Environmentalism

Job-Killing Environmentalists

How the EPA cripples the American economy

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President Barack Obama seems more concerned with appeasing environmental extremists in his administration than he is with the lost jobs of poor Americans. He's letting the environmentalists run wild with long pent-up schemes to force a change in the American way of life that includes small cars, small apartments and, for many, a return to an idealized 19th century lifestyle. It's not China that's responsible for American job losses; it's Washington's fault for shutting down whole industries and preventing new jobs from being created.

What's happened is that Obama has given the environmental extremists the power to make some of their wish list come true. Modern measurement techniques allow scientists to measure tiny parts per million; much of the technology did not exist when the Clean Air Act was first legislated in 1990. Using these new techniques environmentalists are able to impose their fantasies upon American business and labor. For industry, removing the last parts per million is prohibitively costly. For instance, technology which could have removed the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was prohibited by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because the discharged ocean water would still contain more than 15 parts per million of oil.

When the American economy was growing fast these EPA job killers were not so damaging. Now, in slower times, they are proving deadly.

Below are eight areas where the environmental extremists hope to wreak havoc on the American economy.

Carbon Dioxide. Human activity accounts for less than 4 percent of global CO2 emissions and CO2 itself accounts for only 10 or 20 percent of the greenhouse effect. Water vapor accounts for most of the other 80 percent. The actual quantity of C02 in the Earth's atmosphere is about 0.0387 percent, or 387 parts per million. The Christian Science Monitor recently published an excellent analysis of how the EPA's plans for reducing carbon dioxide could cause the loss of over a million jobs and raise every family's energy costs by over $1,200.

Factory boilers. The EPA wants new, more stringent limits on soot emissions from industrial and factory boilers. This would cost $9.5 billion according to the EPA, or over $20 billion according to the American Chemistry Council. A study released by the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners says the new rules would put 300,000 to 800,000 jobs at risk as industries opted to close plants rather than pay the expensive new costs. The ruling includes boilers used in manufacturing, processing, mining, and refining, as well as shopping malls, laundromats, apartments, restaurants, and hotels.

Home Remodeling. Some contractors are refusing to work on houses built before 1979 (when lead paint use was discontinued) because of stringent new EPA permitting required for lead paint removal. Lead paint in powdered or edible form can hurt growing children. It was once used in the hard gloss paint for wood surfaces, but has been painted over with non-lead-based paint during the past 30 years. The new fines of $37,000 per day are ruinous for smaller contractors and individual workers. Many jobs will therefore not be created as smaller contractors stop replacing window frames or turn down other work where lead paint may be present.

Ground Level Ozone. AutoBlog reports that the EPA has asked the U.S. government to enact draconian new smog regulations for ground-level ozone. The request to cut levels to .006 to .007 parts per million comes less than two years after standards were set at .0075 particles of pollutants per one million. As AutoBlog notes, "That doesn't sound like a very big change, but the New York Times reports that the agency quotes the price tag of such a change at between $19 billion and $100 billion per year by 2020. Oil manufacturers, manufacturing and utility companies are the main source of air pollution and they will have to spend heavily to meet the proposed regulation."

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The Fish and Wildlife Service is drawing up plans that define more parts of ANWR as "wilderness" thereby permanently removing any possibility for oil drilling in the vast field. The full Alaskan nature reserve is the size of South Carolina while the proposed drilling area would be the size of Dulles Airport.

Alaska Oil. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has prohibited all off-shore drilling until further notice, although Shell Oil and others' proposed sites are in less than 150 feet of water and use fixed drilling platforms, not the floating kind used for deep water in the Gulf of Mexico. Potentially vast oil fields and the accompanying jobs are therefore on hold.

Cement Kiln Regulations. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who led the fight to expose so called man-made global warming, warns of a new EPA job-killing plan. "EPA's new cement kiln regulation could shut down 18 plants, threatening 1,800 direct jobs and 9,000 indirect jobs," he writes. "According to an analysis of EPA's rule by King's College (London) Professor Ragnar Lofstedt, EPA could send 28 million tons of U.S. cement production offshore, mainly to China."

The above are all large-scale restrictions. There are also many smaller, mostly unreported new regulations. A Heritage Foundation study describes 43 such restrictions imposed during 2010 and totaled up their cost as well over $26 billion. As Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) complained before her defeat, farmers, ranchers, and foresters "are increasingly frustrated and bewildered by vague, overreaching, and unnecessarily burdensome EPA regulations, each of which will add to their costs, making it harder for them to compete."

Gulf of Mexico Oil. While Salazar ostensibly lifted his illegal and unnecessary suspension of all oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, we don't yet know if he has put up interminable, cost-wrecking regulations in the ban's place. Just one of his changes, allowing government bureaucrats 90 days instead of the prior 30 days to issue every decision, may be enough to ruin future oil drilling. The big floating rigs rent for over half a million dollars a day to operate. Just the threat of non-decisions along the chain of government command may be fatal and do to oil drilling what the environmentalists did to nuclear energy—namely, shutting down all new plants by making the costs and risks prohibitive. Michael Bromwich, Salazar's director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said that there were only 10 new well permits pending, but according to The Washington Post there were 69 unapproved exploration and development plans sitting in his office. Even simple, continued drilling in already producing oil sands, where the geological conditions are measured and known, has been suspended.

Salazar also suspended shallow well drilling in less than 500 feet depth from fixed platforms. Washington only issued 13 such shallow well permits in the seven months since the Macondo blowout in April. Before that it was issuing about 13 shallow well permits per month. As is often the case with Washington's heavy-handed regulators, it is the smaller companies, doing less costly drilling closer to shore, that are bankrupted or driven out of business by these costly and burdensome rules. All this comes after 40 years of successful drilling without a major blowout or spill.
Government restrictions and environmentalist lawsuits also affect other mining activity. For example, there is currently a shortage in Chinese rare earth elements, which are essential to a number of technologies, including hard drives and environmentalist-friendly hybrid-car batteries. Yet despite an abundance of rare earth reserves in the U.S., domestic production has been essentially shut down by the president's allies.

It's time for Congress to investigate what the EPA and its reckless agenda is costing American workers, businesses, and taxpayers.

Jon Basil Utley is associate publisher of The American Conservative. He was a foreign correspondent for Knight Ridder newspapers and former associate editor of The Times of the Americas. For 17 years, he was a commentator for the Voice of America. In the 1980s, he owned and operated a small oil drilling partnership in Pennsylvania.

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250 responses to “Job-Killing Environmentalists

      1. [braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaak]

        1. It’s the Brak show, starring me, I’m Brak!

  1. The EPA rules on boilers don’t cover just soot but also NOx and CO. Not only do the rules require enormous capital investment, low NOx burners to reduce NOx and high excess O2 to reduce CO inherently reduce energy efficiency, require more imported fuel, increase CO2 emissions, and increase ongoing operating costs. All for very, very little improvement over the status quo in the vast majority of cases.

  2. Carbon Dioxide. Human activity accounts for less than 4 percent of global CO2 emissions and CO2 itself accounts for only 10 or 20 percent of the greenhouse effect. Water vapor accounts for most of the other 80 percent. The actual quantity of C02 in the Earth’s atmosphere is about 0.0387 percent, or 387 parts per million.

    In context:
    http://www.skepticalscience.co…..ssions.htm

    1. Re: Neu Mejican,

      You should read your links more carefully:

      “But consider what happens when more CO2 is released from outside of the natural carbon cycle ? by burning fossil fuels. Although our output of 29 gigatons of CO2 is tiny compared to the 750 gigatons moving through the carbon cycle each year [yeah, like 3.8667% of the total CO2], it adds up [???] because the land and ocean cannot absorb all of the extra CO2 [why not???]. About 40% of this additional CO2 is absorbed [that would make 1.5467% additional CO2 per year IF one believes the above assertion]. The rest remains in the atmosphere [how do you know that?], and as a consequence, atmospheric CO2 is at its highest level in 15 to 20 million years (Tripati 2009)[as a consequence?]. (A natural change of 100ppm normally takes 5,000 to 20,000 years.[normally???]. The recent increase of 100ppm has taken just 120 years).

      The last part is just an assertion, considering the variability of the data (which one would assume has to be ice core data.)

      Human CO2 emissions upset the natural balance of the carbon cycle. Man-made CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by a third since the pre-industrial era, creating an artificial forcing of global temperatures which is warming the planet.

      Where did they get this from? From Mann’s graph? From his suspicious and badly averaged “tree ring” baseline?

      While fossil-fuel derived CO2 is a very small component of the global carbon cycle, the extra CO2 is cumulative because the natural carbon exchange cannot absorb all the additional CO2.

      What do you mean “it cannot absorb”? The guy is talking about a very complex system. This is just an ex cathedra assertion.

      “Oh, nature cannot do it. I know because I know.”

      1. By the way, clearly too many assertions for a blog called “skeptical” science.

      2. When I read it, it didn’t have your ignorant comments inserted.

        A 1.5% per year increase results in a 450% increase over 100 years. Compound interest doesn’t just make folks a lot of money.

        You assert a lot of things via the impeccable logic of merely saying ‘I dunno, sounds complicated, cant be true’

        1. Re: Richard Head,

          A 1.5% per year increase results in a 450% increase over 100 years. Compound interest doesn’t just make folks a lot of money.

          That only if the absolutist assertion “Eek! Nature cannot absorb it!” were true, RH.

          You assert a lot of things via the impeccable logic of merely saying ‘I dunno, sounds complicated, cant be true’

          Thank you for misrepresenting my point, RH – meet Tony, by the way.

          The point is that you cannot simply say “Nature can’t absorb the rest of the CO2″ as the CO2 cycle is not yet well understood.

          1. Hmm. The planet seems to have ‘absorbed’ the available carbon here at the bottom of the gravity well for a few billion years now. C’mon, folks. The same stuff has been here all along. Besides the probability that we (as in the ‘all life forms on the planet’) probably dodged a bullet from what could have been the most massive extinction level event, ever, due to low partial pressures of CO2 in the atmosphere concurrent with and likely resulting from the last ice age, something the biosphere is still recovering from, btw, there are a lot of folks out there that need to get a fucking grip and calm the fuck down.

            1. Isn’t the fact that CO2 concentrations are increasing proof that nature can’t absorb it all?

              IE, if we go from 250 PPM, to 350 PPM, that’s because other things (oceans, trees etc) didn’t absorb the excess CO2.

              Also we know that ocean asbortion of CO2 is not without problems either, IE ocean acidification.

              This doesn’t mean we have to run around shouting the sky is falling, but let’s not pretend that the stuff we do doesn’t effect the environment, or have consequences.

              1. Or, alternatively, we could just get over ourselves.

                Increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere means that the climate has warmed, nothing more, nothing less. Note I use the past tense – HAS warmed. And since the plants will probably (if the research is correct, and it appears to be, as it is reproducible) like things a lot better at up to and including about three times what’s floating around already (which means more food), I have to ask – why do greenies hate people in the third world so much they want them to keep starving? And make those of us that can afford it (for the time being) pay gobs and gobs more for bacon? Are you people insane? Wait, that’s rhetorical. Yes, you are.

        2. Compound interest isn’t going to make you a lot of money until you understand it.

          Even if none of the man-made CO2 is being absorbed, 29 gigatons is always 3.9% of 750 gigatons. Compoundment (ignore the fact that this isn’t a word) would only occur if the man-made amount somehow increased with the amount accumulated. Like when you reinvest interest income into your account.

          And anyway, the ratio of accumulated CO2 to the amount that cycles through the system yearly is meaningless.

          1. +1

            I still don’t know if global warming is an immanent threat, but you rock for understanding that CO2 emissions are, at WORST, additive.

  3. Jon Basil Utley on Job-Killing Environmentalists

    You mean there are other kinds?

    1. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? I’m a job creating environmentalist. I’ve saved or created over 50 kabillion jobs this week alone!

      1. + (or not minus) 1

      2. The power….. is YOURS!

  4. CO2 is added and remains in the atmosphere, causing a long-term buildup so despite its small nominal effect compared to water vapor, it has a much higher effect in the long-run than water vapor, of which only so much can be held in the atmosphere (then it rains out).

    1. Re: Richard Head,

      CO2 is added and remains in the atmosphere, causing a long-term buil[…]

      Right, because plants DON’T eat that shit. Right????

      1. Your vast grasp of these issues is truly breathtaking.

        1. Re: Tony,

          Yours is not. And I mean that in a mean way.

          1. I know, all those scientists working on this issue, and not one has realized that plants eat CO2. You must get your brilliant insight to them somehow!

            1. Re: Tony,

              Maybe you should read the thread again and see that I am replying to Richard Head, who made the assertion that CO2 simply “accumulates,” so that you do not end up looking like a fool – which you did.

              1. Tony is right, you’re an idiot.

                1. Re: Richard Head,

                  Thank you, RH. I show where your assertion is wrong, and you think your retort is clever. Way to go, pal!

                  1. Uh no, you did not prove anything wrong. Saying plants eat that shit is not proof of anything.

                    1. Re: Richard Head,

                      Oh, don’t be modest, RH:
                      “CO2 is added and remains in the atmosphere, causing a long-term buildup[…]”

                      Which I retorted with “Yeah, because plants don’t eat it, right?”

                      Which you could have responded with “yes, they do but we make too much for the plants to eat it all”

                      Which I would have replied with “Well, more food for plants, more plants. What’s the problem?”

                      Which you could have replied with “Well, but . . . how will that jive with my conviction that *we* consume too much???”

                    2. the coal and oil we burn represent hundreds of millions of years worth of plant matter. Plants will absorb some of the extra CO2 and increase productivity, which is a good thing.

                      To believe that they would absorb all of it, however, would be to believe that the earth will have not just the same amount of vegetation as was present those millions of years ago, but that it would have an amount equal of vegetation that cumulatively existed during those hundreds of millions of years.

                      And we don’t even have to speculate on whether plants could absorb the extra CO2, because they presently aren’t.

                    3. Re: Richard Head,

                      the coal and oil we burn represent hundreds of millions of years worth of plant matter.

                      Actually, it is more likely that oil comes from decomposition of fitoplankton settling in sea beds for several million years. A process that continues to this very day.

                      To believe that they would absorb all of it, however, would be to believe that the earth will have not just the same amount of vegetation as was present those millions of years ago, but that it would have an amount equal of vegetation that cumulatively existed during those hundreds of millions of years.

                      That’s not true, RH – you’re thinking as if all the coal and “oil” that exists right now is already out and being burned in a short period of time. This is not the case, the usage of coal and oil is gradual, depends on exploration/exploitation costs and demand. There’s still a great quantity of coal and oil in the ground that has not being burned or used.

                      And we don’t even have to speculate on whether plants could absorb the extra CO2, because they presently aren’t.

                      Another baseless assertion, you are thinking one-dimensionally. If I bring ten pizzas to my house, certainly my wife and two kids will not be able to eat them all in one sitting. What if I invite my neighbors’ kids, and their neighbors? Same with plants – if what was spewed right now cannot be absorbed by the plants that exist at this very moment, you cannot say that no more plant can’t exist TOMORROW, or the day after.

                    4. Phytoplankton are a form of autotroph I was lumping in with ‘plant matter’. My point is that not enough plant matter could exist to sequester it all because the release of CO2 is much faster than the process of capture by plants.

                      Now, I likely agree with you that drastic measures are not called for now, though I believe some actions in addressing it at this time are appropriate; e.g., slight carbon tax to replace payroll taxes. kbythnx

                    5. …so I think what OM is saying is that we have a lot of pizza for plants, but currently not many plants. Therefore environmentalists should become farmers instead of trying to destroy jobs. Sounds good to me.

                      Personally I’m disappointed people aren’t asking stupiderer questions. Feedback loops for example: Warmer temperature = more clouds = trapped heat. But clouds also trap heat OUTSIDE, so at some point you reach another equilibrium…

                      How thick would clouds need to be to offset sea level rise caused by melting polar icecaps? ice is much more dense but clouds can cover have a lot more “available” area because they’re not stuck at the poles and they’re at a higher elevation (yay increases in the surface area of a sphere by cubes of it’s radius!)

                2. No arguing with that OM. Both of them agree that you’re an idiot. That there’s what you call a “concensus”. The science is settled.

                  1. Arguing from the basis of the authority of my two post grad degrees, I say Richard is a skull fucked moron. And that’s conclusive.

                    1. Why thanks, I didn’t know you cared. Judging by my 2 post grad degrees, MS statistics & PhD Ecology, I’d say you can suck it.

                    2. Who’s impressed by those degrees?

                    3. People that pay me a lot of money. And that’s all that matters to me, I didn’t bring up the fallacious argument from authority.

                    4. Re: Richard Head,

                      Phytoplankton are a form of autotroph I was lumping in with ‘plant matter’. My point is that not enough plant matter could exist to sequester it all because the release of CO2 is much faster than the process of capture by plants.

                      I posit to you the same question I posited to ricketson:

                      WHY do you believe more CO2 is necessarily a BAD thing? You just assume it IS, in order to argue against more CO2.

                      Even if AGW was true, why would that be a bad thing?

                    5. A PHD in Ecology is a little more impressive than a PHD in Astrology.

                    6. …and you have to submit to my conclusions because of my double doctorate in Alchemy.

                    7. “Arguing from the basis of the authority of my two post grad degrees,” Couldn’t find anybody who wanted to hire a Dick head? By the way why not go by your nickname?

                3. You’re right, Tony is an idiot.
                  FIFY

          2. OM – Must be frustrating trying to argue with people this non-objective.

      2. Chirp Chirp

      3. The guys a dick head!

        1. oh yeah!

      4. Many scientists are studying the effect of higher CO2 on plant growth. There is no reason to believe that increased biomass will absorb the CO2. First, it just doesn’t jive with how chemical reactions respond to increased concentrations. Second, there has to be a place for that increased biomass to be held. Third, a lot of other factors limit plant growth (water and mineral availability)

        1. “There is no reason…”

          I should have written “there is no good evidence…”. Once all possible effects of CO2 increases are accounted for, there is even a good chance that LESS carbon will be tied up in biomass.

          1. If that were true, what would have held down CO2 levels in equilibrium?

            I suspect that Old Mexican is wondering why historical equilibrium forces are simply assumed to be inadequate to “consume” small increases in CO2 rates. What is the basis for the hypothesis that the CO2 consuming biomass has peaked?

        2. Re: ricketson,

          Many scientists are studying the effect of higher CO2 on plant growth. There is no [good evidence] to believe that increased biomass will absorb the CO2. First, it just doesn’t jive with how chemical reactions respond to increased concentrations.

          That doesn’t jive with how SYSTEMS work, ricketson – I mean, do you even read what you write? If biomass is increased, the surface area of chlorofil-filled leaves and stalks also increases, so there would be NO increase in CO2 ratios vs biomass. You are basically contradicting yourself.

          Second, there has to be a place for that increased biomass to be held.

          You mean like we have now?

          1. “I mean, do you even read what you write?”

            I can see how you misinterpreted what I wrote, but you could have also interpreted it properly if you started with the assumption that I might actually have a meaningful thought.

            To get back to the point, it seems that you are imagining that human CO2 emissions will result in an increase of biomass in the world. Trees will be taller and forests will be denser.

            That might happen, though it seems very unlikely that it will eliminate all of the excess CO2, simply because this fertilization effect REQUIRES a higher CO2 concentration…so the end result would be a slightly increased CO2 concentration and a slightly increased biomass density. That’s what I meant by “chemical reactions” — they reach equilibrium, and I think that is a reasonable way to think about this fertilization hypothesis.

            However, I don’t think that the density of biomass will change much with higher CO2. The density of plants in typically limited by sunlight. The height of trees is limited by the strength of the wood and their ability to bring water to the top of the tree. Maybe when a tree falls in the woods, that gap will fill in more quickly due to CO2 fertilization, but I doubt that it will account for big increase in total the amount of biomass.

            Aside from those details, the basic problem with relying on CO2 fertilization to solve the AGW problem is that plant physiology and ecosystems are complicated. This attempt to deduce the final outcome as though it were a simple logic puzzle is just silly.

            1. Re: ricketson,

              To get back to the point, it seems that you are imagining that human CO2 emissions will result in an increase of biomass in the world.

              No, I haven’t said that – not that one will lead to the other. Only that there’s NO REASON TO BELIEVE that there CAN’T be more biomass that can absorb that CO2. Certainly MORE CO2 can’t hurt in that regard.

              Trees will be taller and forests will be denser.

              I don’t consider trees as efficient carbon holders. Grasses are much more efficient in that regard, and many crops ARE grasses.

              That might happen, though it seems very unlikely [WHY???] that it will eliminate all of the excess CO2, simply because this fertilization effect REQUIRES a higher CO2 concentration…

              That doesn’t make sense.

              That’s what I meant by “chemical reactions” — they reach equilibrium, and I think that is a reasonable way to think about this fertilization hypothesis.

              No, it’s pure nonsense. You must be thinking of fertilizing crops. Most fertilization is done through the release of nitrates and phosphates. How does this translate to more CO2 is beyond me.

              However, I don’t think that the density of biomass will change much with higher CO2. The density of plants in typically limited by sunlight.

              You’re jesting, right? Again, you think I am thinking of lush forests with tall trees? You are doing nothing that creating a strawman argument.

              Here’s a question for you: WHY would an increase of CO2 be a bad thing? You just assume it is as base for your whole argument.

              1. I’m making a strawman? You said plants, right? Trees are plants. You didn’t even say why crops should behave differently. So are farmer’s fields going to grow more densely if there is more CO2?

                I was trying to work with you and fill in the spots where you were vague…so you get mad. Forget you.

              2. Since you want to quibble over terminology, “CO2 fertilization” is the term used by the proponents of the idea that you are suggesting.

                http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_…..061704.php

              3. WHY would an increase of CO2 be a bad thing?

                Because it traps more heat. Increased desertification won’t help with the whole biomass thing.

                1. Tony, desertification isn’t caused simply by more heat. It’s caused by less precipitation. Some of the LEAST desert-like places (read: rainforests) are very hot.

                  By most arguments I’ve seen, even slight global warming will actually increase precipitation which, if anything, should COMBAT desertification…

                  that said, I am kinda hungry, time for desert!

                  1. “By most arguments I’ve seen, even slight global warming will actually increase precipitation which, if anything, should COMBAT desertification..”

                    It probably depends where you are on the globe. Solar energy drives the currents in the atmosphere and (directly and indirectly) the big currents in the oceans. Change the amount of energy entering the system or being retained in the system, and you change the currents. Some places get wetter, some places get drier. Some places lose their moderate temps or weather, and so forth.

          2. Actually, considering how we’ve cut down the rainforests, there’s now a lot more room for new CO2-absorbing biomass.

            1. Room in areas like the Pacific Northwest up through Alaska where beetles have moved in and killed huge tracts of trees, too.

        3. Actually, the two greatest variables in plant growth rate literature I’ve read are H20, then CO2. Most bioalgae systems pump significantly higher than atmospheric levels of CO2 to enhance growth. You might say that current biomass cannot handle the increase, but that asserts that biomass is either static or at an optimum. No evidence exists for either of those assertions.

      5. Exactly. If they really, REALLY gave a shit, they would just plant some fucking trees. It absolutely IS that simple.

        1. Thomas Lovejoy at the Heinz Center is basically calling for just this. Plant now, plant often.

          Fun fact. The eastern US currently has more tree cover than at any time since colonial times. Our European setter ancestors had a thing about clear cutting for crops like tobacco.

    2. That’s only half of the story because the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is a function of the temperature — so more CO2 -> higher temp -> more H2O vapor -> even higher temps. It actually amplifies the effect of CO2 accumulation.

      1. Which again implies a fragile system that would have failed eons ago after a volcanic eruption or two. From where comes the assumption that the equilibrium forces in the carbon cycle are so selectively weak.

        They were strong enough to recover from volcanic eruptions that gave us “years without summer” and from thermohaline shutdowns, but weak enough that the human CO2 output has us pelting over the breaking point. What am I missing?

        1. I’m not proposing a run-away greenhouse effect (though I know some alarmists do dwell on that possibility). As you suggest, there is some stability in the climate system. If CO2 and H2O vapor push temperatures up, other factors can compensate. Increased radiation to space may be sufficient to stop the H2O feedback for all I know. It could also be due to more idiosyncratic factors such as cloud cover and surface albedo.

          I think of the climate system as a bunch of semi-stable states (i.e. attractors) with tipping points at the boundaries. Ice ages seem to have resulted from crossing a pretty big tipping point…so it does happen.

          In the absence of really good models (which I don’t believe exist), I expect a somewhat linear response from any particular disturbance. Sometimes the response will be amplified, sometimes it will be dampened, but I don’t think that we can say when one or the other will occur.

          1. More to the point, if the amplification is sub-linear, then there will not be a run-away feedback loop. So if the CO2 increases temp by 1 degree, it may vaporize enough water to raise the temp by 0.5, which would then vaporize enough water to raise it 0.25, and so on until it stops.

            1. There are two components.

              1) How does vapor pressure (VP) respond to changes in temperature.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clausius-Clapeyron_relation

              The change in VP decreases as temperature increases, so this shows the sub-linear response that I mentioned above.

              2) How does the greenhouse effect respond to increasing concentrations of gas?

              I suspect that this is sub-linear also, on the basis that as the gasses accumulate, the atmosphere becomes more opaque at the relevant wavelength, meaning that there is less radiation for the next unit of gas to intercept.

              1. Sorry OM, but I can’t defend you here. It seems a lot like blind faith to simply believe that an increase in CO2 will have no negative effects. I’m pretty sure that it will. True, the worldwide catastrophe scenario is way overblown, but it seems too cavalier to simply believe that nothing of consequence will occur.

              2. Sorry OM, but I can’t defend you here. It seems a lot like blind faith to simply believe that an increase in CO2 will have no negative effects. I’m pretty sure that it will. True, the worldwide catastrophe scenario is way overblown, but it seems too cavalier to simply believe that nothing of consequence will occur.

  5. Cement Kiln Regulations. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who led the fight to expose so called man-made global warming, warns of a new EPA job-killing plan. “EPA’s new cement kiln regulation could shut down 18 plants, threatening 1,800 direct jobs and 9,000 indirect jobs,” he writes. “According to an analysis of EPA’s rule by King’s College (London) Professor Ragnar Lofstedt, EPA could send 28 million tons of U.S. cement production offshore, mainly to China.”

    There’s already a concertated attack on cement manufacturing in California, where several plants were hit with (what I call) bogus non-compliance violations for hex-chrome emissions (in a state where forest fires are rampant, fires that produce TONS of hex-chrome) and mercury emissions.

    1. Best of luck getting that forest fire to pay a fine!

      1. Re: fish,

        Indeed! That’s not the problem – the problem is that the State’s Air District FAILS to adjust their testing to take into account the extra hex-chrome created by these fires, blaming everything on the “Eviiiil Corporashon!” They closed one plant in Davenport, CA (a plant that received several environmental compliance awards) because of shoddy testing (not to mention an activist county.)

  6. For industry, removing the last parts per million is prohibitively costly. For instance, technology which could have removed the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was prohibited by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because the discharged ocean water would still contain more than 15 parts per million of oil.

    For those who didn’t follow this at the time, the Dutch could have cleaned up almost the entire spill using their skimmers – but were not allowed to do so because of the 15ppm requirement. They would have left as much as 3% of the oil behind. So instead of cleaning up 97% of the spill we skimmed 50% or less, so that we wouldn’t put dirty water back in the ocean. No, really…. this is environmental policy at work.

      1. @Rosemary

        The link you provide was for the Jones act and not the EPA regulations.

        1. There was discussion of the Dutch skimmer urban legend in there, as well.

  7. where will the first state governor tell the EPA to stick it and arrest any federal agent interfering with the businesses in their state? i think maybe idaho or texas.

    1. Texas has an ongoing lawsuit against the EPA.

  8. We are not going to drill our way to prosperity, and the more you guys keep pretending that we can, the more your status-quo-maintaining ideology proves itself useless in the real world.

    1. Re: Tony,

      We are not going to drill our way to prosperity,

      What’s with this “we” business, Kimosabe?

      […]and the more you guys keep pretending that we can, the more your status-quo-maintaining ideology proves itself useless in the real world.

      First, an unsubstantiated assertion, and then a conclusion derived from this assertion.

    2. Tony|11.10.10 @ 10:52AM|#
      “We are not going to drill our way to prosperity,…”

      Gee, tony, that’s entirely too clever for you to have made up. From which brain-dead site did you cut ans paste?

      1. It’s the tired “who is this we” retort.

    3. We are not going to drill our way to prosperity

      I don’t understand the premise. We are already insanely prosperous. It is this prosperity that provides the resources for leisure pursuits such as infinitesimally clean water and air.

    4. I don’t think that anybody is arguing that we can drill our way to prosperity. However, the use of oil will be necessary well into our future, and we have to acquire it however we can. I agree that we should lift the cap on liability for drilling, but an outright ban on drilling doesn’t improve the situation if we still have to bring in fleets of tankers, which tend to spill more often than the rigs. The costs of the BP oil spill were huge, but they still are nothing compared to the damage done by hurricanes in that same part of the country.

      I will agree that this article is one sided in that it doesn’t address any of the negative consequences of pollution, and it doesn’t even discuss whether or not individuals should be liable in civil court for such actions. I do believe that some curtailment of pollution is necessary, but can be easily achieved by allowing the damaged parties to seek damages in a court of law. I would also like to see easements granted to polluters if they develop unused land that isn’t too close to residential areas. The people who move there would move there agreeing to accept the pollution, and the companies that pollute would be allowed to sell parts of their easement to other companies when they figure out a way to pollute less per unit of production.

    5. What do you mean we aren’t? We already have!

  9. The only way to be sure your house won’t catch fire is to tear it down, right Tony?

  10. You’re full of shit! AGW lives.

    1. I hope that was Tony. Doing that is the one sure fired way to bring on the ban hammer. Editors, clean up on Isle 96!

      1. ssshhh! that’s where the missile off Cali.’s coast came from.

  11. I went to college with Salazar. I thought he was an idiot then, and he has done nothing to alter that assessment.

  12. Basically people like Tony and Neu Mexican are part of a cult. A large section of our society has collectively taken leave of its senses. This has really only happened to the US once. That was when Southern went crazy and started shooting upon the election of Lincoln President. We have had other smaller outbreaks. But, they have usually been related to private life and generally affected only those involved, think the rise new ageism or the various great awakenings that have happened or at its worse the prohibitionists of the 19th and early 20th century. But we have largely been spared the kind of mass hysteria and fanaticism that characterized revolutionary France or Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany. And we still largely are. The environmental cult is somewhere in the middle. It is not going to result in large scale murder the way the French revolution did. But it is the same kind of collective madness none the less. You can’t reason with these people. And they are never going to be satisfied no matter how much misery and poverty their policies cause.

    1. Re: John,

      Environmentalism is more akin to a millenarist cult, John.

      1. yes. And there have been many of those in US history. This is by far the largest and most damaging one however.

    2. I love the environmental hysterics, because, according to them we have to immediately scale back our civilation so that it is more “sustainable”. Of course, the logical conclusion from this is that an immediate scale back would result in the world’s largest famine with literally billions dead. 6 Billion people cannot be sustained on 19th century technology, let alone caveman technology, so those that call for the immediate rolback of civilization are implicitly calling for genocide (of course, many of them don’t have a problem with that). The more “pragmatic” environuts avoid the immediate rhetoric but still insist on a gradual shift to a more “green” economy. So which is it Enviros? Is this situation so dire that nothing short of the worst genocide in the history of history will save the planet, or is the situation less dire than previous espoused, thus justifying your “gradual” rhetoric? Or are you just full of hypocritcal human hating shit. That was not a question.

      1. Damn…need to click preview before I send out this unproofed crap.

      2. Drax the Destroyer|11.10.10 @ 11:27AM|
        “…The more “pragmatic” environuts avoid the immediate rhetoric but still insist on a gradual shift to a more “green” economy….”

        We have an experiment in this process going on right now. It’s Cuba. Since the Russians decided they’d rather eat than support worn-out lefties, Cuba has, by necessity, turned to ‘organic farming’:
        “Remarkably, this organic revolution has worked. Annual calorie intake now stands at about 2,600 a day,…”
        Right. By importing 80% of its food from ‘mechanized’ farming countries. I’d say that’s ‘remarkable’.
        You can get quite a few laughs from a quick search on the issue. For instance, the Guardian predicts that as “successful” as the program is, Cuba will turn to mechanized farming on the collapse of communism (they don’t phrase it that way), but that’s not all bad since “Farming on a large scale after all, he says, has seen a reduction in pesticide and fertiliser use mainly due to “financial constraints, not choice”. (!)

        1. “Farming on a large scale after all, he says, has seen a reduction in pesticide and fertiliser use mainly due to “financial constraints, not choice”.

          Technology has been a huge factor in the reduction in the use of chemicals in modern farming. Especially fertilizer usage. Using GPS tech a modern farmer can selectively target areas of cropland to get more or less fertilizer. The results are higher crop yields with less input costs.

          Once again technology, and markets, have been more effective than Gov’t intervention.

    3. The cult mean is very popular with John this week. What blog was it on over the weekend?

      1. It is called a “meme” dumb ass. That is the kind of shit that you wold spend lines snickering about if someone else did it and you wanted to avoid having a rational conversation about a topic you hold irrational views about.

        1. You know, I think if you ever came in physical contact with MNG you would both be annihilated in a burst of pure energy, like a particle and anti-particle.

          1. can pure energy even exist or must it be carried by a mass of some sort. I have a hard time imagining energy without at least a subatomic particle to be the “direct object” of it’s “action”.

          2. Really? I would have guessed something like a heated debate about life in ancient Greece, followed by backrubs with vegetable oil.

    4. “And they are never going to be satisfied no matter how much misery and poverty their policies cause.”

      That’s not true.

      They will be satisfied when we are living in harmony with the environment in the same manner as the Native Americans were before Europeans came on the scene.
      You know, being self sufficient and using/producing only a bare minimum necessary for hand to mouth survival.

      Well, not all of us will be living that way. There will still need to be a ruling class to serve punishment should anyone try to produce more than it is determined that they need.
      That might result in the evil of all evils … profit!

      1. I still love how everyone thinks that Native Americans life was like one big Disney movie before Columbus showed up…

        1. It was. Until the white man taught them how to hate and kill eachother and get diseases.

          1. Like syphilis?

            1. Yes. Before that they lived forever and painted with all the colors of the wind.

        2. Oh!
          But they lived in harmony with the land, taking only what they needed and leaving the rest!
          It’s so romantic!
          They lived a sustainable life style.

          1. Burning forests and prairies, for instance…

            1. Herding buffaloes over cliffs and eating the ones on top, leaving the rest to rot…

              1. Raucously singing with all the voices of the mountain into the wee hours of the morning.

    5. “That was when Southern went crazy and started shooting upon the election of Lincoln President.”

      I think you’re thinking of secession.

      The shooting didn’t start until much later, in response to the Union building up military forces in fort located inside Confederate territory, and then only after diplomatic negotiations failed.

  13. “It’s time for Congress to investigate what the EPA and its reckless agenda is costing American workers, businesses, and taxpayers.”
    Yeah, that’ll happen!

  14. There are also many smaller, mostly unreported new regulations. A Heritage Foundation study describes 43 such restrictions imposed during 2010 and totaled up their cost as well over $26 billion. As Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) complained before her defeat, farmers, ranchers, and foresters “are increasingly frustrated and bewildered by vague, overreaching, and unnecessarily burdensome EPA regulations, each of which will add to their costs, making it harder for them to compete.”

    You have to remember that the EPA is here to protect our environment from rich and evil polluters and there can’t be nobody more evil than ranchers, farmers and loggers – you know, those that produce the food we eat and the wood we use to make our houses. Evil dudes.

    1. Yes, evil, evil dudes indeed.

      1. we’d be enjoying rivers of fire (literally) if not for those evil dudes. Now they can go too far…

        1. So, Richard, when is the rapture?

          1. google Cuyahoga River

            1. Yes, and when is the rapture?

              1. Now google “black people” and read the auto-suggestions.

                I love this game!

    2. Anything to stop people from making a profit.
      Profit is theft. Theft from the worker, theft from the environment, theft from someone or something.

      No, the only legitimate way of accumulating wealth is non-profit public service.

  15. You should check out this series of posts on what EPA regs mean for the US economy. http://www.wri.org/stories/201…..ufacturing

  16. I’m surprised he missed one of the more glaring moves by the EPA in recent history: semi trucks.

    The EPA moved to reduce NOx emissions and in turn forced manufacturers to reduce the fuel economy to implement new systems while increasing the cost of a single truck nearly $20k – $50k in the past 5 years. The recent headlines show the EPA (with manufacturers in tow) moving to force significant increases in fuel economy standards. The expected cost increases being passed on are expected to be another $20k – $50k per truck. In other words, the running EPA regulatory cost increases have nearly doubled the cost of a class 8 truck with little more than a stroke of a pen.

    We haven’t even started covering the costs associated with maintaining the new-emissions equipment either. The new standards shorten the life of the engines by forcing more soot into the engine to be burnt leading to shorter oil life and increased service costs. Add in the higher exhaust temps and you completely eliminate many of the benefits of running diesel engines despite diesel being a much cleaner and more efficient solution than gasoline engines.

    …and we haven’t even covered the costs of CARB in addition to the EPA. If people are worried about inflation due to the money supply, just wait until you see the regulatory-induced inflation coming down the pike.

    1. And all those costs make us poorer for very little result. Worse still the costs are hidden from the public. As I said above, environmentalism is a cult. There isn’t any rationality to it.

      1. “And all those costs make us poorer for very little result.”

        That is the goal!

        EnvironMENTALists view poverty as something romantic to be forced upon everyone except the ruling class.

    2. Also, how much does the additional heat from hotter engines of all trucks contribute to global warming?

  17. Hey I know let’s argue with Tony the idiot for an hour and a half! Chad too!

  18. I had to stop reading after I got to the Carbon Dioxide section, since I was convinced that the author is stunningly ignorant or dishonest. No-one is helped by these silly statistical games being played by the author (not humanity, America, libertarians, or Reason).

    If anyone here is interested in learning about the issue of greenhouse gas emissions, I recommend the publications of the National Academy of Sciences:

    http://dels.nas.edu/climatechange/

    Here are their reports on climate change: http://books.nap.edu/collectio…..index.html

    Finally, if anyone doubts the effective consensus among active researchers, here’s a roundup of what has been published:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/…../5702/1686

    If you think that this distortion/rejection of science helps the libertarian cause, then think about founding a group called “libertarians for junk science” and see how much influence you get:

    http://c4ss.org/content/1568

    1. “Finally, if anyone doubts the effective consensus among active researchers, here’s a roundup of what has been published:” Hey butt boy it’s over…the scam didn’t work!

      1. Enjoy your conspiracy theories.

        1. Enjoy being a laughing stock.

    2. From the link:

      This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, and the public statements of their professional societies.

      Especially since it is easier to get a grant if you stamp a big, fat “Global Warming” label to your research, whatever it happens to be for. So one would not expect disagreement on that regard from the various academic societies, whether they pertain to climate science or not.

      Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect.

      Just like Obama says about his Healthcare legislation – people are confused.

      NO, they are NOT confused, and most politicians in the world, journalists and pundits already made their mind about AGW.

    3. I grow a little tired of being called “anti-science” because I dare to question this or that conclusion. Just call for the heritics to be burned at the stake and be done with it. At least it’s honest.

      1. I don’t know about you Steve, but Mr. Utley is anti-science. I say this not because he questions a particular conclusion, I say it because he confidently states his opposition to the conclusion even though he has not bothered to study the theory that he is loudly rejecting (or he is intentionally presenting this information in a dishonest manner).

        1. Re: ricketson,

          I don’t know about you Steve, but Mr. Utley is anti-science.

          Being skeptical of the grossly overstated effects of CO2 is not the same as being anti-science. That’s number one.

          Number two: He is clearly pointing out at the economy-hobbling effect the EPA has in the USA. The EPA has grown to become an institution that exists for its own sake, never mind the increasingly marginal INutility of their efforts. You are mostly engaging in nitpicking instead of addressing the other more immediate points.

        2. I can and have read some of the actual papers, but I can’t reproduce their results because they don’t share data or methodologies. If it can’t be reproduced it isn’t science.

          1. Exactly. Science isn’t done by consensus. It is based on the testing of hypotheses. Since the AGW models failed to predict the temperature trend of the past decade, in terms of science it is an epic ‘fail’.

          2. You clearly aren’t informed or trying very hard.

    4. his statistics fall under the ‘lies, damn lies, and statistics’ category. sounds good, but really is saying nothing about what he thinks it does.

  19. Oh look, another environmental thread where two opposing sides who will never, ever change their minds (because they are invested in their identity) will argue about the same shit the same way for post after post.

    Look, you schmucks; you care too much about this shit and can’t discuss it in any rational fashion. You’ll hem and haw about how that’s not true, but anyone observing your discussions who isn’t emotionally invested can see it as clearly as day. It’s become 100% political, and therefore is the same as a discussion about Israel and Palestine, or abortion.

    Enjoy your endless circle jerk.

    1. How is anyone but the environmentalists being irrational?

      1. My position on this is entirely predicated on the fact that so many experts tell me it is happening. When did that become irrational?

        John, you are a lawyer who is somehow convinced that you have discerned a difficult truth that eludes most of the scientists in the relevant fields. Oh, and that truth you’ve found fits comfortably with your political beliefs.

        Now who more likely has their position rooted in irrationality?

        Epi-if most scientists started to say AGW was bunk I’d be happy to change my position. Not only do I have little invested in my position, politically my sympathies lie opposed to it (as I’ve stated most measures proposed to address AGW will devastate traditional union sectors).

        1. Even if you believe everything that the worst AGW scientists say, the fact remains that a world regime to limit carbon production to levels necessary to be effective is both impossible and even if it were possible would lead to levels of poverty and harm greater than anything predicted by the AGW models.

          It is not that you believe the scientists, although they have clearly allowed political bias and greed to pervert their work. It is that you believe in taking utterly futile and unilateral actions as a result of that science. That is what makes you a cultist. It doesn’t matter to people like you that the US reducing its carbon footprint will make zero difference to the overall picture. It couldn’t matter because you want to do it even though that is obviously the case. You support policies like the ones described above even though the evidence is overwhelming they will make no difference. You support them because they make you feel better. You support them for irrational and emotional reasons. That is the cultist part, not the debate over whether the scientists have the models right. And that is why anyone who supports things like Cap and Trade are not serious people on this issue. If you want to talk about some longer term plan of geo engineering or adaptation to what by your own data is inevitable, then you are being serious. But if you want to talk about putting millions of people into poverty to reduce carbon output in one area knowing that it will just increase in other areas of the world, you are a cultist.

          It is only meme because it is true. That is what you are on this issue.

          1. “It is not that you believe the scientists, although they have clearly allowed political bias and greed to pervert their work.”

            What an incredible over-generalization. “The scientists” have been corrupted. Are you aware of the sheer number and diversity (in field, funding sources, sponsor affiliations, etc) of scientists who claim AGW as fact? “They” are all corrupted? WTF?

            “the fact remains that a world regime to limit carbon production to levels necessary to be effective is both impossible”

            This argument is interestingly new for you John. It also is separate from the question of whether AGW is true or not (your usual tack is to deny that). Lastly, it’s something I’m inclined to agree with. I have long opposed cap and trade unilaterally for that reason. If you can’t even get my position on this correct how am I supposed to be convinced you know the science?

            1. Since your position is a moving target, it is a bit difficult to pin down. And further, if you don’t support reductions in carbon, then you are right we are not having an argument. But of course, if you agree with me that reducing carbon on a world wide scale is not an option, then why are we worrying about a problem for which there is no solution? If the world warms it warms. We can adapt to it when it happens. That is what man has always done.

              1. That warming will negatively effect people and their property. On most other issues when people, even a great number, negatively affect people and their property you tend to get worked up a bit more.

                I guess in the future I’ll suggest people so violated adapt as they have always done…

                1. “That warming will negatively effect people and their property”

                  The volcano in Indonesia is doing the same thing. But we can’t stop that from happening so we adapt. Same thing with AGW. If it is true, which is still very doubtful, there is nothing we can do about it. So that means we adapt. But what we don’t do is take self defeating unilateral actions.

                  1. You two kinda proved epsiarchs point.

                    1. +1 per Episiarch I have a huge boner now.

        2. What’s interesting here, MNG, is that my position is based on information from people who provide it without being part of the debate.

          Arctic ice extent from the fishermen who have to deal with it as part of their job.

          Sea level rise from harbormasters for whom sea level is a day-to-day working problem.

          Things like that. These people may be invested in the debate, but they also have to deal with such things as mundane realities. When they report on these things it’s not for funding or big oil paybacks, it’s because their jobs depend on getting them right.

    2. “It’s become 100% political, and therefore is the same as a discussion about Israel and Palestine, or abortion.” Or dope, open borders, capitalism or any of the other recurring issues here.

      1. There is political, and then there is mindless cultist political. Guess which one the climate change debate is.

        1. Yeah, because you are going to be changing your mind on open borders or the Drug war real soon. It is all partisan in the end.

          1. Actually I changed my mind on open borders quite recently thanks to Reason.

            There are a few people out there (me) who are swayed by logic and facts.

    3. As someone who works on the coast and lives on the coast, I have a vested interest if AGW might result in the sea level rising above my house. Yet I’m not very concerned. Why is that? I’m certainly about as pro-science and technology as a layperson can be, and I don’t have a political bias about whether the world is warming or not. I have a bias against people trying to alter economics and politics due to their climate claims, but that’s a different issue.

      1. My house sits at 11 feet above sea level. It is the highest in the neighborhood. I’ll be on my own private island for a while if we get 9 feet of sea level increase….

    4. Epi: will argue about the same shit the same way for post after post.

      Oooh, when we’re done with that we can resolve abortion, evolution and animal rights….

  20. I don’t doubt that many elements of enviromentalists are extreme and irrational, that’s likely true for every movement. However the current resonance of AGW has much more to do with the growing consensus of scientists in many fields around the world. That’s hardly the foundation for many cults, in fact it’s kind of its antithesis.

    On the other hand it is extremely hard to find deniers who don’t have strong ideological objections to what they see as the ramifications of AGW.

    What kind of fool would think the truth lies in the latter group and not the former?

    1. Consensus is a tool of politics, not science.

      If science was determined by consensus then it would be accepted fact that the Earth is flat and at the center of the universe.

  21. Don’t worry Americans,

    A o.1 foot of sea rise and 0.1 degree over 100 years is well worth your misery.

  22. What gets me about this is that for all the nearly fundamentalist levels of faith in the market to address social problems found among many here there seems to be a near terror that if AGW is indeed found to be true that socialism will have to be ushered in as a response.

    It would strike me that a libertarian with any humility would, realizing they know jack about the science compared to people who’ve been educated and working in the field for decades, defer on those questions and then point out ways that the problem could be addressed that least impinge on liberty.

    For example, I’m impressed with how simply “raising awareness” about the problem has already induced many people to try to change their consumption/production patterns and how the market has, true to form and impressively, began to offer avenues for people to do just that. Additionally, instead of restricting and taxing certain energy sectors why not tax and regulatory breaks for certain sectors (solar, wind, nuclear)? Why not offer these as solutions rather than arrogantly try to convince others you know more about the science involved than thousands of people who’ve studied the problem far longer?

    1. “For example, I’m impressed with how simply “raising awareness” about the problem has already induced many people to try to change their consumption/production patterns and how the market has, true to form and impressively, began to offer avenues for people to do just that.”

      No. It has allowed people like you to take meaningless and symbolic actions. The market produces a great supply of rosaries to.

      And perhaps if people like you didn’t view AGW as a ready made excuse to control people’s lives, people might take your arguments more seriously. If the proposed solution is always going to be a call for bigger government, less freedom, and more central control, why should anyone care what problem you are barking about this week?

      1. Your partisanship has really done a number on your mind John. Again, I’m opposed to both cap and trade and a carbon tax. Have been for a long time. So your continued lumping “people like you…control…” must be the product of a diseased, fevered mind I guess…Likewise your “the proposed solution is always going to be a call for bigger government, less freedom, and more central control.” Many people are offering solutions that fall below that bar, including myself in this very discussion!

        But hey, go fight your Kulture War, brave anti-elitist Warrior you. Whatever gets you off.

        1. If you are opposed to those things, then good for you.

    2. If the market can adapt to reduced carbon, why can’t it adapt to a warmer world? It is not like the world hasn’t been warmer before.

      1. The biggest probmen with AGW models is that no body has put a price on slowing/stopping AGW or adapting to the changes. Without a reasonably accurate cost associated to adapting or preventing AGW how can we decide what is best moving forward. You know aparently our ancestors survived the ice age and yet we have to “fear” possible obliteration due to a warmer earth?

        1. I think (not 100% sure) that Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and a few similar books, has taken a shot at it.

        2. There have been quite a few people who’ve tried to put costs on both global warming and what it might take to stop it. Google it sometime.

          As far as I’m aware though, the estimates for either have been very inconsistent.

    3. And when AGW is finally shown to be an incredibly expensive hoax the people who became environmentalists will say what the hell? I’ve changed my entire life and spent all of this money for a hoax?

      And then how will you convince them to continue their environmentalist ways? Tell them the earth will burn if they throw that can in the trash instead of recycling it? By hitching their wagon to the AGW scam environmentalists will be pulled off the cliff behind the train wreck that’s coming and their cause will be damaged.

      1. The day it is exposed as a hoax most people will stop believing in it. The difference with folks like you is you are convinced it is a hoax before that is shown. I’d bet your ideological concerns have something to do with that, no?

    4. Re: MNG,

      What gets me about this is that for all the nearly fundamentalist levels of faith in the market to address social problems found among many here[…]

      The market does not address “social problems,” MNG. You are making that argument up, that libertarians believe that, as there are no such thing as “social problems.” Only individuals have problems.

      […]there seems to be a near terror that if AGW is indeed found to be true that socialism will have to be ushered in as a response.

      No. That’s not the problem. The problem lies in the unsubstantiated belief that AGW is a “bad thing” that must be “addressed.” Even if AGW was true, the second assertion cannot be concluded as true.

      It would strike me that a libertarian with any humility would

      No true Scottsman?

      realizing they know jack about the science compared to people who’ve been educated and working in the field for decades, defer on those questions and then point out ways that the problem could be addressed that least impinge on liberty.

      A libertarian worth his or her salt would believe anything he or she wants or desires, MNG, even if that means deferring such questions to the priests of AGW. You seem to be equivocating: Libertarianism means holding as true the idea that liberty IS the ultimate political goal; it does not mean making cost-benefit analysis and them imposing them on others, as you imply.

      For example, I’m impressed with how simply “raising awareness” about the problem has already induced many people to try to change their consumption/production patterns and how the market has, true to form and impressively, began to offer avenues for people to do just that.

      I have seen icons being offered in Christian stores that are made in China. The market caters, MNG. No surprise there.

      The issue is imposition based on a supposition. The supposition is that AGW is bad. Even if AGW is true [and I believe Global Warming is a true phenomenon, just that the “A” part has been grossly overrepresented by Mann and The Shaggy Indian and their band of merry robbers], that does not mean ipso facto it is a “bad” thing. That’s jumping a huge chasm of a conclusion.

      1. Your atomism is goofy, both ontologically and as a matter of language. Yes, groups are made up of individual things. That does not empty the meaning of the concept of group. Social problems are ones that affect large numbers of individuals.

        If AGW is true then it has a host of ramifications for people and property. Interestingly usually you hold both of these things sacrosanct, not amenable to a utilitarian calculus. But on this issue…

        1. Sacrosanct against the depredations of other men–not against acts of nature.

          The climate changes, it has been both much warmer and much cooler than it is now. This is fact. Adapt to the changes or die. The change is an act of nature–even if it is anthropogenic, as humans are PART of nature.

          1. Yes, we are a part of nature. There is a more important conclusion to be drawn from this than “climate change is hence natural.” It’s that our livelihoods depend on the nature that we are a part of remaining relatively stable.

            A libertarian calling for adaptation over being proactive is ridiculous. Which do you think would require more government?

            And how do you justify, morally, basically telling people in poor countries that they’re more likely to die (rather than adapt) because we just didn’t feel like ending our bad habits with regard to polluting energy production? Sorry, that’s way beyond libertarian self-sufficiency, that’s downright fuck you amoral nihilistic selfishness.

            1. And how do you justify, morally, basically telling people in poor countries that they don’t have a right to escape poverty because we put our faith in rough computer models?

              That’s downright fuck you amoral nihilistic selfishness.

              1. This based on the premise that it’s impossible for them to escape poverty without burning more fossil fuels… Uh huh.

                Many developing countries are preparing better than the US, because they are not as hijacked by anti-science industry stooges. The American GOP is the only political party in the entire world that I’m aware of that openly denies the science of climate change. And here you are, independent minded libertarian, repeating their stupid lies. Because the whole world is either involved in a conspiracy to subsidize wind turbines or duped by the perpetrators of this conspiracy, except you and the GOP.

                1. “This based on the premise that it’s impossible for them to escape poverty without burning more fossil fuels… Uh huh.”

                  It’s pretty tough for developing nations to escape poverty without industrialization.

                  You’ll find some Asian presidents and politicians selling wind farms and lecturing about GW, but the giant conglomerates and the salarymen will in fact never accept the kind of environemtal regulation found in the US.

                  You can expect more industry outsourcing to China and parts of Asia that aren’t expected to lower their co2 emission by 30-40% like in California. China is guilty of all kinds of pollution, and their economy is growing. Which is a good thing, because they’ll continue to loan us money and manufacture solar panels for stimulus taking American green indstury that for some weird reason, opted for outsourcing despite taking tax payer money.

  23. Many enviroMENTALists will claim that any study that denies AGW must have been funded by some profit seeking entity that stands to lose profits should AGW inspired legislation/regulation be put into effect.

    This means the study is tainted by profit lust and must be ignored.

    However if the study originates from some power seeking entity that stands to lose (not gain = lose, just as a 5% raise when an 8% raise was expected = a 3% pay cut) power should AGW inspired legislation/regulation not be put into effect.

    Yet the environMENTALists will never consider such studies to be tainted by a lust for power.

    1. I should make use of ‘preview’ more often.

    2. I should make use of ‘preview’ more often.

      1. Use the submit button a little less as well 😉

    3. Oh yes, spot on. Advanced mathematical modeling and statistics you have to be careful of the “lust for power.” Because we all know the scientific method doesn’t try to answer empirically testable questions, rather scientists are Nietzschean egoist. Exactly ….

  24. We’re still being haunted by the ghost of Tricky Dick Nixon (The EPA was his creation after all).

  25. You can depend on the EPA to do a thorough review of costs and benefits, and only pursue policies with the greatest marginal gain.

    They work for the government and they’re here to help.

  26. I had some debates with TAO months ago in which he made the point about the futility of unilateral moves. After much reflection on it, I’m more and more convinced he had an excellent point.

    I would offer a few caveats. One might think that one could lead by example on this. That seems to be the logic of California’s move. I’m skeptical of this, but it has been done before on other issues that would have resulted in competitive disadvantage. Lastly, while unilateral cap and trade seems less and less serious of an option, something like a Kyoto style treaty with teeth could be offered as an option. Of course this would have massive verification/enforcement problems (as TAO also excellently pointed out to me). However, it might not be impossible to fashion something workable.

    Anways, right now all I’m for are some of the less restrictive, more feasible things I mention above.

    1. Yeah, I’d say that pretty much all of the oil outside of the US and Europe is going to eventually get burned, one way or the other. Same goes for all of the coal outside of the US and Europe. China and India and (eventually) Africa and Indonesia are going to keep growing their economy and demanding many orders of magnitude more energy than they currently have available. As long as coal and oil are in the ground where they can reach it, they’ll be burning it.

      Really the only final control we have over adding CO2 to the air is stopping extraction of hydrocarbon reserves. Only the west is likely to ever take such a step, so we can hold back maybe 20% of the remaining hydrocarbons – unlikely as that might be in reality. The cost for doing so will be to move all energy-heavy jobs to countries that don’t have such restrictions, unless there is the development of a new source of energy that is cheaper than pulling hydrocarbons out of the ground.

      So we are right back where we started. Develop a cleaner and cheaper energy source, or give up talking about controlling CO2 emissions as something that is seriously going to happen.

    2. I am not sure what to say here. The fact that you have been thinking about me for many months is both flattering and slightly unnerving.

      Anyway, as I said in those debates and will say here again, if we are not willing engage in an actual shooting war on this issue, then there is no point in tying one of our hands behind our back and hoping the rest of the world does, too.

      1. I’ve been thinking about your argument (“it”) not you goofball.

        I will say that I’m not sure the only alternative is a shooting war. Nations get treaty compliance on many issues with less than that. But I grant it’s a tough issue.

        Since when did you go back to AR?

        1. I am my arguments. They are but facets of the omnipotent being you know as AR.

          I switched for reasons of pure shenanigans, tomfoolery, horseplay, and other such hijinks.

  27. “What gets me about this is that for all the nearly fundamentalist levels of faith in the market to address social problems”

    There is no such thing as a “social problem” and markets are not required to “address” any problem.

    If you can’t afford to pay for your medical treatment for example, that is not a “social problem” that is YOUR problem.

    The “market” is merely a term to describe the aggregrate result of millions of people engaging in freedom of contract. It is not required to “address” anything that anyone considers to be a problem.

  28. MNG|11.10.10 @ 11:31AM|#
    “I don’t doubt that many elements of enviromentalists are extreme and irrational,…”

    Like the ones with guns that can, oh, put you in jail?
    “Clearly the California Air Resources Board had a goal in mind – endorsing a solution by trumping up data to make it the clear choice – and that meant boosting pollution estimates by 340%.”
    http://www.science20.com/cool-…..tes_passed

  29. Is that a disproportionate (i.e. non-midget) dwarf in the photo? Head & hands look awfully big.

  30. It might be nice if articles like this mentioned, in contrast, non-job-killing environmentalists. They do exist–in large numbers, I would argue. The choice is not between job-killing on the one hand and not giving a shit about the environment that supports us on the other. Unfortunately, many conservatives (and, sadly, some libertarians) seem to believe this is the choice. Talk about surrendering high ground.

    1. Re: Voxpo,

      It might be nice if articles like this mentioned, in contrast, non-job-killing environmentalists. They do exist–in large numbers, I would argue.

      They don’t work for the EPA, Voxpo – that’s the point.

      The choice is not between job-killing on the one hand and not giving a shit about the environment that supports us on the other.

      No, of course not, and nobody is going to argue for that. In fact, I can argue that libertarianism [personal liberty, total protection of private property, free and voluntary exchange] leads to the BEST environmental protection, as the contrary (non-liberty, “common” property) leads to Tragedy of the Commons scenarios like in the filthy USSR and its satellites.

      Unfortunately, many conservatives (and, sadly, some libertarians) seem to believe this is the choice.

      That’s a lie.

      1. Glad to hear that, but I’m not lying. Looking at the way many conservatives and libertarians commonly speak and write–thick with derisive comments about tree-huggers, environmentalist wackos, global warming nutcases, and other cheap, dismissive language they abhor when applied to our own non-mainstream ideas, without making distinctions–leaves the impression (thus my use of the word “seem”) that they don’t consider environmental concerns worth serious consideration. This unnecessarily drives away otherwise sympathetic audiences. I promise, as a libertarian for the last 25 years who made it through a Master’s program in biology (theoretical ecology) 18 years ago, I’ve been paying attention and I have no interest in lying.

      2. And how convenient that you don’t believe in a natural phenomenon that would challenge the viability of your precious free market world.

      1. I’m in favor of environmentalists not having babies. We don’t need to breed more enviros.

    2. Eric Hoffer said 40 years ago that the impulse behind environmentalism wasnt love of nature but hatred of mankind. Tuer words were never spoken. Having clean air and water are management issues that can be solved reasonably but these fanatics arent for good management, they want us sinners to suffer.

  31. Must take a time out from reading and go burn my leaves. Back in a few degrees.

  32. while I agree that envronmental regulations can certainly go to far (spoken as someone that just spent 6 months trying to get his car smoged in CA)

    This statement is a bit misleading

    “the American way of life that includes small cars, small apartments and, for many, a return to an idealized 19th century lifestyle”

    It’s not environmentalists that will force this change, it’s market forces. Modern subrurbia happy motoring lifestyle is built on the requirment of cheap oil. Rising demand, and as best steady supply will result in sharply higher oil prices.

    Thus many millions of Americans won’t be able to afford the big cars, or large homes with an hour commute.

    The transition will be tough.

    1. I agree- market forces will curtail per capita use of oil long before any agreement due to the threat of AGW.

  33. Another addition to this list is CPSIA. Laws rushed into effect after the lead in Chinese toys scare a few years back. Basically putting small manufacturers of children’s products out of business. Wiping out the resale market (legal ones anyway) on products made before the law and raising the costs for all.

  34. ok…. so waiting for the second half of the article that thoughtfully explains how Libertarian principles can prevent toxic releases into our air and water, or destruction of habitat to big range animals like the grizzly. What? “toxic” is a myth? What? Grizzlies can’t compete, so tough?

    I

    1. I sense that you, like me, are waiting for that last fucking polar bear to drown so we can get on with the drilling, right?

  35. you guys won’t mind me dumping my solvents upstream of your water supply or down your well will you? Holding that waste is slowing me down. It doesn’t do anything bad to you. Thanks.

    1. I can’t see those molekules so dey cant hert me

    2. ?|11.10.10 @ 3:30PM|#
      “you guys won’t mind me [inventing a silly straw man]…”

      Not at all! Brain-deads do so on a regular basis; they think it substitutes for a valid argument.

  36. If you guys spent half the time explaining how libertarian principles address these specific problems, as you did your one-liners, the movement might actually grow.

    1. but its much more fun to be irrelevant assholes. and really, we got nothing useful here

  37. Here is my counter argument to this entitled “How doesn’t the EPA cripple the American economy”:

    Thing and jibberish, but yes. On the other hand and without. Look, its like this. Yeah, but see here now. And anyways.

    Junk nonsense, lollypop shits. Punch conservatives because they hate. Eat chocolate. Yellow snow. And therefore 42.

    John has a long mustache. The chair is against the wall. Penis for your thoughts. Casual sects. Wanker. Motivated by corporate whoo haas!

    Again and to repeat, this is not a teat. And who, polar bear, nuclear, cow fart. Footprint, green giant. Glenn Beck! Snickers bar, hostess umpa loompa.

    And that is why the EPA is needed more now than ever before!

    1. Are you one of Joe Biden’s speechwriters?

      1. I was, but I was fired for using words.

  38. My small business, employing 4 people, is threatened with extinction. I haven’t turned a profit in several years and the bills are piling up. The light at the end of the tunnel is blotted out by new environmental rules set to start in 2012. The upgrades could cost me up to $30k, money I simply do not have and cannot borrow. This has to do with switching from solvent-based coatings to water-based. Another issue: right now my waste materials are sold to a company which uses them to heat a cement kiln. As that market goes away it will get more expensive to dispose of this waste. (I received a letter just this month letting me know that the price is going way up) On top of this, the water-based waste will be toxic, just like what I produce now, but cannot be used for fuel. More money out of my pocket to pay for its disposal.

    1. The idiots that come up with these regulations would prefer that you didn’t exist at all. Your existence as a human being is a threat to the environment.

  39. Right, I’ll just tell the people of Bangladesh they’ll have to wait a little longer before us mighty, industrious Westerners are feeling capable of addressing the fact that their country is being ruined.

  40. Any field of study that is not scientific or theological in basis inevitably becomes leftist and statist (same difference, I know). “Environmental Science” is an oxymoron. There are too many untestable variables and assumptions for this to be a real science.

  41. The days of the American people being stupid and trusting company’s to do the right thing all over.Yes we need jobs but we clean air and water for our families.The days of killing people and there families for a buck are over if you want something like that go to China,India,and any other country that cares more about money than it’s people.

    1. The days of the American people being stupid and trusting government to do the right thing have arrived. The standard of living in the countries you mention is rising as ours plummets thanks to people like you who vote for this enviro-nonsense.

  42. But what about the poor polar bears? As long as you can trump up some balderdash about the ice caps melting and find some baby harp seal with big sad eyes to photograph you’ll always have people voting for this environmentalist rubbish. After all 27,456 species go extinct EVERY DAY! Or was that 27,457? How can you argue with phony, made-up statistics and emotional appeals? Then you have the Republiclowns wanting to put green loony Fred Upton in charge of the House Energy committee. Until this idiocy is loudly denounced on a regular basis by at least one of the political parties the enviromental con artists will continue to impoverish us.

    1. Yes, god forbid we listen or even just consider scientific evidense. What has science ever done for us?

  43. First, you count the incremental cost of pollution control against the profit-loss of a corporation and therefore society.

    Then Never, you don’t count the incremental cost of the pollution borne by the people harmed by the pollution.

    Therefore, polluters are subsidized by their victims because the full cost of the product is NOT included in the price.

    I have to pay for my garbage pickup why shouldn’t polluting industry?

    Get the costs right, then price the product. If a polluting product can’t compete in the market, the market speaks.

    Price it right, the market speaks.

    I agree that EPA regulation is a poor price mechanism.

    Do you agree that polluters have desired products at subsidized prices?

  44. I’m so grateful for the EPA and the Clean Air and Water Acts.

    Growing up in the 1950’s, I remember the big cities of the midwest were teeming with ugly factories, foundries, mills, plants – all of them with belching smokestacks.

    Today, thank to far-seeing environmental legislation, all those ugly polluting industries – along with tens of millions of JOBS – are now in China, Korea, Mexico, etc. with the SAME belching smokestacks.

    1. @KevinAZ: +1

  45. You forgot New Source Review where EPA is now saying that repairs and replacement of components of existing stationary sources is a modification that requires New Source Review. This means that virtually all stationary sources in the US are in violation because everybody has replaced some components sometime during the life of their existing stationary source.

  46. I expect better from Reason. This essay can be summarized as “According to the following right wing think tanks and industry advocacy groups, the following limits on business activity are damaging. And to seal the deal, here are some out-of-context numbers and groundless assertions about how global warming is a sham.”

    There is a serious discussion to be had about how to bring business interests and environmental concerns into alignment, and prevent environmental activists from holding back the economy in a serious way. But asserting that the EPA is founded on a desire to return America to a hunter gatherer lifestyle is patently absurd.

    The state of the environment is yet another problem, like the excesses of the financial system and the collapse of our educational standards, that is waiting for a horrendous and perhaps irreversible crisis point before we will have a serious discussion about it.

    1. I wish that I could like a comment like on Facebook. If I could, I would like this comment.

      1. I also like it, Zim.

  47. This is a great article and should be sent to every Rep. in the House and Senate after Jan. Then, the reps should weaken this horrid corrupt EPA. We now know that with climate stats, with any science which goes against the whack jobs in the Enviro community, whether it was in Eng. or the WH not telling the truth about BP or any other domestic energy source. The public should demand that the EPA be weakened in any mandate power. It is a tyrannical socialist org. and if the Pubs weakened it, it would aid the USA in its using our own energy resources.

  48. I think 60% of the budget going towards 2 wars is what is killing the economy. Additionally, I think the securities bubble killed the economy. I don’t think investing in green technology and policies is a bad thing, but no, its always business as usually to you people. If it hurts your bottom line, then its evil even though you could easily adapt and make this place a better world if you only had a smidget of integrity.

    1. In 2009, only 22.6% of the budget was set aside to the war effort.

  49. “For instance, technology which could have removed the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was prohibited by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because the discharged ocean water would still contain more than 15 parts per million of oil.”
    Sure, it was stupid considering the risk, but there is a problem with your mention of 15ppm as though it’s no big deal. The reality is that different things matter at different scales. Arsenic can kill you if it is a mere trace element, which means 1 in 100 MILLION, or .001ppm. In some cases, a whole ppm actually matters. That said, in some cases it does not. In this case, there was certainly leeway for more ppm and there certainly is environmental extremism (Al Gore is case in point) but one must still be wary of the effects of not taking care of the environment.
    @Martin: In 2009, only 22.6% of the budget was set aside for the war effort.

  50. I thought Obama was worried about Middle Class Americans. It is time for the Federal Government to work with the people. Work with the Private Sector to Create Jobs Do Not Destroy any more jobs in the US.

    1. “I thought Obama was worried about Middle Class Americans.”

      Ok so now that the blinders are off open both eyes and take a look around.

      They Obama -c-Rats are just about power and control. And the self important jack wads at the EPA are the same…..so until we the people stand up and change it for the better it will just continue to spiral down the same exact path.

  51. I love the hysteria that becomes rampent on this board every time regulation is brought up. Seriously, look at yourselves. EnviroMENTALism is a religion by people who want to TAKE OVER EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE, AND THEY WANT MY GUNS!!! LIBURALZ NOOOO!!!!

    Get over it. Global warming is a threat that is surely being overstated. As an enviromentalist, I’m sorry about that. Before you start crying about how the big bag EPA wants to take your… something… have a quick browse through the superfund sites in your area. Look up Love Canal and other really terrible problems brought about by large industries and yes, governmental institutions.

    There is a reason these agencies exist, and I suspect the majority of you are so complacent because in the 40 years the EPA has been around its done a decent job keeping the worst of pollutants out of our society.

    If you have a better way than a governmental institution to make the huge environmental externalities of modern production payed for by the producers who benefit by ignoring them, I’m all ears. Seriously, if you have a better way, please, respond.

  52. I am sure the EPA has a place. Trouble is THEY DO NOT KNOW THERE PLACE.

  53. Save a job, kill a hippie.

    1. Yup ….and use them as fertilizer to grow the plants that eat CO2..

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  55. Here’s a question for you: If pollution from a company shaves five or ten years off your life, do you really give a damn that some workers will lose their jobs if their companies shut down their plants rather than pay to update their old equipment? In fact, can you name one prosperous, well-run company that chose to go out of business because of the EPA’s requirements? Or let me put it another way: Do you feel sorry for a company that’s forced to buy pollution-fighting equipment when it can turn around and deduct that expense from its income tax at the end of the year? Indeed, when American Electric Power announced that it was going to shut down five of its polluting coal-powered plants to install billion-dollar equipment, did you think the old equipment would last forever? That the plants would never again re-open? That employees would never be rehired? That the executives of that company would have to file for unemployment? That the company would be unable to recoup its investment through the tax code that favors corporations? These are the sorts of questions you should ask yourself when you hear some politician complain that the EPA kills jobs.

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