 (ozone) layer is important because it blocks ultraviolet and other high-energy radiation, which is harmful to life. No one knows what the effect of much more CO2 will have. What if large changes also, indirectly, increased NO levels (or other chemical changes)?

For example, elevated CO2 appears to eliminate differences between transgenic and nontransgenic plants for some key insect developmental and fitness variables including length of the larval stage and pupal weight. It may also suggest that transgenic crops designed to produce Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) gene-type toxins may become less effective in carrying out the objectives of their design as the air’s CO2 content continues to rise.

The point is, nature is very intricately interdependent.

It’s like a ballon.
Squeeze it on one end, and the other end grows.
Squeeze it on one the other end, and the middle grows.
Squeeze it in the middle, and the in-betweens grow.

Before you meddle with nature, you’d better know what you’re doing.
More research and caution is needed.

These sort of things are rarely as simple as one thinks, and none of us can speak as if we know for certain. CO2 in itself, in excess, is not good for humans. CO2 in excess even kills trees. A loss of O3 can lead to higher rates of cancer (and death). Nobody here knows, which is why more research and caution is needed.

Also, there is certainly nothing wrong with looking for cleaner energy sources too (just in case), and should not be discouraged.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 4, 2006 5:10 PM
Comment #186297

i too am a practicing engineer. take the 12:00 to monroe on tuesday.

be a trend setter and eat more cows.

or nuke a muslim nation a month and see how long they keep up the head chopping.

remember their goal is to kill all infidels and guess what they don’t care if it affects the atmosphere or not.

I notice that pelosi is still ranting about foley being a pager. he should fit right in with the dims as they are not to bright anywho.

Posted by: lm at October 4, 2006 6:05 PM
Comment #186347

lm,
Write, da dims izn’t to brite.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 4, 2006 8:35 PM
Comment #186363

Martian,

Your facts and assumptions appear to be wrong:

“Volcanic eruptions can enhance global warming by adding CO2 to the atmosphere. However, a far greater amount of CO2 is contributed to the atmosphere by human activities each year than by volcanic eruptions. Volcanoes contribute about 110 million tons/year, whereas other sources contribute about 10 billion tons/year. The small amount of global warming caused by eruption-generated greenhouse gases is offset by the far greater amount of global cooling caused by eruption-generated particles in the stratosphere (the haze effect). Greenhouse warming of the earth has been particularly evident since 1980. Without the cooling influence of such eruptions as El Chichon (1982) and Mt. Pinatubo (1991), described below, greenhouse warming would have been more pronounced.Volcanic eruptions can enhance global warming by adding CO2 to the atmosphere. However, a far greater amount of CO2 is contributed to the atmosphere by human activities each year than by volcanic eruptions. Volcanoes contribute about 110 million tons/year, whereas other sources contribute about 10 billion tons/year. The small amount of global warming caused by eruption-generated greenhouse gases is offset by the far greater amount of global cooling caused by eruption-generated particles in the stratosphere (the haze effect). Greenhouse warming of the earth has been particularly evident since 1980. Without the cooling influence of such eruptions as El Chichon (1982) and Mt. Pinatubo (1991), described below, greenhouse warming would have been more pronounced.”

http://www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/climate_effects.html

Posted by: Trent at October 4, 2006 9:11 PM
Comment #186366

Well, I seem to have posted the text twice, but you get the idea. There is lots more on the climate effects of volcanoes on the site I linked.

Martian, I know you are a skeptic, but shouldn’t that skepticism be better placed against the notion that man hasn’t affected climate?

Posted by: Trent at October 4, 2006 9:14 PM
Comment #186373

As with many topics, Wikipedia does a good job of summarizing the evidence that man has contributed to climate change.

A few years ago, I was one of those who dismissed Wikipedia, but I’ve found sinced then that it does a very good job on topics I happen to know a lot about. Now, I don’t claim to be a scientist, but the case seems persuasive to me, as it does to most experts in the field.

Posted by: Trent at October 4, 2006 9:24 PM
Comment #186408

Trent,
Your right. It covers a lot of variables. It also considers compounding of mitigating factors (i.e. snowball effect).

  • One example of an important feedback process is ice-albedo feedback. The increased CO2 in the atmosphere warms the Earth’s surface and leads to melting of ice near the poles. As the ice melts, land or open water takes its place. Both land and open water are less reflective than ice, and so absorb more solar radiation. This causes more warming, which in turn causes more melting, and the cycle continues.

Higher levels of CO2 may deplete O3 (ozone):

  • Global warming from carbon dioxide radiative forcing is expected (perhaps somewhat surprisingly) to cool the stratosphere. This, in turn, would lead to a relative increase in ozone depletion and the frequency of ozone holes.
This happened in Australia, causing higher incidents of cancer. Stratospheric ozone depletion resulting in increased exposure to Ultra-violet radiation (UVR) is likely to have deleterious health and environmental consequences. UVR has important consequences for human health, being etiologically linked with:
  • both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer (which are estimated to increase in incidence at 1 or 2 times the rate of increase in UVB (290 to 320 nanometer wavelength), which itself increases at twice the rate of ozone depletion);

  • non-malignant skin damage;

  • ocular effects, including cataracts (especially of the cortical type), pterygia, climatic droplet keratopathy and acute photokeratitis;

  • and depression of immune function, especially the T-effector limb of the immune response, with unknown but potentially important consequences for human malignant and infectious diseases.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 4, 2006 10:54 PM
Comment #186618

I like to come to these conservative blogs to see what the opposition has to say. When I read Jack’s blog I about fell off my chair. The world needs more people like him. Let us put aside our petty differences and work together to solve the world’s problems. My hat is off to you sir.

Posted by: trublu at October 6, 2006 4:57 AM
Comment #186974

trublu,

Yes, Jack is the only conservative blogger here worth reading. He dons the partisan hat sometimes, but he’s reasonable enough that you can have a civil discussion.

Posted by: Trent at October 8, 2006 9:58 AM
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