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« BBC in trouble for global warming bias | Main | Dangerous game of chicken »

September 29, 2008


Christopher Taylor

But if you are certain about global warming, its causes and effects, you should be demanding action to respond to what China, India and Bangladesh are doing. What action are you demanding?

I know that based on the science, AGW is a myth but I can tell you what people who hold to it will say:

We have to sacrifice that much more and give up that much more to offset their actions. We have to gut our economy, destroy our industry, and live in the stone age if we have to in order to prevent a catastrophe that would gut our economy, destroy our industry and force us all to live in the stone age...


Frank Warner

Well, yeah, that would have to be response if you really believed the CO2 increase threatened all human life in this century.

If we cannot stop China, India and Bangladesh from pumping more and more CO2, then we'd have to abandon our coal-fired plants and gas-powered cars, forget about any modern niceties like heat and health care, and crawl into caves.

OR, if you really believe it necessary, we could really get tough on China, India and Bangladesh to cap their emissions. This time, I'll leave it to the Democrats to figure out how to get tough.

OR, maybe for the first time, our scientists could look at all the data, debate it thoroughly and come up with something reasonable that allows both humans and civilization to survive.

So I punched the list into Excel, crunched some numbers, and found an interesting parallel between the decline of rock music quality and, of all things, the decline in US oil discovery and production:
Who knew ?

As bad as that looks, it gets worse. I cross referenced that data to the number of Tim Horton Doughnut Shops. While oil production decreases, the number of doughnut shops increase. There is a direct inverse correlation. We are building doughnut shops instead of drilling for oil. Where are our priorities? Is it any wonder this Congress has a 10% approval rating?

Frank Warner

You probably also can correlate oil exploration and discovery to space exploration and discovery.

Since we stopped sending men to the moon, we stopped sending oil men to the oilfields.

jj mollo

Actually, President Bush is involved in a major effort to upgrade India's nuclear power capabilities while teaching the Indians how to do things more safely. If this new treaty succeeds in its aims, it will have more beneficial impact on future CO2 emissions than anything else we are currently doing. India cares about CO2 and such things because it's a democracy. It's also willing to build nuclear power plants because they need the energy and they have their priorities straight.

The PRC is a different situation however. Since it is run by an elite power-mad clique, its decisions are skewed to the best interests of that clique rather than the Chinese people or the world as a whole. The only way to influence their CO2 production is to keep the price of oil high. One way to accomplish that aim is to limit oil discovery and development. We could also close down US oil production. A modest proposal, I admit, but nevertheless worthy of consideration.

Alternatively, we could make a concerted collective effort to create, demonstrate and develop alternative technologies. This would give us an economic edge, protect us from oil famines, and generate a lot of new jobs.

Frank Warner

Abandoning oil and pretending alternatives will "create jobs" also could kill our entire economy.

If our energy ends up costing five times what our competitors' energy costs, exactly what would pay for new U.S. jobs?

If you're talking about a move to more nuclear plants and the rest, fine. But even then, in the interim, we should be pumping more of our own oil, rather than sending $700 billion a year overseas for dictators' oil.

jj mollo

Those were two separate paragraphs, Frank, separated by "alternatively". The suggestion that we eliminate oil production was tongue-in-cheek. Obviously we cannot do that, at least not suddenly, but we can pursue a policy of keeping world oil prices high in order to suppress (not eliminate) oil use and encourage alternatives. Is that wise? If you believe that AGW is the worst threat we are facing, as I and many environmentalists believe, then yes -- it only makes good sense to keep oil prices high. If you have to reduce US production in order to accomplish that, then so be it. There are many bad side-effects, of course, which I find almost as frightening, but not quite.

If you don't believe that AGW is a serious threat, then you should at least want the US to stop using so much oil. The best way to do that is to keep prices high, at least in the US, by means of oil taxes. Oil taxes provide revenues that can be used to offset the economic losses involved in using less oil. I believe that the economic result would be a net positive, just as ethanol has been in Brasil and just as nuclear has been in France. Being dangerously dependent on a single energy source also has its costs.

We have a long way to go, BTW, before our prices begin to compare with those in Europe.

Frank Warner

OK, makes sense. I know you're big on the gas tax, and I see your reasoning, within limits. So I missed your tongue-in-cheek tone, even with the "modest proposal" tip-off.

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