Kyoto Comeback

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The idea that Tony Blair expects to trade British participation in Iraq for U.S. support of tough new global emissions standards—first floated back in September—gets some expert support. The Cato Institute's Patrick Michaels identifies three elements in the current Senate energy bill that, if enacted, would go a long way towards implementing the rejected and "dead" Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

The most obvious pay-off to Blair would be Bush administration support of a new, permanent Office of Climate Policy in the White House. Michaels says Bush support for that would be a sure sign that the Kyoto fix is in.

NEXT: Dollar Days

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  1. Jim:

    personal opinion here, so take it for that.

    The people who are behind Kyoto are two types. The “true believers” who buy the propaganda that the sky is falling and we can actually do something to prevent it. There really aren’t that many of those. The majority are those who want to gang up on the lone economic and military superpower (or so says my conspiracy theory side). The idea is to put a ball-and-chain on the US economy because we’re SO far ahead in the race that the centrally-planned welfare states in the rest of the world can’t keep up.

    OK. Let the beatings begin.

  2. why steve?

    no need for beatings. i’d agree with your second theory completely.

    we’ll learn the rest of ’em.

    drf

  3. First Bush decides to go through the torturous and ultimately doomed process of trying to get a second UN resolution for Blair’s sake. Then he makes concessions on trying to restart the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” in order to mollify Blair’s supporters. Now he’s trying to sneak Kyoto (or something similar to it) in there?

    I’m entirely in favor of rewarding one’s allies, but this has gone overboard.

  4. I’d like to chalk it up to a lot of people being really misinformed. I expect as much from the general population (no offense intended to the unwashed hordes here, there’s much I’m not informed about as well…) but I would expect people in a position of power to have a better understanding of what they’re proposing when it impacts things that their voters care about like their jobs, their cars, their utility bills and pretty much anything else that uses energy. Assuming that the people in power are fairly smart on some level (that’s usually required to get elected) I must assume that they’re aware of these things but can’t resist the opportunity of the power grab presented and/or the inate desire to tinker with other people’s lives that is the basis of the personality of one who goes into politics.

    I’ll buy Steve’s ‘two types’ theory with one modification: The true believers and then the redistributionists, who are motivated by more than simple jealousy and actually believe the US (and to a lesser extent other industrialized mostly-capitalist economies) are getting wealthy at the expense of the rest of the world. This view has been around for a long time and probably has some truth in it based on how some former empires treated their colonies. The modern version is now we’re not just stealing the third world’s material resources but we’re busy polluting it for everybody.

    The part that worries me about this is the broad worldwide appeal that this seems to have with the ‘middle of the road’ person, and his elected representatives, who are not motivated by either ideological extreme. How is it that a policy originated by ideological radicals that is so against the everyday interests of the average person appears to be quite popular with that same average person, everywhere in the world but here?

    (of course it is also popular with some here as well, just less so that western Europe, for example).

  5. Global warming. Is it a hoax? A article of faith for environmentalists – environmentalism being a religion more than a science? A cover story to hold back our economy and keep us “in line” with the slower growing welfare states (like mentioned above)?

    Even if it is happening, is it a bad thing?

    If it is happening, and it is a bad thing, is there anything we can really do about it? If we followed Kyoto to the letter, would it have any impact?

  6. Dude:

    Right on…fer sure.

    Happy Weekend!

  7. Its funny, the majority of the time Americans are very optimistic, ‘can do’ people, ‘men on the moon’, ‘remaking the middle east to our liking’ etc.. leaving us Europeans the less sexy role of ‘old world cynics’ that is, until the question of doing something about pollution comes up…

    Whoa! all of a sudden attitudes change… global warming isn’t happening, its nothing to do with us and even if it was (which it isn’t of course) its impossible to do anything about so we shouldn’t even try. Anyone who attempts to do something or even suggest that we may be heading down the wrong path must be secretly trying to restrain the American colossus…

    The debate about your freedom to drive to work in an off road vehicle or to allow your factories carte blanche to pollute the air is rather spurious when measured against the potential costs that everyone on the planet may have to pay for it.

    You think your freedom is at stake? I’d appreciate the liberty to breathe clean air or for my home not to be flooded on a regular basis. My pursuit of that freedom may cost you a couple of bucks of course.

    It’s evasion, plain and simple. The planet seems to be warming up and you guys (and us too) need to make some painful changes in our lifestyles. Deal with it and join the rest of the planet in attempting a solution.

    We old world cynics need that ‘can do’ spirit on this one…

    Matt

  8. The world could also be warming up because of a population explosion. You know, another billion people walking around at 98.6… might have some kind of an effect. Want us to have a “can do” attitude on that one?

  9. I have my doubts that Bush would be able to get any of this through Congress, even if he really wanted it. He isn’t exactly cake-walking it through with his tax cuts, even with two Republican houses in Congress, and all this environmental stuff is more unpopular with congressional Republicans than tax cuts are.

    He has a lot of political capital at this point from the war but I don’t think it necessarily transfers to unrelated issues, such as the environment, abortion, etc. I suspect he is aware of this himself.

  10. drf,

    He he he. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. JIm,

    Political entities of all kinds thrive on crisis. People will not surrender power or money to the government unless they feel threatened. In the past, wars commonly served this purpose. In the present, environmental issues serve especially for those political entities on the Left. For the Left, Global Warming is just the latest sin of capitalism, a sin which an expanded state will protect us from.

    A idea does not have to possess any scientific validity to gain wide currency in the political arena. Look at the history of scientific racism in the first half of the 20th century. Look at Freudianism or classical Marxism. In 70’s, all political debate assumed that the world was physically running out of oil and that energy would be scarce forever. Had you told someone of that era that in 2003 the major energy related complaint would be giant gas-guzzling SUV’s they would have thought you insane.

    Matt Owen,

    It was largely “old world cynicism” that created much of the American hostility to Kyoto. Europe cynically set the emission baseline to 1990 letting them gain credit for large numbers of carbon sources in Eastern Europe that they had already shutdown due to the sources inefficiencies or decrepitude. When America suggested resetting the baseline to a much later date the Europeans refused.

    It is difficult to view this as anything other than a cynical attempt to foist the cost of CO2 reduction off on North America and Japan.

  12. Well Doug, the basic reason why we don’t already have Kyoto is because Clinton knew it would never get through the Senate. In fact, it was thought that it would be rejected unanimously. So Clinton put it to the side of his desk until his administration expired. Bush was elected a short time later, and nixed the treaty, as was inevitable, and overnight he became an environmental rapist in the eyes of the Global-Left.

  13. ‘another billion people walking around at 98.6… might have some kind of an effect. Want us to have a “can do” attitude on that one?’

    I think you’ve already started on the herd thinning job haven’t you ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. Jim: Well, one side says, “EVIL PEOPLE ARE DESTROYING MOTHER EARTH! ONLY YOU CAN HELP SAVE THE PLANET!” The other says, “Long-term studies…statistical analysis…unknowns…weighing various forms of evidence…”

    I’m not too surprised one of these sides gets people more fired up than the other!

  15. People will not surrender power or money to the government unless they feel threatened. In the past, wars commonly served this purpose

    LOL – That dim and distant past when political elites used war and fear to increase their power…

    It is difficult to view this as anything other than a cynical attempt to foist the cost of CO2 reduction off on North America and Japan.

    You could view it as an attempt, however flawed, to confront a problem which conceivably threatens us all…

    Still, you may be right in stating that the 1990 date gave the Europeans a head start. Yet to gain any kind of agreement at Kyoto required umpteen compromises – its the nature of a global agreement unfortunately. Maybe we could go back and renegotiate again until we find a deal you like, should take about 5-10 years I’d imagine and when the Europeans don’t like that one we can start the whole process again. Eventually I’m sure we could negotiate all the pain away and come up with a nice, vague woolly statement we can all feel real good about and which will acheive bugger all.

    Bottom line, I can’t prove to you that we’re in the shit. You’re right to say that science has been wrong before. I for one fervently hope that its wrong on this as well.

    If we wait until the proof is incontrovertible however it may be too late to do anything. If Global warming is wrong and we implement Kyoto then we still gain cleaner air and more efficient energy use for the price of some economic cost. If GW is right and we dont implement Kyoyto (or it doesnt work) then we will all be living (as the chinese say) in very interesting times.

  16. OK, I’ll actually say that:

    1) Global Warming (average increase in temps) is real and happening.

    b) Our activity in realeasing greenhouse gasses is a leading, but not yet proven to be THE leading, cause.

    iii) We can only do something about it to the extent our emissions are causing it, with a couple of other neat ideas that might work whether or not we’re causing it.

    4th) There are a lot of arrogant assholes in the environmental movement, and in environmental science, and the two will play “not me–that was him!” while benefitting from the other’s work.

    funf) That doesn’t make them completely wrong.

    So basically, yes it’s a problem, yes it will have costs and affect your quality of life to some degree, no it will not end the world, yes it will probably visit itself more on poorer countries than richer ones, but that will trickle up to us eventually.

    It is something to avoid if we can, but no, it’s not worth breaking the bank to do. The seas probably won’t rise over the coastal cities within the next 10-15 years at least.

    Another point re: Kyoto. If implemented, it wouldn’t affect your taxes nearly as much as inflation. It’s based on a permit-trading system much like the one we used to phase out leaded gas in the 70’s. The gigantic, gaping flaw in it from the point of actually getting anything done is that so-called “developing” countries are exempt, and the 1990 figure means that former Communist countries will have permits to sell since their economies have contracted to much lower than 1990 levels and most growth has been far less polluting.

    I’m involved with a company that markets registry software, and the mechanics of trading allowances is kind of interesting. It’s as pro-market as pollution regulation can get, since they aren’t mandating technologies.

    That being said, there are other methods that should have been included, such as technical projects to increase the earth’s albedo, or reflectivity, thus reducing the amount of heat trapped by the atmosphere. These will also have environmental consequences though, so they’ll have to be less bad than the alternative.

  17. “I’d appreciate the liberty to breathe clean air or for my home not to be flooded on a regular basis . . . The planet seems to be warming up and you guys (and us too) need to make some painful changes in our lifestyles.”

    I suppose it would be asking too much for YOU to make the painful choice not to live in a flood plain, right? No, better to make EVERYONE ELSE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD change their behaviors to accommodate you.

  18. Hi Sandy!

    I don’t normally greet people like this, but….Kiss My Ass. First it’s how great and wonderful and powerful “Gaia” is, then it’s “Oh My God-who eco-freaks don’t believe in anyway-we’re killing the Earth”. Well f*** all of you eco-pukes. You think we’re SO powerful we can change the CLIMATE!?!? What arrogant bullshit. Earth has been this warm before, it will be this warm again. Earth has frozen over before, it will do so again IN SPITE of our best efforts.

    Nothing personal, but I reiterate….Kiss my big, fat, honky m*****f****** ass.

  19. Ann Coulter (say what you want about her …) has the best explanation in answer to some of the posts above (wondering why people are pushing this garbage):

    The leftists have been proven wrong so many times over the last 20 years or so. This is one that it will take 1000 years to prove wrong.

    Well, I paraphrase what she wrote in here book Slander, which is a pretty good book.

    Anyway, Sandy, Steve is right on, except it usually goes “kiss my hairy black ass” or “kiss my lily white ass”, as appropriate. It takes a lot of damn gall to think you can terraform planet Earth. Mother nature is more powerful than you think.

    I ask this one last question to the Global Warming freaks out there, especially the rich Hollywood ones: Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is? If the mathematical models are so accurate, you do know where the Florida shoreline will be in 2020 or 2050, right? How come y’all haven’t already bought some land for cheap inland? You can move way inland into the Florida peninsula (and the Carolina low-countries too) and stay within 20 ft. of current mean sea level.

    I say again, put your damn money where your big mouths are, people. It’s the Global Warming Challenge – are you ready?

  20. NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Tony Blair’s gonna raise my taxes!!

  22. *chuckle*

  23. morning and happy thursday…

    with this in mind, check out at cato the article that floats the question whether bushie is less conservative than billie…

    cheers,
    drf

  24. Hi Jimmy and Steve:

    I’d love to kiss your asses–lean your faces closer.

    Wow. I just can’t improve on your posts. They’re–perfect. You sure you aren’t the same ones who get hysterical about the WTO or GM foods? The hysteria and lack of scientific reading seems the same.

    But hey, the aliens will be here to take care of that butt fetish real soon now.

  25. Steve – get a baseball team worth rooting for and you can be one of those guys that jumps out on the field and gets his ass kicked.

    Really. Lighten up.

  26. And what about those earthquakes in California? They wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the incessant rumble of tractors on the earth.

    Turkey and Mexico recently had some devastating earthquakes that were most assuredly caused not only by tractors, but by the heavy foot traffic in the big cities around the world, especially London.

    And Etna would not have exploded were it not for the rubbish we folded into the earth. The earth got mad that we dumped trash into landfills, and she responded by blowing her top in Indonesia and Italy.

    And let me tell you about hurricanes . . .

    THEY’RE ALL MAN-MADE!

    Before man came along, this planet was the most peaceful, the quietest, the cleanest orb circling the solar system. Then man came along and all hell broke loose.

    Don’t you know?

  27. “Office of Climate Policy?”

    Shades of the Department of Energy. The DOE was created to deal with the “energy crisis” of the 70’s. It’s still around but now it primarily deals with the production of nuclear weapons.

    I wonder what the OCP will end up doing?

  28. Weren’t you warned about the effects this war would have?

    *LOL*

  29. Gary!

    shocked! yes, indeed shocked! at the cavalier attitude you’re showing. you mean, that government actions have unintended negative consequences, aka, blowback?

    sacre bleu. moi je ne crois pas cela…
    unbelievable!
    *grin*
    drf

  30. One question for the intelligensia out there….if the global warming problem is so un or undersupported by science, why are so many people dead set behind it? (I’m just asking, not making an argument. I’m usually the guy posting defenses of big-ass gas guzzling SUVs). If there’s any chance of defeating this thing, we have to understand the enemy.

    Now I’ll wax cynical (political?) – perhaps these offerings are just a way for Bush to look like he’s implementing Kyoto as part of the pact he made when he sold his soul to Tony Blair. Given the rough state of the economy, establishing CO2 limits that cost us all money will be politically difficult. Perhaps Bush is hoping that such limits won’t be supported, but he can point to the CO2 credit program and the new OCP bureaucracy and say, “Look, I tried, but the legislature won’t support it?”. I know this approach would be a big waste of money but hey, it’ll be a bargain compared to actually having to live under Kyoto.

  31. Few want to admit that environmentalism has become a religion. The beauty of religion is that not only does it require no proof, but it can defy science.

    Assuming all the earth is warming models are correct, the problem won’t really surface for over 100 years. What science problems today do we solve with 100 year old technology?

    Here’s my solution: 100 years from now we’ll just grab the yet to be invented global thermostat and turn it down a half degree. Already we could experiment with iron filings and plankton, but new technology is not allowed as a solution. The only solution allowed is backsliding on tech.

    It seems to me if we can raise the global temperature without trying, for sure we can lower it with a little scientific effort.

  32. Hey Sandy,

    I guess you can’t handle a challenge, huh? (Besides the one to kiss my ass, you seem to be “anotomically unaware” on that one.)

    The other challenge:
    Why are you not buying land at the new Global Warming induced sea level, which will be quite a bit higher, if your scientists math models are correct? Do you REALLY believe they have good numbers?

    I can’t see why you would lump me and Steve with the anti-global, etc. folks. Quite the opposite. I am a libertarian, and Steve may be the same.

    The pollution-trading ideas you wrote about are good ones, but I see no sense in talking about “greenhouse gases” as pollution. Do you really count C02 and water vapor as pollutants? What do you want the trees to breath in the future, Sandy? Do you personally understand the hydrological cycle, self-correcting changes in albedo due to cloud cover and the like?

    I don’t want to imply that scientists studying the issue are morons. The thing is that they are still working with mathematical models which contain coefficients and factors that are not really known yet. Scientists like to get their papers published, and they probably give a wide tolerance (range, that is) on their results from these imperfect models. The problem is, only one in 50 news reporters knows enough science to interpret said journal papers. So, they will just report some worst case number, and not understand a damn thing. You sound like one of these reporters, Sandy, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong about your intelligence.

    I do not want our government to lay down new rules to solve a non-existent problem. Even I really believed that the Earth’s surface temp. was increasing a degree C or 2 per century due to our industry, so what? It has naturally gone up and down as much as 5C or more! Have you heard of the ICE AGE? It was a bear, I’m here to tell you. And, that was before Gortex gloves and polyproply underwear were available at Wal-Mart and prices everyone can afford.

    I think we could survive a warmer earth and higher sea level (assuming every “sky-is-falling” news story is true on this issue) without breaking a sweat.

    Get real, people.

  33. drf and Bernie, I seem to remember from my childhood the big thing they were scaring us with *was* another iceage. Whereas modern evironmentalists are vague about when the warming will supposedly destroy us, back in the day the new iceage was projected to begin about 200 years or so, based on patterns from eons past (likely no more accurate a prediction than random guessing). I don’t recall hearing from anyone so bold as to suggest it would happen within our lifetime though. That’s legitimately funny.

    I’ve also read word of some recent studies on cooling. One way or the other, environmentalist arguments on these topics remind me of that old Jimmy Stewart movie Harvey. i.e. A big fantastical creature that only a chosen few can see, and we’d better listen to them or else. It would be lovely of them to show us the courtesy of deciding which will actual kill us, warming or cooling, before crippling our economy and industrial output. Til then, I’ll be sitting here with a parka and a swimming suit within reach at all times, just in case.

  34. Not many scholars are yet aware of the upcoming Conference on Global Cooling to take place in Tokyo on December 5, 2003. Scientists and other experts from many countries are expected to attend.

    It has been determined that the gradual global cooling may be partially attributable to a lack of commerce and industry in under-developed countries, and may also be partially due to the gradual forced distribution of incomes from the productive to the unproductive sectors of the world, during the last 70 years.

    The upcoming Tokyo meeting is said to be steeped in controversy, but its results are likely to be ratified into a Tokyo Protocol, as much more evidence about the causes of Global Cooling are rapidly accumulating around the world.

  35. >> . . . show us the courtesy of deciding which will actual kill us, warming or cooling, before CRIPPLING OUR ECONOMY and industrial output.

  36. Phil,

    Shh! Please don’t shout! Your pithy and erudite response is much appreciated but you have no need to misuse your caps lock in such a frenzied fashion. I can read you very easily indeed…

    I was making the point that liberty resides with the individual until their actions infringe upon the liberties of others – in this case by contributing to global warming and the resulting damage to others homes and livlihoods.

    I don’t live on a flood plain, at least not yet.. However, I have no wish to cause other people to lose their homes and livlihoods by my selfishness. Neither do I seek to shirk responsibility for my lifestyle or actions. In your world view that makes me some sort of arrogant proto communist enemy of freedom right?

  37. Ah Lefty and Sandy. Thanks so much for your respective responses. My ass is not on my face, however…..well, I’l leave that.

    Believe me Lefty, I’d LOVE to have a decent baseball team here. But I’ll stay off the field.

    WTO and GM foods? No problem with either. Global Warming is completely unsupported by REAL science and it fails EVERY common sense test I can come up with. Human activity only provide less than 5% of atmospheric CO2.

    I stand by my initial comments……but it’s not personal. Right Lefty?

  38. Whereas I may use various flourishes to make a point, as far as I can tell, environmentalists literally think global warming means we may all actually die. Soon.

    I’d rather exaggerate than fabricate.

  39. To Matt in particular,

    First off, I promise to quit with the name calling for a while, well, after this one you silly English Twit (oh, I can tell from your dicked-up spelling).

    OK, here we go:

    1) “? Simply because they [CO2,H2O] already occur within the atmosphere does not imply that adding to them is not an act of pollution (check your dictionary).” Well, Matt, these 2 gases are inherently part of the atmosphere, and human, plant, and animal life would not exist without them. That’s why I don’t call them pollutants, and it makes no sense to. BTW, these gases are PRODUCTS, not BYPRODUCTS of natural and man-induced chemical reactions. I.E. the water and CO2 in exhaust contain most of the atoms that were in the fuel and air mixture. So, what this means is the only way to avoid production of these gases in generating power is by using Nuclear Reactions (not a bad idea at all, but I’m sure you are against Nuke plants, as they may cause the sky to fall, too).

    2) I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering. In the engineering world (no, I don’t count computer programming as “engineering”), we can’t get by with the BS. The answers have to work out, or we start over. You can’t BS your way through design of an engine, an airplane, or whatever. What field are you in Matt? If you say Chemistry, I will lose my faith in the English University system.

    3) “‘I don’t want to imply that scientists studying the issue are morons’

    That’s real generous of you Jimmy I’ll bet they’re very grateful.”

    That’s right, Matt, I am not implying they are morons, but I can’t be so generous with respect to you.

    4) “the vast pockets of co2 buried beneath the ice masses are released into the atmosphere causing a further degradation would be one example. Or weather patterns like the Gulf Stream are disrupted causing devastating climactic changes. So animal and plant species are potentially wiped out, people lose homes, jobs, their lives even.”

    Why are there pockets of carbon dioxide alone in the ice caps? Explain that one. OK, how is a disruption of the Gulf Stream a bad thing, if we are worried about “Global Warming” to begin with, dude? The gulf stream has a big effect on warming northwestern Europe. So, an interruption of it would “save them from global warming”, right?

    You want me to feel guilty about Sub-Saharan Africa? Hell, no, why not feel good for the poor Canadians, and the sorry-ass Siberians and Lithuanians. They may be able to grow tomatoes without a greenhouse, and shoot, maybe Scotland and the Yukon will become large cotton growing areas with big plantation house, where they hang on the big porch swing drinking sweet tea and wearing Jesus shoes.

    Oh, BTW, I live in the South – just as hot as Africa, only we know how to work for a living here, so we have A/C, cars, farms that haven’t been taken away by dictators, and guns (see previous item). We are not worried, old chap.

    I have spent a really cold-ass winter in Detroit – why don’t you show me how this fits in with the whole warming scheme? Snow into late April! – I mean, what the ????

    4) “Our actions are altering the old equations in ways we may not fully understand …” Matt, look, Newton’s laws, the 3 laws of Thermodynamics, and chemical reaction equations most certainly DO NOT CHANGE due to human actions. That is big load of crap, Matthew. I know from that statement that you are not an engineer or scientist.

    5) CFC thing: This may be the one thing I agree with you on. That has been studied and modeled, and evidence does indeed match the studies. It’s way different from the complexity of the global warming issue, and also there is no scientific consensus on human-induced global warming.

    6) “If there is uncertainty about the consequences of increased man made pollution of the atmosphere (and there clearly is, I’m not espousing one particular doomsday scenario) then it still seems sensible to take action to at least slow our contribution to climate change until we can understand the implications of our actions”

    No, no, no! We don’t know what the earth’s climate will do next. For all we know, the miniscule effect we will have (of our crippling of industry on a freakin whim) will be to have a small effect on increasing a big cooling trend into the next ice age. What are you gonna be saying then, Matt? Will your grandchildren apologize for your stupidity, or will it be the way Ann Coulter says.

    7) “We’ll all make gains in terms of efficiency and cleaner air regardless”. CO2 and H2O are not pollutants – less of them will NOT MAKE THE AIR ANY CLEANER! How does efficiency go up, and efficiency of what?? You still haven’t said how you feel about nuclear power ( well, I’ll give you a chance in a minute ;-}

    Do you even know your ass from a hole in the ground (see above posts about volcanic gases), Matt?

  40. >> What field are you in Matt? If you say Chemistry, I will lose my faith in the English University system.

  41. hey Matt,

    on the point of a smaller car more efficient than an SUK — whoops. dammit. SUV. — there are a ton of those little euro cars that use that cheap ass diesel that aren’t as efficient, nor are their emissions as clean… however, those are obviously the exceptions……. and on to the important things — which soccer team do you support?

    (and regardless of the nation, when considering educational systems, private is usually better than public…)

    cheers,
    drf

  42. Matt, touche. You’re right. “Rational” would have been a better term indeed. And thank you for setting us straight regarding your background and education.

    There are just too many true believers out there who pick these things up in schools and other institutions run by remnants of the 60’s Hippie culture, and who do nothing but impede beneficial progress.

    Obviously, we shouldn’t have lumped you into that mix.

    However, (talk about ‘humility’) you stated, “If you’re convinced that industrial emissions are having no effect [on the planet] whatsoever then prove it.”

    ANY sort of emission will have an effect. Of course! To counteract it … in the bathroom, we open a window or run a fan … in the neighborhood, we cover our BBQ pits and install catalytic converters on our cars … in cities that play host to industrial plants, we try to come up with solutions to belching chimneys … etc., etc.

    But to impute that such emissions will affect the planet’s temperature as a whole(!) that is shameles vanity. (I assume you meant an effect on the planet, did you not?)

    Have you ever looked at this planet from outer space? You can’t even SEE the cities, nor even the roads! Let alone the people and their (comparatively) puny activities here on earth.

    HOWEVER, we can see the plumes of a recently erupted volcano. And you know what THAT spews out. The earth’s volcanos have been belching noxious stuff into the atmosphere for many years — even quite recently. But the earth (nor its temperature) weren’t any the worse for it, was it?

    The earth just keeps on spinning along, taking care of itself. To believe that arrogant mankind can duplicate the destructive forces of volcanos is not being very humble. Such an attitude is sheer (wealth-killing) conceit.

  43. Hm. Good point about volcanos. It seems so obvious in hindsight. It would be interesting to estimate the impact of the output of volcanos over the past several millennia, and try to make that data fit with current prevailing pro-global-warming models. Of course, volcanos have effected atmospheric change, but i’ve only heard of it being observable in the form of ash blocking the sun’s rays and creating snowstorms in august and such.
    I’m not sure that volcanos spew often enough and intensely enough to enact long-term change. Of course, then that would mean the same for human-based emissions.

    On a slightly related note, has anyone else heard of the thing about cow flatulence being considered air pollution?

  44. Oh, yeah. Old hat. It’s been around for quite some time now. In fact, in Australia, some blokes even made an attempt to MEASURE the stuff! (Yecchh!)

    Just punch up cow flatulence in a search engine. You’ll see.

    P.S. “Man could not do in a million years what one intense volcano explosion can do to the earth.” (It’s in quotes, because I read that somewhere.)

    Cheers.

  45. Drf,

    What other (grits teeth and cravenly abandons the term football in the face of overwhelming odds) ?soccer? team could a (state I’m afraid) educated, rational man give his support to but Liverpool FC? Still, in NFL I’m a Chargers fan and there’s ?sod all? rational about supporting them as the last season empirically demonstrates… Of course you are now honour bound to state your allegiances and prepare to be judged accordingly (better not be Man Utd!).

    Bear in mind that ?cheap ass? diesel fuel over here is currently available at the bargain price of ?3.68 or $5.80 a gallon. If you want to rush over to bag some I?ll save you a place in the line?;) I guess because our gas is so taxed and therefore expensive we?re a lot more concerned with mpg figures. Oil is a limited resource for all though and when I see the war in Iraq and think of what else might happen as supplies run low I do wish you guys would try to be more fuel-efficient. Incidentally David I?m not familiar with the SUK model as I think its only been released over there, we do have the new FCUK U2 however. it?s the fuel efficient Euro version ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Rhonda,

    That?s ok and sorry to have come back at?ya quite so strongly. Although in a perfect world it shouldn?t matter where I was educated or what my affiliations are I?m glad we can move on.

    “.. in the bathroom, we open a window or run a fan … in the neighborhood, we cover our BBQ pits and install catalytic converters on our cars … in cities that play host to industrial plants, we try to come up with solutions to belching chimneys … etc., etc.”

    These are thought provoking examples. With the exception of the bathroom where there is hmmm, ?clear and present danger? and every incentive you need to switch the fan on, and the bbq pit where I guess it?s a form of social responsibility to your neighbours, the other examples you quote depend on the intervention of outside authority. I would not have spent 200 bucks to get my cat converter replaced without having to pass smog for example. The factory is forced to install a filtering system to stop the neighbourhood kids from getting asthma etc.

    Few who live in an industrial town (like I do) are against at least some form of coercion to enforce clean air standards. Why should we be? It?s in our interests to protect our environment just as much as it is to keep the wheels of industry in motion. These solutions are not anti capitalistic; they merely reflect that there are some aspects of our life that are not addressed by the pricing system and need to be regulated. In the long term they?re not wealth destroying either, the costs of treating the asthmatic kids etc are saved.

    It goes back to the externality argument; the price of the factories products does not include the cost to the community of the pollution it generates as a by-product. We enforce the clean air acts to try and redress that balance. If you?re ok with the principle that the market sometimes fails to provide the complete solution I think we can leave some of the more ideological objections to Kyoto or similar at the door I?m not asking you to concede them, merely leave them out for now in the interests of furthering the debate.

    “To impute that such emissions will affect the planet’s temperature as a whole(!) that is shameles vanity. (I assume you meant an effect on the planet, did you not?)”

    Well is it shameless vanity to suggest that a billion people using aerosol cans and refrigeration gases could cause a hole in the ozone layer? They did, I?ve been to Australia and New Zealand and felt the sun burning through my skin like nowhere else on earth, I?ve seen the scars from melanoma victims, and it makes you think I assure you.

    “To believe that arrogant mankind can duplicate the destructive forces of volcanos is not being very humble. Such an attitude is sheer (wealth-killing) conceit.”

    With respect, No! such an attitude reflects a reasoned assessment of our present level of technology. We?ve had the technology to effect instant catastrophic climate change on the world ever since Oppenheimer remember. If 10,000 hydrogen bombs were detonated it could well cause a nuclear winter at least the equal of a volcano, does acknowledging that fact make me vain? I certainly don?t get the same feeling saying that as when I tell you that Liverpool football club have won more league championships than any other team in the UK and 4 European cups in seven years, (now that?s shameless vanity) ๐Ÿ˜‰ Of course volcanoes are spectacular and instantaneous, the gradual rising level of man made greenhouse gas is slow and unspectacular. Doesn?t mean it can?t have an effect though. As stated previously I lack the scientific background to make the case for Kyoto definitively but the case is beginning to seem strong to me as a layman. At least strong enough to demand a more considered response than the hackneyed ?hands off my wealth? auto response earlier in the thread.

    One final point before this thread seeps into the ether, my first posting on this point asked for America to come on board or at least to engage (see ?can do attitude? above). I got slapped down quick smart and maybe I was na?ve to leave myself so open. I do believe however that with an administration not in thrall to the oil companies, (and in my view capable of generating just as much propaganda against action as the environmental lobby use to support it) the intellectual and economic resources of the American people could be committed to finding better ways to fuel all our lives.

    I?ve taken the time to write this epic because despite the defensive nature of some of the posts on here I think persuading you to think again re your current course is the best hope for all of us. So at least I?m genuine, if potentially misguided!

    Cheers all,

    Matt

  46. Matt, you’re misguided only insofar as you buy into the inanities of the vain (yes, vain) neo-luddites that we have to contend with every day.

    The question revolves around anthropogenic causes vs. natural causes. You get sun-burned because I spray my hair?!! Seriously now.

    Why not blame that approaching comet to the fact that we have too many street lights burning, too. The neo-luddites, in their vanity, simply place way too many (natural) effects on man-made causes.

    And to compare a nuclear blast to a household atomizer is rather disingenuous.

    In parting, remember, plant operators have families, too. They have kids, parents, neighbors. They don’t need to have coercive entities tell them to protect their own loved ones.

    The marketplace will find a way by itself. Always has. Always will. If that’s ideology, so be it.

  47. Before you go, Matt …

    I must admit I’m somewhat of a devotee for what the FREE marketplace can do (but that is only proportional to the ages-old mountains of obstinate and enduring opposition against it, world-wide.)

    Nevertheless, en fin, I’m sure by now you’ve read Ronald Bailey’s sensible refutations on this topic. If not — knock yourself out: https://www.reason.com/rb/rb042203.shtml

    Have one for me. (But please don’t get drunk from frustration.)

  48. Rhonda, are you there?

    Another post riddled with errors and ‘straw man’ debating. Wouldn’t have bothered replying until I read the word ‘disingenuous’…

    I have but three points…

    1. Its not just you using hairspray, there are 6 billion people and rising, many using CFC’s in refrigeration etc… The hole in the ozone is verifiable, and unfortunately the effects are not limited to my sun burn. Do your research with an open mind you’ll find plenty of hard science to back this up, I did.

    2. Read my previous post and tell me where I compare a nuclear blast with an atomiser? Thats right, nowwhere, I was responding to another of your misguided points re: the ‘arrogance’ of thinking anything we did could effect the global climate. When you wilfully misuse my example in favour of taking a cheap shot like that you undermine your credibility. Read it again and then consider who is really being ‘disengenuous’ here…

    3. Who makes the decisions as to how to run a plant in your town? The operators or the owners? Unless you’re talking about a collectivist venture (doubtful!) its the former, and they won’t live ANYWHERE near the fumes. The operators will keep their mouths shut or lose their jobs way before the damage is done. Proving it via the courts is virtually impossible. As I said, I live in a town full of chemical plants, some of my friends work there, some of them are sick from the effects. If you’re rational you’ll accept some external coercion in this case.

    Your belief in the market has something of the zealot about it. You accuse others of makeing ‘Environmentalism’ a religion. Be sure you do not make the same mistake with Free Market economics. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to look up the ‘Theory of Externalities’, any economics textbook worth its salt will clue you in. Even the most hard nosed Free marketeers know that if something falls outside the pricing mechanism the cost for it will be born elsewere within the economy. Pollution is the classic example.

    Enough! I’ve enjoyed crossing swords with you but it is time I went to the pub! I’m sure we’ll meet on this or some other board along the way.

    All the best till then,

    Matt

  49. Ta for the link, good article. Encore, en fin, I especially liked this quote:

    ‘most of the improvements in air quality are the result of regulations’

    childish of me I know, but never disengenous!

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