Waking the GOP Up on Climate Change

April 28th, 2010 at 3:08 pm | 92 Comments |

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Things are looking bright at the moment for the proponents of a do-nothing approach to climate change. But that doesn’t mean doing nothing is a good idea.

The planned push for a bipartisan climate and energy bill by Senators Graham, Lieberman and Kerry has stalled after Sen. Reid decided immigration pandering was more important. Public pressure for climate legislation is muted, as polls show concern about global warming is waning while skepticism that it’s human-caused is waxing.

The conservative base may be even less interested in a climate-bill compromise than it was in a health reform compromise. On healthcare, many conservatives had come to agree there was a serious problem, even if the proposed solution was misguided. On climate change, the main conservative rallying point these days is along the lines of “it’s a hoax,” rather than that proposed mitigation measures are poorly constructed.

Given all that, it will be tempting for Republican politicians to just say no to any bill aimed at addressing climate change. This would be a mistake, on both policy and political grounds. For one thing, views that global warming is not happening or not human-caused remain at odds with mainstream scientific opinion. Recent reports that clear “Climategate” scientists of wrongdoing might be part of a “conspiracy so vast” or some such, but a political party embracing such a claim risks looking foolish and paranoid.

For another thing, the weakened momentum for climate legislation gives an opportunity for Republicans to place a conservative imprint on any bill that might go forward. That would mean the legislation should include such elements as these:

Emphasizing nuclear power. Let Greenpeace howl as Republicans take seriously the imperative to restrain carbon emissions by streamlining the nuclear regulatory process.

Simplifying carbon pricing. The mechanism of placing a price on carbon emissions, whether through taxes or allowance trading, should be as straightforward as possible to avoid the system being gamed by special interests or left to regulators’ discretion.

Restraining the tax burden. Revenues from carbon taxes or allowance auctions should be accompanied by some reductions in existing taxes to promote economic competitiveness. Strict revenue neutrality would be undesirable, however, given the bleak fiscal outlook.

However things look now, it remains possible that climate legislation will pass in the coming months. Healthcare reform, remember, looked dead once too. Republicans taking a die-hard do-nothing stance risk ending up with a climate bill they will abhor.

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92 Comments so far ↓

  • easton

    sdspringy, while we do get a great deal of our oil from Canada and Mexico, Cantarell is drying up and they have to now go to deeper wells at places like Chincontepc, Cantarell production costs were far lower than Chincotepec and it was much easier to extract, now we are going to face far more situations like the huge oil spill in the gulf of Mexico on a greater basis, the Marine ecology there can stand an occasional spill, but, given the nature of how deep these new wells can be and the iffy climate, etc. we can not go drill happy. Beyond this you are ignoring the fact that the oil we buy from Canada and Mexico are taken from the worlds oil supplies, and forces other industrial nations to buy Middle Eastern output, which again leads a certain percentage of the money to go to Iranian mad Mullahs and Sunni jihadists. The less we import, the lower the price of oil and the lower the middle east can charge.

    I simply can not understand how you can treat the two issues apart from each other. How can you say “we must fight Muslim extremism” and also say “but lets do nothing to prevent their funding.” The US just spent $1 trillion in Iraq and we did so because of our utter dependence on oil. Why are you so dogmatic as to not want to use whatever mechanism to get away from this? Are you really that invested in an argument with environmentalists that you are comfortable with putting American soldiers lives on the line?

    In a sense, this should be a win win for both Democrats and Republicans, Democrats would get environmental purity, Republicans get National security (and a chance to stick it to the jihadists)

  • sinz54

    easton: I simply can not understand how you can treat the two issues apart from each other.
    The reason they’re treated separately, is that free market and free trade ideology is colliding with national security ideology.

    One issue that conservatives have never come to grips with, is what do you do when you’re trading with a nation that could be an unfriendly neutral or even a potential adversary. We had this problem in the 1930s, when we sold scrap iron to Japan that they sent back to us at Pearl Harbor in the form of torpedo planes.

    We had this problem in the 1970s, when conservatives from Midwestern farm states could denounce the Soviet Union and then tell their farmer voters it was perfectly OK to sell grain to the Soviet Union.

    And we’re having the problem again now, when the West buys oil from Saudi Arabia and Iran while the Saudis have published virulent anti-American propaganda throughout the world, and Iran–well, everybody knows how Iran has behaved.

    The Center for Security Policy, is a bunch of national security conservatives like Frank Gaffney who are not afraid to say that national security should trump free-market and free-trade concerns.

    We’re not Randians or libertarians. We’re conservatives. That means we’re nationalists first and free-market supporters second. America above all.

  • easton

    “The reason they’re treated separately, is that free market and free trade ideology is colliding with national security ideology.”

    But my point is it need not. Does France having 70% Nuclear power generation collide with free markets and free trade (except, of course, in the nuclear power generation which is understandably highly regulated)

    Whatever company from whatever country that can produce solar panels or wind turbines or ability to produce cleaner hydro-fracking technology should be absolutely free to market and trade their wares in the US

    Also, ensuring clean air and water is in the national interest, and is consistent with free trade and free markets, it just so happens that ensuring clean air and clean water hurts the interest of the oil industry, which just so happens to be dominated by a bunch of OPEC anti-free market tycoons.

  • ottovbvs

    sinz54 // Apr 29, 2010 at 10:41 am

    ” That means we’re nationalists first and free-market supporters second. America above all.”

    ………so nationalism which on the whole has been the most destructive force in world history along religion is to be our new mantra……….although at bottom you’re right that this is another one of those areas of contradiction within today’s right wing conservative ideology …….however you then promptly contradict yourself by saying we can have our cake and eat it ……you are so funny at times Sinz

  • LFC

    NHBlinders,

    I guess you didn’t read anything I sent, so going too deeply into it isn’t really worth it. I’ll just point out a few of your dumber statements.

    You do understand the concept of a straw man argument and how it is just one form of irrational debate.

    Absolutely. For example, claiming a statistically significant divergence in the past 20 years when the underlying data set is known to be deficient compared to the 100 years before would be a straw man. You and your buddy Mr. Sinclair hold up the strawman that it is statistically significant. “I wonder if you can admit when you use a straw man?” Oh, that’s right. You obviously didn’t read what I sent.

    Please identify where I said “we should throw away today’s temperature measurement technology” or admit you proposed a faulty straw man argument.

    To quote, “Climatologists that advocate AGW need to choose an unbiased proxy to represent average global temperature and stick with it. ” This is a half-assed statement for several reasons. First, the proxy only needs to be used in the farther past. The tree ring proxy has been shown to be accurate, despite the willful misrepresentation of a lack of recent data as a statistically significant divergence. Second, you state they “need to choose an unbiased proxy.” In fact, they’ve chose a number of them, all of which are rather in agreement (see the hockey stick info I sent).

    Scientific debate requires rigid adherence to rational argument that includes no straw men.

    Which is why the willful misrepresentation of a lesser data set today (though an excellent data set for decades prior) as statistically significant is not a rational argument. Also, clawing at one set of data while ignoring all of the others is not at rational argument. It’s desperation, clutching at any straw to back your preconceived notion.

    My argument does not need repeating. It is scientifically valid.

    As my links showed, it is not. Can you admit that the “smoking gun” that you and your cartoonist friend Mr. Sinclair cling to (hey, another right-winger clinging to his gun!) is actually not scientifically significant? I doubt it. Can you admit that multiple other methodologies have produced similar results? I doubt that too.

    The planet is several billion years old, life has existed on it for probably at least the last billion.

    Quiz: What happened to most of the existing life forms on the planet during large climate shifts?

    And during most of that multi-billion history of Earth, the planet was not even inhabitable by humans. Because climate made the planet uninhabitable in the past, does that mean that this condition is not worth trying to avoid when we are the cause?

    There is no such thing as a planet in balance- it is constantly changing.

    So if we’re forcing climate change at a rate that has historically only been associated with huge natural changes that destroyed vast numbers of life forms, then we should just do nothing? Well, at least I know where you stand. You’re in the “even if you’re right, there’s nothing we can do” camp. Head, meet sand.

    If the last million years were looked at as a waveform- the average global temperature would be seem as terribly inhospitable to humans. The interglacial periods typically represent less than 20% of time. The last interglacial contained temperatures higher than this one.

    Sooooooo, if the planet is going to change in the next, say, 100,000 years, then there’s no reason to do anything about humans forcing change in the next hundred. You seriously need a refresher in significant digits.

    Climate alarmists like to assume that the last 400 years are the key years that should be used in determining the “good” and “balanced” range of temperatures for the planet.

    Maybe because that corresponds to the period of modern civilizaton? Ya’ think? Maybe because the conditions that prevailed in past periods would destroy vast inhabited areas,

    You don’t seem to grasp that we’re not trying to save the planet (no matter what the bumper stickers say). We could mess the planet up quite badly, exterminate ourselves, and it would be back in business in a period that is geologically insignificant. What we’re trying to do is to keep island nations and coastal areas from being submerged, trying to keep our agricultural areas productive, trying to keep tropical diseases from moving into temperate zones, etc. This is all about the impact on humans, not the planet.

    True scientists understand that there is no real equilibrium for the planet climate and temperatures. Too many varying external forces are in play to ever reach a long term stable equilibrium.

    “True scientists?” I’ll go tell the climate scientists at NASA, NOAA, etc. that they aren’t true scientists, and they should come talk to you.

    And just because you have variable system doesn’t mean that you can’t measure the impact of another variable. Of course, a “true scientist” would know that.

    Climate science is steeped with politics primarily based on funding that is politically motivated on both sides.

    You have a very American point of view, unless you believe that the politics of climate change is identical the world over.

    Good scientists tend to be skeptical and have no issue in discussion about what they are skeptical about.

    OK. I’ll be sure to tell the thousands of scientists around the world who believe the evidence and conclusions about the past that they are not only not “true scientists”, but they also aren’t “good scientists”.

    I tend to trust the objectivity of unfunded scientists over funded ones – I also tend to trust the objectivity of scientists that do not have a reputation directly tied to a particular theory.

    Then why did you quote a cartoonist?

    Good scientists tend to be skeptical and have no issue in discussion about what they are skeptical about.

    True, but you act as if all the details of climate science have been 100% settled for the past decade. It is changing and improving every year with better data, better techniques, better ideas. The thing that you don’t like is that it keeps coming up with the same answer that you are predisposed to disagree with. Hence your clinging to your cartoonist buddy instead of actual scientists.

    In this last paragraph, there is one other political factor that you have studiously avoided. Today, climate scientists are rather gun shy about broadcasting their skepticism and question. Why? Well you only have to look at the phony debunked “controversies” from the right:

    - False “debunking” of the hockey stick.

    - Blowing Himalayan glacier comment out of all context … and studiously ignoring the fact that the data was actually right in the section of the very same report that actually dealt with Himalayan glaciers.

    - “Climategate” now having been investigated and shown to be nothing in terms of actual data and conclusions.

    Scientists are logical people, not political people. The right wingnuts are both political and denialists. There is no conversation you can have, no information you can provide, no question that you can ask that the right won’t take out of context and scream that it is “proof”. You’re a living example. You just package it a little better.

  • easton

    LFC, remind me not to debate you anytime. You nearly knocked me out and I am just a spectator.

    We’re not Randians or libertarians. We’re conservatives. That means we’re nationalists first and free-market supporters second. America above all.

    I take exception to the America above all. If Israel were to believe that it must bomb Iran because it is its own survival at stake, I think Americans should have their back absolutely, even though it will be at a tremendous cost in blood and money to do so. I do not think Iran has the remotest chance to ever threaten the survival of America but sometimes the survival of other free states takes precedence over our own self interests.

  • ottovbvs

    easton // Apr 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    ” I take exception to the America above all. If Israel were to believe that it must bomb Iran because it is its own survival at stake, I think Americans should have their back absolutely, even though it will be at a tremendous cost in blood and money to do so.”

    …..So Israel’s interests rank above American interests even though Iran does not represent an existential threat to the US…….to which other countries in the world would you wish to extend this blanket American guarantee?

  • easton

    ottovbvs, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan. Thankfully Europe is spared but we did do so for Western Europe. I don’t want to say blanket. We don’t allow Taiwan to declare independence for example, but if China just up and lobbed missiles and tried to invade we should defend Taiwan. Luckily, the Chinese knows that would mean the end of the world as we know it so they aren’t ever likely to.

    Let me say, I don’t want to misrepresent myself, I am a Democrat and an internationalist. I supported the war in Iraq not because of oil but because Saddam was a genocidal tyrant who represented a cancer in the Middle East, I only wish Bush had properly prepared for it.

    By the way, the only reason I come to Frumforum is so far it is the only Conservative web page where the Commentary is generally well informed and intelligent (with some exceptions, but nothing is perfect). Most of the others I find are filled with wingnut cranks. Generally I read TNR but I don’t want to wall myself off from informed Conservative commentary.

  • nhthinker

    LFC,

    You have verbosity going for you- Let us just take one piece of your tirade…

    “So if we’re forcing climate change at a rate that has historically only been associated with huge natural changes that destroyed vast numbers of life forms, then we should just do nothing? Well, at least I know where you stand. You’re in the “even if you’re right, there’s nothing we can do” camp. Head, meet sand.”

    I’ve already presented to you that the planet was much warmer less than 130,000 years ago. Which species died out because it got too warm as opposed to the number of species that died out due to the inhospitably coldness of long intervening glacial cycle? Or just the growth of the human population harvesting larger mammals in the past twenty thousand years? Alarmists intentionally dump all climate change and point to extinctions- not caring if they were caused be excessive warmth versus excessive cold versus not being at all directly related to temperature but more a competition for environment.

    http://www.shawsheen.org/Beavers/Natural_History_of_Beavers/natural_history_of_beavers.html

    ” It is estimated that as many as two hundred million beavers once lived in the continental United States, their dams making meadows out of forests, their wetlands slowly capturing silt. The result of the beaver’s engineering was a remarkably uniform buildup of organic material in valleys, a checkerboard of meadows through the woodlands, and a great deal of edge, that fruitful zone where natural communities meet. Beavers are a keystone species, for where beavers build dams the wetlands spread behind them, providing home and food for dozens of species, from migrating ducks to moose, from fish to frogs to great blue herons.”

    Beavers changed the environment- and because of it, some species won and some species lost- Should the beavers have worried about the species that went extinct because of their actions? Is the world a worse place because the beavers did not give pause about what species would go extinct because of their actions ?

    If anything, going forward, humans want to keep the planet in an unnaturally long warm cycle instead of entering the next glacial cycle. Do you disagree?

    Climate scientists are a relatively new breed. It was only very recently (5 years) that climatologists started seriously being able to measure water vapor on a global scale and its only been 20 years that modeling ocean behavior has entered into the climate science models. Anyone trained in thermal dynamics should have recognized the domination of the oceans on climate temperatures. That recognition should have occurred 50 years ago but the issue was climate scientists had all these land based temperature measurements and proxies that they thought could provide them an accurate model if they just used enough computer power. They didn’t.

    Climate science is still very much in its infancy. In some ways, the learning that will happen will only occur because humans are causing some unnatural stimulation to the system. That stimulation might cause problems. The potential for problems can also be easily exaggerated – as LFC kindly demonstrates for us in the quote above.

  • easton

    nhthinker, are you a climatologist? On National Security reasons alone we have to move away from using fossil fuels, so what reason could you possibly have to keep bleating on about this issue? You don’t believe in global warming, fine, that has absolutely nothing to do with the other compelling reasons we have to create carbon reductions. And please, don’t tell me nonsense it is about the science. It is completely ideological for you. Beavers? Seriously, you are talking about beavers? How about Al Qaeda, how about that huge oil slick in the gulf of Mexico, how about the 29 miners who died. No one has died from Nuclear power in the west, no wind mill or solar panel or hydrogen fuel cell killed anyone.

    Look, I am pretty positive global warming is real, I am also pretty positive there is little we can do about it since India and China and other countries will more than do their share. But I am positive that the less money the jihadists have in the Middle east, the less they can kill Americans. If we are going to go broke, lets go broke on ourselves, not financing Arab sheikhs and their harems. Leave the science of global warming to the scientists, but lets do our part to keep our dollars out of the hands of the jihadists.

    Or do you think that militant Islam is no big deal and you are perfectly content to finance them?

  • ottovbvs

    easton // Apr 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    ……no answer on the blanket American guarantee yet I see……poland……Ukraine……..Taiwan…….Pakistan?

  • CAPryde

    “If anything, going forward, humans want to keep the planet in an unnaturally long warm cycle instead of entering the next glacial cycle. Do you disagree?”

    I have admittedly wandered into this thread very late in the game, but this argument confuses me. You seem to be talking about geoengineering on a massive scale, so given that you are thinking in terms of a really ambitious, multi-generational project like that, wouldn’t the desirable thing be a third alternative (which you haven’t mentioned) of trying to keep the climate at more or less its current state? Most of the discussion around global warming is about ways to slow down its acceleration. Are you expressing a fear that reductions in human CO2 emissions–or big ones, at least–will lead to a new ice age? Because that doesn’t seem very reasonable.

    Given a choice between a warming trend and what I will call a “stays-more-or-less-the-same” trend, wouldn’t the second one be preferable? As things stand, a huge percentage of the world’s population is clustered near water, meaning that the expected sea-level rises you would predict with a long warming trend would push those people inland. At the very least, that will cost a LOT of money and destroy a lot of real estate.

  • easton

    otto, not blanket guarantee, but guarantee sure. We can guarantee Taiwanese defacto independence but not dejure. Poland, absolutely, they are part of NATO and if Ukraine joins then absolutely as well. Pakistan??? Guarantee what? They have nukes and are far more likely to be the cause of a nuclear conflagration instead of needing to be protected. And we guarantee South Korea, Japan, etc. so I am not too sure what your objection is, if any. As to Israel, the fact is if they bomb Iran we will be pulled into it as well, we can pressure Israel not to bomb Iran but if Israel felt its very existence was in question I simply can not imagine US fighter jets blowing Israeli bombers out of the sky or warning Iran that they are on the way, so we would have to back their play to make sure it works.

    Let me also say I don’t see this happening for a number of years, Iran’s nuclear project is riddled with spys and informants and my understanding is they are further away then the prognositcators like to say. (and yes, I am aware that Iran has done back room deals with the North Koreans for nuke technology)

  • Stewardship

    Easton is correct. Our own military–that bastion of liberal thought–identified climate change as one of the top national security threats in its quadrenniel analysis. The economic upside of climate policy is enormous, too.

    We send about $1 billion per day overseas to buy foreign oil. American electric companies are sitting on hundreds of billions of dollars of deferred capital expenditures, waiting for the federal government to give them the ground rules going forward. The money multiplier effect of those dollars being spent in the US for equipment, construction, and labor would be the largest private stimulus ever.

    Sure, China and India are increasing their carbon emissions as they deploy an “all of the above” approach to energy production to meet the needs of their growing middle classes. But, those countries, expecially China, are eating our lunch in terms of innovation and production of new technology. Are we going to sit on the sidelines and become an importer of clean and renewable energy?

    It is getting harder and harder to be charitable in my opinion of people who speak out against good climate policy. They seem to be so angry about other issues–bloated government, healthcare, Democrats in general–that they can’t see the forest through the trees.

  • LFC

    NH, first you don’t seem to know very much about the natural history of beavers vs. the history of humans. Beavers did change habitat. So did periodic insect infestations. So did fire. What you don’t grasp is that none of these changes were PERMANENT. Beaver changed the landscape but their ponds silted in, brush took over, and succession occurred. Forests were wiped out by insects, other plants moved in and succession occurred. Ditto for fire. I don’t see a whole lot of succession occurring in human inhabited areas. Succession is a really, really basic and key biological concept that you need to learn.

    If anything, going forward, humans want to keep the planet in an unnaturally long warm cycle instead of entering the next glacial cycle. Do you disagree?

    Yes, I disagree. We are technologically better prepared to deal with changes due to colder temperatures than we are for rising sea levels.

  • easton

    LFC, you do know torture is now illegal don’t you? Why do you insist on torturing poor NH? I am sorry, but this just ain’t right. You are making it look way too easy.

  • ottovbvs

    easton // Apr 29, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    …..actually we’re very careful not to guarantee Taiwan’s independence either de facto or de jure because such a guarantee would mean a war with China…….and you would be prepared to involve the US in a war with Russia if they were ever to move against the Ukraine….the mind boggles……and we don’t guarantee either Japan or South Korea because we want to maintain our freedom of action…..we may station troops there as a deterrent but that’s a different matter……as to Israel I’d say it was quite conceivable that we’d stop Israel launching a pre-emptive attack on Iran and refuse to back their play….after all we refused to back Britain’s Suez play in 1956 …..and even Bush denied the Israelis use of Iraqi airspace to mount such an attack……you clearly haven’t the faintest idea of the consequences for the US of getting involved in a war with Iran or even allowing Israel to start one…..at the end of the day US interests must and should trump Israeli ones when we don’t face an existential threat….it’s one thing for us to say we won’t allow Israel to be attacked but a completely different one to start a pre-emptive war on her behalf in order to keep the Israeli govt happy

  • ottovbvs

    nhthinker // Apr 29, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    LFC,

    “You have verbosity going for you- Let us just take one piece of your tirade…’

    …..it wasn’t a tirade and he wasn’t verbose…..he just took your pants down but you don’t seem to have noticed their absence

  • easton

    otto, yeah, with regards to China, that is what strategic ambiguity is for, so I concede your point, but lets face it, Clinton pushed the ambiguity about as close to definite as we can imagine and the Chinese backed down. And yes, Taiwan has defacto independence. Deterrence functions as a tripwire so if our 25,000 troops are killed in South Korea I am sure we would be pretty much committed to total war. As to Ukraine, they just agreed to continue to station the Russian fleet so I don’t see any likelihood of invasion in our lifetime, and the Russians can’t even defeat Chechens. So that theoretical is just too theoretical, especially to allow it to boggle your mind.

    “you clearly haven’t the faintest idea of the consequences for the US of getting involved in a war with Iran or even allowing Israel to start one”

    No, I do, it would be an unprecedented nightmare plunging the world into a likely depression. I am not advocating Israel bomb Iran, I am saying that if Iran gets the bomb and seems intent on using it (two very big ifs) then if Israel were to act, we would have no choice but to back their play. Personally, I think we should tell Iran if they test we will take out their leadership and their facilities. And I appreciate it then becomes who blinks first. Now the calculation of Israel is different, they would want to act before Iran can test because if they do test, then any strike on them would invite retaliation.
    Pakistan an Iran are the two most difficult challenges we face.

    To be honest though, as to Iran I am more sanguine. I think the days of Ahmed and the Ayatollah are numbered, the demographics are against them, even half of the Ayatollahs are against them. When Rafsanjani thinks you are not liberal enough, then you got some problems. Long term, I see a gradual Chinafication of Iran wherein they will keep their potential to build nukes, but won’t, thereby creating their own strategic ambiguity, and they will open their economy. If I am wrong, then we are left with nightmare scenarios.

  • easton

    by the way otto, I lived in China for 7 years so it is my fault for speaking in shorthand. Yes, the US affirms Taiwan is part of China, but it also states the re-unification must be peaceful. The Chinese take this as a face saving measure because, to be honest, they like Taiwan as it is. There are many thousands of Taiwanese doing business in China investing billions of dollars, China and Taiwan now has direct flights. etc. I have to realize that you have no way of knowing just how involved I am in their affairs, my nephew goes to school in Taiwan, my wife is Chinese, I own a home in China and speak fluent Mandarin. I have had numerous discussions with party officials (mid level ones) about Taiwan, so trust me, I know the factions in the government and what they stand for quite well. I once worked (indirectly) for the son of Jiang Zemin’s company (in China many foreign businesses have to be half owned, the Ericcson subsidiary has him as its titular President). He went to the school in the states and is fluent in English, and to be honest, was a nice guy (at least to me)

  • easton

    That should be Ericsson. 爱立信 yeesh.

    I only did some corporate consulting so it was indirect.

  • nhthinker

    Easton,

    I have no problem with the concept of tariffs on ME oil to cover the military cost of protecting it. Ir would increase effort to get Alaskan oil.
    Oil changed the average human life span from about 40 years to 80 years. Tree-huggers would rather not consider that.

    Update your language- they are calling it “climate change” now, not “global warming” any more. That’s because they expect the temperatures to go lower for the next 5 years based on la Nina.

    Do you know the planet was several degree Celsius hotter less than 130,000 years ago? Much hotter than the worst predictions due to human CO2? go to climateskeptic.com- they are unwilling to discuss such a time period as a normal range of Earth temperatures. To them, the past 400 years are somehow magical and defining.

    I like other forms of energy. I’m big on efficiency. The US blew it on nuclear due to the tree-huggers.
    Wind and solar are generally engineering jokes- a cloudy week and the grid goes unstable.

    I’ve reduced my family of 4 use of home heating and vehicle oil/gasoline use from 2000 gal/year to less than 1000 gal/year through a combination of American made hybrid and telecomuting. I am also actively pursuing an idea to change over to geothermal heating and cooling. I did this all based on efficiency and value, not some silly alarmist garbage.

    I’ve also have three American/Canadian made vehicles in my driveway. I have not bought a GM car since the government bailed them out.

    LFC,
    You have no understanding of the impact of beavers- Every river path in the US is now totally different over the last several million years based on the actions of beavers. Your seeming embracement of druidism is quite entertaining.

    Beavers were the top “keystone” species prior the emergence of humans as the environmental controlling/influencing species.

    When are you going to convert your homestead back to back to pre-human meadow?

  • ottovbvs

    easton // Apr 29, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    ” I am not advocating Israel bomb Iran, I am saying that if Iran gets the bomb and seems intent on using it (two very big ifs) ”

    …..but getting it is very different from an intent to use it…..these are two completely different scenarios……they are going to get it….. and they are certainly not going to use it against Israel because a) they are not crazy and b) they don’t have to since mere possession is a game changer.

    ……I also broadly agree with your sophisticated take on China/Taiwan because I don’t see the world in the comic book pictures popular amongst many here…..the Chinese don’t need to take military action because ultimately the fruit will fall into their lap……they may at some point hurry things along by destabilizing the Taiwanese govt……but ultimately the bottom line as far as the US is concerned is I don’t see us getting into a war with China over the territorial integrity of Taiwan

  • ottovbvs

    nhthinker // Apr 29, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    ” I have not bought a GM car since the government bailed them out.”

    …..how heroic of you…….definitely not a court jester but maybe the beaver keeper

  • Rabiner

    Sinz54:

    “The reason they’re treated separately, is that free market and free trade ideology is colliding with national security ideology.”

    The thing with your whole comment that I disagree with is that nations that trade together are less likely to go to war against each other. War is propagated on the notion that another nation is evil and that it is in their best interest to fight a war. Trade with that nation creates a more friendly atmosphere than if there was no trade. You become accustom with that culture, language, people and have less animosity with them due to your interactions. China won’t declare war on Taiwan as it is suggested further down not because the United States will defend Taiwan but because the United States and Europe would boycott China. This would create more instability within China than a war ever could. Millions displaced and out of work all of a sudden, social anxieties and the possibility for revolution could foster.

    A prelude to WW2 was the Versailles Treaty which created a resentment in Germany against the Allied Forces of WW1. Keynes predicted that WW2 would happen because the economic reparations put on Germany were so severe it would create an atmosphere in which an extremist government could come to power. Along with that Treaty, the Smoot-hawley tariff decreased international trade significantly and lead to animosity between nations.

  • nhthinker

    CAPryde,

    Thanks for trying to be thoughtful on this.

    Climate scientists do not yet know all the mechanisms in play for staying on more-or-less the same temperature.
    The sister to the volcano in Iceland typically blows around the same time as this last one and throws 10 times the ash and both have history of being active for a year. Such normal volcanic activity produces substantial cooling effects and pollution.
    Climalogist alarmists tend to focus on MINIMZING impacts of humans to create what they consider a more “natural” planet- one where humans have as little impact as possible- Most think we have too many humans on the planet and are more concerned for special species of butterflies versus whether a poor logger in Brazil can work to raise his standard of living and afford medicine for his sick kids.

    A naturally induced cooling effect could trigger the NORMAL descent into the next glacial period. This interglacial period is already much longer than what is considered NORMAL.

    Humans make stupid choices all the time- If an expected category 5 hurricane hits New Orleans and all the levies break as expected. there will be a huge loss of life and property- Whose fault will it be?
    Designing for safety for a 20 year period or less is human stupidity-
    New Orleans should have been condemned and rebuilt based on PRIVATE funding for handling of all expected natural disasters for at least a hundred year period.

    Pretending that we know that human induced changes will be any more dramatic than natural induced changes over the next 400 years is a willful ignorance of the normal instabilities of the planet.
    Just because the last 400 years have been abnormally stable is certainly not a reason to believe the next 400 will be abnormally stable if we can just reduce the influence of humans.

    People should have their eyes wide open and understand how vibrant the planet actually is.
    But too often people are too myopic in their consideration of time scales and have a non-scientific subjective view that the last ten years are a good predictor of the next ten years.

  • balconesfault

    Since Cape Wind came up earlier … this is kind of amusing:

    US Senator Scott Brown

    “I am strongly opposed to the administration’s misguided decision to move forward with Cape Wind. While I support the concept of wind power as an alternative source of energy, Nantucket Sound is a national treasure that should be protected from industrialization.”

    US Senator John F. Kerry

    “This day was a long time in coming, but I believe the future of wind power in the Massachusetts and the United States will be stronger knowing that the process was exhaustive, and that it was allowed to work and wind its way through the vetting at all levels with public input. I have always advocated wind energy in Massachusetts and I accept and support Secretary Salazar’s judgment today that Cape Wind should go forward. This is jobs and clean energy for Massachusetts.”

  • LFC

    Just because the last 400 years have been abnormally stable is certainly not a reason to believe the next 400 will be abnormally stable if we can just reduce the influence of humans.

    And just because the next 400 years might be unstable does not mean that the influence of humans can’t make it even more unstable.

    You’re like a kid. You have your fingers in your ears and are yelling at the top of your lungs “Wah, wah, wah … climate was unstable at some point in the past 100,000 years … wah, wah, wah … nothing can be done … I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”

    But hey, the farmers can use NH’s brilliant “logic” and decide not to fertilize or irrigate their crops. After all, their annual local climate has been unstable enough at some point in the past 100 years that if it happened again, their entire crop would be wiped out, so why do anything?

    Head, meet sand.

  • LFC

    One more note. Aside from climate change and transferring our wealth to less than democratic (and sometimes outright hostile) nations, the current incident in the Gulf of Mexico that appears poised to destroy the tourism and commercial fishing industries of a large section of the Gulf Coast should be more than enough reason to want to get away from oil.

  • easton

    I live by the wind farm at La Ventosa in Oaxaca, it is certainly nothing close to a “joke.” and generates electricity at 67.5 MW and produces electricity at a cost below between 6 and 8.4 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) with optimum conditions, below the 9 cents per kWh in a natural gas plant. Wind farms are long term investments and the projects are not affected by volatile oil prices. You may scoff at “optimum” conditions, but being that La Ventosa is Spanish for windy the optimum conditions are pretty consistent. In fact the University I teach at, which specializes in Petrochemical engineering has opened up a Solar and Wind engineering departments. Due to solar and wind power I am paying next to nothing for my own electricity, I think my electricity bill was $3 last month, and if you don’t think the desert in Oaxaca is sunny, you really haven’t got a clue.

    Obviously, you have no idea about deep sea drilling, and I have noticed you have conveniently left out the Jamaica sized oil spill heading towards Louisiana, I guess since it doesn’t fit into your little narrative and it is best to pretend it doesn’t exist. Yes, pretend that there is enough oil in the north slope of Alaska to cover all of the US needs. Do you have any idea of price differentials at all? At Cantarell it cost about $5 a barrel, at Chincotepec it will run about $80 a barrel all due to the profundity of the sea depths to get the oil. Slapping a tariff on Mid East oil is worse than useless since you don’t seem to understand oil is an international commodity, they will simply sell it to China and India forcing us to buy at an inflated price from Venezuela.

    And so what that it was hotter 130,000 years ago, the earth used to have much more oxygen during the age of the dinosaurs too. Dinosaurs can’t survive on the planet now even if we could clone one ala Jurassic park as they would slowly suffocate to death. Why do you write such obviously patented nonsense and act as it has meaning? The most catastrophic events in earths history happened from sudden events, very slow, very gradual events humanity can deal with, humanity survived the Little ice age but even that had an impact on humanity. There exists a danger (we don’t know at what percentage) of sudden climatic change. You seek to bury your head in the sand. I happen to think it is already too late, but we owe it to ourselves to at least attempt to do something. And, as I said above, it also has the benefit of being in our own National Security.

    France gets 70% of its electricity from Nuclear power. There is zero reason why the US should not do better than the French, with the rest coming from solar, wind, hydro, etc. Eventually, through tax credits and incentives we can go all hybrid and then all hydrogen electric for our cars, leave petroleum for plastics and airlines.

    And, for heaven’s sake, learn something about these things from a scientific standpoint. Research production costs at Jack2 and then research production costs at Ghawar.

  • balconesfault

    easton: leave petroleum for plastics and airlines

    Preach it, brother!

  • nhthinker

    Easton,

    “I happen to think it is already too late”

    Actually, you happen to FEEL it is already to late.
    There is actually no rational nor objective explanation of your point of view.
    It is clearly not a knowable condition based on the current state of science.

    You sir, are an admitted alarmist to make such a claim as rational thinking.

    I’ve reduced my oil/gasoline usage by 50% in the past 18 months and invested my money to do it.
    What have you personally done?

    Typically, the maintenance costs of wind farms, especially in the out years are under estimated.

    As I said, I am all for other types of power that can pull their own weight based on the costs within a reasonable time window.

    Certain geographies can have some benefit from wind but it tends to be overblown. I like France’s model much better than ours- but then they did not have the tree-huggers and the US oil executives in an unholy alliance to keep out nuclear.

    My goal of a tariff on ME oil is US gasoline prices go up to reflect the cost of protecting it- and domestic production rises in the interim to protect our ability to keep our industries and our way of life, healthy and vibrant.

    I don’t mind giving small incentives to instigate research into other “greener” energy. But I am dead set against CAP and TRADE being used to grow the power of government group think.

  • easton

    nhthinker, ha. I don’t even have a car. I live nearby my campus office and walk to work, I ride my bike into town and shop at the local bodega for my groceries for myself and my family. I don’t have anything against having a car, but the topes here beat the heck out of the undercarriages of cars. And, as I said, I paid about $3 for my electricity. Trust me, in any green competition I win. Not that I am being intentionally green. The benefit of living in a town is everything is within walking or biking distances. When my previous car died I saw no reason to get a new one and used it as my main motivation to exercise by biking.

    I used to live in Micronesia years back and I have a close friend who lives in Kiribati now, it is an incontrovertible fact that some of the outlying atolls are disappearing beneath the sea. I have seen the evidence with my own eyes, beaches I walked on in 1979 are no longer there. It is not a question of FEELING, it is a question of reality. These atolls have been around for as long as recorded history but are disappearing, but if you are so dead set against real evidence, why don’t you use some of that money you save and buy some cheap beachfront property there?

    So it is absolutely a knowable condition based on the current state of science. To suggest otherwise is utter silliness. I would really love to hear how you are going to try to explain away the disappearing atolls.

    As I said, I don’t think there is anything we can do about it effectively, but I am not going to throw up my hands, I say we make the national security pitch to Conservatives and the global warming to environmentalists and try to forge a co-alition to get nuclear power and every other kind of power via whatever mechanism, Cap and Trade, whatever. I don’t care. Keep money out of Osama Bin Ladens hands is my main goal.

    And who cares about maintenance costs, what about the maintenance costs of arming and equipping 167,000 troops who toil in the Iraqi desert to keep Iraqis from killing each other just so oil production can stay stable. Wouldn’t you rather maintain a stupid windmill than bury a young soldier? Look, I absolutely support the war because without the oil we would be screwed now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start the process of not relying on madarabs and their oil.

    And I see you completely continue to ignore the jamaica sized oil spill heading towards our coast. Oh, that is ok, because, don’t you know, you have to perform maintenance on a windfarm.

    And I am being upfront, my livelihood depends on Pemex oil production. As long as oil remains dominant my life is forever secure. My university is a feeder school of Petroleum engineers who go on to work for Pemex. Pemex is very, very good to me. Pemex hospitals are wonderful. There is a tangible downside for me if oil demand declines greatly. I have tenure but my side gigs would dry up.

  • nhthinker

    LFC,
    “And just because the next 400 years might be unstable does not mean that the influence of humans can’t make it even more unstable.”

    My preference would be : If the next 400 years might be unstable does mean that it would be valuable to know if the influence of humans can make more stable and more hospitable.”

    To determine that takes science- the next 50 years will see a dramatic improvement on understanding of the Earth’s systems. We might even find out if there is actually a nuclear core of the Earth and how it might indirectly influence climate.

    Some scientists pretend they know all the factors of climate that they think they need to know. I am fairly confident that they don’t- primarily because they assume everything they don’t know well must not have a significant influence. Hard science takes experiments that measure many more things than your particular favorite theory think are important. Every year the importance and the understanding of oceans increased.

    LOOK HERE… http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/291208
    Deep ocean current that regulates global climate discovered

    such a principle was poo-pooed by any noted climate modeller that started more than 10 years ago.

    Again I go back to the concept of thermal dynamics- A concept like this is basic to any engineer who has been taught thermal dynamics. The climatologists started from a very superficial veneer view of the Earth and science is slowly but surely reaching toward rational descriptions of the Earth and the actual gigantic thermal dynamic actions that are in play.

    I accuse climate alarmists as being myopic. This discovery that deep water makes a significant difference should not have been assumed as not mattering by climate alarmists. However, because they did, the climate alarmist could say that they were more sure than if they had chosen a more fundamentally realistic model with more unknowns. Politically, unknowns kill the sureness of any prediction. But unknowns are an important part of objective science.

    True scientists embrace the unknowns, not discount them- discounting them is the purview of biased alarmists.

  • nhthinker

    Easton,

    I see you were unwilling to engage in the first portion of my posting- did you miss it or would you rather stay mute on the subject?

    “Easton: “There exists a danger (we don’t know at what percentage) of sudden climatic change. ..I happen to think it is already too late”

    nhthinker: “Actually, you happen to FEEL it is already to late.
    There is actually no rational nor objective explanation of your point of view.
    It is clearly not a knowable condition based on the current state of science.

    You sir, are an admitted alarmist to make such a claim as rational thinking.”

  • easton

    “There is actually no rational nor objective explanation of your point of view.
    It is clearly not a knowable condition based on the current state of science.”

    Can you read what I wrote about Kiribati, the outlying atolls are going underwater, this because of sea level rise, which is being caused by the ice caps melting. What part of already underwater don’t you understand? It is not like we can pump the atolls dry. Explain then why the atolls are disappearing under the sea from a scientific standpoint without it being due to rising sea levels. Honestly, I can use a big laugh. These are atolls that have been around for all of mankinds recorded history, only now are they disappearing beneath the waves.

    Oh, wait, maybe it was the beavers fault.

  • Rabiner

    nhthinker:

    A tariff on Middle East oil wouldn’t do use anything and wouldn’t raise any money in the United States. As said earlier oil is a global commodity so ME oil would be sold to other countries and we’d get oil from other parts of the world that aren’t covered in the tariff. What is a better idea is increasing gas taxes in the United States which would decrease the consumption of oil and would raise revenues.

  • SFTor1

    easton, there is no evidence that the situation in Kiribati is caused by AGW. There is erosion there, but that is commonly caused by poor farming practices in the Pacific Islands.

    There has been no increase in sea level rise that can be attributed to AGW.

    To say that the current climate models give us any kind of hard information about the climate in the future is not the case. The models have a predictive skill out to about 2 weeks.

  • SFTor1

    Easton, the ice caps are not melting.

    Antarctic ice volume is increasing. The Arctic is back to basically “normal” (if there is such a thing) conditions after a lot of ice was pushed out of the Arctic Sea by wind and ocean currents in 2007.

    What little sea level rise there is mostly comes from thermal expansion.

    The IPCC itself states that there is no sea-llevel rise that is attributable to AGW.

  • easton

    Rabiner, good point.

    SFTor1. Oh please, have you been to Kiribati or any of the outlying atolls, there was no farming there, the people were fishermen, getting other produce from the main islands. I never realized those atolls that disappeared beneath the sea are in fact above the sea level and that it is all some kind of illusion.

    Go to Kiribati, look at the video evidence, go through the archaelogical evidence. I am stunned that people are claiming atolls that are now underwater in fact are not underwater. Or were always underwater, and that the ruins of the native huts, well the islanders were actually mermaids and mermen. I shouldn’t believe my own eyes, I should believe ideologues.

    And still, all of this is irrelevant to the actual issue. Getting away from fossil fuels of which a certain percentage going into the jihadists hands. Climate change is irrelevant to this central fact.

    Even if global warming is not real, in which case the scientific argument is best left to scientists not amateurs like everyone here, the National security issue is undeniably real. Fossil Fuels fuels Arab militancy and jihadism.

    Everyone (outside of the scientific community or blogs) who claims global warming is not real is helping Osama Bin Laden because anything that distracts from confronting our dependence on Middle Eastern oil is a national security menace. The Frum Forum is absolutely right we should take advantage of this opportunity to do what is best in the national interest.

  • LFC

    SFTor1 said… easton, there is no evidence that the situation in Kiribati is caused by AGW.

    Ditto for villages that have to be moved in Alaska. Or the island that India and Bangladesh fought over … that has now disappeared. Nothing to see here.

    Easton, the ice caps are not melting. Antarctic ice volume is increasing.

    First, the science is still out on that due to the lack of good measurements until recently.

    Second, part of the Antarctic is the driest place on earth because -60 C air doesn’t hold much moisture. (“Instrument air”, required to run certain types of instrumentation, only needs to be dried to a -40 C dewpoint.) Warming would actually INCREASE ice in those areas due to increased snowfall. The question is, what happens at the coasts? We’re still not sure.

    The Arctic is back to basically “normal” (if there is such a thing) conditions after a lot of ice was pushed out of the Arctic Sea by wind and ocean currents in 2007.

    Citation please? We had much lower than normal ice in Jan. and Feb. Colder temps in Mar. increased the EXTENT of the ice, but not the VOLUME. So what is your definition of “normal”?

    What little sea level rise there is mostly comes from thermal expansion.

    Uh, doesn’t thermal expansion occur when things get warmer? What caused the warming? Volcanoes? Undersea vents? Large quantities of body temperature seagull crap?

    The IPCC itself states that there is no sea-llevel rise that is attributable to AGW.

    You mean this graph of actual sea level rise has nothing to do with an increase in global temperatures?

    The IPCC itself states that there is no sea-llevel rise that is attributable to AGW.

    Note the language. Not that we didn’t have a sea level rise, but that the IPCC didn’t attribute it. I don’t know if that’s true (you’ve already played pretty fast and loose with the facts), but since it seems that we agree that there WAS a sea level rise (or else you would have flat out said there was no rise), what exactly caused the rise in the graph I provided? If “thermal expansion”, what caused the thermal expansion?

  • nhthinker

    LFC
    First, the science is still out on that due to the lack of good measurements until recently.

    Actually that is “First”, “middle” and possibly “last” significant point for about every issue of AGW.

    The science is clearly still out- It MAY actually agree with some tendencies that the climate alarmists are advocating.

    I think it is prudent not to concede more individual rights to governments and world agencies- once they get them they are typically abusive and do not give them back even if they original purpose for the government encroachment is proven to be invalid.