Obama Is Still Pushing Green Snake Oil

In a taped speech shown to attendees at a climate change conference in California this week, Barack Obama continued trying to distract Americans from the enormous cost of making substantial reductions in carbon dioxide emissions by promising "five million new green jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced." Not only is this number pulled out of thin air; it's nothing to be happy about. As I've noted, the manpower required to transform the economy so that greenhouse gas emission targets can be reached is a measure of the cost involved. Obama makes it seem as if we should try to maximize this cost, promising that green jobs will "steer our country out of this economic crisis."

That is pretty much the opposite of the truth. As The New York Times notes, "some industry leaders and members of Congress have suggested that Mr. Obama's climate proposal would impose too great a cost on an already-stressed economy—having the same effects as a tax on coal, oil and natural gas—and should await the end of the current downturn." Obama's response is to portray the economic burden as a boon.

In the speech, he does implicitly make the case that the cost he refuses to acknowledge will be justified in the long run:

Few challenges facing America—and the world—are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coastlines are shrinking. We've seen record drought, spreading famine, and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season.

Is it really "beyond dispute" that global warming already has produced drought, famine, and stronger storms? New York Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin notes that "the statement about 'storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season' is hard to square with the science on hurricanes in a warming world, which has gotten more nuanced of late."

Even if Obama were right about current conditions, and right that things will only get worse, what evidence is there that his cap-and-trade plan will ameilorate the trend enough to justify the cost? Assuming we meet his goal of an 80 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 (a conveniently distant deadline), how much will it cost, what impact will it have on global warming, and how much damage will thereby be avoided?

Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming, argues that adapting to climate change is much more cost-effective that trying to prevent it, an effort he says is unlikely to have any measurable impact. Presumably Obama thinks Norberg Lomborg is wrong. I'd like to hear why. But that would require Obama to be more candid about the sacrifices demanded by his plan to create the Clean-Energy Economy of Tomorrow. It is difficult to perform a cost-benefit analysis if you refuse to admit there's a cost.

Ron Bailey's interview with Lomborg appeared in the October issue of reason.

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  • ||

    I propose we ban all home heating systems and replace them with wood burning fire places. My proposal will produce 10 million new jobs chopping and delivering wood. My second proposal is to ban all forms of automotive transportation and replace them with the horse. This proposal will produce 20 million new jobs in the equine industry and give everyone a pony for Christmas.

  • ||

    Rickshaws!

  • D||

    ...require Obama to be more candid...

    Thanks, I needed a good laugh this afternoon.

  • ||

    Man, rickshaws, mustaches, long coats--I can really get on board with this new direction.

  • DannyK||

    Climate change is an ongoing process; once you've adapted to life in a warmer Earth, you need to change everything again to adapt to an even-warmer Earth.

    Plus, climate-change feedbacks suggest that if the CO2 levels stay over 350PPM for too long, they will jump way, way up (through positive feedback loops like melting sea ice, increased CO2 release from permafrost, and decreased forests) and we'll be on a wild ride to a very hot, ice-free planet.

    That's the fat tail on the risk curve, and Lomborg doesn't address that, maybe because he can't.

    Even if you don't believe in global warming, just consider: Big Oil got us Bush, Cheney, Condi, and the Iraq War. Reducing our dependence on oil would be good for our politics and democracy as well as the planet.

  • ||

    I've got an idea: Let's do everything as inefficiently as possible, so that more people can be employed doing it.

    Wait, I think I just described NASA.

  • ||

    Obama is full of shit. And he knows it. How can such nonsense coming out of his mouth make people anticipate good things for the future?

    I'm all for getting away from fossil fuels. But the government dictating that won't help. Technology is the way. Let it happen, and stop artificially lowering the price of other energy sources.

  • ||

    DAnnyK

    Big oil also got us the modern world and a $13 trillion dollar economy. Further, last I looked we didn't import coal or uranium from the middle east. Further, we have a whole lot of our own oil off shore and in the form of shale that we don't touch. Wouldn't it be better just to use those sources along with getting better electric cars than to shut down the economy?

  • ||

    by promising "five million new green jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced."

    This claim is so full of shit that I'm actually impressed. Pay well? Can't be outsourced? 5 million?!? What?

  • cunnivore||

    Presumably Obama thinks Norberg is wrong.

    you mean Lomborg, I suppose...

  • ||

    On oil, let's not forget that we produce plenty of oil ourselves, and we import less than 20% of our oil from the Middle East. Again, I'm all for turning our back on oil (for energy production, anyway) someday, but now is not the time. And more government meddling is not the answer.

  • EJM||

    Presumably Obama thinks Norberg is wrong.

    He's disagreeing with Peter Lupus?

  • ||

    Shit, ProL beat me to the "full of shit" remark.

    "We're getting plowed in the ass by the oil companies and the gas companies with their ten-gallon hats and their rotten ass-plowing hearts. So, as the brains of this organization, I came up with a plan."

  • cunnivore||

    John, just a quibble, but oil shale is seriously expensive to refine. You'd need $100+/barrel oil for several years to make it worth the cost.

  • ||

    Don't fool yourself guys. Who do you think is going to be running those companies on the goverment dole producing all of those green jobs? The oil companies that is who. You don't think Exxon and company aren't big into "alternative energy"? Of course they are. This thing is going to be a boon for them if it works out. Think about it. You can get government subsidies to produce inefficient energy that no one would buy all things being equal. They you can get government to stop drilling for new sources of oil, making existing sources of oil, which you own, that much more valuable. Not a bad deal really.

  • ||

    "John, just a quibble, but oil shale is seriously expensive to refine. You'd need $100+/barrel oil for several years to make it worth the cost"

    I have read that the cost of the Alberta oil sands is $40. The shale in Colorado I don't know.

  • cunnivore||

    ProL, all things are connected. If the ME oil supply was disrupted, we'd have more competition from the Europeans etc. for Mexican and Venezuelan oil, which would be uberbad.

  • cunnivore||

    John, those are commodity costs, which don't take into account that we don't have the infrastructure to refine large quantities of oil shale. And even if we did, it's a seriously energy-intensive process to do so.

  • Geotpf||

    Here's my take on global warming-without banning airplanes, container ships, diesel locomotives, power plants, factories, diesel trucks, and automobiles, as well as mandating forced sterilization to keep the population down, it is impossible to stop global warming via conservation. All the Priuses and compact florecent light bulbs in the world won't stop increase in CO2; the best case scenerio is that the rate of growth of such slows down. Maybe. So, the problem continues to get worse, it just gets worse slower. That's not a solution.

    What governments of the world and the UN should be doing is trying to artifically cause global cooling. There are ways to do this; and they have a lot more chance of success than by trying to conserve the way out of the problem.

  • BDB||

    "What governments of the world and the UN should be doing is trying to artifically cause global cooling. There are ways to do this; and they have a lot more chance of success than by trying to conserve the way out of the problem."

    I heard about ideas to do that. I think it is called geo-engineering.

  • anonymouse||

    Jacob, you say:

    Assuming we meet his goal of an 80 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 (a conveniently distant deadline), how much will it cost, what impact will it have on global warming, and how much damage will thereby be avoided?

    This is a good question, and your next paragraph suggests Lomberg tackles it (in some way). So what is his cutoff point? You suggest that for most scenarios Lomberg's cost-benefit analysis comes out on the side of adaptation. How bad do things have to be for that analysis to come out on the side of intervention? This would baseline the degree of difference with Obama's position in a clearer way.

  • ||

    "can't be outsourced..."

    Is this outsource bashing a sop to the unions? I haven't heard anybody bitch about outsourcing for a while, but it is one of the more annoying complaints you hear from dolts and goofballs, and sounds ridiculous coming from "progressives."

  • kinnath||

    What governments of the world and the UN should be doing is trying to artifically cause global cooling.

    Nuclear Winter. Easy enough to accomplish.

  • ||

    Plus, climate-change feedbacks suggest that if the CO2 levels stay over 350PPM for too long, they will jump way, way up (through positive feedback loops like melting sea ice, increased CO2 release from permafrost, and decreased forests) and we'll be on a wild ride to a very hot, ice-free planet.

    So basically it was impossible for Earth's temperature to reach it's present point because atmospheric CO2 levels were once ~20%. We must just be part of a computer simulation.

  • Kolohe||

    Further, last I looked we didn't import ... uranium from the middle east.

    No but like oil, most of our Uranium is from Canada and Russia.

  • ||

    It's so amusing that you all think global warming is man-made, when in fact Ron Silver is responsible.

  • ||

    cunnivore,

    If we withdrew, Europe would have to take our place. What pisses me off is that they get upset with the way we handle things in the Middle East, but then act like it's our responsibility to protect their oil supply. Ditto Russia.

  • ||

    pRO,

    I think Europe plays a lot of good cop bad cop with the US. They all have Muslim minorities they are terrified of. I think they would privately like nothing better than for the Cowboy US to go bomb the shit out Iran and end their threat. Those missiles the Iranians are building won't be pointed at Washington (they can't reach that far) but at Europe. At the same time because of their Muslim minorities they can't come out and say that is what they want to happen. So they have it both ways and talk a good game about how awful and war like the US is and then privately hope we ignore them and do the right thing. It is a pretty shitty deal for the US if you ask me.

  • ||

    Yes, I wonder what Europe would do if faced with the Middle East on their own? Lots of bombs and dead people, I bet. Frankly, given their history, I doubt they'd exercise the restraint that we have.

  • Reformed Republican||

    Let's just pay people to dig really deep holes on the coast. It will create jobs and give the water some place to go as sea levels rise.

  • short, fat bastard||

    Frankly, given their history, I doubt they'd exercise the restraint that we have.

    New and Improved! Holocaust 2.0!

  • ||

    Yes, I wonder what Europe would do if faced with the Middle East on their own? Lots of bombs and dead people, I bet. Frankly, given their history, I doubt they'd exercise the restraint that we have.

    This is starting to sound appealing.

    Though a bit too similar to the magical "if we leave Iraq the Iraqis will be forced to work out their own problems" concept.

    It would be nice to see someone not exercising restraint against Islamic nutjobbery though.

  • ||

    To be sure, I'm not advocating that Europe take harsh measures against nations in the Middle East; I'm just doubtful that they would refrain from doing so.

  • ||

    Oh bloody Christ. Why are we even arguing about this?

    Is it not flipping Obvious that the correct solution is to build a shitload of nuclear power plants?

    We CAN get radical reductions in CO2 emissions without great economic hardship. Nuclear power. DUH! For some reason everyone who argues about this subject seems to develop a massive mental block when it comes to nuclear.

  • ||

    Nukes now, fusion later.

  • short, fat bastard||

    I'm just doubtful that they would refrain from doing so.

    They have a couple of hundred years of history in colonization that indicates they wouldn't be as smooth and sophisticated as they claim to be.

  • ||

    Hazel,

    I don't. You can build all the nukes you want. Did you hear about the small ones they are developing out at Los Alamos? You can bury them in the ground and they will light 20,000 houses for five years before they run out of fuel. Then you just dig them up and put a new one in. I got no problem with building all the nukes you want.

  • ||

    John,
    Yeah it just always strikes me as strange to have all these people proposing these elaborate energy conservation and production schemes, and global warming adaptation schemes, when there already is a simple solution that is staring us in the face.

    Yeah, let's seed the oceans with algae blooms, lets put giant orbiting mirrors up to deflect sunlight away from the earth. Lets put dust in the atmosphere to block the sunlight. Lets impose mandatory growth limits and population controls. ANYTHING but build some more nuclear plants.

  • Jordan||

    What governments of the world and the UN should be doing is trying to artifically cause global cooling. There are ways to do this; and they have a lot more chance of success than by trying to conserve the way out of the problem.



    That's the most terrifying idea I've ever heard. The UN and world governments couldn't run a lemonade stand. I don't want them messing with one of the most complicated and poorly understood systems in the world.

  • ||

    Look out honey cause I'm using technology!

    I would like to see some good simulations of geo-engineered cooling. The problem isn't the governing bodies so much that as a species, we have a terrible record of engineering positive changes to existing ecosystems.

    In other words, if we acted to counteract global warming with macro-engineering there would undoubtedly be unintended consequences.

    That said, cap'n'trade will have disastrous unintended economic consequences. Pick you poison, punks.

  • ||

    Geoengineering should not be used to forestall the mild global warming presently predicted. If global warming does not produce a runaway effect that threatens human or civilization extinction, then almost certainly adaptation accompanied by Coasian bargaining will be the best alternative.

    Rather, geoengineering should be the insurance policy in the back pocket against the unlikely event that global warming does hit the tail of the distribution of possible futures in such a way as to be severely damaging. In that case, the unintended consequences of geoengineering are unlikely to be worse than the alternative.

    Note that this plan is way, way, way, way less harmful to humanity than cutting GHG emission to such an extent that the disastrous tail of the distribution vanishes.

  • ||

    And by the way, Obama's incessant sales pitch hailing the benefits of replacing cheap energy with expensive labor either says a lot about his economic incompetence or a lot about his political astuteness in judging the electorate's economic incompetence.

  • ||

    five million new green jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced.

    Why can't they be outsourced? There is no job that doesn't require hands-on contact with the customer that can't be outsourced.

    Is it time for a new acronym?

    How Stupid Does Obama Think We Are?

  • ||

    In other words, if we acted to counteract global warming with macro-engineering there would undoubtedly be unintended consequences.

    Most likely.

    Of course, if you're going to say we don't have enough knowledge about how climate works to implement a technological solution, its hard to say we have enough knowledge of how climate works to determine that AGW is causing a quantified amount of warming, no?

  • ||

    I agree with MikeP.

  • ||

    Is it time for a new acronym?

    How Stupid Does Obama Think We Are?


    HSDOTWA? Doesn't roll of the tongue very easily. I have some experience with acronyms, lemme try.

    Are we as stupid as Barack Obama thinks? (AWASABOT).

    Much better.

  • Xeones||

    I think H'sdotwa is actually a Navajo word. Awasabot, on the other hand... Bantu, maybe?

  • ||

    Obama
    Believes that
    America is
    Made of
    Asinine

  • Jordan||

    Oh
    Boy!
    A
    Major
    Assfucking!

  • economist||

    "Geoengineering should not be used to forestall the mild global warming presently predicted. If global warming does not produce a runaway effect that threatens human or civilization extinction, then almost certainly adaptation accompanied by Coasian bargaining will be the best alternative."
    According to Murphy's law, such geoengineering attempt would be implemented around the same time that the earth started to cool naturally, causing an ice age. Naturally, it will be blamed on the evil (and irrelevant)libertarian overlords.

  • economist||

    Oh bloody Christ. Why are we even arguing about this?

    "Is it not flipping Obvious that the correct solution is to build a shitload of nuclear power plants?

    We CAN get radical reductions in CO2 emissions without great economic hardship. Nuclear power. DUH! For some reason everyone who argues about this subject seems to develop a massive mental block when it comes to nuclear."
    Because TEH REPUBLICUNZ AND TEH CORPORASHUNZ want it! Therefore it is evil. Didn't you ever watch the Simpsons? The evil corporashunz would start dumping nuclear material in public parks and playgrounds and give kids cancer.

  • ||

    Now, Jordan, he hasn't taken office yet. However, I think he believes that we're made of stupid right now. You can start using yours in, oh, say July 2009.

  • ||

    The evil corporashunz would start dumping nuclear material in public parks and playgrounds and give kids cancer.

    OMG!!1 UR so right! Just think what might happen if the nuclear waste leaked out 10,000 years from now! We might have a 2% increase in cancer rates!!!!!

  • nonPaulogist||

    Global Warming, global terrorism; it's all the same.

  • economist||

    I figure Obama is in fact intelligent enough to understand that most people are stupid, while having enough restraint (more than me) to avoid saying it out loud.

  • ||

    John has an excellent sense of humor. Maybe the woman who thought Obama was going to pay her mortgage and put gas in her car will get the first Christmas pony. It would be such a symbolic gesture. Lol!

    And, yeah, economist, your very last post is probably right. Obama certainly did get elected understanding how stupid everyone is, that's for sure.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Is it not flipping Obvious that the correct solution is to build a shitload of nuclear power plants?

    No, it is not flipping obvious, or else the market would have provided this service long ago...

    http://www.rmi.org/sitepages/pid467.php

    Isn't it time we forgot about nuclear power? Informed capitalists have. Politicians and pundits should too. After more than half a century of devoted effort and a half-trillion dollars of public subsidies, nuclear power still can't make its way in the market. If we accept that unequivocal verdict, we can at last get on with the best buys first: proven and ample ways to save more carbon per dollar, faster, more surely, more securely, and with wider consensus. As often before, the biggest key to a sound climate and security strategy is to take market economics seriously.

  • Random10||

    If carbon dioxide traps heat, then how is cold beer possible? We are going to have CO2 emission controls forced upon us unless we marshal massive public resistance. This will not occur until the public comes to accept that man made global warming is lie. This can not be achieved by arguing the nuances of climate science. This can only be achieved by getting the public to understand that CO2 does not trap heat, thus making a lie of all the other claims. If carbon dioxide traps heat, then how can icy cold Coca Cola exist? Every Coors, Bud, Miller, and Pepsi advertisement should be our ally for getting the public to see the truth about the lie.

  • ||

    Neu Mejican :
    No, it is not flipping obvious, or else the market would have provided this service long ago

    They WOULD have provided this service long ago if it wasn't for a hostile regulatory environment, actual moratoriums against building nuclear plants, and frivilous lawsuits that are intended, as a deliberate tactics, to raise the costs of building nuclear plants. They even brag about it.

    If we actually had a free market, where people were allowed to build plants without first getting political approval, for which they need to fight off hundreds of fanatical anti-nuclear zealots, we would have a lot more nuclear power already.

  • duderman||

    can't wait for 5 million permanently entrenched envirohippy do-gooders wearing obama shirts with clipboard in hand, checking my car's carbon footprint at each stoplight

  • Al Gore||

    I appreciate the fact that you corrected the erroneous figure of 5 million jobs. In actuality, the number is closer to 500 million.

    Outside of this, however, your argument that a green economy will cost money does not hold bottled water.

    You fail to recognize the many trillions of dollars in new wealth that will be created through the green finance sector of our green economy.

    Green financial instruments such as carbon credits, carbonized debt obligations (CDOs) and carbon default swaps (CDS) will create new sustainable artificial markets worth tens of trillions of dollars at a time when unsustainable artificial markets built on resource consumption are collapsing.

    I discussed this recently on my blog:

    http://www.aninconvenientblog.org/2008/11/13/green-finance-is-changing-wall-street/

    I hope you'll take the time to read it and retract your statements.

    Make no mistake about it: the green economy will make green. I'm betting on it and I do have a Nobel Prize.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Keep the faith Hazel.

    Of course communism would work too. We've just never given it a real chance...

    [/sarcasm]

  • economist||

    Neu Mejican,
    Amazing. Whenever libertarians point out that something might not be a good idea or it would already be on the market, you're quite quick to dismiss the idea. And yet you're willing to use a slightly modified form of the argument when applying it to an industry that has government regulation up the wazoo preventing its expansion.

  • economist||

    I'm a skeptic on the nuclear power thing myself. But claiming that there are not significant government imposed barriers that have prevented the expansion of the use of nuclear power in the U.S. is like claiming that the sun is actually a giant lightbulb.

  • economist||

    At the moment (and I'd say for the next decade, at least), the only way to significantly reduce carbon emissions without destroying our standard of living is a switch to nuclear power. And for once I can claim majority support: Most people do not want to go back to living in the bush.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Amazing. Whenever libertarians point out that something might not be a good idea or it would already be on the market, you're quite quick to dismiss the idea. And yet you're willing to use a slightly modified form of the argument when applying it to an industry that has government regulation up the wazoo preventing its expansion.

    Okay, just to be clear.

    You are saying that the formulation "something might not be a good idea or it would already be on the market" is invalid, which makes my assertion invalid.

    I'll go with that as a general principle.

    Of course devil is always in the details.

    I believe in this case the formulation is "even though the industry has had massive government support for decades, it still can't get off the ground" or alternately "this has been tried in the market and has failed."

    The idea that governments put too many barriers in the way of Nuclear power in the US seems to fly in the face of reality. As Lovins points out in the article I link to above, the efforts by governments are far more in the direction of subsidy and support for the industry to the tune of 500 Billion dollars the industry can't get off the ground.

    Nuclear power has only been successfully implemented on a wide scale when highly subsidized (think France). It seems people supporting a Nuclear power centered approach are advocating France levels of centralized control and support to solve the problem. This might work, but is the more expensive model.

  • Neu Mejican||

    On the issue of validity of arguments.

    An invalid argument that I frequently dismiss on h&r: the way we do it is the best way to do it because this is the solution that the market chose.

    This is not the argument that I make above, fwiw.

    An argument that doesn't align with empirical evidence: bottom-up forces will find the best solution more efficiently if there is not top-down influence.

    fwiw, this is not the argument I make above.

    An invalid argument: If it were a good idea, the market would have discovered it already.

    This is a combination of the two arguments above and is equally invalid.

    I don't think that was the argument I was making above.

    The formulation I was aiming for: this is a solution that has been tried in the market and has failed to take hold.

  • Neu Mejican||

    A point about the difference between market forces and government action.

    frivilous lawsuits that are intended, as a deliberate tactics,to raise the costs of building nuclear plants.

    This is an example of a market force.

    They even brag about it.

    Another market force: spread information about a successful tactic for influencing outcomes.

    If we actually had a free market, where people were allowed to build plants without first getting political approval,

    If by "political approval" you mean government license, this is an example of a government barrier. In the real world the government offsets this barrier with public loan guarantees and tax-payer back liability insurance, tax breaks, and other incentives.

    for which they need to fight off hundreds of fanatical anti-nuclear zealots,

    Again, an example of a market force since in a democracy there is the opportunity to sway people to your side...a market of political ideas.

    we would have a lot more nuclear power already.

    The situation you envision is not one of a free market, but one where governments restrict the actions of those that oppose a corporate activity. In a free market (short of anarchy), the lawsuits would still occur, the public opposition would still result in higher costs, and you would lose the government supports and incentives.

  • ||

    John, it's been a dream of mine to get a pony for Christmas since I was little. You deserve a sit down with Obama for your forward backward thinking.

    The sea level/coastline statement is my favorite. Easily accessible GPS data has laid this myth completely to rest. There has been some rise and fall, but the fact remains that the net rise for the past CENTURY is nearly negligible. Furthermore, just ahead of NBC's "Green Week" alarmism about sea levels threatening The Maldives, the worlds's leading sea level expert published a paper calling it bullshit. Included in the paper is a photo of a mature Maldivean tree that sits almost exactly at sea level in the middle of an otherwise barren field. Clearly unaffected by the claims of sea level rise, it is a picture that is worth a thousand words, and makes a billion GoreBama words WORTHLESS. But did that stop NBC from running with the story? Nope. Of course they had help. Some very disappointed environmento-wackos, faced with the reality that the tree represented CUT IT DOWN shortly after the article published!!!

    So what is really amazing to me is that our President should be so misinformed. He seems totally unaware of the facts uncovered by government funded studies, and instead spouts off word-for-word disinformation straight from alarmist TV journalists. But despite the appearance that he is absent of any knowledge of government activities, yet seems to have everything on TV committed to memory, people eat up everything he says. Isn't it shameful that we support a president that forms his policies based on the TV news reports. All the while ignoring diligent studies funded by large sums of taxpayer money.

    Folks forget about Global Warming or any other single issue. This is a much bigger and broader epidemic in our society. One that, sadly, leads me to believe we're pretty much fucked...

  • ||

    Neu Mejican, you make a good point, however in so doing, totally invalidate yourself. Fact is, the government quite actively restricts the actions of those that SUPPORT a corporate activity. They have blocked offshore drilling, the building of new refineries, the building of new power plants, the opening of coal mines, the mining of Uranium, and the storage of nuclear fuel.

    So your assertion that it would be somehow "wrong" for the opposite to happen is a little thin. True two wrongs don't make a right, but what is RIGHT is that the governments job is to enable these things, not create obstacles to them. That is how you maintain a free market. That said it is shameful that, given the principles of this country, that the government is the obstacle to that free market.

    The MAJORITY of Americans want cheaper gas and electricity. As it stands the shortest, most econimical path to that is oil and coal. In a country that is supposed to be founded on the principles of free markets and majority rule, there is no justification for the existing, government imposed obstacles having and excess of these things. While your narrowly focused points may have relevance on the microscale, they speak to a situation that never should have come to be on the macroscale.

    The will of the majority is being ignored, an that is Unconstitutional. And as such, any rationalizations beyond that bear no relevance. Period.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Dubl,

    Not sure I agree with your evaluation.

    Government is a process that involves both facilitation and inhibition, encouragement and discouragement, putting up barriers to somethings while creating supports for others.

    In the case of nuclear, the evidence suggests that there are more incentives than barriers. In the case of oil and coal the same has been true historically...not sure where you get the idea that the oil companies are facing significant government barriers on balance.

  • Neu Mejican||

    As an aside,

    The MAJORITY of Americans want cheaper gas and electricity.

    The majority also wants a free lunch and a 12 dollar big screen TV with surround sound.

    The majority also want environmental factors considered in energy policy despite the additional costs.

    To me this means that American want clean energy that is as cheap as possible...but they recognize the need to move to cleaner energy.

    Do you disagree?

  • ||

    Completely aside from the merits or not of nuclear power...

    In a country that is supposed to be founded on the principles of free markets and majority rule...

    The will of the majority is being ignored, an that is Unconstitutional.

    What country and/or constitution are you talking about?

  • Neu Mejican||

    The will of the majority is being ignored, an that is Unconstitutional. And as such, any rationalizations beyond that bear no relevance. Period.

    Any of the libertarians in the crowd want to explain to Dubl why this is false?

    It seems obvious to me that Dubl hasn't read his constitution in a while, based on this assertion.

  • Neu Mejican||

    MikeP,

    Thanks, you beat me to it.

  • ||

    Mike and Mejican, thanks for confirming my suspicions that you are totally out to lunch.

    PLEASE excerpt for me here any and all passages from the US Constitution that support your assertions that this country is NOT founded on majority rule. I thought Supreme Court decisions required a majority opinion. I thought elections, passage of legislation, constitutional amendments, ballot initiatives, referendums, etc etc, required majority votes. Boy was I wrong. Thanks for setting the record straight. I was worried Obama was actually going to get to be President.

    Anyway, I'll wait here for your sure-to-be-priceless reply.

    Quick question, does "bearing children" mean keeping children locked in a box in your closet? Because you are starting to remind me of the types who believe that this is what the right to "bear arms" means. I love the inept constitutional interpretations of the average American sheep idiot. Meanwhile, I bet you're sitting there wondering how so many people are calling you out on everything you say. They've got some nerve considering how well you've demonstrated your understanding of the workings of government. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  • ||

    As an aside, your assertions about what Americans want, is absolutely and completely made up and wrong.

    And the difference between my assertions and yours is that there are numerous polls to prove mine. In poll after poll, environmental considerations consistently rank at the bottom of the priority scale, while energy and fuel costs rank tops. So your assertions are only true in your dreams. The same dreams where you are intelligent, well informed, aware of what is actually in the constitution, and interesting to people. I can see why you desperately want this to be reality, but sadly it's not

  • ||

    PLEASE excerpt for me here any and all passages from the US Constitution that support your assertions that this country is NOT founded on majority rule

    Article V?

    The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress



    You seem to think that the US was founded as a democracy. No. It was founded as a constitutional republic. Its political structure was not engineered to get the majority's wishes enacted: Its political structure was engineered to make tyrannical rule difficult.

  • ||

    Incidentally, by my count, the word 'majority' appears 5 times in the original Constitution -- once in reference to the definition of a legislative quorum, and the balance in the description of the Electoral College. In contrast, 'two-thirds' appears 9 times and 'three-fourths' appears 2 times.

    So in particular...

    I thought Supreme Court decisions required a majority opinion.

    Not mentioned in the Constitution.

    I thought elections,

    Oh, the Electoral College is a paragon of majority rule.

    passage of legislation,

    Not mentioned in the Constitution.

    constitutional amendments,

    You must be kidding.

    ballot initiatives, referendums, etc etc, required majority votes.

    Not even covered by the Constitution.

    Boy was I wrong.

    Indeed. In fact, you are so wrong as to be beyond the pale of even most trolls in this forum.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Dubl,

    And the difference between my assertions and yours is that there are numerous polls to prove mine. In poll after poll, environmental considerations consistently rank at the bottom of the priority scale, while energy and fuel costs rank tops.

    True enough except that it is not.
    I notice an equal lack of citations on your part.

    Here's some from my end.

    http://money.cnn.com/2008/07/03/news/economy/environment_economy/index.htm?postversion=2008070313

    Headline: NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- With the U.S. economy mired in a slump, Americans still believe saving the environment is more important than fixing the economy, according to a new poll released Thursday. But consumers are more closely divided on the issue than they have been in the past.

    Another...

    Gallup Poll. March 6-9, 2008. N=1,012 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (for all adults).


    "With which one of these statements about the environment and the economy do you most agree? Protection of the environment should be given priority, even at the risk of curbing economic growth. OR, Economic growth should be given priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent." Options rotated


    Environment Economic Growth EqualPriority (vol.) Unsure

    3/6-9/08
    49 42 5 3



    Numbers equal % responses in same order as priorities...I guess you got me...49% is not really a majority, just the largest group.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Here's one that pits drilling against the environment...

    http://www.pollingreport.com/prioriti.htm

    "Protecting the environment" 11/6-10/08 49%

    "Allowing off-shore drilling for oil" 11/6-10/08 37%

    http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=607

    This is an older poll, but gives a sense of the country, imho.

    Three in four U.S. adults (74%) agree that "protecting the environment is so important that requirements and standards cannot be too high, and continuing environmental improvements must be made regardless of cost." In addition, a plurality of adults (47%) agree that "there is too little government regulation and involvement in the area of environmental protection." These attitudes are significantly more pro-environment than in 2000, the last time Harris Interactive examined these issues.

  • ||

    Three in four U.S. adults (74%) agree that "protecting the environment is so important that requirements and standards cannot be too high, and continuing environmental improvements must be made regardless of cost."



    Three in four US adults are dumb.

    "...regardless of cost"?! Don't words have any meaning anymore?

  • Neu Mejican||

    MikeP,

    I chuckled at the wording too...but remember, the pollsters wrote it. I am sure that most people read it as "it is worth the cost" or "even if it is expensive" or "we shouldn't let money deter us from the goal."

    Also if the question was put in opposition to "as long as it doesn't cost anything" or some other poorly worded choice, the response may have been the less bad choice.

  • ||

    Plus, climate-change feedbacks suggest that if the CO2 levels stay over 350PPM for too long, they will jump way, way up (through positive feedback loops like melting sea ice, increased CO2 release from permafrost, and decreased forests) and we'll be on a wild ride to a very hot, ice-free planet.

    Long-term climate stability says otherwise. Positive feedback loops generally don't exist in nature. Claiming that our climate is subject to them requires extraordinary evidence you don't have.

    They you can get government to stop drilling for new sources of oil, making existing sources of oil, which you own, that much more valuable

    Sounds wonderful, except that the "oil companies" don't actually own much oil. Nearly all oil is owned by national governments, very little is privately owned.

  • ||

    Three in four U.S. adults (74%) agree that "protecting the environment is so important that requirements and standards cannot be too high, and continuing environmental improvements must be made regardless of cost."

    Three in four US adults are idiots. Consider the automobile. Current emissions regulations make engines about 99.95% clean. EPA wants to make that about 99.99% ("a 3/4 reduction!"). The actual change is so miniscule as to be meaningless. This will cost lots of money, but will produce no measurable environmental improvement because it does nothing about the old junkers out on the road. Indeed, it would be far better for the environment to induce replacement of old autos by increasing registration fees on a sliding scale every year, or simply paying people to get rid of their old cars. Both would be cheaper and more effective than improving existing emissions controls. Neither would satisfy the anti-auto zealots, nor would they increase the power of EPA's management, so of course they will not be implemented.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Long-term climate stability says otherwise. Positive feedback loops generally don't exist in nature. Claiming that our climate is subject to them requires extraordinary evidence you don't have.

    "Long-term climate stability" is a tricky term.

    Over the long term, millions of years, your statement is true. However, the geologic record indicates a positive feed-back loop with CO2. Indeed, many of the AGW skeptics use the fact that CO2 increases follow heating rather than leading heating in the pre-human past as evidence that C02 isn't the culprit. Their thinking on this issue is muddled, but based on well known facts. When you add in methane from the tundra and other factors, a positive feedback loop in the short term is very dangerous...with the short term being pretty long by human standards (1000's of years, perhaps).

  • ||

    There are some very simple economic arguments why a government-mandated CO2 reduction program will be worse than useless.

    Oil is fungible. It's traded on world markets. Let's say the U.S. goes on a crash program to eliminate oil consumption. Everyone converts to windmills and solar cells and sits around patting themselves on the back for 'saving the Earth'. What happens to global CO2 output?

    Not a damned thing. What happens is that the price of oil crashes due to a 25% reduction in demand (we just had a 6% reduction in demand, and the price of oil dropped in half). This makes oil much cheaper than alternative energies in every other country in the world, and stimulates the use of it. Conservation everywhere else slows down, and CO2 emissions go up.

    That's the reality of trying to make local changes to control the consumption of a global commodity. It simply doesn't work.

    That's why any move to a CO2 free economy HAS to be grounded in solid economics. It can't be subsidized, you can't punish CO2-producing energy sources locally. Doing so will only punish Americans and American business and products and make them less competitive on the world market - especially since your competitors are finding their energy costs going down while yours go up.

    The sad truth is that we are going to burn every drop of oil that's in the ground, until a time comes when it's no longer cost-effective to do so. And if we don't, then China, Russia and India will. The only hope for reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere is that we develop an energy source that is cheaper than oil, or that we wait until oil is scarce enough that other energy sources naturally become cheaper, or we figure out a way to scrub CO2 from the atmosphere.

    Those are your ONLY choices.

  • ||

    However, the geologic record indicates a positive feed-back loop with CO2.
    It does? While the usual suspects whine and fret over a few percent increase in CO2, we know that in the past CO2 levels were several times their current level. The dinosaurs did just fine, and life was more abundant than now, not less. It didn't spell doom then, it won't now.
    That's the reality of trying to make local changes to control the consumption of a global commodity. It simply doesn't work.
    That would be true, if this were about saving the world. As is increasingly obvious, it isn't. The change in rhetoric from "global warming" to "global climate change", so reminiscent of "1984", was your big clue. It's about using environmentalism to pave the way for the global socialist state, with the proper right-thinking (i.e. leftist) people in power.
    That's why any move to a CO2 free economy HAS to be grounded in solid economics.
    Solid economics is the last thing proponents of a CO2-free economy care about.

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