Third Party & Independents Archives

Investigating Global Warming

I don’t understand the hostility and partisanship surrounding Global Warming. Lately I feel bombarded with these arguments… I heard shocked invective against the Weather Channel for stating a position, I flipped past a host of a show on a 24 hour news channel saying something like “I’m sure my Escalade is making it worse, but that doesn’t mean I’m causing it”.

I watched Jesus Camp and was surprised to see that the section on home schooling included rebuttal arguments against global warming... The comments I hear, on both sides, never reflect the true complexity of this issue.

There is definitely room for civilized scientific debate. Scientists just don't know. By studying the past, scientists can tell us that changes have often been abrupt and they can tell us the merits and drawbacks of various theories. Several studies theorize that there will be an abrupt shift to an Ice Age soon - but they don't know what the trigger will be. There is no perfect computer model for global warming. There is no certainty in weather prediction.

From the time of the Industrial Revolution, there has been a definite warming trend and a definite increase in CO2. While correlation is not necessarily causation, the trends are there. However, CO2 is not the only green house gas. Water vapor may in fact be a more important one in the history of abrupt climate change. However, water vapor does not stand alone. In section III.4 of this scientific paper, they list several examples of factors that influence the flux of water vapor into the atmosphere from the oceans. These include a change in sea ice extent, a change in carbon dioxide and large, rapid changes in vegetation cover. With this explanation, water vapor doesn't let man-made causes off the hook.

The primary argument against controlling emissions says that this is just a cycle and there's nothing we can do about it. There definitely are cycles and there always have been. It is also true that there was a cooling trend that drove people from Greenland called "The Little Ice Age" (1550-1700). In fact, most sources say that we are in a period called an interglacial - a warm period between two ice ages. Looking at a graph that goes back 100,000 years (Figure 1-4), we see that the last 11,000 years has been unusually warm compared to the previous 90,000 years. This data leads to the idea that we will continue to warm and possibly flood some shoreline, but before it goes too far, we will reach the "breaking point" , the ocean currents will reverse and we will experience the next Ice Age. Global warming apparently makes abrupt shifts more likely. We are also not sure of the impact of influxes of fresh water into the oceans. Scientists are trying to complete the picture, but no one can honestly claim with any certainty that their predictions will happen.

I recognize cycles. I recognize the fact that nothing is certain. What I don't understand is: how does this prove our activities are insignificant?
The earth is an interrelated system.

I think the corporate campaign against this has been very powerful. This is not the first time they ask us to ignore our impact on the earth in exchange for profit. In one example, the pollution from our agricultural runoff is so bad that we have a huge dead zones off our shores where no marine life can survive...

However, I see a contradiction here because corporate interests usually argue that we should try to harness the earth to our will. If the beach is eroding from the front of our hotels, we ship some sand in. If there are wetlands where we want to build, we fill them in or create drainage canals. We reroute rivers, we blow the tops off of mountains, we fight for our right to live below sea level...
Why be so fatalistic in this case?

The national security risks of our dependency on oil have been recognized by everyone, even the President. Despite that, there is no appetite for real change. History shows that our economy will benefit from making the next great leap in innovative solutions. Current powerful industry leaders will resist the change like they always do. Much like the PC revolution, some of them will suffer, but if they are forced to adapt and new companies rise up, we'll all be better off in the long run.

I think the need for emission changes can be seen as an opportunity, not just a difficulty to avoid.

The movie "An Inconvenient Truth" and Al Gore's resulting popularity revitalized the partisanship on both sides. Now the economic message can be included in the points of attack and everyone on both sides can pretend like this is a black and white issue.

I prefer of try to figure out what we can do about the problem. I believe we have the ability to make a difference. I also believe the climate shift will be abrupt and we may not have time when (or if) the problem becomes undeniable.
Whether you agree with this or not, why be hostile? Why can't we capitalize on this by creating innovative solutions?
Even if it does end up being an unavoidable shift due to an astronomical event we can't control, we don't know that yet. Why is it ok to say, "I know I'm probably making it worse, but I don't care because you can't prove I'm causing it"?

Christine

Posted by Christine at January 28, 2007 9:10 PM
Comments
Comment #205536

Christine,

Whether or not “global warming” will be the end of us all is probably debatable.
That we humans have, in the few years since the Industrial Revolution began, pumped more crap into the oceans, and the atmosphere than all of the years of human existence before it combined, is a fact.

There are ways to, if not fix the damage we have done, at least slow down the damage, and allow the planet to begin repairs itself.

All we have to do is take the first steps.

Posted by: Rocky at January 28, 2007 9:44 PM
Comment #205537

Christine,
Good article, very thoughtfully presented. Please check your sources. Most of the links use dated material, from the late 90s to 2002. Climatology is one of the fastest developing sciences out there, and because of the dated information in your links, the article cannot address what has happened recently. For example, C02 in 2007 is now at 383 ppm and 11/12 of the warmest years on record have now occurred. Climate models are constantly being improved. There are many more core drillings providing records atmospheric make-up going back, not 100,00 years, but 600,000 years.

This is important, because the data gathered in the past five to ten years indicates we have a very, very serious problem. This data has clarified an outlook which was much, much less certain last decade.

On February 2nd, the IPCC will release its report.

Posted by: phx8 at January 28, 2007 9:44 PM
Comment #205561


The Administration is considering a very creative solution for global warming. We can put a lot of dust in the upper atmosphere or millions of shiny baloons in orbit to reflect sunlight away from the Earth.

Posted by: jlw at January 29, 2007 2:22 AM
Comment #205562

Christine, you did an excellent job of detailing most of my views on this matter. Well, done and timely.

Of course the hurdle to making the leap, is as you cite, fear of change and resistance to increased risk and cost. My view is, we have to look at this looming crisis already underway, as a business person looks at a new startup business.

A plan must be drafted, honed, and made practical, and then investments must be made. Then comes the most painful part. Waiting for a return on that investment.

This is a time when one is prone to second guess their business plan and become tempted to take drastic actions from aborting the business, to less savory actions. Some folks put their entire savings into a business, and live lean for awhile until the business begins to deliver returns on investment which, afford more comfort and choice.

This is precisely what we must do. And we must resist the temptation of the waiting period, modifying the plan based only on sound scientific feedback data directing such actions. And we must commit to those changes which the feedback data dictate.

If we follow this course, we may still suffer global climate change effects, but, it is clear, that if we reduce those effects, the human race will suffer far less. It is the smoker’s dilemma.

Having smoked for 40 years, and developing emphysema, one has a choice to make. Continue smoking and increase the likelihood of far graver consequences sooner, or quitting and suffering those pangs and trials, with the conviction that they will gain a few more vital years of enjoyable independent living for the trouble.

It is a difficult choice. But, to a rational mind, quitting is clearly the route to take with less risk and greater potential for personal gain.

A key resistance factor will be those wealthy individuals who believe they can afford to move to where life will still be good if major areas of land mass become inhospitable. After all, what is wealth for if not such insurance against the future.

Most wealthy folks however, are pretty smart, and have children and will have grandchildren, and can put 2 and 2 together. If a billion people are on the move and suffering, no place on earth will enjoy the quality of life previously enjoyed. No ONE! We are all dependent on each other for power, energy, mobility, food, housing, repairs, and the good nature of those we must interact with to live. It is in everyone’s interest who plans on their children enjoying life as they have, to invest in this quest to mimimize the effects of global climate change to the extent that we can.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 29, 2007 3:00 AM
Comment #205563

jlw, sounds like an Iraqi solution to me. Solve one problem and create 3 more.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 29, 2007 3:01 AM
Comment #205564

Well done Christine…well sorta but you forget about the markets ability to self correct things.

Of course the free market is magical and eventually it will see to it that the Earth’s temperature will return to normal. You see as CO2 levels goes up the free market tracks them and then compares the rate of CO2 change with the rate of change of other climate forcings. And it also…because the free market is perfect and all knowing….. it tracks global temperature changes. And if indeed there really is a problem of temperature change related to CO2 the free market will recognize this and make proper corrections via supply and demand methods.

And even if some how the free market miscalculates something it has back up systems…again because its perfect and has a really neat invisible hand thingy. You see as the Earth gets hotter and hotter people will start demanding alternative fuel vehicles. Because that’s what they do when they get hot and the free hand of the market makes them do it. And since the free market is a perfect regulatory system this will happen prior to any tipping point in the climate system…again because the free market is perfect and never fails….the free market is all knowing and all powerful.

Now again you mention some alternative reasons to act on global warming….like lessening our dependency on Middle Eastern OIl…..Here again you overlook the markets ability to detect a problem and to self correct.

Now if a problem ever arises related to our dependency on foreign oil…. the free market being perfect, as it is, will pick up on the situation and self correct long before any disasters or such occurs. Again because the market is perfect.

So in summary I would say your article is pretty good but you should read some basic economics books and learn to trust in the free market. It’s never let us down before.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 29, 2007 3:02 AM
Comment #205566

Rocky, those first steps first require some economic opportunity cost decisions. If we are to spend 500 billion on reducing greenhouse gases, what other programs will have to be cut? And we are now at the point where these economic decisions are inescapable. The national debt has already been legislated to 12 trillion by 2012.

That level of debt is not sustainable in this global competitive arena. Serious revamping of spending priorities must take place. Do we give up on colonies on Mars for a few decades? How about federal funding of charter schools? Federal advertising programs promoting marriage between a man and woman, can that be cut? What about elective war? Can we afford less to save Africans from disease and hunger? Can we afford to the 100’s of millions our federal officials will spend over the debate on securing our borders over the next 10 years?

Difficult choices, and all will be resisted by special interest groups. If ever there were a time this nation needed strong, charismatic, and focused leadership, 2008 is that time.

Will the Democratic Congress be up to it? Will the next president be up to it?

(Sidenote: Now is no time to be thinking about a line item veto for the President. The political squabbles and shenanigans that would result would only distract us all from the challenge at hand. It is time for our political leaders to cull their controversial issues which divide our nation’s people, and focus on the really big priorities which will demand all that we can give of ourselves and our resources.)

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 29, 2007 3:28 AM
Comment #205567

Christine,
Thank You. This is a reasoned and balanced review of this issue. If there is any complaint I have of liberalism as practiced by some, it is the knee jerk reaction to side with supposed scientific issues in a political fashion that seems to reflect more about their own reactions to the world than any reflection of reality. I have not seen Al Gore’s movie, but find some of the doom and gloom forecasting presented by those that have, to be a bit fantastic rather than scientific.

Posted by: gergle at January 29, 2007 3:35 AM
Comment #205568

muriego,

Perfection is a wonderful thing. I know that certainly, I am, but sadly few other things are including free markets.

Posted by: God at January 29, 2007 3:39 AM
Comment #205571

Gergle, see the movie. Those who have are privy to a bevy of research data that others outside of the scientific community are not. I had reservations about the claims being made about the movie as well.

Saw it last week, and the absence of a backlash by the scientific community regarding the movie’s content, demonstrates to me, that the data in the movie is legitimate and non-controversial. With that, the movie’s argument is truly overwhelming.

In fact, I have seen two hearings on the topic on C-span in this last 2 weeks, and there is little to no controversy over the movie’s claims or data.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 29, 2007 3:54 AM
Comment #205577

Global Warming does not exist.

Posted by: Juan dela Cruz at January 29, 2007 5:09 AM
Comment #205581
Christine wrote: What I don’t understand is: how does this prove our activities are insignificant? The earth is an interrelated system.
They are not insignificant, and global warming is only one of many dangerous impacts that 6.684 billion people have on the planet.

We are essentially crappin’ in our own nest.

The ocean contains vast area in which there is no life at all. There are now nearly 150 dead zones all over the world. Some are as large as 40,000 square miles. Dead zones are caused by excess nitrogen from fertilizer and sewage washing down rivers into the sea, triggering an explosive growth of plankton which uses up all the oxygen in the water. Because there is no oxygen, everything that cannot swim away dies.

There is definitely some global warming caused by fossil fuel based atmospheric hydrocarbons trapping the sun’s heat. Last year alone over 25 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) was pumped into the atmosphere by vehicles and industry. The U.S. alone, with only 4.4% of the total world population, contributed one fourth of it.

China (with a population of 1.3 billion) is starting the construction of a coal/oil power plant once per week.
India (with a population of 1.1 billion), and growing fast, is

Recently, an assessment of Arctic climate change by 300 scientists for the eight countries with Arctic territory, including the U.S. concluded that “human influences” are now the dominant factor (yes, that does not mean insignificant).

Most of the Earth is covered by water. Only a small percentage of the Earth’s 57 million square miles are inhabitable.
Of the Earth’s 57 million square miles of land, approximately 12 million square miles are arable. Arable land is being lost at the rate of over 38,610 square miles per year. At that rate, all arable land could be lost in 310 years !

Scientists, foresters, and others have noted a slowed growth of some forests. Leaves and needles turn brown and fall off when they should be green and healthy. In some cases, entire areas of the forest simply die off without an obvious reason. After much research, researchers now know that acid rain causes slower growth, injury, or death of forests. Acid rain has been implicated in forest and soil degradation in many areas of the eastern U.S., particularly high elevation forests of the Appalachian Mountains from Maine to Georgia that include areas such as the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountain National Parks.

A patch of rain forest the size of a football field disappears every second. The future for rain forests in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru is grim. Multinational corporations are exploiting and jeopardizing the bulk of South American rain forests located in Brazil.

More than 10 million people in 9 different countries are at serious risk for cancer, respiratory diseases, and premature death because they live in the 11 of the most polluted places on Earth:

  • Chernobyl, Ukraine

  • Dzerzhinsk, Russia

  • Haina, Dominican Republic

  • Kabwe, Zambia

  • La Oroya, Peru

  • Linfen, China

  • Maiuu Suu, Kyrgyzstan

  • Norilsk, Russia

  • Ranipet, India

  • Rudnaya Pristan/Dalnegorsk, Russia

  • New Orlans, LA., USA

And, the U.S. alone, with only 4.4% of the total world population (6.68 billion), contributed 25% of all 25 billion tons of CO2 emissions from vehicles and industry.

From 1943 to 1987, in Hanford, WA. produced plutonium for nuclear weapons, and enormous amounts of radioactive and chemical waste were generated during the site’s production period. Hanford includes approximately 53 million gallons of high-level liquid waste in 177 underground storage tanks, roughly the size of three-story buildings, buried in Hanford’s central area, about 12 miles from the river. It also contains 2,300 tons (2,100 metric tons) of spent nuclear fuel, 12 tons (11 metric tons) of plutonium in various forms, about 25 million cubic feet (750,000 cubic meters) of buried or stored solid waste, and about 270 billion gallons (a trillion liters) of groundwater contaminated above drinking water standards, spread out over about 80 square miles (208 square kilometers), more than 1,700 waste sites, and about 500 contaminated facilities.

Scientists report that about 50,000 entire species are going extinct every year! That severe man-made disturbance alone can impact the natural balance of life on Earth (including humans too).

The world population grew from 2.5 billion in 1950 to 6.63 billion in 2006, and is expected to jump to 9 billion by 2050.

The list goes on, and on, and on, and on …

We may not suffer the most serious consequences in our lifetime, but future generations (human and otherwise), the innocent victims, will.

If we keep it up, despite the growing consensus and evidence, it will become abundantly clear to all of us. But, by that time, it may be too late.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 29, 2007 8:11 AM
Comment #205583
David R. Remer wrote: Serious revamping of spending priorities must take place.
Painful consequences, as usual, will provide the necessary motivation to prioritize (if it isn’t too late). Posted by: d.a.n at January 29, 2007 8:39 AM
Comment #205584

Juan dela Cruz,

Global Warming does not exist.

Oh, please, how could you forgot the must have preambule of such opinion:

“Repeat after me: “.

Next time, don’t forget.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at January 29, 2007 8:58 AM
Comment #205596

More education is needed.
Then it will be more clear to more people what motivates some to deny or diminish the environmental impact of human activity?

Posted by: d.a.n at January 29, 2007 10:31 AM
Comment #205598

d.a.n, quite right. But, in this country we can’t even agree on what is science and what is religion to teach in our schools anymore. We increasingly look like morons to a growing number of people in the world, I am sure.

But, in the grand scheme of things, America needs to have these debates, and come to resolution on them as a rite of passage from an industrial WASP dominated society to a global technological one. I just wish populuation growth on this planet were not crowding us into such fast and rapid transitions. The technology and overpopulation pressures on this planet are out pacing our mental, psychological, spiritual, and political abilities to adapt.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 29, 2007 10:53 AM
Comment #205604

Ok, here’s the 20,000 dollar question in my mind.

Personally, I think that if were to invent a power source today I would try to invent one that was free and plentiful. You know, solar, wind and water. I am not pushing these because of ‘global warming’ or other hysteria, but it just makes a ton of sense to do.

Now, the issue here is that the technology we have today just doesn’t make these methods of supplying energy cost effective yet. BUT, I think that they will be soon, I’ve seen some of the advances in solar and battery technology and am quite impressed.

However, I do not want my government forcibly taking money from me to invest in these technologies nor do I want the government to artificially increase the cost of oil to make it effective (this will cause mass inflation and hurt the poor in this country something AWFUL).

Instead I would love to see a true charitable foundation come along and help fund these advances in technologies. Something like what the Nature Conservancy does with protecting land from development. Perhaps with the caveat that a percentage of any pantent on the techonolgy developed using these funds stays with the foundation who would ensure that the technology is made freely available to the underpriviledged first in the US and then other countries…

I know, this goes against the usual “have the government fix it” argument but see, I would really like to see the problem FIXED, not kept as a wedge issue use to win elections for the next couple of decades…

Perhaps I’ll just have to do it myself, unless someone knows of such an organization?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 29, 2007 11:06 AM
Comment #205607

Rhinehold, perhaps you can accept both for the same sound reasons.

If the Government undertook to solarize all of its building’s roofs to create electric power for the buildings, two things would happen. First, that investment would pay for itself, becoming over the lifespan of the solar roofs, a zero cost to taxpayers, is saved energy costs. And second, the government’s large purchase of solar panels to roof all its’ buildings, would leverage down the price of solar panel roofing for the general consumer market, making it an affordable option years sooner.

And of course, if you can find a charitable organization to assist, that’s even better.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 29, 2007 11:22 AM
Comment #205608

David,

This sounds good to me, sound economically and it would also spur the technology.

Why isn’t anyone making this the #1 priority of the current Democratically controlled congress? Sort of focusing on their own house instead of wanting to force private industry to take the lead…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 29, 2007 11:27 AM
Comment #205610

It is being discussed in Congressional hearings already, Rhinehold. The expert witnesses are pointing this path out and Congress is eating it up.

The bugaboo is going to be at appropriations time. This is going to be a big ticket up front investment in infrastructure and with the PayGo rules, they have to wrangle on what will get cut or how much taxes will have to be raised to cover the initial investment.

I personally, as a Congressperson, would insist that CBO and GAO track annual energy savings over the life of the investment and (ROI) and allow those to be calculated into the PayGo equation. Because in reality, this investment will be revenue neutral over time. The amount that is recovered in savings would then be dedicated by law toward paying down the debt for the years of return on investment savings.

But, hey, I am just a voter. I am pretty sure they will come up with something far less efficient and more difficult. They study sophistry for a living. What do you expect? I’m just a guy who built his own house. What do I know?

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 29, 2007 11:36 AM
Comment #205613

David,

Sounds about right, I mean it’s not like any of them have ever had to manage the books of a successful company or anything or know anyone who has. If they were successful they’d most likely be out still doing it.

Oh well, such good ideas wasted, I’ll look into setting up that non-profit organization now…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 29, 2007 11:43 AM
Comment #205616

Rhinehold, probably wasted, but, I will wait and see. Nov. 7 of last year has a Congress on edge on both sides of the aisle, and they are questioning their own actions more today than in years past.

I will hold off on attacking them on this, until they prove true again their propensity to hammer in a nail with the handle of a screwdriver. Then I will be on the phone to them and write scathing reviews of their actions with fervor.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 29, 2007 12:02 PM
Comment #205632

It doesn’t matter if global warming is happening or not. Well, actually it does, but debating it only worsens the problem. Here’s how:

The actual issues here (pollution, environmental protection, etc.) are being ignored because the politicians have changed the topic of the debate. Nobody likes pollution, so the politicians have made this into a partisan issue so they won’t have to deal with it.
Both sides are focusing on this “issue” so they don’t have to enact actual environmental regulations that might hurt them politically.

I predict that the Democrat-lead Congress will prove me correct. They will do little or nothing in the way of actual anti-pollution laws, while all the time continuing to harp on “global warming.”

Would a real environmentalist focus on global warming? Of course not. That would be counter-productive because global warming is a symptom of the problem, not the cause.

We can sit here and debate global warming, pretending to be on some sort of moral high ground, but that would be playing into the hands of the parties. Let’s show the politicians that actually protecting the environment is more important to us than the partisan debate they’ve manufactured.

Posted by: TheTraveler at January 29, 2007 1:29 PM
Comment #205638

gw, read a book about it or go see Gore’s movie. Your comment is in more dire need of education on this topic than even GW Bush in 2006’s State of the Union Speech.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 29, 2007 1:55 PM
Comment #205640

TheTraveler,

You make two excellent points:

(1) The actual issues here (pollution, environmental protection, etc.) are being ignored because the politicians have changed the topic of the debate.

The global warming debate is dwarfing some of the other (equally or more) serious environmental issues.
(2) Let’s show the politicians that actually protecting the environment is more important to us than the partisan debate they’ve manufactured.

Yes. Clever isn’t it.
Yet another circular, distracting, divisive clever detractor to:
  • distract voters from the malfeasance, incompetence, and irresponsibility of the politicians,

  • pit Republicans and Democrats against each other,

  • fool the voters into wallowing in the partisan warfare
  • ,
  • divide the voters so that a majority can never exist to oust the irresponsible politicians,

  • fool the voters into believing they are part of some sort of team effort,

  • and somehow convincing the voters to reward the politicians by repeatedly re-electing them.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 29, 2007 1:58 PM
Comment #205641

The Traveller, awareness is being raised, debate is underway, folks like GW still need to become informed, and all this moves our nation, responsible for 25% of all the worlds greenhouse gases, to reach consensus on a plan of action.

Its a democratic republic we live in, which means it is stodgy and incremental in its endeavors. And no, brown soil cleanups and Iraq will not disappear because of this new awareness. Those directly affected those issues will keep them alive in and in the public venue.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 29, 2007 1:59 PM
Comment #205646

TheTraveler,
Good comment, well said. It is a situation which will develop slowly, over years. Even “Abrupt Climate Change” would probably take decades. Unfortunately, I think it will take a “symptom” of catastrophic nature to convince people to act in concert on a national & international basis.

Btw, there are already a number of ways being discussed to approach the issue: spreading (more) S02 in the upper atmosphere; a mirror in space to block 1% of incoming sunlight; and, of course, various alternate energies.

A human die-off would also reduce Warming, but that kind of Malthusian solution is unacceptable. “Peak Oil” may force us into alternate energies anyway.

Posted by: phx8 at January 29, 2007 2:17 PM
Comment #205648

phx8,

Thanks for the compliment.

Btw, there are already a number of ways being discussed to approach the issue: spreading (more) S02 in the upper atmosphere; a mirror in space to block 1% of incoming sunlight

Yeah, that’s where things get scary. Climate change one way is just as bad as climate change the other way.
I say protect the environment, don’t fiddle with it.
But of course, this is out-of-the-relm-of-posibility stuff that is being proposed for the same reson - to take the focus off real environmental issues.

Posted by: TheTraveler at January 29, 2007 3:00 PM
Comment #205662

ph8x

There is no such thing as peak oil. There is only oil supply at a particular price. Oil at $10 a barrel is gone already. There is plenty of oil at $100 a barrel.

I suppose in theory there was more oil in 1900 than today and there was more oil before Drake sunk his first well, so we reached “peak oil” sometime around 1835. Peak oil is a concept that sounds good but means nothing.

Posted by: Jack at January 29, 2007 4:12 PM
Comment #205663

Messin’ with Mother Nature is extremely risky, whether it is inadvertent or not.

phx8,
If I recall correctly, you have been saying for some time that the environment may become the most serious issue facing the world.

If you are right, there is another prerequisite to solving that problem (if the U.S. is to lead in a solution), and many other problems facting the nation.

That prerequisite is government that is responsible and accountable.
How can we mobilize to address this serious environment issue when we can’t even address the many other issues facing the nation?

We must first solve the problem that keeps us from solving problems.

We first need to make a very fundamental change to get control of our irresponsible government, and that isn’t likely to ever happen by rewarding irresponsible politicians by repeatedly re-electing them.

In fact, the politicians’ 90%+ re-election rates simply encourages and empowers them to become ever more irresponsible.

Otherwise, it is futile. Solutions for the environment, and many other problems are futile without addressing the first root problem.

And, as The Traveler pointed out, the politicians will simply use it as another clever detractors to distract and divide us.

So, what should be our real first priority?
How can we expect government to fix anything, unless we fix government first?

Education is necessary, and the sooner the better, before the painful consequences become unavoidable or irreversible.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 29, 2007 4:18 PM
Comment #205677

D.a.n,
While I would agree with the need for publicly financed elections, as well as the need to prevent politicians from using issues as a distraction from pork barrel politics, the biggest roadblock to action on Global Warming has come from the Bush administration and the Republican Party.

The former Republican Chair on the committee dealing with the environment, Inhofe, insisted Global Warming is a “hoax.” He is gone. In two years the Bush administration will slime off into the sunset, and it is unlikely we will ever see a fossil fuel administration of their like again.

In the 2006 midterms, not one Democratic incumbent candidate lost to a Republican. As a matter of philosophy (as much as it is possible for a large, national party to have a unifying philosophy), Democrats have been onboard with the issue of Global Warming, just as they are at least nominally more likely to entertain the idea of publicly funded campaign financing.

There is a long way to go there. But rather than reject incumbents, I am willing give the Dems some time to demonstrate their worth. PayGo, ethics reform, and so on are steps along the right path.

Posted by: phx8 at January 29, 2007 5:31 PM
Comment #205726

phx8,
I respect your belief.
I just don’t agree.
I think the problem is deeper than than party.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 29, 2007 9:55 PM
Comment #205762

phx8, I tend to agree with d.a.n. The Democrats in Congress are not unified by any means. Therefore, the Democratic Party as a majority in Congress will be effective or damaging to our nation not as a party, but, as a collection of individual representatives each with differing agendas and priorities created by their campaign donors, lobbyists back home, and of course the mind sets of their constituents, unified or not.

One half of problem is the individual representatives, and whether or not they act as if the long term viability of the nation is their first priority making all other pressures and goals like reelection secondary.

The other half of the problem of course, is us. Whether we voters will make the long term viability of our nation our first priority, or subjugate it to a free for all grab at federal dollars for their own short sighted personal gains.

I saw progress made on both halves of the problem in this last election, but, we have little time and resources to go the much farther distance to reach that tipping point where government ceases to pander to special interests in lieu of national interests for decades and many generations to follow.

China is going to be the next economic superpower precisely because they are shaping today’s steps in accordance with that longer term view and goal. And we shall lose our status to them precisely because we don’t have a vision of our future and take the sacrificial and necessary steps today to make that future a reality.

The Democratic Party cannot save our nation, our representatives of any and all parties as a majority with common long term vision, can. It is up to us voters to force them to look to that future by withholding our reelection vote for those who refuse to see it, and act accordingly.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 30, 2007 7:17 AM
Comment #205916

David,
No one I know disputes the data, it’s the conclusions and forecasts that are the problem. Scientists never state things with a certainty that is being used in the Global Warming debate. That is the issue many scientists have with the way things are being presented.

Posted by: gergle at January 30, 2007 10:50 PM
Comment #205947

Gergle, what conclusions and forecasts. There is evidence massive glacier breaks could occur on Antarctica and Greenland sheets if this warming trend continues. This evidence is the maulins now appearing in greater numbers and density as shown in Satellite photography. Scientists aren’t guaranteeing they will break off into the sea on a specific date, they are saying the probability of it occurring is rising with each new maulin. Warming is causing these waterfalls in the glacier pouring billions of gallons of water down to the sub-glacier floor which lubricates the entire glacier’s capacity to move under gravity toward the sea.

What conclusions and forecasts are you referencing? I haven’t heard any that are falsely stated. I don’t have to wait for them drop into the oceans to see that we need to do what we can to slow or halt this process.

Please be specific which results and forecasts you question, so I can research them myself.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 31, 2007 3:58 AM
Comment #206075

David,

Your conclusion that the warming trend is other than an ordinary climatological variation. Extrapolation of this data to forecast future events, such as continuation of this trend. These ideas are based on modeling that is prone to error by it’s very nature.

We SHOULD be aware of these changes, we SHOULD be reducing are carbon profiles for a variety of reasons, and we SHOULD, as always, be very careful about prognostication.

Posted by: gergle at February 1, 2007 12:29 AM
Comment #207830

I don’t think any action should be taken with tax payers money until 5 things happen:

1. Global Temperatures are proved to be rising. (Based on the evidence I have seen, this is definately happening)

2. That Humans are the cause of it. (look at solar activity and temperature graphs, much better correlation over the last several 1000 years)

3. That Global Warming is a bad thing. (civilizatinos prosper more when the Earth is warmer, look at past civilizations)

4. Proof that there is anything we can do about it. (the earth is a very big place, and I think anything we try to do to prevent “warming” will be insignificant.)

5. If there is something we can do about, can we afford it? (what good is the world if there is utter chaos from everyone being in complete poverty.)

Once all five of these have been proven, then we need to take action. Until then, we are wasting time and resources. As far as I can tell, scientist have only provened the first step.

I think we need to be responsible with our environment, and explore renewable energy and keep the earth clean, but to put as much money as everyone is talking about into “Global Warming”, just doesn’t make any sense. The issue has become too political and that is usually a sign of an agenda.

One last thought, I am going to be a dad in 7 months and all I want is a safe and good earth for my kid(s), but we have got to be reasonable. I am not convinced there is anything we can do about global warming, if I see evidence otherwise, I will change my option in a heartbeat, because it is about my kids, not about an agenda. That’s all I got.

-CRS

Posted by: CRS at February 13, 2007 10:00 AM
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