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In the Wall Street Journal, Shikha Dalmia finds out how little greens are willing to sacrifice to please Al Gore.

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  1. I can’t see all of it behind WSJ’s paywall, but I’m kinda on the Greens’ side here. I think that the Klamath dams would have a horrendous environmental impact, and that the same carbon-free energy production could be achieved with much less environmental impact by use of nuclear.

    See? You thought I was gonna go all touchy-feely, but you gotta know I’ll bering it back in the end!

  2. This whole “let’s talk about Al Gore every time the issue of global warming comes up” strategy would make a lot more sense if Al Gore wasn’t one of the most popular and respected political figures in the country.

    You know who else supports alternative energy? Mother Theresa. Ha ha, look at all the Mother Theresa-lovers!

  3. Congrats to the WSJ for discovering the tragedy of the commons.

  4. Why the hell would you highlight as the lead article on Reason.com a article you can’t fricking read?

  5. You know who else supports alternative energy? Mother Theresa. Ha ha, look at all the Mother Theresa-lovers!

    Holy (pun intended) shit! Greenpeace has reanimated Mother Teresa to turn her into an alternative-energy PR-zombie!

  6. the idea of gore being loved and respected just made me throw up in my mouth.

    thanks, joe.

  7. I can’t read the article but I think reason has done enough criticizing of Al Gore and the green movement. How about more articles about how the market can be used to benefit environmental issues? Or about how the market just isn’t an efficient way in every circumstance to address environmental concerns?

  8. I don’t know anyone who actually respects political figures.

    But maybe that’s just me.

    Anyway, if someone could get the text of the article available, we could actually read it!

  9. Congrats to the WSJ for discovering the tragedy of the commons.

    I know something in this statement must make sense. Let me work on it…

    How’s this: The “commons” is the environmental movement that everybody thinks can carry all sorts of individuals’ and groups’ disparate interests without being debased. The “tragedy” is that it can’t.

    Did I get it right?

  10. I can’t see all of it behind WSJ’s paywall, but I’m kinda on the Greens’ side here. I think that the Klamath dams would have a horrendous environmental impact, and that the same carbon-free energy production could be achieved with much less environmental impact by use of nuclear.

    The article doesn’t mention nuclear. However, it does describe the greens’ opposition to wind, solar and geothermal energy. It also offers some numbers, such as the fact that replacing the Klamath dams with traditional energy generation would have the same effect as putting over 100,000 additional cars on the roads. In addition, 20% California’s energy consumption is generated from hydroelectric dams, all the while California cannot consider hydroelectric power a renewable energy. If that wasn’t enough, the greens have sued to close a salmon hatchery that accounts for 25% of the region’s salmon catch.

  11. I’ll take Al Gore and Laurie David seriously when they follow the Ted Kaczinski lifestyle instead of just paraphrasing his manifesto.

  12. Most popular and respected what? Political figure? Wow, we are in trouble. Senator Gore was okay, but he’s gone downhill quite a bit in the years since. You sometimes say strange things, joe.

  13. joe’s Al Gore bobble-head doll is an indicator that he has a classic case of having one’s personal preferences intertwined with their perception of how the world at large views things.

    I had an Al Gore bobble-head doll once. But it got run over by my Hummer. So maybe its my perception that’s skewed.

  14. Ah, Shikha Dalmia, the storied Reason writer who proved that Hummers use less energy than Priuses. I have no problem accepting whatever she says at face value.

  15. oh yeah, here’s the link to Dalmia’s previous contribution.

  16. “Why the hell would you highlight as the lead article on Reason.com a article you can’t fricking read?”
    Thank you, this wins the thread IMO.
    “I can’t read the article but I think reason has done enough criticizing of Al Gore and the green movement. How about more articles about how the market can be used to benefit environmental issues?”
    Maybe because markets just may be the best solution to these problems…It took them about a decade to admit he was right on the science (well, they now say he’s wrong on the extent and scope of the danger, but right that such a thing as global warming influenced by humans exists, reminds me of the tobacco industry strategy {nicotine is not addictive and deadly; well, yes it is deadly but certainly not as deadly as some say; even if it is as deadly as they think of the drastic results of overreacting…hey, I have some cigarettes to sell, give me a break).
    Thanks for the link crimethink. Your point is well made.

  17. I meant “maybe because markets just may NOT be the best solution to these problems…”

  18. Ah, Shikha Dalmia, the storied Reason writer who proved that Hummers use less energy than Priuses. I have no problem accepting whatever she says at face value.

    Oh! Those Hummers. Yeah, those totally polute more than Priuses. The other kind of hummer is generally carbon-neutral, as far as I can tell.

  19. “This whole “let’s talk about Al Gore every time the issue of global warming comes up” strategy would make a lot more sense if Al Gore wasn’t one of the most popular and respected political figures in the country.”

    If by “one of the most” you mean “had a lower vote percentage than virtually every president ever elected”, and if by “popular and respected” you mean “can’t even beat a Nimrod like Bush in Gore’s home state”, then yeah, you’re entirely correct.

  20. Uhh, jh, Gore had a HIGHER vote percentage than the guy he lost to (the electoral college got him, but he had more votes overall). And you can be popular and respected in the nation without being either in Tennessee.

  21. And a quick note on fish ladders. They are quite effective at getting adult trout upstream. What they don’t do so well is help salmon fry get to the ocean. When the fry reach an impounded body of water, there’s no current to help them decide which way to go. They have to swim around in the lake until they get to the fish ladder or another flowing outlet.

  22. Ken, you’re right. That’s why I said “virtually every president”, not “every president”. And my point wasn’t about Tennessee, it was about not winning one’s home state. Even Mondale won his home state, despite losing every other state to Reagan.

    Re: the quote from the article, “Instead, Arne Naess, the revered founder of Deep Ecology, explicitly identified human beings as the big environmental problem. “The flourishing of nonhuman life requires a decrease in human population,”

    confirms what anyone who has spent time around radical environmentalists knows: they want nothing but wilderness from coast to coast, except for a sprinkling of green houses for the environmentally pure elite. In other words, they want almost all of us dead, and certainly anyone who favors free markets and a laissez faire attitude toward personal choices.

  23. Oh, and the point above is that a lot more fry fail to make it to the ocean than would in a free flowing river.

  24. Yes, Ken. Hence, my second sentence that you omitted.

  25. Seriously, Gore had a higher percentage of the popular vote than the the winner in the 3 of the last 4 elections.

  26. Ken, Gore should’ve had the 2000 election in the bag. He was running with a good economy, a balanced budget, a surplus, peace, and falling crime.

    George Bush should have had his ass handed to him. But Gore is a piss-poor campaigner, the Democrats are insane to want him to run again.

  27. lunchstealer,

    Cherry-pick stats much? 🙂

  28. You know who else supports alternative energy? Mother Theresa. Ha ha, look at all the Mother Theresa-lovers!

    That’s kind of an ironic analogy, because even though Mother Teresa is loved and adored the world over, she was (in documented fact) a fraud and the cause of unnecessary suffering on a grand scale.

  29. lunchstealer says: “Seriously, Gore had a higher percentage of the popular vote than the the winner in the 3 of the last 4 elections.”

    Not according to usconstitution.net/elections.html, which if you go back for the last century has Gore having a higher popular vote percentage than the electoral college winner in 2000, 1992, 1968, and 1912. In 2004 Bush got 51.2%, in 2000 Bush got 48.2% and Gore got 48.7%, in 1996 Clinton got 49.9%, and in 1992 Clinton got 43.4%. That’s two out of the last four elections by my count.

    Sorry, I know you’re not supposed to ruin a good Reason argument by injecting actual facts into the mix. Newbie mistake — my bad.

  30. Actually, I’m kinda thinking there are a lot of ways of looking at the last 20-50 years of electoral politics that make Gore look like less of a loser than you might think, especially for someone so tragically bereft of personality.

    OK, three of the last five. Just saying that to call Gore’s performance the bad based on percentage of the popular vote is to pretty much ignore the fact that he’s gotten better percentages than Clinton in two different runs, Dole, Kerry, Bush I’s second run, and Bush II’s first run. In fact, of major vote getters of the past 10 elections, he’s still in the middle of the pack.

    His 50.01% or whatever beats at least one vote percentage of 4 of the last 5 sitting presidents. He’s gotten a higher percentage than Carter, Clinton, and both Bushes. Hell, he’s also done better than Ford and Nixon, too (although for Nixon you have to go back to ’60).

    Plus he’s got like a daytime emmy for making out with Mellisa Ethridge or something.

  31. Oh that’s right. I forgot that Clinton actually almost got a majority the second time.

    And injecting facts is fine, but they shouldn’t make you sound like a pedantic red-state schill, even if you are going after our resident blue-state schill.

  32. If I was really pedantic, I’d point out the correct spelling of “schill”.

    I think Clinton was one of the least worst presidents in recent history, and I called Bush a Nimrod in my 6:15 post, so I’m not sure what I’d have to do to live down the ignomy of being called a red-stater. Are libertarians purple-staters? If so, queue music from “The Color Purple”.

    Sorry about the threadjack. Can we all go back to squabbling about fish?

  33. I didn’t say “beloved.” Gore just makes a lousy boogey-man.

    Ha! I didn’t remember that Dalmia was the Prius-story lady. No doubt, she finds Al Gore to be a very convincing boogey-man.

  34. Percentage of popular vote in presidential elections is an imperfect indicator of a persob’s popularity as a significant % of voters are voting for the “D” or “R” behind the candidate’s name and not so much the person.

    That said, I don’t get why Gore should be popular or respected. The man strikes me as a pseudo-intellectual, pompous, self-righteous ass. I suppose he’s saying things certain powerful groups want to hear, but I think those people’s agenda’s are dangerously stupid, and they must not have a chance to implement them

  35. Comparing the 2000 election to the New Deal era, the post-WW1 era, or the post-Vietnam/pre-Clinton era is probably a bad idea. Those were periods with a national majority. 2000 was the year that all of those “50/50 Nation” stories came out.

  36. Eh, it’s a classic double-bind, the way they’ve framed it.

    Willing to sacrifice X to fight global warming? Ha, you’re a powermad Green thug!

    NOT willing to sacrifice X — Ha, you’re a hypocrite whose green convictions are only skin deep!

    My take on the matter? Hit and Run is an interesting blog, but you could ease up on recycling stale talking points from the WSJ, CEI, et al. National Review already has “Planet Gore” for that.

    I’d like to see some genuine libertarian responses to climate change issues beyond “it’s not a real problem” and “hands off and the market will fix everything”!

  37. I don’t know anyone who actually respects political figures.

    joe does.

    joe does not just think that the likes of Gore or Kerry are the best of a bad bunch, he thinks that they are paragons of great stature who deserve to be rulers among us lesser mortals (in fact, some of his comments indicate he does not think that they are, in fact, mortal). This is an issue on which I cannot simply, tolerantly agree to disagree. This blind devotion is just plain crazy.

    But, then he (and they) give absolute loyalty to a party that gave us the cults of personality around FDR, JFK and LBJ (and when convenient Andy Jackson and Woodrow Wilson). Not to mention one that defended slavery to the bitter end and then gave us a hundred years of Jim Crow only to conveniently slide it in the memory hole with twenty-plus years of the worst pandering identity politics in history.

  38. Anyway, joe, the problem isn’t Gore. Dalmia’s just pointing out an apparent contradiction between folks opposed to hydro, and folks opposed to CO2 emissions.

    I ultimately find arguments against hydro more compelling than arguments against nuclear. I really don’t think that tearing Klamath down without first planning to replace its kilowatt-hourage some other way.

    The big environmental reason to be cautious about dam removal is that in some cases (and I don’t know about the Klamath) the sediment buildup in many lakes is actually sequestering lots of environmentally nasty substances like dioxins. Removing the dam can release all these in just a couple of years as the freed rivers sweep all the contaminated sediments downstream, and this can actually lead to a deadly spike in contaminant levels to well above the worst levels during the time when the toxins were originally introduced.

    So dam removal isn’t all fun and games even from a carbon-neutral standpoint.

  39. “I’d like to see some genuine libertarian responses to climate change issues beyond “it’s not a real problem” and “hands off and the market will fix everything”!”

    I’ll second (or third, or whatever) that.

    Things like, remove subsidies and regulations that provide barriers to the adoption of green practices and technologies…

    Property rights have to be worked in somehow also… something about harm to my property from your actions… the details on this get complicated in my mind.

    Get rid of tax on labor and income, shift it to materials throughput…structure the market framing elements of the government (which I believe are implicit in libertarianism) to encourage businesses like

    http://www.interfaceinc.com/
    http://www.flexcar.com/

    Or even stories about government/business partnerships that are addressing environmental issues

    http://www.engadget.com/2007/03/20/micro-turbines-output-micro-electricity-for-hong-kongs-micro-ap/
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0SMG/is_n18_v13/ai_15014276

  40. I’d like to see some genuine libertarian responses to climate change issues beyond “it’s not a real problem” and “hands off and the market will fix everything”!

    Sorry, you just exhausted the “genuiune libertarian” ™ repetoire. Maybe you should ask the libertarian paternalists?

  41. “Dalmia’s just pointing out an apparent contradiction between folks opposed to hydro, and folks opposed to CO2 emissions.”

    The contradiction is only apparent when you know nothing of the reasons behind the oppositions.

    Co2 emissions can be reduced with hydro in ways that address the concerns of those that oppose older hydro-electric technologies.

    The nuclear issue is similar…it is more complicated than “nuclear will solve the problem.”

    The complications with both hydro and nuclear can be addressed in environmentally friendly ways… but the devil is in the details.

    Kinda like that Prius/Hummer comparison. Not sure I trust the author of that report to take the time to understand the complications.

  42. Here is the article for free: http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110010142

    BTW, none of the early dams in British Columbia had subsidies.

  43. For that Sandia labs technology transfer link…

    This one is correct…
    http://www.fe.doe.gov/programs/oilgas/techtransfer/index.html

  44. Things like, remove subsidies and regulations that provide barriers to the adoption of green practices and technologies…

    Regulatory barriers? What like get a building variance for composting toilets in urban homes instead of sewers?

    I really am at a bit of a loss as to regulations that bar adoption of green “p & t”s.

  45. Now, Isaac, everyone knows that Ron Paul is the only immortal – at least, anyone who reads these comment threads.

    lunchstealer,

    “Anyway, joe, the problem isn’t Gore.”

    I know. He reallly has nothing to do with this story. But, apparently, a memo went around, and every global warming story has to invoke his name.

    The Klamath dams are a tough case.

  46. Things like, remove subsidies and regulations that provide barriers to the adoption of green practices and technologies…

    Ummm, wouldn’t that be like letting “the market” work?

    I am, however, curious as to exactly what “green practices and technologies” are being prevented from being adopted now. Not that various tax policies with respect to oil extraction and so on aren’t a problem much of what the greens propose seem to range from the fanciful to the fraudulent (maglev, anyone??)

  47. Now, Isaac, everyone knows that Ron Paul is the only immortal – at least, anyone who reads these comment threads.

    Thomas Jefferson is God and Ron Paul is his Prophet, eh?

  48. “Gore just makes a lousy boogey-man.”

    agreed.

  49. There is no Tom but Tom.

  50. The Klamath dams are a tough case.

    Yes, they are.

    Dams are tough, period. While they interfere with free flow of rivers, hence causing ecological, they have a way of providing many benefits like Hydro-Electric power and irrigation.

    Like most things in life, these are questions of trade-offs.

  51. Ken said “maybe because markets just may NOT be the best solution to these problems…”

    The US government has a worse record on these issues then the markets do. Look at the draining of the Everglades, and the other ecosystem wrecking water projects they have been involved in.

    Governments have the power and resources to cause environmental destruction on a scale that would be impossible for private groups.

    A quick look at biofuels shows that the US government is still causing massive damage to the environment.

    What about the land?

    The hype over biofuels in the U.S. and Europe has had wide-ranging effects perhaps not envisioned by the environmental advocates who promote their use. Throughout tropical countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, and Colombia, rainforests and grasslands are being cleared for soybean and oil-palm plantations to make biodiesel, a product that is then marketed halfway across the world as a “green” fuel.

  52. What about the land?

    Not to mention the fact that Mexican farmers are burning agave fields to plant corn for ethanol. Think of the tequila drinkers!!!

    This, on the heels of reports that Mexican consumers are being hit with record high tortilla flour prices because American farmers are diverting corn into ethanol production.

    Unintended consequences. I suspect we shall see more and more as this works itself out.

  53. There is no Tom but Tom.

    Y’know, joe, the cool kids ‘unfriend’ Tom as soon as they’re done making their myspace accounts.

  54. Late to the party, as always.

    I’ve been in the Northwest since the 70’s, and I’ve heard all the hair brained liberal ideas.

    I recall when the Seattle city council passed a resolution that the dams in Eastern Washington (an area that they have nothing to do with and no power over) should be breached so that the Salmon could swim free. It wasn’t even April Fool’s Day.

    Regardless of what the author thinks of Hummers vs. Prius, this article should why it sucks to be a liberal: You really CAN’T save everything. I see it all the time up here.

  55. Not to mention the fact that Mexican farmers are burning agave fields to plant corn for ethanol.

    And, it is close to home, one of our own is suffering.

    Oh, I know, you’re not a tequila drinker. they haven’t come for you yet. But remember, yesterday you were not a tortilla eater, were you?

  56. Isaac,
    “This, on the heels of reports that Mexican consumers are being hit with record high tortilla flour prices because American farmers are diverting corn into ethanol production.”

    I saw on the news this morning that Milk prices are going up because corn to feed the dairy cows (why they are feeding corn to dairy cows is beyond me) is being diverted to ethanol so the price is skyrocketing.

    It’s created a whole new economic theory: Instead of Guns vs. Butter, it’s Cars vs. Milk. (or Butter, when you think about it).

  57. It should also be recognized that hydro power, especially in warmer climes, is not necessarily greenhouse gas free. Any organic matter that decomposes in the depths behind a dam decomposes into methane.

    But apparently there are ideas on how to mine the methane, supplementing the output of the hydro plant with green carbon neutral methane.

  58. “I suppose he’s saying things certain powerful groups want to hear,”
    Yeah, sure, we all know who has the REAL power in America, scientists and green hippies. Riiiight. Gotta love this right wing conspiracy stuff, considering the right wing is usually apologizing for those in actually in power.
    “The US government has a worse record on these issues then the markets do.”
    I’m pretty sure that is just empirically wrong. I mean, of course no private company alone approaches the power of the government and so by definition can’t harm the environment as much, but the aggregate emissions and dumpings by former vs. the latter are surely higher. And there are conceptual reasons not to buy that argument:
    Private individuals have and are restrained in what they can do, while yes, governments are not as restrained. But it is largely the restraint on the former by the latter that is the reason for why private companies have not done catastrophic harm (again, I would argue empirically they HAVE, just not in one-company one-event ways). If government loosened its restrictions then why would ANY business that found it cheaper to dump their pullution in the local river not do so? Kindness? I thought libtertarians eschewed warm fuzzy sentiments as motivators and focused on cold hard incentives…

  59. Oh, and do us a favor and don’t say “tort lawsuits would keep them honest.” Who do you think enforces tort law, voluntary networks of entrepenuers? I’ll give ya a hint: rhymes with shothernment.

  60. Who do you think enforces tort law, voluntary networks of entrepenuers?

    And who is the one party in the whole of the US who gets to decide whether they can be sued on some issue? Use the same hint.

  61. Zombie Mother Theresa is not to be trifled with.

    As for libertarian solutions: Mankiw’s Pigou Club is pretty libertarian, far as things go. So’s the idea of using Coase’s work to define property rights and allow bargaining (carbon markets). The problem with both, however, is the political process. How do you get the tax right in the first case and how do you keep political interests from interfering with the carbon trading idea? Those are not really easy questions to answer.

    I also think technological advance will play a major role going forward, but I don’t think “better technology” is the magic-bullet for achieving clean air, clean water, and a decent environment (totally reasonable goals).

    Collective action problems are always tricky,

  62. My oh my the Gore apologists appear quickly. Touchy a bit?

  63. Gore has nothing to apologize for. Who brought him up again? And why?

    “Governments have the power and resources to cause environmental destruction on a scale that would be impossible for private groups.”

    True, but by this same logic, governments have the power and resources to perform environmental restoration and bring about changes that would be impossible for private groups.

  64. Isaac,

    It really brings it home when someone you know is affected by the aggressive and callous actions of another nation. Our research to help highnumber has uncovered a shocking secret: the Mexican government is stockpiling Bottles of Mass Consumption. Egad.

    joe,

    Gore invented the Internet and the Environment. All while inspiring Love Story. Hmm. He should be killed for the latter, if true. At least he gave us Tommy Lee Jones.

  65. No no, Gore just sponsored the bill to create the environment.

    He did invent the computer fan, though, to combat warming.

  66. Cool.

    I’ve always wondered how much responsibility he had for Tommy’s complexion.

  67. The environment was actually created by DARPA in the late 60s. Earth Day? Grey ops rollout when the system became operational.

    Don’t tell!

  68. “Regulatory barriers? What like get a building variance for composting toilets in urban homes instead of sewers?

    I really am at a bit of a loss as to regulations that bar adoption of green “p & t”s.”

    I am, however, curious as to exactly what “green practices and technologies” are being prevented from being adopted now. ”

    I am talking about regulations (usually local) like requiring buildings to have an active H/V/AC system even if they are designed for passive heating and cooling (creates a cost barrier for adopting passive heating/cooling designs). There are lots of regulations that restrict HOW things are done that place barriers to good ideas.

    In transportation…

    The current regulations of electric vehicles make it hard for small companies to break into the market with anything other than the 25 mph neighborhood vehicles. There is no technological barrier to making these cars go highway speeds, just regulatory barriers. Result, those electric cars that can go highway speeds cost around $100,000. The 25 mph cars cost about $12,000.

    The energy industry is chock full-o-regulations that make good ideas difficult to implement.

    “Ummm, wouldn’t that be like letting “the market” work?

    It implies you should be more specific about how the government has created a barrier to a specific aspect of the market, and what the change should be.

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