I know, Eric Earling is possibly the least crazy of the SP main pagers. And so I feel bad making fun of him two days in a row. But not that bad, so here I go:
Explaining Some Global Warming Skepticsm
A few wire stories recently run in the Seattle Times illustrate the reason for conservative skepticism toward global warming “solutions.”
Not enough to offer their own solutions mind you. Because the Republicans are the idea party.
1) We’re told carbon dioxide emissions are rising, driven by large increases in emissions from non-Western countries that have little or no motivation to hamstring their economies in the way necessary to seriously address that issue.
Well China and India (and Russia coming back to where they were before the collapse of the Soviet empire) are problems. But the article you link to is about the rate of increase. The United States can probably slow our increase of carbon emissions to the level of Europe (half ours according to the article). In any event, in absolute terms we’re still by far the biggest emitter of carbon and as such we have plenty to go to reducing our carbon footprint as individuals and as a nation.
2) Proposed “solutions” will come at a price:
Der. So will inaction.
Reducing greenhouse gases vigorously and quickly probably would push Americans’ heating and electric bills up by 50 percent to 100 percent, said Jae Edmonds, a scientist and economist with the Joint Global Change Research Institute, based in Maryland. Gasoline prices would rise between 50 cents and $1 a gallon, he said.
There are dozens of bridges to be sold to people who believe broad swaths of the American public will embrace such outcomes.
I know, they have totally changed their ways as a result of gas increasing from well under $2.00 a gallon when Bush was sworn in. The truth is that there are ways to mitigate those problems. Ferinstance, not destabilizing the Middle East without a plan to fix it. And maybe some sort of credit system for low income people and small businesses.
3) The ethanol frenzy is driving up corn prices to the point pigs are increasingly being fed people food as part of their diet rather than corn, as detailed in this Wall Street Journal article run yesterday (no Times link available):
Yes. And it’s not a sustainable solution in and of itself. That’s why we need to diversify our sources of energy. Ethanol is part of the solution. So are other biofuels. So is solar energy. And wind and tidal energy. So is conservation. So are CAFE standards. Buying smaller cars. Walking more. Biking. Eating food grown locally. Living closer to work. Growth management is part of the solution. All have problems, of course, but as a whole are better than the status quo.
Besides trail mix, pigs and cattle are downing cookies, licorice, cheese curls, candy bars, french fries, frosted wheat cereal and peanut-butter cups. Some farmers mix chocolate powder with cereal and feed it to baby pigs.
Yum. If not for the being slaughtered thing, I’d totally dig being a baby pig.
The rising cost of gas that’s going to continue as it gets more and more scarce of course won’t drive up the cost of food. I assume this is because the food is transported on a magic carpet.
These are the sorts of unintended consequences that should raise real questions about some of the “solutions” proposed by some to combat a period of global warming. As much as liberal zealots consider the matter closed, it’s not as if the scientific community has a clear understanding of how, why and when exactly weather patterns change over the long-term.
As long as Exxon is paying for science, the vast majority of scientists simply don’t count (And no, we shouldn’t do science by majority. We should however put more weight into peer reviewed articles than ones by front groups for concerned interests.).
Let’s have a conversation about cleaner air, cleaner water, less pollution, and conservation of the natural beauty we in the Pacific Northwest are particularly attune to. Let’s talk about continuing to develop new technologies to make our country more energy efficient. Let’s do something about those issues. People across the political aisle can agree on that. But the current debate about global warming “solutions,” worshiping at the altar of reduced carbon dioxide emissions, has costs, intended or not, the American public isn’t likely embrace. That’s political reality.
OK, so clearly the rest of this post is the Republican solution.