Gas Prices Down & No Big Hurricanes (Bush's Fault?)

I was driving down the highway today and saw gas selling for less than $2/gallon. One reason is that some things didn’t happen, that big hurricane season, for example. I didn’t think last year’s horrible hurricane season resulted from global warming but some people did. What does this year’s calm mean to them? I didn’t blame Bush when gas prices went up, but some people did. What does this drop mean to them?

Actually, I worry that oil is dropping too much. On many occasions I have written favoring higher energy prices because I take the threat of global warming seriously and I feel only higher prices will get us off the oil dependency. There is a downside to good news.

I also worry about calm weather. It encourages people to build in places that will be under a lot of salty or dirty water some time in the next five or ten years.

I have solutions to both. One involves a government action and other a non-action. I believe we should tax oil when it drops below about $55 a barrel. (I wrote an article about this last year. I figure $55 is the adjusted price.) That tax money should be used to offset taxes elsewhere. The deficit is already dropping because of increased tax revenue. We need to cut spending, not raise taxes, so this tax should be offset. Payroll taxes would be a good place to offset.

One place the government could cut is flood insurance. Some people cannot get flood insurance. Why is that? Insurance firms like to make money. If they will not sell, something must be wrong. It is because private firms have determined that anyone who builds in some places is stupid and they do not want to pay for such stupidity. Unfortunately, the government rushes in where prudent business people know they should not tread.

The government should immediately announce that it is phasing out ALL support for flood insurance. It should simultaneously guarantee that it will not bail out anybody who is flooded. People can choose for themselves the level of risk they want to take. If they are making good choices, they should have no trouble getting insurance. If not ...

Anyway, cheap gas and fair weather should not lull us into believing we will always be that lucky. Energy prics will rise and sooner or later we will have another bad weather year. We should not be surprised, but some people will be. They will probably be mostly liberals and they will mostly blame George Bush. Does he get credit for the good years?


Posted by Jack at October 11, 2006 11:40 PM
Comments
Comment #187735

Jack, the problem I have with Bush re: energy is that he’s essentially doing nothing productive. This administration favors the oil producers; compare the federal subsidies to oil companies to federal investment in clean/alternate energy sources. (And then factor in indirect subsidies, such as the fact that oil drives foreign policy concerns —) Taxing gas just isn’t going to cut it. How much did consumption go down when gas was $3 a gallon? I don’t know, but I am certain not enough to do more than perhaps slow the rate of increased consumption. Maybe the EIA has run projections on oil consumption at a variety of different prices; I’ll check into that. But I seriously, seriously doubt that even doubling the price of oil will reduce consumption enough to really matter. The EIA doesn’t project very dramatic increases in oil at least for the next 25 years, but it does project increased consumption. And its projections factor in increased use of clean/renewable/alternate energy.

I see no signs this administration takes anything but traditional fuels very seriously. Even if you’re a fan of nuclear energy, there’s not much movement. Subsidies for six new nuke plants — that’s a drop in the bucket.

At any rate, you can’t claim Bush is serious about solving our energy problems.

Bush being responsible for oil prices going up or down? Who knows? I read a comprehensive EIA study on oil prices and it doesn’t answer the question. It’s not inconceivable that oil companies could manipulate prices to get what they can when they can, and do help the party that favors them when they can. It wouldn’t take even a nod from the White House; oil executives understand politics very well. Does this happen? I don’t know.

As far as hurricane seasons go, we both know that anything can happen year by year; it’s trends that matter. One or two years do not provide enough data points.

Flood insurance? I have no objections in principle to what you say. Not building in hazardous places is reasonable to me.

Posted by: Trent at October 12, 2006 12:13 AM
Comment #187741

I was puzzled at a National Geographic cover headline this summer: “Killer Hurricanes, no end in sight.” Now that the hurricane season is nearly done, and hardly a US storm worth note, I find the story a great example of how we are tempted to take a few data points and infer a trend.

There will eventually be another Katrina, or bad wildfire season, or flooding river. Hopefully government can respond constructively and avoid the temptation to politicize.

Posted by: Michael Smith at October 12, 2006 1:34 AM
Comment #187743

I understand Texas is trying to put in more windpower but enviornmentalist are trying to stop them because they feel birds will be chopped up.

So much for wind power. So Bush is trying to build nukes? That IS good but environmentalist and democrats are against nukes. John Kerry ran one a platform that included never allowing the nation to have a nuclear waste site….which is a cornerstone of the anti nuclear crowd. If Bush is trying to build nukes over the democratic parties oppostion then he IS trying to do something.

I understand he also is providing money for alternative fuels and is also providing incentive for expanding our oil supply.

And what did the democrats do? Lets face it folks…the marketplace will provide the incentive when the price of oil moves too high. Government is not the answer to all the questions.

Glaciers come and go, they always do, Kyoto can’t stop that.

Posted by: stephen L at October 12, 2006 4:36 AM
Comment #187746

OPEC announced cutting supply by 1 million barrels today. The price will be holding here, and rising again soon. Which is a pure monopolistic play by OPEC given that current prices are substantially higher than a few years ago, and so are their profits.

Hurricane frequency is not estimated for a one year period, but over a period of years. Like all things in nature, average trends are predictable statistically, but, specific date, year, month events are not, and will fluctuate, sometimes wildly.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 12, 2006 5:13 AM
Comment #187748

Wednesday October 11, 2006 [MADISON SQUARE GARDEN]

Little Miss. Sunshine Herself, Barbra Streisand…

Sut the _ _ _ _ UP. Good show Barb!

While she was doing an impersonation of a singer {THE WOMAN CANNOT SING - AND WOULD LOOK BETTER WITH A BAG OVER HER FACE} had someone do an impersonation of President Bush while she made bad commits about the president.

And then when a good old Rupublican objected, she like the lady she was, shoulded Sut the _ _ _ _ up!

I saw only one short comment on the news about this…. and nothing more was said.

If someone had done the same thing to a Democrat President, all of left wing Hollywood would be screaming Sut the _ _ _ _ up.

But… no one was offened when little Miss. Sunshine did what she did, and acted like she was in some slezzie bar, useing the F word, and ran down the President.

Posted by: Charlie George at October 12, 2006 6:16 AM
Comment #187750

David, Trent et al

You cannot estimate hurricanes (or any weather) with one season. That is exactly my point. Last year not many people were remembering that. We heard lots of hysterical talk about hurricanes and global warming. This years calm weather is not much of an indicator. Last year’s ferocious weather was not either.

Michael Smith points out the frightening headline. What I am afraid of is that people will remember the headlines and forget what really happened. The hysterics are often in control.

The same logic applies to gas prices. It applies to the economy in general. We have enjoyed an outstanding economy since 2003, yet the general idea prevails that things are bad. I think one reason is the headlines decrying normal shifts and the headlines predicting dire events that do not happen. Memory persists, even when it is a synthetic memory based on impressions of things that never were.

Re alternative energy - this administration has done as much as any other in effective use of alternatives. The only alternative that can help in the short run is nuclear power. It does not require government help so much as government permission. The French get 78% of their electricity from nuclear energy. We get around 20% because of hostile regulatory environments. Ironically those howling loudest about the need to control CO2 are among the strongest opponents of nuclear power. If President Bush can mitigate the opposition to nukes, he will have done more than any president to reduce CO2.

To environmentalists who oppose nuclear power and to those who even fight wind power, we have met the enemy of the environment and they are them.

BTW - it is cold today in most of the U.S. What does this mean re global warming. Nothing much, but every time it is warmer it seems to mean something to the troglodyte wing of the global warming crowd.

BTW2 - I know that some people with half the facts and no much understanding will tell me that global warming could lead to global cooling. That convenient truth allows them to complain about weather no matter what happens. But I would remind them of the theory and the mechanism. The globe would cool because of an interruption on the Atlantic current system. That is may have been what provoked the Younger Dryas cooling event. You have to wait for some mechanism like that before you get to blame cooling on warming.

Of course, the Republicans were responsible for Younger Dryas (premptively).

Posted by: Jack at October 12, 2006 7:34 AM
Comment #187752

Jack:

In some Upstate New York areas, it is commonplace to complain about the bad weather, which happens regularly. When the weather turns good, it is then commonplace to complain about how it won’t last. But at least its mostly just done in good fun, rather than the manner of the trogolodytes that you mention in your posts.

I agree with you regarding flood insurance. Cancun is an interesting example to consider, though. After Hurricane Wilma devastated the tourist beaches, Cancun invested $1.5 billion to restore the beaches. A lot of the money was privately raised. The government did pitch in, and in that case I don’t disagree with it, since Cancun is vital to the economic success in the Quintana Roo state. The key thing is that the hotels pitched in the majority of the money. They know that they are on the beach, that they are in a hurricane zone, and that every so often, they will get hit. It is not a suprise when hurricanes hit. It should be no surprise to homeowners on US beaches that they will get hit sometime.

What about taking the extra taxes from your gasoline plan and using it to invest in alternative energy? That way, we invest more into the future technology, which will wean our need to suckle at the teat of OPEC.

Re Bush: Everyone knows that Bush has no control over hurricanes not hitting places. The only thing he controls is when hurricanes DO hit. Its a one way street. He is at fault for everything, but at credit for nothing. :)

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 12, 2006 8:48 AM
Comment #187758

JBOD,

“Everyone knows that Bush has no control over hurricanes not hitting places. The only thing he controls is when hurricanes DO hit. Its a one way street. He is at fault for everything, but at credit for nothing.”

The only thing Bush controls in your senario is how the federal government responds.
Having eviscerated FEMA, maybe Bush could get credit for rebuilding that agency into a viable entity again.
Hopefully, with the lessons of the recent past, Mr. Bush now has his house in order, and can respond when help is truly needed.

Posted by: Rocky at October 12, 2006 9:26 AM
Comment #187760

Rocky:

I was being sarcastic. I agree that Bush should now have FEMA ready to operate well in the face of a catastrophe. If it does not operate well, then it is ultimately Bush’s responsibility.

That having been said, we need to make sure not to set the bar too high. For some people, the bar is set so high that no one could possibly attain it. In disasters, disastrous things happen. Some can be foreseen and planned for, while others cannot. That’s why they are called disasters.

In my business, I tell my clients that I can reasonably control about 95% of what happens on a project. There are always things that can happen that are beyond my control. What I promise is that I will be ready to respond quickly and adequately when those things happen. That is what I expect from FEMA. It did not happen with Katrina, and I’d expect a better response in the future.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 12, 2006 9:35 AM
Comment #187761

Jack,
with the elections over in a few short weeks Im sure oil prices will rise again. I do agree with taxing it as you suggested, and if $3 doesnt slow us down lets get to $4. However we must fund alternatives and actually do something productive with the money.
I also beleive its time to open debate on nuclear power. While not perfect it is feasibile now. The problem is until the borders are secured, nuclear plants are just to tempting a target for the terrorist, at least in my mind if not in reality.
Wiening ourselves from flood insurence will take time and how much money is saved. Lets get the Feds out of education, cut corporate welfare to zip, and instead of spending $20 mil to party on when W and his thugs decide to declare Iraq another victory, lets spend it on alternatives to oil.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 12, 2006 9:42 AM
Comment #187762

Someone PLEASE!

Provide ONE instance where tax money for a specific purpose was not spent on something else.

Posted by: dawn at October 12, 2006 9:54 AM
Comment #187763
I do agree with taxing it as you suggested, and if $3 doesnt slow us down lets get to $4. Posted by: j2t2 at October 12, 2006 09:42 AM

Some people actually have JOBS to which they have to drive every day. I struggle to make ends meet when gas hits $3, and I only drive to work and the grocery store. Not everyone can afford to sit in front of a computer every day and not drive anywhere. If you’re so concerned about alternative energy and the money to fund it, I’m sure you could donate the money you save by being so environmentally conscious to the government. I doubt they’ll argue much.

Posted by: Duane-o at October 12, 2006 10:05 AM
Comment #187764

Duane-O,
We can pay now or we can pay later. Later will be much more costly.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 12, 2006 10:17 AM
Comment #187765

Pay later for what?

Posted by: Duane-o at October 12, 2006 10:22 AM
Comment #187767

Duane-O,
When oil runs out, as it surely will, our economy will likely suffer as it has never suffered before. We, as a society, will not or cannot make the tough choices required to survive on our own. Certainly the private sector will not voluntarily make any changes unless forced to do so. That leaves the government (heaven help us all) to do the dirty work.

And.. its time to go to work 7:30am here.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 12, 2006 10:27 AM
Comment #187769

What do I make of the lower gas prices?
Election year! The gas prices started going seriously up when Bush took office. The oil companies are now doing what they can to keep the same politicians in that gave them the enviroment to raise prices. By the way, the only place I have seen under $2 gas lately is in Texas. We will see what happens after the elections.

What do I make of the calm Hurricane season?
Not much. I am glad I did not get stomped by a hurricane this year, but I didn’t get stomped by one last year either. The hurricanes are there, just east of US, and hurricane season isn’t over yet, not till November 30. We might be past the peak of the season , but October 20 represents a peak on the charts ( http://hurricanes.noaa.gov/prepare/season.htm ) and all of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts are in the “likely path” zone ( http://hurricanes.noaa.gov/prepare/season_zones.htm ). Although I hope and expect this season to continue to be calm, it’s not over until I have my hurricane party on Nov. 30th. Ya’ll are invited.

Posted by: GMDuggan at October 12, 2006 10:39 AM
Comment #187770


In the spring,the argument was market forces. My argument was manipulation pure and simple. I predicted $2 per gal. for the election. So much for market forces. It’s good to know that the World is $1 per gal. safer today than it was in the spring and summer. In my opinion, anyone who things the oil companies and the speculators aren’t capable of deliberate manipulation of the price for political reasons is not living in reality. It’s not just Bush who stands to loose big if the Democrats gain control of Congress. Chaney and the oil companies will get their hearings as well. $3 per gal. in early December if Republicans maintain control.

Posted by: jlw at October 12, 2006 10:42 AM
Comment #187771

j2t2:

The problem is until the borders are secured, nuclear plants are just to tempting a target for the terrorist, at least in my mind if not in reality.

I believe our nuclear plants in the US are well guarded. I have done some work at a couple nuke plants, and the security is AWESOME. The reactors are built, for instance, to withstand a direct 747 hit. The safety precautions hold that any aircraft entering restricted space brings about a response from the Air Force or pertinent military authority. No one is allowed to enter without going through metal detectors and bomb sniffers. No one is allowed unescorted entrance unless they have passed rigorous background checks.

As an example of security, I once stopped outside the guard gate approx 100-200 yards from the entrance in order to finish a cell phone call. Within moments, a guard drove out to check what I was doing. I had not gone unnoticed.

There will always be cracks in security, and areas that can be manipulated. No plan is 100% failsafe. But I think the safety at nuclear plants is pretty darned good.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 12, 2006 10:46 AM
Comment #187772
$3 per gal. in early December if Republicans maintain control. Posted by: jlw at October 12, 2006 10:42 AM
$4 if the Dems win, at least until the hearings. Then the GOPers can claim “See!!! Look, damn libs!!!” The only good news is that executive management is being held more and more accountable for the illegal activities that used to be protected as “I was doing my duty as an officer”

jbod,

The real target are LNG tanks. They can take out a city and in Boston there was an intrusion to a facility that went undetected for hours.

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 12, 2006 10:54 AM
Comment #187773

Jack,

Rising gas prices are directly attributable to Bush’s actions. If he’s done something that would lower gas prices, tell us what it is. You can’t seriously be suggesting that I should award Bush credit randomly simply because something good happens (like the weather??). Seriously, you Republicans are wacky.

Posted by: Max at October 12, 2006 11:04 AM
Comment #187776

Jack-
From what I’ve read, your assertion that this is merely about temperature is wrong. First, we should not expect winter to disappear. Though the poles are warming, they will always remain cold, and their influence will remain in temperate regions.

You may not see temperatures as cold as they once were, but you will see freezing temperatures.

What global warming will do is increase the frequency of extreme weather, as more energy stays in the atmosphere, as more water is evaporated, as drought and heatwave inducing systems are formed. While there are natural cycles that would kick up such climate changes, no such extremes have been recorded in recent history.

Paradoxically, in fact, you should see worse winter storms, as more water vapor and more capacity in the air to take up such water vapor leads it to snow where climactic conditions would otherwise preclude them.

As for the Younger Dryas, the interruption of the thermohaline conveyor was aided by the partial melting of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which as all Canadians know, no longer exists, at least not at its former size.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 12, 2006 11:48 AM
Comment #187777

Joe-
By what definitive means has the GOP established that this was the best that could be done? I would like to know. It’s always easy when one’s screwed up to rail at others for being hard on you. If that is valid, then how can you rain on the parade of people in the inner city, or illegal immigrants? They’d give the same excuse.

Not every thing can be planned for, but we can at least have some alternative plans or just good old fashion improvisation instead of the paralysis that seems to be the rule in Bush policy when things don’t go right.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 12, 2006 11:53 AM
Comment #187779

When I blame Bush for something, it’s usually pretty obvious he’s done something bad, like Katrina, Iraq, etc. I personally haven’t seen Bush do anything praiseworthy. Some people want to thank him for a good economy, but to me he’s just propping up our economy by borrowing like crazy. I’m not impressed. It just seems like dumb luck our economy hasn’t tanked. I realize you Bush supporters believe this is total bias on the part of me, all news outlets, the rest of the world, most of America, etc., but in our opinion the world would have been better off without you. Bush FAILED. Get over it, and start working toward a real solution. Do something positive. Stop making excuses. Stop being such children who can’t take any criticism. Stop worrying about fair weather and start worrying about real problems. You guys are UNBELIEVABLE. / end rant.

Posted by: Max at October 12, 2006 12:08 PM
Comment #187780

Jack,

“Gas Prices Down & No Big Hurricanes (Bush’s Fault?)

ABSOLUTELY

At this point, everything is the Republican’s fault including oil companies playing politics with gas prices - North Korea - Iraq - Iraq - Afganistan - illegal spying - torture - climatic instability as direct result of global warming leading to the temporary dirth of hurracanes.

Posted by: Ray Guest at October 12, 2006 12:14 PM
Comment #187781

Why is it thet the same people who spend all of there time and energy decrying corporate welfare are the same ones screaming for the federal govenment to fund alternative energy.

It’s like pork barrel spending. It’s only bad if the other guy is doing it.

Posted by: Keith at October 12, 2006 12:17 PM
Comment #187783

Jack, I will oppose nuclear power until hell freezes over because those promoting it WILL NOT include the costs of dealing with the waste in their sales snow job to the public that it is cheaper.

I can see myself backing Nuclear if we can get some realistic cost estimates, and devise a safe plan in perpetuity for dispensing with nuclear waste. Neither is the case at this time.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 12, 2006 12:23 PM
Comment #187786

Jack
The deficit is already dropping because of increased tax revenue. We need to cut spending, not raise taxes,…….

But yet you want to raise taxes on oil. A little inconsistent aren’t we?
And just what are the folks that work for a living and have to drive to get to that job supposed to do? You do know that not everyone has excess to public transportation don’t you?
Maybe they can just quit their jobs and go on welfare. But then they still have to drive to the welfare office.
Gas here is finally down to $1.889. That means working folks around here have more money in their pockets. And most of them are now buying things they need that they put off buying when gas was around $3.00. This translates to a better economy. Something I thought y’all Republicans wanted. But then maybe I was wrong about that.

I know that no politician can control gas prices but they can influence them some. I’m looking for gas prices to go back up after the election. Regardless of who wins.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 12, 2006 12:35 PM
Comment #187787
Rising gas prices are directly attributable to Bush’s actions.

Care to cite some examples?

Posted by: Duane-o at October 12, 2006 12:36 PM
Comment #187788

Well, I don’t have irrational fears about nuclear power. There’s a plant nearby and it doesn’t bother me (but then I live close to Y-12, too, so maybe that says something).

Let’s assume that nuclear power is the answer to all our energy and environmental problems. It’s not, of course. Oil accounts for a small fraction of the fuel used to generate electricity, so the effect on oil imports if we go all nuclear would be minor.

Of course, we could move toward making our transportation sector all electric. That would require more nuclear plants. As Jack says, right now the 106 nuke plants we have accounts for 20 percent of the electricity generated at power plants, so we’d need something under 400 new plants to get the electricity we need now. (Just a rough number; I know improvements could reduce the number needed.) If we add the trasnportation sector in, we’d need — god, I don’t know — one estimate I read says 1,000 nuke plants, or 10 times the number we have now.

We can’t figure out how to safely dispose of the radioactive waste we have now.

I just don’t see it happening. Are you guys seeing serious effects to reduce regulation, thus making nuke plants cheaper (and also less safe)? I don’t.

I stand by my assertion that this administration is not serious about this issue. That’s not to say other administrations have done much better. We need to make this a genuine national priority. The information campaigns so effectively used to get us into war could just as effectively be used on this issue, and it wouldn’t require cheery picking evidence and misleading the public.

Posted by: Trent at October 12, 2006 12:40 PM
Comment #187789

25 inconvenient truths for the envirofascists to consider:

1. Carbon Dioxide’s Effect on Temperature. The relationship between global temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2), on which the entire scare is founded, is not linear. Every molecule of CO2 added to the atmosphere contributes less to warming than the previous one. The book’s graph on p. 66-67 is seriously misleading. Moreover, even the historical levels of CO2 shown on the graph are disputed. Evidence from plant fossil-remains suggest that there was as much CO2 in the atmosphere about 11,000 years ago as there is today.

2. Kilimanjaro. The snows of Kilimanjaro are melting not because of global warming but because of a local climate shift that began 100 years ago. The authors of a report in the International Journal of Climatology “develop a new concept for investigating the retreat of Kilimanjaro’s glaciers, based on the physical understanding of glacier–climate interactions.” They note that, “The concept considers the peculiarities of the mountain and implies that climatological processes other than air temperature control the ice recession in a direct manner. A drastic drop in atmospheric moisture at the end of the 19th century and the ensuing drier climatic conditions are likely forcing glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro.”

3. Glaciers. Glaciers around the world have been receding at around the same pace for over 100 years. Research published by the National Academy of Sciences last week indicates that the Peruvian glacier on p. 53-53 probably disappeared a few thousand years ago.

4. The Medieval Warm Period. Al Gore says that the “hockey stick” graph that shows temperatures remarkably steady for the last 1,000 years has been validated, and ridicules the concept of a “medieval warm period.” That’s not the case. Last year, a team of leading paleoclimatologists said, “When matching existing temperature reconstructions…the timeseries display a reasonably coherent picture of major climatic episodes: ‘Medieval Warm Period,’ ‘Little Ice Age’ and ‘Recent Warming.’” They go on to conclude, “So what would it mean, if the reconstructions indicate a larger…or smaller…temperature amplitude? We suggest that the former situation, i.e. enhanced variability during pre-industrial times, would result in a redistribution of weight towards the role of natural factors in forcing temperature changes, thereby relatively devaluing the impact of anthropogenic emissions and affecting future temperature predictions.”

5. The Hottest Year. Satellite temperature measurements say that 2005 wasn’t the hottest year on record — 1998 was — and that temperatures have been stable since 2001 (p.73). Here’s the satellite graph:


6. Heat Waves. The summer heat wave that struck Europe in 2003 was caused by an atmospheric pressure anomaly; it had nothing to do with global warming. As the United Nations Environment Program reported in September 2003, “This extreme wheather [sic] was caused by an anti-cyclone firmly anchored over the western European land mass holding back the rain-bearing depressions that usually enter the continent from the Atlantic ocean. This situation was exceptional in the extended length of time (over 20 days) during which it conveyed very hot dry air up from south of the Mediterranean.”

7. Record Temperatures. Record temperatures — hot and cold — are set every day around the world; that’s the nature of records. Statistically, any given place will see four record high temperatures set every year. There is evidence that daytime high temperatures are staying about the same as for the last few decades, but nighttime lows are gradually rising. Global warming might be more properly called, “Global less cooling.” (On this, see Patrick J. Michaels book, Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media.)

8. Hurricanes. There is no overall global trend of hurricane-force storms getting stronger that has anything to do with temperature. A recent study in Geophysical Research Letters found: “The data indicate a large increasing trend in tropical cyclone intensity and longevity for the North Atlantic basin and a considerable decreasing trend for the Northeast Pacific. All other basins showed small trends, and there has been no significant change in global net tropical cyclone activity. There has been a small increase in global Category 4–5 hurricanes from the period 1986–1995 to the period 1996–2005. Most of this increase is likely due to improved observational technology. These findings indicate that other important factors govern intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones besides SSTs [sea surface temperatures].”

9. Tornadoes. Records for numbers of tornadoes are set because we can now record more of the smaller tornadoes (see, for instance, the Tornado FAQ at Weather Underground).

10. European Flooding. European flooding is not new (p. 107). Similar flooding happened in 2003. Research from Michael Mudelsee and colleagues from the University of Leipzig published in Nature (Sept. 11, 2003) looked at data reaching as far back as 1021 (for the Elbe) and 1269 (for the Oder). They concluded that there is no upward trend in the incidence of extreme flooding in this region of central Europe.

11. Shrinking Lakes. Scientists investigating the disappearance of Lake Chad (p.116) found that most of it was due to human overuse of water. “The lake’s decline probably has nothing to do with global warming, report the two scientists, who based their findings on computer models and satellite imagery made available by NASA. They attribute the situation instead to human actions related to climate variation, compounded by the ever increasing demands of an expanding population” (“Shrinking African Lake Offers Lesson on Finite Resources,” National Geographic, April 26, 2001). Lake Chad is also a very shallow lake that has shrunk considerably throughout human history.

12. Polar Bears. Polar bears are not becoming endangered. A leading Canadian polar bear biologist wrote recently, “Climate change is having an effect on the west Hudson population of polar bears, but really, there is no need to panic. Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear (sic) to be affected at present.”

13. The Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream, the ocean conveyor belt, is not at risk of shutting off in the North Atlantic (p. 150). Carl Wunsch of MIT wrote to the journal Nature in 2004 to say, “The only way to produce an ocean circulation without a Gulf Stream is either to turn off the wind system, or to stop the Earth’s rotation, or both”

14. Invasive Species. Gore’s worries about the effect of warming on species ignore evolution. With the new earlier caterpillar season in the Netherlands, an evolutionary advantage is given to birds that can hatch their eggs earlier than the rest. That’s how nature works. Also, “invasive species” naturally extend their range when climate changes. As for the pine beetle given as an example of invasive species, Rob Scagel, a forest microclimate specialist in British Columbia, said, “The MPB (mountain pine beetle) is a species native to this part of North America and is always present. The MPB epidemic started as comparatively small outbreaks and through forest management inaction got completely out of hand.”

15. Species Loss. When it comes to species loss, the figures given on p. 163 are based on extreme guesswork, as the late Julian Simon pointed out. We have documentary evidence of only just over 1,000 extinctions since 1600 (see, for instance, Bjørn Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist, p. 250).

16. Coral Reefs. Coral reefs have been around for over 500 million years. This means that they have survived through long periods with much higher temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations than today.

17. Malaria and other Infectious Diseases. Leading disease scientists contend that climate change plays only a minor role in the spread of emerging infectious diseases. In “Global Warming and Malaria: A Call for Accuracy” (The Lancet, June 2004), nine leading malariologists criticized models linking global warming to increased malaria spread as “misleading” and “display[ing] a lack of knowledge” of the subject.

18. Antarctic Ice. There is controversy over whether the Antarctic ice sheet is thinning or thickening. Recent scientific studies have shown a thickening in the interior at the same time as increased melting along the coastlines. Temperatures in the interior are generally decreasing. The Antarctic Peninsula, where the Larsen-B ice shelf broke up (p. 181) is not representative of what is happening in the rest of Antarctica. Dr. Wibjörn Karlén, Professor Emeritus of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology at Stockholm University, acknowledges, “Some small areas in the Antarctic Peninsula have broken up recently, just like it has done back in time. The temperature in this part of Antarctica has increased recently, probably because of a small change in the position of the low pressure systems.” According to a forthcoming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, climate models based on anthropogenic forcing cannot explain the anomalous warming of the Antarctic Peninsula; thus, something natural is at work.

19. Greenland Climate. Greenland was warmer in the 1920s and 1930s than it is now. A recent study by Dr. Peter Chylek of the University of California, Riverside, addressed the question of whether man is directly responsible for recent warming: “An important question is to what extent can the current (1995-2005) temperature increase in Greenland coastal regions be interpreted as evidence of man-induced global warming? Although there has been a considerable temperature increase during the last decade (1995 to 2005) a similar increase and at a faster rate occurred during the early part of the 20th century (1920 to 1930) when carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases could not be a cause. The Greenland warming of 1920 to 1930 demonstrates that a high concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is not a necessary condition for period of warming to arise. The observed 1995-2005 temperature increase seems to be within a natural variability of Greenland climate.” (Petr Chylek et al., Geophysical Research Letters, 13 June 2006.)

20. Sea Level Rise. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change does not forecast sea-level rises of “18 to 20 feet.” Rather, it says, “We project a sea level rise of 0.09 to 0.88 m for 1990 to 2100, with a central value of 0.48 m. The central value gives an average rate of 2.2 to 4.4 times the rate over the 20th century…It is now widely agreed that major loss of grounded ice and accelerated sea level rise are very unlikely during the 21st century.” Al Gore’s suggestions of much more are therefore extremely alarmist.

21. Population. Al Gore worries about population growth; Gore does not suggest a solution. Fertility in the developed world is stable or decreasing. The plain fact is that we are not going to reduce population back down to 2 billion or fewer in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, the population in the developing world requires a significant increase in its standard of living to reduce the threats of premature and infant mortality, disease, and hunger. In The Undercover Economist, Tim Harford writes, “If we are honest, then, the argument that trade leads to economic growth, which leads to climate change, leads us then to a stark conclusion: we should cut our trade links to make sure that the Chinese, Indians and Africans stay poor. The question is whether any environmental catastrophe, even severe climate change, could possibly inflict the same terrible human cost as keeping three or four billion people in poverty. To ask that question is to answer it.”

22. Energy Generation. A specific example of this is Gore’s acknowledgement that 30 percent of global CO2 emissions come from wood fires used for cooking (p. 227). If we introduced affordable, coal-fired power generation into South Asia and Africa we could reduce this considerably and save over 1.6 million lives a year. This is the sort of solution that Gore does not even consider.

23. Carbon-Emissions Trading. The European Carbon Exchange Market, touted as “effective” on p. 252, has crashed.

24. The “Scientific Consensus.” On the supposed “scientific consensus”: Dr. Naomi Oreskes, of the University of California, San Diego, (p. 262) did not examine a “large random sample” of scientific articles. She got her search terms wrong and thought she was looking at all the articles when in fact she was looking at only 928 out of about 12,000 articles on “climate change.” Dr. Benny Peiser, of Liverpool John Moores University in England, was unable to replicate her study. He says, “As I have stressed repeatedly, the whole data set includes only 13 abstracts (~1%) that explicitly endorse what Oreskes has called the ‘consensus view.’ In fact, the vast majority of abstracts does (sic) not mention anthropogenic climate change. Moreover — and despite attempts to deny this fact — a handful of abstracts actually questions the view that human activities are the main driving force of ‘the observed warming over the last 50 years.’” In addition, a recent survey of scientists following the same methodology as one published in 1996 found that about 30 percent of scientists disagreed to some extent or another with the contention that “climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes.” Less than 10 percent “strongly agreed” with the statement. Details of both the survey and the failed attempt to replicate the Oreskes study can be found here.

25. Economic Costs. Even if the study Gore cites is right (p. 280-281), the United States will still emit massive amounts of CO2 after all the measures it outlines have been realized. Getting emissions down to the paltry levels needed to stabilize CO2 in the atmosphere would require, in Gore’s own words, “a wrenching transformation” of our way of life. This cannot be done easily or without significant cost. The Kyoto Protocol, which Gore enthusiastically supports, would avert less than a tenth of a degree of warming in the next fifty years and would cost up to $400 billion a year to the U.S. All of the current proposals in Congress would cost the economy significant amounts, making us all poorer, with all that that entails for human health and welfare, while doing nothing to stop global warming.

Finally, Gore quotes Winston Churchill (p. 100) — but he should read what Churchill said when he was asked what qualities a politician requires: “The ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.”

—Iain Murray

Posted by: Duane-o at October 12, 2006 12:48 PM
Comment #187791

Can someone tell me how American oil companies manipulated the WORLDWIDE oil market? Can you please cite any economist or financial analyst who can provide proof that oil/gas prices were manipulated? Please, show us the proof.

Posted by: Dizzle at October 12, 2006 1:20 PM
Comment #187792

Envirofacists, feminazis, islamofacists, Republican facism. Sure is a lot of goose stepping going on. I prefer to duck walk, myself.

Posted by: gergle at October 12, 2006 1:23 PM
Comment #187793
Care to cite some examples of how gas prices can be blamed on Bush?

Sure thing:

Each year under Republican control of the Federal Government prices track higher and higher gasoline prices.

CNN published a piece Wednesday that listed these reasons for the rise in oil prices:

Tensions with North Korea helped send the price of oil rocketing to a record in New York Wednesday …

Oil analysts attributed the price swell to international tensions over North Korea and other unsettling geopolitical factors. [Iran] …

“Geopolitics are always at center stage when it comes to the oil market, and the North Korea missile launch is causing jitters in the market because ultimately it will make the situation with Iran much more difficult to deal with,” Gheit added. Gheit said that oil markets would interpret U.S. handling of the North Korean missile crisis as “kid glove treatment” compared with its handling of Iran, and that would in turn pose problems in the Iran nuclear standoff.

NYMEX Director George Gero, who is also senior vice president at RBC Dain Rauscher, said the election controversy in Mexico — where candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was neck and neck with conservative Felipe Calderon — also factored into the price hike. “Oil traders are nervous that Obrador, the leftist candidate, may emerge victorious, and he is viewed as another Hugo Chavez,” Gero said, referring to Venezuela’s leftist president.

Gero also cited the dollar, which has been devalued more than 25 percent this year. That, he said, makes oil producers raise prices.

Each of the reasons cited for the rise in gasoline prices is attributable to the failed policies of Bush and the Republican Party. First, Bush’s diplomacy with North Korea has failed to achieve any meaningful results. Despite his strong talk, North Korea is proceeding with missal development and testing. The Boston Globe makes the point:

IN HIS refusal to revise a failed policy for North Korea, President Bush is not only increasing the risks of nuclear proliferation; he is also alienating US allies in Asia and exacerbating tensions among Asian powers. Political forces in South Korea and Japan that have been favorably inclined toward the United States want no part of the administration’s reliance on a coercive strategy, as opposed to negotiations, to remove the threat of North Korean nuclear weapons.

The Mexican presidential election is in doubt, but the political left may have won the election, installing another government in Latin America that is unfriendly to the United States. As the conservative World Net Daily writes:

A recently published article entitled, “Who Lost Latin America” similarly noted, “Washington confronts the distinct possibility of having an explicitly hostile government in Mexico. The implications of such an outcome could be far-reaching for the integrity of our southern frontier, illegal immigration, drug trafficking, terrorism, trade and the radical ‘reconquista’ movement (which is intent on ‘taking back’ at least parts of the United States for Mexico).” …

If Obrador [the political left candidate] wins, President Bush’s already badly damaged presidential legacy will likely end up being a much greater terrorist threat to this country than before he became president, and the loss of over 100 million citizens of our southern neighbor to Marxist control nearly two decades after Reagan “won” the Cold War against the Soviet Union.

As to the fall of the value of the US Dollar, the intermediate economic forces suggest that the US Dollar will continue to fall against other currencies. VP Dick Cheney is apparently reading the same “tea leaves” as TPJ, and betting that the US Dollar will fall. Information Clearing House (a TPJ favorite) reviewed an article analyzing VP Cheney’s extensive investments (emphasis added):

The article is called “Cheney’s betting on bad news” and provides an account of where Cheney has socked away more than $25 million. While the figures may be estimates, the investments are not. According to Tom Blackburn of the Palm Beach Post, Cheney has invested heavily in “a fund that specializes in short-term municipal bonds, a tax-exempt money market fund and an inflation protected securities fund. The first two hold up if interest rates rise with inflation. The third is protected against inflation.”

Cheney has dumped another (estimated) $10 to $25 million in a European bond fund which tells us that he is counting on a steadily weakening dollar. So, while working class Americans are loosing ground to inflation and rising energy costs, Darth Cheney will be enhancing his wealth in “Old Europe”. As Blackburn sagely notes, “Not all ‘bad news’ is bad for everybody.”

This should put to rest once and for all the foolish notion that the “Bush Economic Plan” is anything more than a scam aimed at looting the public till. The whole deal is intended to shift the nation’s wealth from one class to another. It’s also clear that Bush-Cheney couldn’t have carried this off without the tacit approval of the … Federal Reserve who engineered the low-interest rate boondoggle to put the American people to sleep while they picked their pockets.

Reasonable people can dispute that Bush is “intentionally” skewering the dollar with his lavish tax cuts, but how does that explain Cheney’s portfolio?

It doesn’t. And, one thing we can say with metaphysical certainty is that the miserly Cheney would never plunk his money into an investment that wasn’t a sure thing. If Cheney is counting on the dollar tanking and interest rates going up, then, by Gawd, that’s what’ll happen.

Hard working Americans are paying the price for Bush’s failures; but the price may be larger than we can dare presently imagine. Bush’s neoconservative foreign policy is every increasing America’s isolation. IF the political left wins in Mexico; along with Venezuela, and Iran, these three countries that supply a substantial portion of the world’s oil production will be led by governments unfriendly to the United States. As the US Dollar continues to fall, Americans will continue to pay ever higher prices for goods imported from overseas, including oil. Neoconservative foreign policy and spending America into debt will create an incessant cycle that bleeds Americans financially while failing to secure America’s interests through diplomacy other than at the point of America’s military. Increasing military involvement will require that America sacrifice even more of its wealth. Gun boat diplomacy will bring greater world tensions driving up the price of energy and disrupt normal operation of economic markets.

We should ask again: “Mission Accomplished?”

Posted by: Max at October 12, 2006 1:23 PM
Comment #187795

Dueno-o

Long, long, long post, don’t know where you copied it. Didn’t read it of course because you started with “envirofascist”. Do you people really have to wonder why you’re looked down on?

Dizzle,

It wasn’t just “American” oil companies, it was mostly the oil traders. The companies just benefited. Remember Enron? Symbiotic or Parasitic? I think you can guess my choice. The proof is in the result.

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 12, 2006 1:36 PM
Comment #187796

DaveMitt-Romney’s-first-day-as-POTUS,

“We people” are looked down upon from where? Where is this great perch from which you sit and look down on me? You didn’t read the post because there were too many facts which contradicted your orthodox liberal faith. Sorry for denigrating your religion…no wait, you denigrate mine all the time. How do you like it?

Posted by: Duane-o at October 12, 2006 1:48 PM
Comment #187798

What good years?

Posted by: RGF at October 12, 2006 1:58 PM
Comment #187799
The Mexican presidential election is in doubt, but the political left may have won the election, installing another government in Latin America that is unfriendly to the United States.

Just like the government that will be installed here in the States should the Democrats(political left) regain control of congress—UNFRIENDLY TO AMERICA(The Blame America First crowd)

Posted by: Duane-o at October 12, 2006 2:06 PM
Comment #187800

In order;

-Mitt is unelectable nationally. But I know the cons need something to dream about. So that’s OK, I just hope they can keep it dry.
-(look down from) I’d reply but I don’t want to get tossed for violating the insult policy.
- (didn’t read) because you started with an insult and lost whatever credibility you didn’t have to start with.
- (weak attempt at irony or insult or whatever) Faith is BELIEF and is based on that which is by it’s nature not observable, such as religion. Which, since it’s “unchanging”, is stagnant and dead. Liberalism is a PHILOSOPHY and is subject to review and improvement. It’s not stagnant and therefore alive.

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 12, 2006 2:12 PM
Comment #187801

Dizzle, Bush chose to replenish the oil reserves released after Katrina in 2005 while prices were very high, rather than forego it until the cheaper season.

From the DOE site: “Because the loaned oil is repaid with similar quality oil, plus a negotiated volume of premium barrels, 10.3 million barrels were scheduled to be repaid. By late Spring 2006, repayment of 8.6 million barrels had been completed.”

Bush chose to replenish the supply at the highest cost season, Spring, when prices rise in anticipation of the summer driving season. It is unknown at this time whether the recent drop in price is connected in anyway with another release of oil from the reserve at this election time.

So, it can be said that President Bush pushed up oil, and gasoline prices during this summer with his decision in Spring to replenish the reserve at peak prices.

There is no evidence at this date, that Pres. Bush has had any role in the drop of prices just before the elections. We will have to wait for the DOE’s end of year report to see what new reserve transactions took place prior to the elections.

OPEC announced this week it would be cutting production by 1 million barrels at the end of this month. Could it be OPEC is trying to spike oil prices the week before our elections? Hard to say for sure.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 12, 2006 2:15 PM
Comment #187804

Duan-o,

I did read your long post, but wonder where it came from. Regardless, I suspect neither you nor I are scientists. On any issue, you can find dissenting views. Some people discount all the evidence for an old earth!

In matters such as this, we have to consider the views of most scientists studying the issue. We can’t simply find someone who says something we like and disregard the considered opinion of most experts.

Posted by: Trent at October 12, 2006 2:29 PM
Comment #187805

No responsible person would suggest that last year global warming was causing hurricanes. What we do know is that global warming has increased ocean temperatures and that since hurricanes gather their energy from warm oceans that when a hurricane forms it contain more energy.
Also, re: gas coming down from 3 buck a gallon to 2.25. This reminds me of bush’s dishonest claim that he has “cut the deficit in half”. Buying gas for $2.25 a gallon and having a single year national deficit of $247,000,000,000 cannot, on any level, be construed as a healthy situation. bush is once again depending on the stupidity of the american people come November.
Will he be right?

Posted by: Charles Ross at October 12, 2006 2:30 PM
Comment #187808

Unelectable?

This is from CNBC, not exactly a conservative hotbed. Romney is among the most electable of all the candidates from either party. His biggest hurdles will come during the nomination process, but hopefully the Republican party is intelligent enough to put up a governor. They have shown to be much more electable(Carter,Reagan,Clinton,Bush,Romney) as opposed to Senators(Dole,Kerry,Hillary). I’m also hoping the Dems are dumb enough(not really shooting for the stars there) to nominate the junior Crow from New York, so ‘08 will be a Romney landslide.

Posted by: Duane-o at October 12, 2006 2:35 PM
Comment #187810

your link:

“Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney recently placed second in the Southern Republican Leadership Conference straw poll with 14% of the vote.” That’s “among the most electable of all the candidates from either party”? I live in MA and the guy is ripe for rakeing (over the coals). He has good management skills but in the end he’ll never pass the FREC test.

GOPer Coup

2000 - 2006

R.I.P.

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 12, 2006 2:46 PM
Comment #187814

I’m a FREC and I support Mitt. Trust me, give the FRECs a choice between a Mormon and Satan’s retarded half sister from New York and Romney wins hands down. Like I said, his biggest problem is the nomination, not the election.

Posted by: Duane-o at October 12, 2006 2:55 PM
Comment #187840

“in the end”

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 12, 2006 4:51 PM
Comment #187843

Bush’s Fault? Ignoring Global Warming? Yes.
Cheney directing his “Energy Task Force”, mostly comprised of people in the energy industry? Yes.
Using military actions in an attempt to remove any and all obstacles to increased US consumption of oil? Yes.

LA Times:
Western Warming Warning
Climate change will worsen droughts, wildfires and die-offs in the region, a report says.

Rising temperatures in the 11 Western states due to global warming will cause more prolonged droughts, more widespread wildfires, and extensive die-offs in regional plant, fish and game habitats, according to a report Thursday from the National Wildlife Federation.
Posted by: Adrienne at October 12, 2006 5:36 PM
Comment #187846

Dizzle-
Well, you can create artificial drops in supply, cook the books to make your product look more expensive, do some insider trading, etc. BP is under investigation because of allegations that the company engaged in such behaviors.

Duano-
1)To buy this point, you’ve got to believe that scientists trained in the behavior of Greenhouse gases don’t know about this relationship between CO2 and temperature. You’re cherrypicking the evidence, and in particular using indirect plant evidence to counter direct Ice core estimates of CO2 levels

2)You’re arguing with a mind towards the symbolic value, even as your next point

3)invalidates that it is an isolated incident. Additionally, nobody ever said that natural climate variations and cycles would not continue. These points are based on a misunderstanding of the nature of the science itself, and a cariacture of its actual claims.

4)Yes, there was such a period. I doubt Gore, with his teams of consultants would say it never happened. What he would say was that it wasn’t nearly as profound a change as what’s going on now

5),6), 7) Even if 5) is true, one must ask why 1998 was so hot. As for 6), exactly what do you think global warming does? What do you think generates such pressure changes? Temperature. Global warming is about the retention of heat. Heat is what drives these systems.

Regardless of what you call it, CO@ and other gases are changing the amounts of energy that remain in Earth’s atmosphere, and that will cause other consequences.

8)What would make hurricanes stronger, and produce more of them? Hurricanes are heat engines. Something is allowing them more energy, or to use that energy more efficiently.

12)Polar Bears may not be as endangered as they appear, but temperature changes around the arctic are not mythical. They are happening, and they present one of the best arguments against the change being natural rather than anthropogentic. In a natural shift, the Arctic would remain more stable. Ony when the general retention of heat in the atmosphere was greater would the effects reach up north.

I should take a moment here to observe that across the world, climate sensitive species are moving Northwards. This has been recorded, and quite well investigated.

13) The gulf stream,as a whole, is not what those speaking of the thermohaline conveyor are talking about:

The Gulf Stream is a western-intensified current, largely driven by the wind stress[2]; its extension, the North Atlantic Drift, is largely thermohaline circulation driven. Speculation that global warming might affect the thermohaline circulation, perhaps leading to relative cooling in Western Europe, often erroneously refers to the Gulf Stream, whereas it is the North Atlantic Drift which might be diminished by shutdown of the thermohaline circulation.[emphasis mine]

14)Warming-driven changes in range could bring species into regions not prepared for their presence

15)Unrecorded does not mean it did not happen. Mankind can easily kill off a species without being aware of its existence, and probably has killed any number that way over the course of history.

16) The key question is where, and how well they can survive. Another carbon emission problem on the horizon is that the absorption of all that CO2 is lowering the pH of the oceans.

17)Changes in climate, whether created by natural means or artificial, are bound to create certain changes that increase the likelihood of disease. For example, overloaded or poorly designed storm sewers can bring wastes into local rivers, streams, and on to beaches at the mouths of rivers. increases in rain can make runoff more significant from farms, and when hurricanes and tropical stormsstrike states where there are facilities with concentrated wastes (like factory farms and feedlots) it can cause great amounts of conamination to occur.

Lets also not forget that changes in climates can change the ranges of disease vectors like rodents and insects, and thereby introduce diseases to populations not previously affected or immunized by generational exposure.

You’re cherrypicking one scientific about one disease, and using that to declare category that no diseases would be affected. That’s junk science.

18) The pack ice in central antarctica is not the concern, but the ice shelfs. If it collapses, that is, if it starts sliding off and dumping into the see more, other ice has to move in to take its place. The more ice you get moving, the more ends up in the drink unless its replaced. Indications from what I read are that this is not happening.

Besides, it doesn’t to be representative to be destructive, because there is still a hell of a lot of ice that can melt from there.

19)The trouble with talking about necessary conditions is that things don’t work in these neat, logical A to B relationships. They’re emergent. Because of that anthropogenic forcing can end up being imposed on top of other warming, or even cause certain climate events which can change temperature, like El Nino, to occur with greater frequency. It can cause shifts in the environment around, like the exposure of more dark rock (which absorbs rather than reflecting radiation like ice) and the increase in water vapor (which is a greenhouse gas, too) The name of the game is feedback, which means that counterintuitive results can occur as well. An example is that fiercer snowstorms would occur. Arctic cold would still exist, but the increase in temperature would mean that the air coming down from up north would be more capable of carrying moisture and creating snow. That, by the way, is one of the feedbacks which makes judging the effect of warming so difficult.

Another thing deserves consideration, that is that scientists believe that the warming of the early 20th century is part of global warming, with the break in that rise resulting from natural climactic oscillation.

20)On the subject of sea level rise, lets get something straight first: a rise of even 19 inches will have considerable effect

Second, let me commend you on your misreading. The rise of twenty feet is over time, not in the centuries time spoken of. Plus, there is no chance that the rise will be constant, because as ice packs melt, it will lower the planets average reflectance, which will cause it to retain more heat.

21)Population will increase, as it does in even settled countries like our own. The question of how to resolve the issues of the developing world is a technological one. The answer, the only one that make sense is to devise better technology, then diffuse the innovations throughout the developing world. By that, we can raise living standards and answer the threat of global warming. Your logic has the fatal flaw of not consider that our solutions to the problem will become the world’s as well through trade.

That is, unless we fail to come up with them.

22)Coal is one of the most high-carbon fuels out there. It’s a solution that’s likely worse than the problem

23)The irony with this one is that it crashed because they weren’t strict enough!

In May 2006, when several countries revealed registries indicating that their industries had been allocated more allowances than they could use, trading prices crashed from about €30/ton to €10/ton. Widespread overallocation would imply that no overall emission reductions would have been achieved.

24)This seems to be a crock of you know what. If the consensus is really on your side, the pressure would be overwhelmingly against global warming. Additionally, the summary views of many organizations like the IPCC are in some part political compromises, which means that its not necessarily going to resemble a real world position, but rather what a bunch of scientists locked into a room can agree on with reasonable certainty. If anything, the opposite conclusion is probably likely: your average scientist in the climate change field might think things are worse than the IPCC claims

25)Figuring economic costs of future activities years in advance is an exercise in rank speculation. To put it simply, the science that supports the consensus about global warming is far more certain, even with the operations of chaos and emergent systems, than the human-factors drenched soft science of economics.

I have lived through one of the most incredible periods of technological advance in human history. To illustrate just how this can affect a business, consider computer animation. When I was born in 1979, the computers simply were not there. To make a feature length film in CG would have been nearly impossible. photorealism, though theoretically possible at all times, was prohibitively expensive in application and time spent rendering. Even the movie Tron, made when I was about three, was mostly just a convoluted form of nondigital animation, with occasional digital effects. It wasn’t until 1989 that the first photorealistic CG character showed up: the water tentacle in The Abyss

Fast forward to about thirteen years after my birth, and you have Jurassic Park. Digital compositing is taking off, replacing the old optical process. The first Jurassic Park movie has maybe 12 or 13 minutes of computer animation. Just two years later, the first completely CG feature, Toy Story, is released. Lucas decides that its feasible to do the special editions and the prequels in this space of time. By my twentieth year, he has the first finished, with many photorealistic effects, including a major character (admitedly very disliked) who is completely CG, and photorealistically rendered. He’s in the movies for 40 minutes.

Now many effects heavy films are done, including several CG animated films a year, a great number of effects saturated movies, many of which can now be shot on high definition video, which is almost indistinguishable from film at the right framerate and resolution.

This is a quarter centuries worth of advancement, and it represents the shift of the movie industry from one paradigm of effects technology to another (optical to digital), and a profound increase in the photorealism and shear quantity usable in the animation. Additionally, one has to consider the integration of physics, particle animation, collision detection, and other advancements.

With all these factors, the economics of filmmaking itself have changed. Some scenes that were impossible at any price are common now. Other scenes that would have been too expensive to do now are done easily. Additionally, there’s an additional effect that comes with the freeing of the artistic talent.

With other fields, the same thing holds true. The same increase in computer power that allows CG effects to become common place, also powered the advances of the internet and business computing, with the effect of vastly improving supply chains.

Improvement in electronics have allowed advances in nearly every science one can think of. Modern telescopes can produce images of hubble clarity thanks to adaptive optics programs and machinery. Astronomers now use the same kind of chip that powers many of our video and still cameras, the CCD chip, to take their pictures of the stars. The chips advantages in faint exposurse have been a gift to the field. Simulations can now run on the faster computers with greater speed, detail, and accuracy, and greater sizes are possible in the data gathered.

These are some of the same advances that have lead to more complex models of the earth’s climate, the kind that give modern scientists greater certainty than ever about global warming.

Technology is already beginning to alter the way we create our vehicles, with the hybrid engines, fuel cells, and other technologies at work. Who can say how technology will develop in the next ten years, much less fifty, if we put our minds to it? And given what I’ve written of, how much different will the economics of clean, green technology be in comparison to ours. Let’s not forget nanotechnology, either. It promises to come into its own in the next decade or two, an it could create a sea change in the way our technology works.

The only thing that validates the point that carbon emission reductions would be ruinously expensive is the status quo drenched picture of the world that some people have. As somebody who has grown up with the whirlwind advance of a technology, I can tell you that nothing says that what was super expensive today will be the same tomorrow. I bought my first DVD player for over 300 dollars in 1998 it was a small fraction of that only a few years later. There are some DVD collections that are more expensive than DVD players now. The economics of technology is not a given to be assumed over long periods of time. Once we start working towards reducing greenhouse emissions, it will become cheaper the more experience and study we put into it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 12, 2006 6:26 PM
Comment #187848

Dave

“Liberalism is a PHILOSOPHY and is subject to review and improvement. It’s not stagnant and therefore alive”

Let me know when the improvement comes.

Posted by: Keith at October 12, 2006 6:50 PM
Comment #187849

Keith,

Yeah, like conservatism works.

Posted by: Rocky at October 12, 2006 7:03 PM
Comment #187852

Keith-
I’d say our being set to win back the House and Senate indicates some kind of improvement.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 12, 2006 7:18 PM
Comment #187854

Stephen D.,

I’m always amazed at the energy (pun intended) you bring to discussion. I would only add that we are developing the technology to cost-effectively capture CO2 released by coal burning plants in the production of electricity, hydrogen, and liquid fuels.

Posted by: Trent at October 12, 2006 7:41 PM
Comment #187867

I guess you can blame this on on the Republicans too.

Harry Reid has lots of ‘splaining to do

You know what they say about people who live in glass houses…

Posted by: Keith at October 12, 2006 8:44 PM
Comment #187874

Keith,

As a registered republican…yes, I do know what they say about people who live in glass houses. During the 80’s and early 90’s conservative republicans built a reputation that was used by modern republicans to look down upon on anyone who wouldn’t follow them rank and file. They took the values of the party for granted.

Will democrats innevitably do the same thing? Yes. Definately. Its the ebb and flow of the two party system. But most innovation is born from necessity, not from proud ambition.

Posted by: Kevin23 at October 12, 2006 9:13 PM
Comment #187898

Dave1-20-09
I don’t know about Romney not passing the FREC test. I think he can pull it off. The problem he has is with the independent Conservatives like me. He’s gonna have ta convince us that he’s worth voting for. And that aint gonna be easy as long as he’s on the Republican ticket.
But of all the possible candidates of either of the main parties I’d come closer to supporting him than the rest.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 12, 2006 11:57 PM
Comment #187901

Jack, raising taxes on gasoline in the hopes of stimulating development of other energy sources seems like a bad idea to me because fuel prices are so tied to every sector of the economy. Also, that’s the kind of tax hike that really hits working class people.

Alternate energy sources? Yes, by all means. But incentives on the research and manufacturing end seem a better idea than a punative tax.

Higher gas prices tend to depress economic growth across the board, while lower gas prices tend to stimulate it—growth actually leading to HIGHER tax revenues in the long room.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 13, 2006 12:21 AM
Comment #187904

Keith-
Not Really. No money changed hands when the land ownership was transferred to the LLC, of which Reid and his partner were sole owners. His share was the same before and after the transfer. Additionally, he didn’t make 1.1 Million, he only made $700,000. When your reporter screws up the lead, it’s time to shop for a new source.

This same reporter tried to tie Reid into the Abramoff mess, even though he didn’t vote Abramoff’s way, and then tried to allege that Reid accepted a gift of boxing tickets from a commission while considering legislation, even though what he really got were VIP credentials with no cash value that it was illegal for him to pay for.

So, to recap, his big crimes have been making a profit on land he still owned for all intents and purposes, voting against Abramoff’s interests after being lobbied by him, and accepting for free VIP credentials he wasn’t legally entitled to pay for.

I’d ask him to be a bit more careful how he goes about his dealings from this point forward, but nothing here indicates to me that he did anything unethical in substance.

However, if you wish to compare the technicalities of the trouble Reid is in, to the convictions and full blown scandals that several of your members are experiencing, feel free. The main difference here will be, where our guy perhaps created the appearance of impropriety, your parties leadership has been indulging in the reality of it.

There’s a reason Tom DeLay no longer dwells in the hallowed halls of congress. It’s called TRMPAC. It’s called funneling corporate money from places like Virginia to the national party, laundering it so they can support candidates in the state legislature, and redraw the maps to Tom DeLay’s liking. (curiously enough, the map that was in place was drawn for the benefit of the Republicans. It’s just that for some reason, Republicans still put Democrats into office. Oh, we can’t have party members exercizing free choice, now can we?) Of course, funneling corporate money to candidates in Texas elections is illegal, as is laundering money to circumvent the law. It’s also, as Republican judges have asserted, illegal in Texas to replace a candidate on the ballot after he’s been chosen in the primary. But that’s another story.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 13, 2006 1:22 AM
Comment #187919
I didn’t blame Bush when gas prices went up, but some people did. What does this drop mean to them?

I’m with you on the general premise that high gas prices are good.

You also parrot the argument that Democrats and liberals who criticized Bush for high gas prices should praise him when they are low. But here’s the thing: they’re still high. Gas prices have gone up, not down, during the Bush administration. See this chart, which adjusted for inflation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Gas_Prices_Medium_Term.png

As you can see, even at today’s price of about $2.25 a gallon, gasoline is up about 50% since Bush took office.

So people who want to blame Bush for high gas prices don’t need to change their tune yet. They’re still quite high compared to the Clinton years. If and when gas prices go below $1.50 gallon, Bush supporters will be vindicated.

I’m not sure what you point is about the hurricanes. As you say, you take global warming seriously. You seem intelligent enough to realize that one good hurricane season (so far) does not disprove anyone’s theory. Weather is unpredictable.

Posted by: Woody Mena at October 13, 2006 6:26 AM
Comment #187923

Duane-o quoted: “The summer heat wave that struck Europe in 2003 was caused by an atmospheric pressure anomaly; it had nothing to do with global warming.”

Now that is an absurd postulation. Anyone with empirical educational background and integrity could make such a claim. The Butterfly Effect dictates that with climatological science, there are a host of variables across long expanses of time and space which can influence today’s weather. To claim the heat wave of 2003 had nothing to do with global warming is 1) not provable (you can’t prove a negative) and 2) implies that the full ranges of cause are known, which exclude global warming, which is illogical since the full range of causes of that heat wave are not known.

Ergo, this person you cite, Duane-o, has no credibility from an empirical perspective.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 13, 2006 7:50 AM
Comment #187928

Ron:

He’s gonna have ta convince us that he’s worth voting for. And that aint gonna be easy as long as he’s on the Republican ticket.
That was my point. Although most FRECs will vote Republican, no matter who is on the ticket, they still have to go out and vote. Without the motivation of a condecending liar like Bush to “stoke the fire”, that voting block won’t be as over represented as it was the last two elections.

Woody,

My understanding is that the root causes for our “good hurricane season” are (1) An El Nino and (2) drought and dust storms in Africa. El Nino causes wind shear on the Atlantic and the dust disrupts storm formation. Neither 1 nor 2 are really good things by themselves.

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 13, 2006 9:03 AM
Comment #187930

Dave1/20/08 Excreted:

That was my point. Although most FRECs will vote Republican, no matter who is on the ticket, they still have to go out and vote. Without the motivation of a condecending liar like Bush to “stoke the fire”, that voting block won’t be as over represented as it was the last two elections.

So “FREC’s” admire liars and wouldn’t show up to vote for anyone else? That is just about as mentally handicapped a statement as I have seen on this site, and that is really saying something. The biggest motivator for the “FREC’s” in 2000—-Al Gore. 2004—-John Kerry. 2008—-Hillary Clinton. “FRECs” admittedly vote AGAINST, rather than for, certain candidates. And yes, it will be Hill, because the Dems always feel the need to nominate the most repulsive candidate in the field. BTW, I just heard that Mark Warner already dropped out of the 2008 race and took with him any chance of a Democratic President on that famous date you’re so fond of.

Posted by: Duane-o at October 13, 2006 9:58 AM
Comment #187932

Max

If you blame him for the rise, you have to credit him for the fall.

In fact, the rise and fall are easily explained by market forces. There was a risk premium built into the price. The one risk was hurricane season, but since we have had such a calm year that one did not happen. The other risk was geopolitical. That one still is in effect, but it looks like the world (and Bush) are managing the Iran crisis, so the markets are a bit calmer.

Stephen

You will be able to get flood insurance from a private company to take care of the flood of the century. The point is that the government only has to sponsor insurance when you cannot get it because the risks are too high.

Re global warming, first let me stipulate that it is a risk. I have written on many occasions.

What I object to is the misuse of data and short term events to scare people. Weather is always uncertain. We tend to remember bad weather more than good. Global warming is happening, but the extreme weather events we have seen are not evidence of that.

Beyond that, why would you have more extreme weather in a warmer world? During previous warm periods (such as the Medieval warm period or the 1st Century) weather was relatively calm. Before global warming became a political issue, we used to call those periods “climate optimal.” Conversely, the little ice age (1300-1850) was a time of greater storms and extreme weather.

An earth that was a little warmer would be a good thing. My worry is that we reach a tipping point and it gets a lot warmer or provokes another sort of change.

Ron Brown

The tax on oil is to help curb consumption and encourage alternatives. Oil does not pay its way. It is the beneficiary of huge defacto subsidies as military needed to protect supplies and its use causes instability. Much of the oil money flows to despots. If we are going to pay higher prices (and we will) I prefer to keep more of the money at home.

Posted by: Jack at October 13, 2006 10:12 AM
Comment #187935

Jack,

You know Trent Lott. Bush said he was going to sit on his porch with him after the rebuilding of New Orleans. His insurance policy was denied, and he is suing. Therefore, I think you are wrong about people being able to get insurance. Without government insurance, no businesses will return to New Orleans (Yeah, I realize you think that’s great too).

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2005/12/15/sen-trent-lott-suing-his_n_12348.html

Also, I neither credit Bush for fair weather or for handling Iran well, so I certainly don’t credit him for falling oil prices.

Posted by: Max at October 13, 2006 10:52 AM
Comment #187937

DAve1-20:

I think you misunderstand many Christians out there. YOu allow your dislike of Bush to color your thinking. Its not Bush who has ignited Christians to vote, in my opinion. It’s not that he is George Bush, but rather that he is the candidate who most closely meets the ideals of the Christian voter that has brought out the vote.

Both sides have portions who vote FOR a candidate, and portions who vote AGAINST a candidate. Many on the left would vote against George Bush regardless of who he was running against, and likewise, many on the right would vote against Hillary in the same way.

But when you allow your own conclusion (that Bush is a “condecending liar”) to color your overall thought process, you don’t get the accurate picture. There are specific issues on which many people vote. The FREC’s that you refer to will most likely vote against a candidate who favors abortion, while liberals will most likely vote against a candidate who restricts abortion.

What each party must do in order to win is to discern what is important to the most people, and try to fit that mold. That doesn’t mean one needs to change their platform radically, but it does suggest the need to converge on the middle ground of compromise. We have seen, and are seeing, Hillary do that quite effectively—more effectively than most others. The question will be whether her move to the middle will convince enough people that she is truly a centrist, as opposed to someone making a politically expedient move.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 13, 2006 11:00 AM
Comment #187943

Max

They will be able to get insurance IF the risks are moderate. Actually, you can get insurance on almost anything IF you pay for the risk.

Obviously, the people who WANT to sell insurance will sell if they can make money. And if they WILL NOT sell, it makes you wonder why.

Yes, w/o government sponsored flood insurance some low lying areas will not be built. Good. It makes no sense for taxpayers to subsidize destructive and foolish behavior.

Building in flood prone areas is such a bad idea I don’t know where to start. Is it not the case that environmentalist are warning us that global warming will make coastal areas less stable?

If people want to build there, it is up to them. If they can get insurance, good for them. If they cannot maybe they should not build there.

BTW - New Orleans is only the most dramatic example. Every day people are building on ecologically fragile barrier islands or on erosion prone slopes BECAUSE the goverment will bail them out. Most of these guys are not poor. They enjoy a couple of years of great views and fun in the sun and then the taxpayers make it possible for them to do it again. Stop the foolishness.

So a few questions

Do you believe global warming is a problem?
Are you interested in protecting fragile wetlands and estuaries?
Do you believe goverment should subsidize ecological destruction?

When you think about the answers to these questions, I think you must come to the conclusion that we should not subsidize building on flood prone areas through insurance.

PS - liberals would have reached this conclusion a long time ago if they were not interesting in sticking to Bush.

Posted by: Jack at October 13, 2006 11:33 AM
Comment #187944

Jack,

We are apparently in an El Nino year. You can’t predict weather trends based on one unusual season.

As for the gas prices, among other factors - 7/11 got mad with Chavez over his comments about Bush and chose to pull Venezuelan gas from it’s distrubution suppliers. The fallout from that is that Valero is now converting all the Diamond Shamrock stores into Valero Stores and competing for rock bottom prices in every market they are in. The result is falling prices, NOT because of Bush, but because of Anti-Bush sentiment! The resulting increase in shipping, transport and economic activity dependent on the use of fuel is now rising because of those who don’t like Bush not because of anything positive Bush has done.

Posted by: RGF at October 13, 2006 11:34 AM
Comment #187945

Stephen,

Nice apoligizing.

“The local zoning board, overruling a staff recommendation, granted the land’s reclassification and Reid’s share of the company was sold for $1.1 million to shopping-center developers in 2004, leaving him with a theoretical profit of $700,000.”

If this would have been a Republican leader of the Senate I think you would be screaming “off mwith his head” or at the least “we must have a full investigation”

Posted by: Keith at October 13, 2006 11:39 AM
Comment #187950
he is the candidate who most closely meets the ideals of the Christian voter that has brought out the vote. Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 13, 2006 11:00 AM
If I felt that Bush even remotely believed the religious aspects of his public statements, then I would oppose him, but not despise him. I could probably have phrased my post in better terms but, basically, I fully believe that he lied to the religious right to get their vote. His half-assed irrelevent agenda pre-9/11, the Schiavo nonsense, the stem cell ban, all point to that. They make the religious right happy yet give no positive benefit to anyone.

Please don’t confuse my thinking to be at the level of Duan-o’s. I understand motivations and decision making processes. Also please understand that my disgust of Bush, based on a substantially supported conclusion that he is a liar and political whore of the worst kind, and my anxiety about a religiously based legislative agenda doen’t imply a dislike of any actual morals espoused by religions. I just wish the religious right was more willing to accept opposing view points about issues such as abortion; then there would be more room for common purpose like Obama is suggesting.

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 13, 2006 11:52 AM
Comment #187954
Please don’t confuse my thinking to be at the level of Duan-o’s.

We definately won’t make that mistake, knowing your thinking is way below mine.

BTW, Romney is pretty much in line with the”FREC” agenda, and like I said, the “FRECs” will come out to vote in droves against Hillary no matter who the Republican candidate is.

Posted by: Duane-o at October 13, 2006 12:03 PM
Comment #187961

Dave1-20-09
Without the motivation of a condecending liar like Bush to “stoke the fire”, that voting block won’t be as over represented as it was the last two elections.

No voting block is EVER over represented at the polls. It don’t matter if they’re FREC, Neocon, Neolib, White, Black, Hispanic, Oriental, Christian, Muslim, Athiest, or what. If just one of them doesn’t vote they’re under represented.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 13, 2006 12:18 PM
Comment #187970

RGF

“We are apparently in an El Nino year. You can’t predict weather trends based on one unusual season.”

I agree, but some people were sure willing to predict trends based on last year’s season.

And the price of gas is affected by lots of things. If you read carefully, I do not credit Bush, but I don’t blame him for either the weather or the markets either.

Dave 1
You are falling into the typical true believer trap compounded by liberal elitism. You assume that anyone who voted for Bush must have been tricked and cannot accept that some people voted for him because they liked him better than the opposition. Remember that Bush’s opponent was not a ideal candidate; it was John Kerry.

The elitism comes from assuming that these people who voted for Bush are so stupid that they are taken in by his tricks, which are so easily apparent to you.

Dems have been having trouble with elections since the time of Ronald Reagan because they keep on thinking there is some trick and keep on underestimating their opponents.

If Dems win this fall, it will be because more people decided that Dems were a better choice. You can accept that and if it happens I can too. Why can’t you accept that Republicans got elected (and may again) for the same reasons?

Maybe people are not stupid; they just disagree with you. And IF Republicans are stupid, and they have been beating Dems for the last 12 years, what does that say about Dems?

Posted by: Jack at October 13, 2006 12:48 PM
Comment #187971

Ron,

Good point. Too bad it takes “motivation” to get people to vote. Having the right to do so should be enough.

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 13, 2006 12:48 PM
Comment #187975

Jack,

I am not in a trap although I do have a liberal philosophy and therefor disagree with many of your preseumptions. I’ll skip the obvious selfrighteousness in your accusation that simply because I think people like you have come to the wrong decision I’m “elitist”. For example, I know there are people who genuinely like Bush and support his agenda and they’re not all sheep or bat droppings for that matter. As I said before, if I didn’t see Bush as a whore then it would simply be a difference of opinion.

But, it is no longer that. Ever since he lied about why he took us into Iraq, my view is “F%*k the SOB, may he rot in hell” The damage his policies have done to our future as a nation are incalculable, you just don’t think so, yet.

Do you remember Ronnie Reagans first convention? Do you remember Jack Abramoff’s speech? They were so full of hate and divisive politics that their win started us on this path of hate.

Even in this thread you use talking point sound bites like “John Kerry” as an invective. He may be a liberal but he is an actual wounded decorated war veteran; unlike Bush, and Dick and Rummy. It’s as if you still believe all the lies the slimeboaters put out.

Atwater and his successors have put us on the road to “divided we fall” better than any terrorist. Ever since the Republicans relied on the demonization of Democarats to further their agenda, it is no longer a difference of opinion. The repeating of lies and talking points in defense of a position tells me that it’s not a well thought out conclusion that drives a vote. (In answer to why I think the GOP won in ‘00 and ‘04)

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 13, 2006 1:07 PM
Comment #187977

Anyone who actually believes that George W. Bush is the candidate that most closely represents the values and beliefs of the conservative Christian movement needs to stop riding a bus that is taking them right off a cliff. First thing I’d do is check out the first hand reports in this new book about how Bush’s team cynically and conivingly tricked them into believing he was one of them while scoffing at them behind closed doors. Not the kind of representation I’d want for my cause, I can tell you that.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-faith13oct13,0,3875008.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Posted by: Kevin23 at October 13, 2006 1:15 PM
Comment #187978

Jack-
The risk premium is there because Oil companies that have been allowed to consolidate under Bush have shut down refineries, making it easier for disasters like Katrina to break the system. That’s one of the reasons to keep the anti-trust laws enforced: too much market share can make for unstable, easily perturbed prices.

Private insurers do not offer flood insurance because it’s not like fire or other damage, where you’ve got a good chance of the damage remaining isolated. With floods, the insurer’s having to bail out many people at once for millions, perhaps even billions at a throw. That’s why they don’t do it: huge liability. The risks, in most cases are pretty low.

The book I reviewed on Global Warming stated that the incidence of extreme weather in the united states, of weather that registers in the top ten percent in terms of rainfall, temperature, or other elements, has increased over the last few decades. Looking at the latest models, increases in extreme weather are good signs that the globe is indeed warming, because it indicates that the atmosphere is retaining more heat.

That heat increases the amount of water vapor the air can hold before it precipitates out of solution. It also means more water to come out of solution. Since the violence of many storms depend on the heat energy carried by evaporating water, the greater heat and evaporation that comes with it makes them stronger. That’s why there would be more extreme weather in a warmer world: greater energy. The Little Ice Age, though, had more violent weather for other reasons- namely, the greater interaction of polar fronts with tropical air masses.

The key to understanding the urgency of action that we Democrats push for is the understanding that we don’t know what the tipping point is. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to changes in climate, because we don’t have the scientific knowledge to more finely judge the gamble we take by continuing the status quo.

As I understand the flood insurance program, it’s not keyed towards letting people build in flood prone areas, but rather discouraging that by not providing policies to those who choose to build in at risk areas. At the same time it allows people who live in places which do flood, but not often, to avoid losing their shirts entirely because of flooding that occurs only on rare occasions. We shouldn’t have to build only on 500 year floodplains, or things like that.

As for New Orleans, people did not build there because the government would bail them out. They built there because their parents built there. They built there because they didn’t want to commute excessive distances to New Orlean’s plentiful jobs. They built there because New Orleans is a major port, of great value to our economy, and because the city had avoided such inundation for years. New Orleans is not the story of people foolishly building in the face of a likely disaster, but rather the story of your average person building in an area that hadn’t flooded in a lifetime.

The Republicans would like to believe that the inundation of New Orleans was inevitable. In that fashion, they can claim that they are mainly victims of disaster in the most literal of senses: “bad stars”, as the original greek translates. But New Orlean’s disaster could have been prevented. True enough, it was a bipartisan screw-up, but Bush is the one who could have rode in and saved the day, had his agencies and his new department been in good working order, with plans for such contigencies, contigencies openly discussed in the press, previous to the disaster.

He’s the one who had the wishes and the hopes of the American people for responding to this disaster pinned to him. Americans saw what was happening with Katrina and were not content for their country to stand by, powerless to respond. America wanted a federal response. Americans were prepared to do all they could. This didn’t happen because America did not have the resources or will to respond.

This happened because Bush’s policies, management, and personnel choices hurt rather than helped the situation. This happened because as things got worse, Bush remained unaware of important information, and lacked a sense of urgency and determination to solve the problem that was at hand.

We don’t blame him for the storm. We blame him for being an ineffective leader in leading the disaster recovery effort, when America needed him to respond to the plight of their fellow Americans. That is why Katrina is such a crucial turning point in people’s opinion of him.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 13, 2006 1:22 PM
Comment #187993

Jack,

Considering that every poll taken before, during, and after the Iraq War shows that the public was dangerously misinformed about the most basic information, why the heck shouldn’t we regret the stupidity of the American people. You can call that elitism if you want; I just call it the simple truth.

And even those who do have the basic facts straight, a huge percentage think WMD were the true rationale for the war. That was a easy way for the true elitists to sell the war — through fear, through demonizing the enemy while ignoring our own role, through playing the public like a patsy. In a democracy, controlling information and selling whatever rationale seems likely to work is the way to achieve your goals. Don’t forget — modern marketing techniques were pioneered in this country, and they are now considered absolutely essential to any major political campaign.

Do I think the public is dumb? Yes; am I wrong to think so? Only about half of eligible voters even bother to vote in presidential elections; the percentages for House and Senate races are even smaller. Do I think this administration sold us a bill of goods? How could anyone think otherwise? Do I think the Democrats don’t try to do the same thing sometimes? I’m not that dumb. Republicans are just better at it.

How do you undermine a democracy while preserving the forms? By selling a message. By definition, that means emphasizing only those points you think likely to be effective. Make no mistake. The true threat to our democracy is not from without; it is from within.

Posted by: Trent at October 13, 2006 2:52 PM
Comment #187994

The right will always be the first to complain about political correctness, but they are the ones who are using the PC movement to their advantage. They may not care if football teams are called the Redskins, or if African-Americans are referred to as blacks, but don’t you dare belittle anyone’s beliefs by labelling them stupid, even if that’s exactly what they are. A new age has dawned, where it is perfectly acceptable to ignore all facts, debate scientific principle and hold strong to ideas and theories that have long been disproven simply because you prefer to. Americans are choosing to be wrong, and anyone who tries to correct them is being “elitist”.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the root of “elitist” is “elite”. Don’t we want the elite running this country? Since when was an education, or the ability to grasp and navigate complex solutions to our increasingly complex problems, a liability?

It used to be that our greatest leaders challenged us to rise above our understanding. The Republican party of today would have you believe that those challenges are insults, that you are perfectly fine ignoring the advice and warnings of those far more intelligent and expert than yourself.

Why should we listen to the vast majority of the scientific community when it comes to climate change, evolution vs. creation, stem cells, etc.? If it isn’t simple enough for the lowest common denominator to understand, it must have no value as an idea.

As long as we accept this lowest common denominator mentality, we will never excel beyond the abilities of that level. Our greatest minds will be wasted. Our gretaest ideas will go unpursued. We must move beyond our own understanding and trust those who know more than we do. We must be willing to challenge even the most basic assumptions and open our minds to solutions that we may never grasp. Am I elitist? Damn right.

Posted by: David S at October 13, 2006 4:00 PM
Comment #188002

Dave 1

I just mentioned John Kerry. If you think it is pejorative it is your perception. My point is that we have a choice between alternatives. It is easy for people NOT to like what they got. It is harder for them to find a better alternative.

Stephen

I advocate doing something about global warming. But I recognize that every choice will have a cost. Energy will have to become more expensive. The reason we use oil today is that it is a cheap and easy alternative. Other alternatives are more expensive. Getting cheaper energy while at the same time developing alternatives and conserving is not a realistic alternative. Nuclear power is the only medium term large power source that creates no CO2. Not many Dems really advocate doing much about global warming. They advocate talking about it and making laws. What will those laws need to do? Raise prices and use nukes.

Re New Orleans - if you believe in global warming you cannot advocate rebuilding in low lying areas. It just makes no sense. It is another of those rhetorical supports. Dems talk about global warming, but will not take the real actions needed to address it.

Trent

We have to rely on the will of the people expressed through our democratic process. Democracy (as Churchill said) is the worst system, except for all the others.

Dems too often do not get the connection with reality. They are for democracy, but object to the choices people make. They are for fighting global warming, but think that they can avoid the costs.

I do not like most of the politicians the people elect. If everybody was like me, things would be different, but maybe not better.

David S

You know the Virginia team is called the Cavaliers and Minnesota has the Vikings. I think rich Englishmen and Norwegians should complain about that.

Re democracy, see above. Do you have a more legitimate way to run a country than the consent of the governed?

Anyway, I am not sure people are as dumb as you think. Sure, half of all people are below the median in intelligence. But even the dumber half often has skills and insights and the smart guys can lack them. College departments, where everybody presumable has the big brains, are usually among the worst run organizations in the world. And remember that Enron was run by some of the smartest people in the U.S.

If we only let college professors and Enron executives vote, I do not think we would get better choices.

BTW - Bush didn’t get good grades at Yale and he partied all the time, but he still managed to do better than hard working John Kerry (there is the Kerry negative comment if you need one, but it is accurate)

Posted by: Jack at October 13, 2006 5:30 PM
Comment #188006

David S., you can take some hope from studies which show a huge and overwhelming correlation between voter participation and education/income.

Low wages and low education level correlate fairly directly. And both correlate hugely with voter participate with 95% of college graduates registered to vote and a similar figure for those with incomes over $80,000. I forgot what the low end stats were, but they were very low. The working poor are the least likely in America to be registered to vote.

So, if elite means educated and aware of the goings on in government and politics, you can take some comfort in knowing that those who voter are substantially better educated than those who don’t.

That does not correlate however, in any direct way with the kinds of politicians we elect. Nor does it reflect the growing phenomena since the 1950’s of ignorant college educated folks. Such phenomenon however, can be partially explained by our ever more specialized educational programs and society in general. One can be on the cutting edge in sub-atomic particle field theory and be woefully ignorant of world affairs, government, and politician’s qualifications.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 13, 2006 6:06 PM
Comment #188010
Dems too often do not get the connection with reality. They are for democracy, but object to the choices people make. They are for fighting global warming, but think that they can avoid the costs.

Riiiight. But you are for the war, for the tax cuts, and think the economy is doing swell despite the deficit. I’ve never seen any party as out of touch with reality as the current Republicans.

Posted by: Max at October 13, 2006 6:23 PM
Comment #188012

Max

If we knew then what we know now about the war, we would do things differently. But now that we are in, what do you propose? We all would like to get out, but how and when?

The economy is doing swell and has been since the second round of tax cuts in 2003. The deficit is much lower now than anticipated.

Posted by: Jack at October 13, 2006 6:35 PM
Comment #188014

Jack-
Cost Benefit analysis is best used to choose between responses to global warming, not between doing something and doing nothing. Global Warming will likely throw any well laid plans of how to cope with the changes awry, simply because we don’t know what those changes precisely are. We’re better off preventing the problem outright.

The problem with Nuclear power, is that the consequences of accident or a release of nuclear wastes could be little better, perhaps worse on a local level than the alternative. Its an option I’m willing to entertain, but I think clean alternatives are the better choice.

On the subject of building in low lying places? If you asked me now where to put a city, I wouldn’t place it at New Orleans, but then, I wasn’t around 200 years or so ago to be consulted. We have to deal with the cities we’ve got in the places we’ve founded them. If we want to plan for the future, we ought to look into where we could develop the new cities or how we could adjust them to the new reality.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 13, 2006 6:40 PM
Comment #188024

Duane-o,

If you really want to know the truth about Global Warming I would check these links out:Dimming Sun
What’s up with the weather?
Journey to planet Earth
fastest glacier
Global storming
BBC: Global Climate Change in depth
More links from Now

Also in regards to governor of my state of residence, I agree with your assertion that Mitt’s biggest problem will be winning the Republican Nomination. So far I see him as the only Republican that has any chance of becoming president in 2008 because he is such a good candidate that he will even have liberals like myself stuck between two very good choices. Because I already have expirenced his excellent mangement skills, sound homeland security positions and also his positions on education. I never knew that you and I would agree on a candidate for 2008.

Posted by: Warren P at October 13, 2006 7:59 PM
Comment #188026

Jack,
At least you are trying to be somewhat constructive now.
I know you are a stauch Republican.
I used to be.
There’s still hope for you.
Maybe you should move to the middle column?

Posted by: d.a.n at October 13, 2006 8:42 PM
Comment #188027

Errr….staunch

Posted by: d.a.n at October 13, 2006 8:43 PM
Comment #188040

Stephen

I am not advocating doing nothing. On the contrary, to address global warming I advocate:

- Higher energy prices to encourage alternatives & conservation
- Not building expensive permanent structures on flood prone areas
- Encouraging nuclear power
- Planting trees
- Sharing green technology with developing countries and copying the best from others.

Did I leave anything out?

Re New Orleans - we have a city that was built a long time ago. The city that greeted Andrew Jackson was the French quarter and a few other places ABOVE sea level. Those places can be rebuilt. Later people moved to lower land and built where they should not have built. IF those houses were still intact, I would not advocate tearing them down. But now that they are in various states of destruction, it is really stupid to rebuild them. When you make a mistake and do not correct it when you have a chance, you are making a second mistake.

Why recreate a mistake we made a century ago?

Posted by: Jack at October 13, 2006 9:55 PM
Comment #188058

Jack: Every city needs a “Potters Field” doesn’t it? The little town, on the Ohio River is divided into the hilltopers and the river rats. I imagine you will have no problem knowing what the financial situation of each group is. A city has to have a place for the low income workers so you put them down in the flood plane unless there is a really good beach down there. If the low lying areas of N.O. had been filled with the homes of the well off’s the gov would have no problem underwriting the rebuilding of the area.

I agree that it makes little sense to rebuild in areas that are prone to natural disasters but I can’t see taking it out on the poor who, most often, have no other alternative. I have no problem sticking to the well to do because those fools should know better and the have the means to pick an alternative. They are also the ones that scream for help the loudest when their homes slide down the cliff or burn up in a So. Cal. wild fire.

Posted by: jlw at October 14, 2006 1:38 AM
Comment #188060

You gloss over some of the major issues of why people ended up in the parts that are below sea level, and also some of the reasons why the levees broke. If you talk about mistakes in terms of a flat out decision, then its real simple, New Orleans wan’t a good choice.

It wasn’t a flat out decision, and neither is rebuilding within the bowl, nor rebuilding the city. When Galveston got hit, it could be argued building a major city on a barrier island was a bad idea, with its low elevation. In response to the disaster, though, Galveston was built up several feat and protected with a sea wall.

Additionally, lets consider that the dutch dwell to a great extent in below sea level areas as well. They’ve adapted to that with a number of technologies, and I think we should look into that.

I can understand your sentiments, but my experience of it has always been that in a non-ideal world people often take what they can get. There’s a lot of profit that came out of New Orleans, and a lot that can still come from there, so people are going to find a way to rebuild, despite bad experiences. I think your sensibility is far too risk averse. Practically no center of government or commerce is without vulnerability. If we abandoned a place every time disaster strikes, then most of our cities would not exist. Sometimes, there just aren’t good alternatives. I mean, where can you locate in California to avoid natural disasters?

Life can be a calculated risk I say we start figuring out a way to make New Orleans, important as it is, last, and do things to reduce a repeat of the chain of events that caused us so much trouble.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 14, 2006 1:50 AM
Comment #188063

My idea for government financing of alternative energy sources is for the gov. to provide a two way electrical grid to every household in the nation. Through tax incentives and grants, the government can help provide solar, wind, micro hydro plants or a combination. The technology exists today for such an endeavor. Every household would be a consumer and a producer of energy. And think of the jobs that would be created to build and maintain the system. Soon there will be paints on the market that, when applied, will turn an entire house into a solar collector. Already on the market are metal roof panels that turn the whole roof into a solar collector. More is on the way.

The government doesn’t have to finance research. The Mother Earthers are way ahead of the nation in that area. The gov. needs to finance a modern 21st century electrical grid to harvest the product and incentives to create the producers. We The People can run the utility companies out of existence. To hell with all that nuclear waste.

Posted by: jlw at October 14, 2006 2:16 AM
Comment #188074

Stephen

The Dutch have no place else to go. They devote significant resources to pushing back the ocean. We have other options. It just is not worth it for us to shelter behind high walls, creating an ecological and economic disaster just to recreate slums.

You also know hat most of the low lands in Holland is low density (for Holland) agricultural land. Most of the ninth ward could become low density and everything would be better.

Jlw

We have an opportunity in New Orleans. Most of the people in the low areas have left. It would take an affirmative action to bring them back. There is a place for government. The government must ensure that either nothing is built there or that anything that is built can withstand flooding. This is as close to a no brainer as you can get.

If you believe sea levels will rise, what sense does it make to build in places that are already below sea level?

The mother earthers have some good ideas, but they are low yield. Maybe you can make enough power for your house, maybe even for your neighbor, but the industrial processes we require take a lot more than that.

Alternative power is coming. In fact, much of it has already arrived. But most people don’t want to live on the level of the Visigoths.

Posted by: Jack at October 14, 2006 6:29 AM
Comment #188082


What industrial processes might that be? The ones we already outsourced or the ones we are getting ready to outsource. Industrial and manufacturing jobs are leaving as fast as illegal immigrants are coming in. It makes no sense to locate industrial processes in this country when it can be done elseware so much cheaper. Isn’t that the right attitude? It is the way to go if we are going to create more wealth for those that are wealthy (you can never have enough because if you don’t get more someone else might get some) and more hamburger slinging and cafe latte brewing jobs here at home. Oh, I know that we are creating more wealth for everyone, it’s just that the portion of wealth that trickles down to the low income workers always seems to be just a little bit less than what inflation takes from them each year.

If the rebuilding of the low areas of New Orleans and and other low areas along the Gulf Coast is a waste because of rising lea levels, you can ditto that for every city on the American Coastline.

Posted by: jlw at October 14, 2006 8:22 AM
Comment #188089

Jack,

My point is that politicians who do not present the issues fairly subvert the democratic process. Sitting in front of my I have a mailer from a candidate running for Congress. It shows in grainy black and white a dangerous-looking man climbing a fence. Of course it is an ad saying the Congressman is against illegal immigration, as if his opponent isn’t. It plays upon fear and makes no attempt to present the issue fairly. I’m sure in some degree the ad will be effective, but there is no doubt the ad is a distortion. Votes cast because of the ad will be cast in ignorance, which is exactly what the candidate hopes for.

Posted by: Trent at October 14, 2006 9:20 AM
Comment #188103

An article in business section of today’s paper is headlined “Lower Gas Prices Have Consumers Out Shopping”. The article says with gas prices going down consumers are using the extra money on items that they weren’t buying while gas was close to or over $3/ gallon.
This is helping the economy. But yet there are those that want to raise the tax gas and kill this. I just don’t get it.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 14, 2006 11:09 AM
Comment #188109

You’re absolutely right about Bush not deserving blame for Katrina. His leadership and resolve in the aftermath is another story. It’s also true that Bush can’t be blamed for humanity’s contribution to global warming which, believe it or not, is an actual phenomenon. He is, however, the single human on the planet with the most power to halt and reverse this frightening trend. Does he do everything he can on this most important of issues? No, quite the opposite. Our environmental policies are disgraceful and EVERY American should feel shamed. When your great grandchildren want to know why a gallon of water costs twice as much as a gallon of water, be sure to tell them all about that swell guy you voted for back in the day.

Posted by: dave at October 14, 2006 11:28 AM
Comment #188141

jlw

Industrial production makes up a bigger percentage of U.S. economy than it did ten years ago. As in agriculture, mechanization makes it possible for fewer workers to produce more. Employment in manufacturing is dropping all over the world for that reason.

Most coastal cities are NOT below sea level like New Orleans. You are making an invalid argument. It is like saying that you may eventually die, so you need not be concerned about your heatlh.

Trent

Yes, politics is dirty. It has always been so. I just finished reading a biography of Andrew Jackson. Those elections were worse than ours today.

The democratic process is flawed, but I do not know of a legitimate alternative. Our system of checks and balances moderates some of the excesses but does not eliminate it.

Your point about Democracy is general and I agree. But others are making a more specific point. They are implying that only Republicans are elected by trick and stupidity. This is not true.

Ron Brown

It is good if people have more money, but the lower gas prices will encourage driving more and driving less efficient cars. It will also make alernatives less attractive. This is exactly what happened in the late 1980s to about 2000. Since it happened under three Administrations and two different parties, I do not think it was a political decision. Price was the only significant variable.

I am not proposing the tax to raise money. I would want it to offset other taxes leaving people with the same amount of money in their pockets. It would change only the objects of their spending.

Dave

Bush’s enviromental policies have not changed much from Clinton’s in practical ways. Air and water in the U.S. are cleaner today than they were in 2000. Bush instituted regulations on mercury for the first time, tightened off road emissions rules etc. Despite all the gnashing of teeth, water quality standards are higher today than in 2000.

Do not get caught up in your own rhetoric.

Please let me know if you can find a significant pollutant (NOx, SO2, shoot etc) that is higher today than it was in 2000. The only exception is CO2, which dropped a little in 2001 (as the economy slowed) but has continued its rise. And don’t give me that local crap. Some places may have gotten worse while other have much improved. If we look at the big picture, we see the truth.

Posted by: Jack at October 14, 2006 1:08 PM
Comment #188149

Jack
I am not proposing the tax to raise money. I would want it to offset other taxes leaving people with the same amount of money in their pockets. It would change only the objects of their spending.

So your falling for the Democrats agenda of paying for tax cuts instead of letting them pay for themselves.
One thing your not mentioning is that gas prices really didn’t go down all that much after the spikes in the 80’s and 90’s. And folks just got used to the prices and started buying gas guzzling SUVs, pickups, BMWs, and Mercedes Benzs and doing more driving.
Even if you got your high gas tax folks will eventually start buying these type vechiles again as they get used to the higher prices. They’ll also started driving more again.
When gas prices started going up folks stopped buying premium gas. I sold about 10 gallons a week. As they got used to the prices going up they started buying premium more. Just before the prices started dropping I was selling 50 to 60 gallons a week. Before prices went up I was selling around 90 gallons a week. With prices going down I’m back up to 90.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 14, 2006 1:35 PM
Comment #188152

Jack,

I don’t have any empirical data on this, but from what my students tell me, the kind of civics classes I had as a high school student are now rare.

I would love every high school student required to take classes in civics and in rhetoric, with an emphasis on recognizing the various rhetorical devices used in advertising and politics. We live in an information culture; certainly we should giving students the tools to analyze this information. If we educated as much of the public as possible in this fashion, perhaps we could improve the level of civic discourse. To me, this is a national priority.

Posted by: Trent at October 14, 2006 1:43 PM
Comment #188185

Ron

I want people to use less oil. The most effective means is price. I am happier when the price is higher no matter what. But it bothers me that the despots, dictators and weirdos who control much of the oil supply get a big cut. I would rather pay taxes to Washington than prices to Hugo.

Maybe people will get used to prices but at about $45-55/barrel various alternatives become viable. The longer the price stays high, the longer we have to develop alternatives.

If we manage to develop a good system for cellulous alcohol, it will be very good for the rural economy, especially in the pine growing SE.

Trent

Still thinking about your education idea. I am not sure what way to approach it.

Posted by: Jack at October 14, 2006 4:49 PM
Comment #188246

Stephen,

Thanks for taking Duane-o on point by point. He did a lot of work obviously, and you did a lot of work refuting him. There is a lot of disagreement and uncertainty about the details of global climate change and people like Duane-o can exploit that to make case that everything is fine or at least out of our control. While scientists disagree on the details, scientists, (except for the bought and paid for mouth pieces of industry), scientists, broadly agree that human caused global climate change is a problem - a big problem.

Posted by: Ray Guest at October 15, 2006 12:28 AM
Comment #188299

It is always hard to know when to end a thread. I think I am going to create a rule of thumb. When we get three posts above, I think it is time to give up on a thread. But since it could be possible to get three in one day, maybe a policy of three posts AND at three days is a good rule.

If something is really interesting, I suppose I can write something else on the tangent.

Posted by: Jack at October 15, 2006 1:24 PM
Comment #189117

To All:

This is some of best BS I have ever seen on either side of the fence. I wish I had the time to really read and try to comprehend all the various truths, half-truths and outright lies. And some of it is highly amusing and some of it might be real, but very little of it is constructive. I do tend to agree with conservatism more, but would love to see all lawyers, politicos (of every stripe), the IRS and insurance adjusters sent to—- Well never mind, I tend to tune out most of the BS and try to get as real as possible. All this comes from a Vietnam Vet, unemployed, self employed, semi retired, semi-disabled who is tired of the complaints and complainers who usually fail to accept responsibility for any action or inaction of their or their like minded associates. S__t Happens and you just have get up in the morning and try to plan and work with the situation as you see it. Hopefully someday common sense will really be “common”.

Posted by: Mike at October 19, 2006 10:01 PM
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