Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Political Science

Mr. James Hansen, the NASA scientist silenced by Shrub and Co., again shows the discerning reader that "killer cars" and unmitigated industry are on the prowl . Think anyone will listen?


Blogger RaginCajun said...

Too bad the article ends with the completely lame non sequitur:

"Hansen's research boils down to one very straightforward point: We can still avoid the dangers of human-made climate change, but only if we focus our attention on cutting near-term emissions by improving fuel efficiency."

That's not what Hansen's research is about (at least from I've seen). Hansen's research is about the anthropogenic (human originated) causes of climate change (the newer, fancier name for global warming since apparently 99.9 out 100 scientists say there are affects, but their not sure what direction it will really go). It would be ok with me if Hansen made some policy recommendations other than we've got to do something about it, but I don't think he is.

Leave it to the liberals to have the knee jerk reaching for government mandates. A carbon tax or tax on GHG (greenhouse gas) emmissions would be far preferable than a focused mandate on capital stock (cars) that will take a long time to replace. It's this sort of shit that made me stop reading the Nation a long time ago.

Better yet would be a cap and trade type program as exist for nitrous oxides (no dudes, not that type of nitrous, sorry) and sulphur oxides. These programs set limits, then those whose economics make it less expensive to reduce can sell their excess amounts to others. As a result, for a given level of economic pain we can reduce more pollution. Even the commie old Europeans are instituting this for GHGs.

Hansen shouldn't be squashed. But, the Nation still needs better writers and propagandists.

7:59 PM  
Blogger RaginCajun said...

Clearly from the typos in my post, I need a better writer too...

9:15 PM  
Blogger George W. Bush said...

I agree that there is no real solution offered in this piece, the general point I was trying to make by posting this was that his ideas on Global Warming were being censored from the public by our Cowboy in Chief.

You aptly stated that:

"the newer, fancier name for global warming since apparently 99.9 out 100 scientists say there are affects, but their not sure what direction it will really go"

I concur with this. It is a monumental task to accurately predict the future of climate change, what is he supposed to say? Stop driving? Stop using the electric supplied to you by the coal fired power plants? This stuff has been ingrained in our country's infra-structure, I don't think it is an easy task. Any solution not advocating a phase out of gasoline engines is merely a band aid.

I may be wrong, but isn't there already a cap and trade with coal powered plants?

Like terror, climate change is an abstract threat. Wouldn't you also agree that 99.9 out of 100 policy makers believe that terrorism is a significant threat to our well being? As with GWarming there is no certain way to determine what direction the terror will go? Where they will attack next? This uncertaintly didn't seem to phase our Gmen.

The war on climate change has to start somewhere, something needs to be done.

9:30 PM  
Blogger RaginCajun said...

The cap and trade with coal plants is not on GHG, its SOx and NOx currently (with mercury proposed - a potential exemption to the cap and trade recommendation because its effects could be very localized).

Granted, one needs to start somewhere, but CAFE type standards (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) won't get us very far because even if you get the legislation introduced tomorrow it will take a long time to replace the cars on the road so that the average fuel economy actually increases (mpg). At 2.50 a gallon, I'm still ok with driving my SUV (especially since I get pleasure from pissing folks off because I drive an SUV).

On the other hand, a carbon tax or some other way to capture the economic externality that might result in a higher gas price might make folks like me rethink whether I should dump the SUV for something more fuel efficient (or drive less). The average fuel economy would improve much faster.

If the Nation and their ilk were really serious about the problem, they would make CAFE type standards only a part (small part) of their proposed start. Instead, they say this is the solution, just as the jackass gubernator of California is willing to flush 3 billion (yeah with a B) in subsidies for solar power down the drain so he can win the hearts of the unthinking Dems and thus be re-elected.

We can't expect anyone (or ourselves) to stop driving so much or heating or homes, or consuming energy until there's a price to pay.

It's great to see so many liberals coming around on nuclear energy. It may not be the solution, but it should at least be on the table.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"At 2.50 a gallon, I'm still ok with driving my SUV (especially since I get pleasure from pissing folks off because I drive an SUV)."

I keep trying to tell the Cajun that an El Camino with an aluminum cap he spot welded on isn't really an SUV, but economists always know better...

9:22 AM  
Blogger Germanicu$ said...

Cajun: "one needs to start somewhere, but CAFE type standards won't get us very far..."

But they will get us started, right? Is it the long-term nature of this proposed solution that caused Cajun to cancel his Nation subscription and curse liberals forever?

These are big problems, requiring big solutions. Even if the starting point of every liberal's proposals is the knee-jerk reaching for government mandates, it still beats in spades the starting point of every conservative's proposals, which is to excoriate liberals for their pie in the sky attitudes.

Solving big problems involves taking the high ground, brainstorming, compromise, and action. The conservative movement's approach to environmental problems is to either ignore them, or attack the source, usually by painting with a broad, dismissive brush (ie, "the Nation and their ilk"). You can see how well this approach works in effecting policy solutions by observing the tactics of the Republican leadership currently in power - just look at their long list of fantastic results they've achieved in tackling big problems.

Don't worry about your typos, Cajun - you write very well. Why not put your more constructive ideas about The Energy Problem to paper, and submit them for publication to the Nation? They're always looking for good ideas, clearly communicated. If liberal-bashing is more to your taste than constructive debate, there are scores of publications which would oblige you on that count.

4:19 PM  

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