Why I Don't Like to be Called an Environmentalist

I would match my love of the environment and record of planting trees & protecting the ecosystems against anyone reading this. But I reject the term environmentalist. The definition has taken on too many connotations and it has acquired as much crud as a dirty snowball. Onto legitimate concerns for nature have accreted all sorts of one world government types, animal rights nuts, vacuous celebrities & prophets of doom. Who wants to be associated with them?

Many of these people & ideas are bad for the environment. Consider animal rights. Protecting the environment often requires killing animals. Some animals are destructive and need killing & well managed hunting protects species. Remember, species & ecosystems are important; individual animals are not. Hunting has worked for deer, elk, ducks and moose. (If you are thinking, “It didn’t work because it killed them” you have missed the point re species and individuals and you may be in danger of putting individual personified animals ahead of the environment.) It is working for elephant in southern Africa. Or how about saving the whales? Some sorts of whales are endangered and in need of protection. Others are plentiful. It makes sense to make reasonable distinctions, distinctions you cannot reasonably make if you extend human right to animal species.

The climate change industry is currently the world’s biggest scam. It is based on a legitimate problem that we urgently need to address it, but not all solutions are worth pursuing. Climate change professionals depend on grants and official largess to protect their phony-baloney jobs, which gives them incentive to advocate solutions that ensure the perpetuation of grants and government programs. Beyond that, they create a degree of hysteria that interferes with logical choices.

Let’s talk about those clowns buying personal carbon offsets. It is the same principle as the medieval church selling indulgences and buyers and sellers in both eras have the same mix of hypocrisy, greed and guilt. I like to drink beer, but it makes me fat. I was thinking of buying a beer drinking offset. I could drink until I could not see clearly and pay some abstentious guy to not drink beer for me. It makes as much sense as a carbon offset.

I just finished watching a story about recent floods in Bangladesh. There have been disastrous floods in Bangladesh as long as I can remember. British records show disastrous floods when they were there a century ago. I don’t doubt that two weeks after the first Neolithic farmer being built the first hut in Bangladesh, he experienced a serious flood. The reason is that a lot of water flows down very fast from the very high mountains. The Himalaya Mountains are the highest in the world. No significant moisture can get over them, so when the warm moist air from the Indian Ocean hits the cold air on the mountains, it rains or snows and only on the one side of the mountains. A few days later, there is a disastrous flood in flat Bangladesh where all this water concentrates before spilling into the Bay of Bengal.

The story on Sky News sanctimoniously treated this as a climate change issue, reporting that school children there are learning that their flood related trials and tribulations result from greedy human industry far from their soggy shores. In other words, it is beyond their control & somebody else’s fault. Even if it were true, how does that help? Since they are officially international victims, they become the wards of the climate change professionals, who can seek grants and regulations on their behalf.

We saw the same thing with Katrina and this case showed the utter hypocrisy of it all. IF higher sea levels contributed to Katrina and if global warming will cause them to go even higher, why would anybody be so foolish as to advocate rebuilding below sea level parts of New Orleans? Yet many activists embraced the oxymoron of simultaneously claiming that New Orleans was a victim of global warming AND that the Federal government should fund rebuilding it in that same unfortunate place. BTW, if 2005 hurricanes were the shape of things to come and caused by global warming, what do the relatively benign years of 2006 and 2007 iportend?

To address climate change, we need to emit less CO2. Environmentalists who tell us that global warming will destroy civilization as we know still reject nuclear power, the most obvious solution in the medium term. If global warming is really as bad as they say, is nuclear power really that much worse?

I often advocate a carbon tax. I would expect the “greedy” oil interests to oppose it, but some of the biggest opposition comes from environmentalists, who worry about how it will affect the poor. As above, if global warming is really such an existential threat, how much worse can the solution be? If you are really so concerned, maybe you should not reject the best solutions on technicalities.

How about soils? Soils can be managed and we are learning more how to do that every day. Do you know that a properly managed no till agriculture can actually CREATE one to three inches of top soil in ten years time? On the other hand, if you insist on being completely organic and use simpler methods of cultivation you require more land to produce similar amounts of crops and the older methods are often bad for the soil. We have learned a lot in recent years. Sometimes the best way to restore something is to move forward.

Finally, we come to my personal favorite – forestry. Forests are the ultimate renewable resource. I have personally seen “old growth” forests that have been harvested two or three times. Ignorant people want to preserve all trees. It is analogous to the animal rights folks, who worry about individuals. By doing so, they doom forests and/or push consumrs into less environmentally benign materials such as concrete and plastics. Well managed forests REQUIRE cutting, for some species clear cutting. Environmentalists who drive out forestry end up with parking lots and plastic.

So the once noble term of environmentalist, like liberal, intellectual or progressive, has lost much of its meaning and has become associated with some kinds of people that a true lover of nature might want to avoid.

Sorry I cannot write more, but I have to send an email to a friend to make sure he eliminated those pesky beavers from one of my streams. I told him politely to ask them to leave first and only if they refused to take other measures. Beavers can be cute but they breed like rodents.

Posted by Jack at December 6, 2007 11:42 PM
Comments
Comment #240179

One objectively loses claim to being a protector of the environment and lover of nature when one advocates for political, social, and economic policies that give rise, and even license, to the undermining and net destruction of the environment and our natural world, regardless of how well one treats one’s own little acre.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 7, 2007 3:06 AM
Comment #240182

David

I advocate policies that will improve our environment. The natural world is best protected by conservation measures that include preservation, but also wise use & property rights. Many of the big government/one world solutions to environmental challeges end up causing net destruction to the environment.

I think you make my point re environmentalism. The definition now includes being for government intervention and for social policies that have nothing much to do with nature.

Big threats to the environment include animal rights advocates and people who have too much confidence in UN agreements.

Re climate change, we find an interesting split. Whenever I propose solutions that have a good chance of working, such as nuclear power or carbon taxes, many people just tell me how bad the problem of climate change is. I agree. We no longer need to discuss it. We are now looking for solutions and adaptations.

BTW - carbon offsets as part of a nation’s plan to address climate change can make some sense. Carbon offsets by individuals are silly and pernicious. They allow for the profligate to pay their way out of personal guilt problem, but change nothing for the atmosphere.

Posted by: Jack at December 7, 2007 5:20 AM
Comment #240184

David,

Then may I presume you condemn the economic policy of corn ethanol?

The perpetuation of this “biofuel” destroys soils and enhances pollution of our waterways through increased corn production while also aiding the starvation of those in developing nations through increased grain prices (not to mention the squeeze on those in our nation.)

Jack,

Why do you want to put more money into the hands of the idiots in Washington through a carbon tax? Its implementation would effectively disincentivize all consumption and provide economic pressure to drive us into a recession. Shouldn’t we provide incentives targeted to individuals and small businesses to invest in energy efficient infrastructure? For example, proper home insulation would save people hundreds of dollars in the long term through reduced fuel consumption and might even allow those on low and fixed incomes to reduce their dependence on the Low Income Heating Assistance Program. Many places this particular incentive already exists but isn’t well advertised or encouraged.
An expansion of this idea would empower the entrepreneur and the individual and not cede more power to Washington.


Posted by: Mr. Haney at December 7, 2007 6:06 AM
Comment #240189

Jack-
First, much of the dirt in the dirty snowball comes from your own party perpetually badmouthing and stereotyping environmentalism

Second, Some part of incidents in Bangladesh, some, might be warming related. One effect on precipitation of a warmer climate is a sort of extremism on the part of rain and other precipitation. The warming lets the air absorb more water before it can rain, and when it’s finally forced out by changes in pressure and temperature, it becomes all the more powerful a downpour. At least that’s the nickel summary.

I think the Republican culture towards environmentalism is toxic for reasonable discourse. Everything is seen from a corporate perspective, where any change or restriction on money-making is seen as a restriction on the free market. Their political compatriots put millions of dollars into convincing people that it was all about protecting people from “barely-there” threats, imposing liberalism on everybody, and taking people’s jobs away from them.

Never mind that toxic chemicals carry both human and economic costs with them. Never mind that Global Warming would cost twenty more times to live with than to mitigate. What current Republican policy is about right now is short term externalizing of potential costs. Put simply, businesses will cut corners any place it gives them a competitive edge.

I see these soft-focus, “we’re friends of the earth”, “we invest in renewable energy” crap all the time now. The Coal companies keep on talking, trumpeting clean coal, and this and that. To me, without definitive action from these people, it all just seems like window-dressing. You want to talk about buying indulgences, then look to these people, who want to be given credit for claiming to be interested in green technology and the like.

Though I will acknowledge that carbon offsets are not enough by themselves, and shouldn’t be taken as an excuse to remain profligate consumers, I do think they’re a step in the right direction, if they are properly managed. Done right, they could help push green technology over some capital hurdles. I see nothing wrong with Ecologically minded people investing money in changing the paradigm of energy generation and transportation.

As for your attitude about trees, and agriculture? I think its stereotypical to think of organic or green farming in terms of returning to the old ways. It’s a mixture of new technology and approaches with older wisdom. I think you should read the book Deep Economy on the subject for more details.

I think the biggest obstacles for this country in terms of more environmentally sound policy is the decades long campaign of mudslinging that your party has waged against the environmental movement on behalf of special interests. In the course of this campaign, conservatives have promulgated a highly inaccurate picture of these people’s attitudes, as always focusing on radical fringes to paint the more moderate, more creative and more honest people as nuts with a reckless disregard for society’s needs and the truth itself. If you could stop buying the party line for five minutes, and realize that most of these folks aren’t the enemy you imagine, you could get somewhere, and maybe even have more of an influence on things.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 7, 2007 8:56 AM
Comment #240190

Jack,

You can call yourself whatever you want, but it seems to me that you are nitpicking. I’m sure there are plenty of self-described environmentalists who have no problem with people shooting a moose once in a while. Heck, even some Massachusetts liberals hunt. You say that “climate change industry” is scam, but at least you agree with them about the basic facts. You are OK with carbon offsets as part of a national strategy, but not as an individual action. (By the way if carbon offsets are silly as beer offsets, do you support national beer offsets to combat obesity?) And you support nuclear power, while many enviros don’t.

These don’t seem like huge differences to me. The people you have a real difference with who think climate change itself is a scam and want the liberals to let them alone so they can drive their Hummer down the block to get a Slurpee.

Posted by: Woody Mena at December 7, 2007 8:58 AM
Comment #240194

Jack, solving one crisis by creating another is no solution at all. Nuclear power will be a solution WHEN have devised save and economical ways of dispensing with the nuclear waste, AND those costs are transparently included in a side by side comparison with other alternatives. Nuclear power at this point in time is not a solution, it is an alternative crisis to the one we have now. Nuclear waste is as deadly a pollutant as CO2 when its volume becomes too large and insecure to live and work around.

The natural place for Uranium is deep underground. Not in barrels piled 3 high and football fields wide and deep, surrounded by wire fencing, with open borders to terrorists eyeing it like candy. Yucca Mtn. has turned into the largest pork and wasted spending project outside the military in decades.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 7, 2007 9:29 AM
Comment #240196

Jack

I think most agree that climate change is a serious concern which will affect most everyone on this planet in one way or another eventually. It may very well be affecting all of us at this very moment. It also may be that there simply is very little that we can do to affect that change this late in the game. The reason many of us expect some government intervention is that we do not feel that we have the time to wait for the profit industry to sort out who is going to gain the most from climate evolution. We all know that special interests still carry the most weight in Washington. And we all know that the special interests with the most money still get the first nod from our honorable legislators. And most of all we all know that the people with the bucks to buy our legislators absolutely abhor and disdain anyone dipping into their profit levels regardless of the potential consequences. While you abhor those who you believe advocate under circumspect intentions for intervention, I abhor those who advocate against it for selfish reasons.

From a totally honest and non partisan viewpoint I honestly feel that any changes, no matter how extreme, by us as a nation, at this point in time are too little too late. Our efforts would probably be better spent preparing for and learning how we will deal with future climate change as opposed to endlessly arguing over whether it exists, how credible the research industry is or how we can alter climate change progression.


Posted by: RickIL at December 7, 2007 9:42 AM
Comment #240197

Mr. Haney, ethanol is nothing more than a temporary solution to Oil dependence. In the long term solution scheme of things it solves nothing in terms of global climate change and poses serious political and economic problems.

Ethanol has been seized by the corporations and many smaller farmers, as well as refineries, as another tunnel to free tax dollar subsidies. Which means, their lobbyists will pull out every trick in the book to make Ethanol THE permanent solution. Just as the Utility Corporations are ardently working to make nuclear power THE permanent next crisis to be solved.

The solution, way over our politician’s heads, is to create two plans, one short term with sunsets embedded, and one long term with steady and continual research stimulus supported for holistic solutions with inherent sustainable balances created which truly can become permanent solutions, solar, wind, oceanic wave and a revamp of building and community designs to maximize the natural renewable non-polluting resources of that region.

Such thinking requires the absence of the din of lobbyist industry Ph.D. specialists however, so, such a plan is very unlikely. It takes a common person with common sense to devise such a plan, and its damned hard to find a flock of them in Congress or the White House.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 7, 2007 9:45 AM
Comment #240198

Jack said: “Big threats to the environment include animal rights advocates and people who have too much confidence in UN agreements.”

Vastly larger threats are posed by profit oriented businesses and corporations whose very fundamental equation for operations is to produce maximum short term profits at minimal short term costs. The only place in that equation for environmental protection is in advertising and public image for short term market share competitive advantage, but, never to the exclusion of the primary equation: max. profit at min. cost.

British Petroleum is a perfect example with their current spate of million dollar commercials advertising themselves as the environmental conscience of the energy industry. I see Marathon Oil has just joined that chorus, too. THE PR chorus that is, not the environmental conscience chorus. To paraphrase Fred Thompson in the movie Red October, ‘Corporations, son, don’t take a dump without a plan to maximize profits and subsidies.’

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 7, 2007 9:57 AM
Comment #240209

Jack,

Here in the Midwest the corporate hog lots have been running ads on TV calling themselves (Guardians of the Environment). After all the outrage from the smell, groundwater pollution and the runoff in to the streams, rivers and lakes killing the fish, they are running their feel good ads so we all can feel good!!!!!!!

You may not want to call yourself a (Guardians of the Environment). That label has been tainted also by the factory hog lots!!!!!

I myself don’t care for labels. I just try and do the right thing, and think for myself as much as possible.

Good luck with the tree planting project!!!!! What kind are you planting????
It sounds like you need to find some of your beavers a new home. Give them a bus ticket to Alaska it sounds like a nice place!!!

I like to drink beer also; I switched to the lite beer!!!!

Posted by: Outraged at December 7, 2007 12:01 PM
Comment #240215

RickIl

I agree that we should be looking into adapting to what will be an evitable warming.

Re fast action, the evidence of the past years shows that price is the fasting acting measure short of outright bans, which we know will not happen. You are right about the politicians, but you miss the conclusion. Indeed they will sometimes (often) act for base reasons (both base in political and base as in low). That means that the rules they make will not be effective if powerful groups oppose.

The carbon tax is hard to take, but once enacted it limits the potential for political manipulation.

Mr Haney

The carbon tax can be neutral in that you can cut other taxes to compensate. The purpose is to drive the cost of carbon based fuels up relative to other things. What you do with the money raised is a secondary issue.

Re encouraging alternatives, the carbon tax does just that. A high mileage car or a hybrid makes a lot more sense when gas costs $4 than when it costs $1.

If you do not trust Washington, why do you want to put them even more into the micromanagement & incentives business? After all, they did such a good job with corn ethanol.

Stephen

Re floods – it could be, but probably not. Big flood in that region are not unusual. There was an old saying when people used horses, that if you hear hoof beats, you probably should not be thinking zebras. Weather has almost been extreme. We had dust bowls, hurricanes, disastrous floods, torrential rains and devastating droughts long before today. The climate change lobby seizes on any variation in weather.

I just went to the weather channel to look up South Hill, VA near where my trees are. I looked at the highs and lows and did a simple tally counting which came more recently, the monthly high or the monthly low. Of the 12 months, eight out of twelve record lows were more recent than record highs. One four out of twelve were the other way around. If global warming is responsible for those four extremes, which accounts for the eight times of record cold?

It matters if you get the costs right. If you look at energy efficiency over the years, you find no relationship to who is in office or what laws are being enacted. You find a strong relationship with price of energy. How can you have lived through the last ten years and not seen that? In 1998, nobody talked much about energy. SUVs were selling like hotcakes and people were buying houses way in exurbs with long commutes. Clinton, not Bush was president, but gas prices were low. Now consider 2006. Dealers could sell SUVs only with big incentives. Everybody was working on alternative energy. Piles of venture capital went into ways to save energy or make it in different ways. Houses with long commutes sold less well than ones closer in. For the first time ever, our CO2 emissions fell in a time of robust economic growth. What was the difference between 2006 and 1998?

Woody

You know, of course, that you provoked this post. I bet that self professed liberals on balance drive bigger cars than self professed conservatives they just feel guiltier about it and buy those guilt offsets.

Re beer offsets, I do not think that a national beer offset would work either.

David

I just came across this list of nuclear myths and you remember that more people have died in Teddy Kennedy’s car than in all the civilian nuclear accidents in our nation’s history.

Re the ethanol solution being way over politicians head, you are right. Why do you think they will be able to handle even more complicated energy policy?

Re free market and the environment, countries where the free market is/was weakest are have the worse environmental records. The Soviet Union and E. Europe were horrible. Today the worst pollution is found in China.

The U.S. is a the world’s second largest producer of CO2 because our economy is so big. Per unit of GDP, it is not the case. CO2 was not considered pollution until about ten years ago. Our country addressed other forms of pollution (SO2, NOx etc) very effectively using a mix of regulation and market forces.

If you travel around the world, you know that most countries are more polluted than the U.S. I am not sure asking anyone outside N. Europe or New Zealand for advice on environmental protection makes much sense given the record, and even those clean places have different experience.

Posted by: Jack at December 7, 2007 12:49 PM
Comment #240216

Outraged

For a long time my favorites were oak, maple and beech. I was recently doing mostly loblolly pine. In my current place, we do date palms. A date palm, however, is not really a tree but a really big type of grass.

The beavers have found a new place, maybe just not a new place to live. Frankly, I am not sure where they are. They are not chewing on my trees, so their location is no longer my business. There is no shortage of beavers.

Posted by: Jack at December 7, 2007 12:55 PM
Comment #240223

Jack,
So you plant trees. I bet you cut down just as many. And the only reason you plant is so you can cut them down again. I’d be surprised if a beaver could live in that tree factory you call a forest.

Posted by: Schwamp at December 7, 2007 1:45 PM
Comment #240226

Jack, again let me give you a hardy “well-done”. I love reading your articles as they are presented in logical and precise prose. Here in East Texas on my little ten acres I grow white pine, sweetgum, lots of cedar, a lone bald cyprus and a variety of oak. I have favored the hardwoods and my front yard looks like a beautiful maintained park. Like you, I favor going with more nuclear power. We will solve the storage problem with spent fuel in the near future.

Posted by: Jim at December 7, 2007 1:57 PM
Comment #240228

Swamp

In the long run all trees die and/or are cut down. That is the nature of a living forest. I don’t suppose you know much about that, otherwise you would understand how wildlife thrives. You live in a city, maybe, and don’t own more than 1/2 acre of suburban land.

Jim

Thanks, but white pine in Texas? It out of its natural range. Longleaf pine restoration would be a good bet.

Posted by: Jack at December 7, 2007 2:12 PM
Comment #240229
You live in a city, maybe, and don’t own more than 1/2 acre of suburban land.

Good read Jack. Actually about 1/3 acre. But don’t underestimate me. I got a few oaks, couple of gums, a birch maybe.

Posted by: Schwamp at December 7, 2007 2:31 PM
Comment #240240

You don’t want to be called an environmentalist because of the “extremist”? It’s a good thing folks don’t mind being called christian “in spite” of the extremist.

It is, after all, just a label.

I don’t think any of us want to destroy the environment that keeps us alive.

Fact: The earth is becoming warmer.

Is it a natural cycle? I don’t know.
Is it man-driven? I’m not sure.

I’d rather err on the side of caution and tackle the problem rather than trying to recover from it. That will take compromise from both sides.

Posted by: Tom L at December 7, 2007 4:24 PM
Comment #240241

Jim said: “We will solve the storage problem with spent fuel in the near future.”

Yeah, like we will deal with the national debt and deficits in the near future. Famous early words of GW Bush, circa Dec. 2001. 3.35 Trillion Dollars increase and 6 years later, he is still saying he will cut the deficit in half.

Or like we will solve the oil dependence issue when it becomes a problem. Sorry, its already gone way beyond being an oil dependence issue, it is now a full blown national security issue prompting war and all its costs.

The time to work out nuclear waste disposal is BEFORE embarking upon quadrupling its current quantity which is already a major problem, physically and economically.

I will never understand the mindset that puts off to tomorrow that which can be accomplished at a fraction of the cost today.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 7, 2007 4:34 PM
Comment #240244

David,

There are a number of things we can do now to minimize the amount of waste generated from the nuclear industry. Among those are breader reactors and other recovery mechanisms.

Don’t write off nuclear power. Invest in it. That said, I agree with David that we should also invest in proven technologies to limit waste.

Posted by: Tom L at December 7, 2007 4:43 PM
Comment #240251

Jack-
It’s easy to tell Zebras from Horses, not so much natural rises in heat from anthropogenic. Here is some of the science on the matter.

If we want nuclear power to be viable, it has to be viable over the long term. Are we guaranteed a long term supply of the necessary fuel, at cost effective levels? Can we solve the waste problem relatively quickly?

Global warming is not going to prevent one place from seeing a few record lows every now and then. That’s why they talk of global warming. Places might become on average colder because of the rearrangement of winds and currents, pressure systems and jetstreams. The change in the weather, in the expected patterns of rainfall and drought, are going to be the most important consequences of the warming. Some places will become rainier than they’ve ever been, some drier. we might see certain metastable climate systems tip more to once side than another, the Sahara getting soaked rather than the Amazon, the Monsoons coming through rarely rather than only failing rarely. The important thing to keep in mind is that its the unpredictable change in the behavior of many different systems that makes global warming so dangerous, not just temperature shifts.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 7, 2007 5:39 PM
Comment #240257

Jack
I feel for you but just because you do not like everybody in the room does not mean you do not have a place there.
I know how you feel. As a carpenter and houseing advocate I have been in conflict with groups that are basically Nimbys. They oppose “sprawl”,defined as anybody else’s nieghborhood. Around here they have led to incredible price spikes, A small basic tract home still sells in the 5-6 hundred thousand dollar range.Young families have fled inland and face long poluting commutes to own homes built on productive agicultural land.These Nimbys use the cloak of enviormentalism to cover up the stinking pile of avarice,elitism and racism that underlie their real motivations.
As to giving human rights to animals,again pretty silly but far less destructive to the enviornment and civil life than giving human rights to corporations as we have done.
I admit to being envious but you might want to reconsider you beaver war. Having them on your place cannot help but add to you nocturnal chorus.
Another Edwards plus. He is calling for the use of public recreational hunters for game management as opposed to paid professionals at taxpayer expense.

Posted by: BillS at December 7, 2007 6:43 PM
Comment #240259

Jack et al

The energy bill just passed in the House. Its a good bill and deserves bi-partisan support. It contains 21 billion in tax incentives for conservation and alternate developement. The Bush regime threatens a veto largely because it eliminates incentives for oil companies. Money where your mouth is time for conservatives that recognize the need for change in energy policy.

Posted by: BillS at December 7, 2007 7:00 PM
Comment #240263

BillS, it is going to meet stiff resistance from Republicans in the Senate and possibly conference. Odds are though, they will have to capitulate, or really get tagged as the spoilers and do nothing portion of the Congress.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 7, 2007 7:14 PM
Comment #240265

Tom L, I wouldn’t write off Nuclear until I have seen some down to earth actual and realistic cost projections. So far, the big open question waste problem prohibits that kind of analysis. Breeder reactors are still being reseached and tested and are not ready for prime time, if they ever will be. They could follow the path of Yucca Mtn. and become an enormous money pit unsuitable for waste disposal.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 7, 2007 7:18 PM
Comment #240275

BillS

Politics and political parties come in packages. There are things in bills and parties we like and don’t like. I advocate a carbon tax. Nobody on either party takes any serious action to make that happen.

I have very mixed feelings about subsidies to alternative energies. That is how the ethanol subsidy stared life. Government has no business picking winners and losers in the marketplace for goods, innovations or ideas.

This is my long way of saying that as a citizen I let my leaders know what I think and their total record influences my vote. There are somee democrats I prefer to some republicans and if I made my own candidate he/she would be different from any on offer today, but you have to buy the package.

Re beavers - they are a type of big flat-tailed rat. A couple are cute, but their numbers do not stay small. Even if you are diligent in controlling them, you do not have to worry about getting rid of all of them. More come. They are like dandilions of the animal kingdom if you have streams.

Stephen

You are arguing the wrong point. I agree that the climate is getting warmer and that humans are a cause. I also think that there is a risk that such changes may cause unusual weather events. My point is that so far none of our weather is outside the normal parameters and to to imply that something like the recent floods or hurricanes are evidence of that is NOT good science.

It is dishonest PR grandstanding to show footage of these thing and blame climate change, when we all know that we could have taken similar pictures 100, 200 or 1000 years ago. This is nothing new.

AND if people really believe what they are saying, the proper action would be to make plans ot move to higher ground. As I mentioned above, it is the ultimate hyposcisy to advocate rebuilding the 9th ward of New Orleans if you worry about climate change.

I believe that the climate change lobby just is avoiding reality. There are three things that are true.

1. Climate WILL change because there is already enough CO2 emited to make it happen.
2. It is time for adaption. People must begin to move or change lifestyles. Do not rebuild flooded areas. Relocate.
3. There will be both benefits and costs to clmate change. Intelligent adaption can help us get more of the benefits and avoid some costs.

The climate change lobby avoids these obvious fact becasue it does not want to do anything to mitigate the hysteria. We should take reasonable steps to mitigate future climate change, but recognize it will not be the end of the world. It is always better to act calming and intelligently, taking in all the facts, than react hysterically.

Posted by: Jack at December 8, 2007 12:14 AM
Comment #240288

Jack,
You made a lot of sense until you got here.

“To address climate change, we need to emit less CO2.”

CO2 doesn’t drive climate.

And here.

“1. Climate WILL change because there is already enough CO2 emited to make it happen.”

Again, CO2 doesn’t drive climate. Climate WILL change because climate changes, whether man emits CO2 (or anything else) or not. A static climate cannot exist.

Posted by: traveller at December 8, 2007 6:35 AM
Comment #240315

Jack
Subsidies and incentives have a place in developing industries. They can of course get away from us and be continued for industries that no longer need them. This has happened with the oil industry,for example and ironicaly is one of the sticking points for passage of the house energy bill in the senate. Incentives given the oil companies for domestic drilling are shifted to alternate industries in the bill. The oil company schills in the senate are calling this a tax increase. Surely at 90$ a barrel big oil no longer needs tax subsidies.
A more effective method of helping fledgling industries is and has been tariffing. Yeah,its protectionism. Proeectionism allowed American agriculture to develope into the economic powerhouse it is today.We need to apply it energy. Even your carbon tax will be ineffectual if OPEC et al are allowed to dump petrolieum on the world.They have done it before. Bear in mind that they have little investment in processing oil. They still make money at 10$ a barrel,at least enough to hold prices low for long enough to cause economic failure to alternate industries.Tariffing or some other method of price stability needs to go hand and hand with a carbon tax for it to be effective. Even free marketers should realize we are already not dealing with a free market in oil. It is being controlled by cartels,speculators and politicians enthralled to the oil trust.

Posted by: BillS at December 8, 2007 2:41 PM
Comment #240316

Jack,

“The carbon tax can be neutral in that you can cut other taxes to compensate.”

In my opinion to believe that the current federal government could implement a carbon tax and not increase revenue is nearly delusional. Furthermore, to believe the American people would allow it is laughable.

“The purpose is to drive the cost of carbon based fuels up relative to other things.”

I understand the purpose quite well, but I believe market forces will force our hand on their own. Oil currently hovers in the $80-100/barrel region. With the continuing development of India and China and the complexity of finding additional sources of oil, it is reasonable to assume that the oil prices will never SUSTAIN a price below $50/barrel again. It is much more likely that fuel prices will continue to increase. This should provide plenty of incentive for energy efficiency and technological advances which will make alternatives competitive without subsidies.

“If you do not trust Washington, why do you want to put them even more into the micromanagement & incentives business? After all, they did such a good job with corn ethanol.”

The premise that incentives for ethanol and energy efficiency would be similar is flat wrong. Washington mandated the consumption of corn ethanol while subsidizing it. What I am saying is that Washington should encourage energy efficient behavior, not mandate it. A tax break in combination with the high price of fuel should be plenty to encourage this behavior especially if it is well advertised.

Posted by: Mr. Haney at December 8, 2007 3:02 PM
Comment #240319

traveller, Jack is obviously referring to the very long term climatological record, not daily weather changes. Our earth has seen many ice ages and hot house conditions in the past, and civilization has witnessed very stable and moderate and hospitable climate for several thousands of years. Some of the large changes in climate state in the past have occurred in a century or less. It seems obvious to me this is what he is referring to as do the many Video productions on the subject of climate change.

Your semantic game is cute, transposing seasonal climate change with global long term climate change, but irrelevant.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 8, 2007 3:20 PM
Comment #240370

I experienced the environmental movement of the 70’s. I worked in the oilfield in the 80’s and saw firsthand corporate influence.
The small independents got away with murder. No one monitored them. When we worked with Shell oil or Amoco they were very careful with the environment. We had constant monitoring from both corp executives and the gov agencies
Corporations by definition are groups of people making money rather than one individual making a paycheck like yourselves. We are all out to make money or to increase. The issue is how to get them to spend more of theirs toward our definitions of environmentalism. Force or taxes naturally causes everyone including yourselves to duck and run.
Show good science and they will be responsible. Hysteria driven politics are untrustworthy. Good image does mean more profits. No one wants their waste dumps shown on television.

Posted by: Kruser at December 9, 2007 10:46 AM
Comment #240377

David,
What semantic game? You read something into my post that wasn’t there.
I was referring to long term climate change, just as Jack was.

Posted by: traveller at December 9, 2007 1:04 PM
Comment #240378

David,
btw, seasons aren’t climate change. They are climate.

Posted by: traveller at December 9, 2007 1:09 PM
Comment #240399

traveller, there you go again. As you should know, there are seasonal climate changes, 4 per year, and long term climate changes like Ice Ages. Dispense with the semantic games, they don’t protect your arguments from their irrational and illogical conclusions as in: “Again, CO2 doesn’t drive climate. Climate WILL change because climate changes, whether man emits CO2 (or anything else) or not. A static climate cannot exist.”

Greenhouse gases do trap heat preventing its radiation back into space, hence, they alter long term climatic conditions when their presence is also long term. This is empirically testable and demonstrable in the laboratory where all other variables are controlled. CO2 is a green house gas. Hence, your comment is both empirically false and illogical.

BTW, love your illogical trap. God exists because god exists. No other proof or causation is required. So, when you say “Climate WILL change because climate changes” you are using exactly the same faith based argument, as if change has no causation. The next time you get ill with fever and diarrhea, by your logic, there is no point going to the doctor to determine the cause and treat that cause, because you are ill because people get ill. So, you will just sit at home and wait to see if you die or not?

Get real.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 9, 2007 4:33 PM
Comment #240416

David,
It is you who should get real. My statement is not a tautology.
I’ll play your silly game. How’s this?

Climate WILL change whether man emits CO2 (or anything else) or not. A static climate cannot exist.

My statement is not faith based in any way and has no implications regarding causation. It’s based on study of the historical record.

There are 4 seasons to the year which make up the climate of an area. They are not climate in and of themselves.
It’s true that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. It’s also proven to be a minor factor that plays a small part in the greenhouse effect and it has been proven that it does not drive climate and does not regulate atmospheric temperature.

http://motls.blogspot.com/2006/07/carbon-dioxide-and-temperatures-ice.html

Let me know if you ever manage to grasp one of those straws you’re after.


Posted by: traveller at December 9, 2007 9:48 PM
Comment #240491

I am a humanist. I think we should kill more humans to improve the enviroment.

The whole issue of enviromental destruction and pollution is caused by humans. If we had fewer of them, the enviroment would improve.

Yes, this is sarcasm, but it is also very true. Want to stop pollution? Educate your fellow humans about overpopulation, diminishing resources, and birth control.

Posted by: googlumpugus at December 10, 2007 8:18 PM
Comment #240560

I’ve learned to never trust a conservative on what liberals/”the left”/environmentalists/whatever the right’s latest target desires, think or want. If a conservative says Hillary wants to enforce gay marriage, then chances are the opposite is true. Heck, just like if Bush says 2+2=4 you should get out a calculator, if a right-winger says many liberals don’t like George Bush I’d probably have to do a formal survey and even then be careful about believing it.It’s like asking a drunken alcoholic how to be sober. Just when I think some people are the exception, (that is some conservatives who don’t use phony stereotypes) such as Jack with his usual reasonable and logical posts, I’m reminded why the old epithet of conservatives being faith rather than reality-based is more a truth than a simple slogan.

For one thing, what exactly is supposed to be meant by “environmentalists”? Is it just wanting clean air and water, not believing corporations have a God-given right to strip mine and pollute our communities, and supporting energy independence? I believe most Americans support that. But okay let’s say you mean more dedicated activist groups like Greenpeace, the union of concerned scientists, etc. Can you back up your assertion that they want a totalitarian one-world government? I certainly can’t find this platform anywhere on their web site.

If you’re talking about some kind of fascism or authoritarian government, I’m much more concerned about multination corporations and treaties like NAFTA. They certainly have far more power and self-serving motives than some volunteer organization. The worst abuses of civil liberties, as well as the de facto rolling back of our bill of rights, were all perpetrated by the right, not the left, so I’m amazed how some on the right actually have the nerve to assert without evidence that we need to be concerned that the left might try to take away our civil liberties.

And don’t forget that it is largely your political group which has spent enormous amounts smearing Al Gore, climate scientists, and spreading lies and FUD about global warming. The reason people are taking global warming seriously is not because of conservatives but in spite of them. Yet now you act as if it’s the left who’s insane on global warming and the right are the “real” environmentalists. I think your ideas on a carbon tax are good but if I want to listen to phony stereotypes and Rush Limbaugh-style propaganda I’ll just turn on Fox News.

Posted by: mark at December 11, 2007 8:22 PM
Comment #240643

mark,
That’s quite a rant, filled with bigotry and ad hominem. I’ll bet you even think you’re rational.

Posted by: traveller at December 13, 2007 10:51 AM
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