It doesn’t please me to point out that the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill only even counts as a great start if it gets the ball rolling on much more severe restrictions in the future. The worst possible outcome of an initiative like Waxman-Markey is if Republicans put up an ugly fight over an essentially cosmetic trifle of a bill that leaves everyone exhausted and disinclined revisit the climate issue. Brimming as it does with compromises that mitigate its value to near zero, passing the bill could score a pyrrhic victory at best.
For what it’s worth, the senior climate expert at NASA agrees.
[E]mission targets in 2050 have limited practical meaning — present leaders will be dead or doddering by then — so these differences may be patched up. The important point is that other nations are unlikely to make real concessions on emissions if the United States is not addressing the climate matter seriously.
With a workable climate bill in his pocket, President Obama might have been able to begin building that global consensus in Italy. Instead, it looks as if the delegates from other nations may have done what 219 U.S. House members who voted up Waxman-Markey last month did not: critically read the 1,400-page American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 and deduce that it’s no more fit to rescue our climate than a V-2 rocket was to land a man on the moon.
I share that conclusion, and have explained why to members of Congress before and will again at a Capitol Hill briefing on July 13. Science has exposed the climate threat and revealed this inconvenient truth: If we burn even half of Earth’s remaining fossil fuels we will destroy the planet as humanity knows it. The added emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide will set our Earth irreversibly onto a course toward an ice-free state, a course that will initiate a chain reaction of irreversible and catastrophic climate changes.
Dr. Hansen proposes a series of initiatives that sound doable but dire. Needless to say, as long as acceptable opinion in America ranges from New Republic to the National Review, we might as well stock up on aloha shirts and deodorant.
General Winfield Stuck
Like swatting flies at the stockyards. The US can afford to make some significant reductions, but so what considering developing third world countries will, or can do little anytime soon. And China is #1 in pollution emitters now. India and others are not that far behind.
Still doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do what we can to help, but it’s not looking good for a global effort.
On the up side, we may be picking Oranges in Chicago someday/
Tongue of Groucho Marx
What kind of people subscribe to TNR, anyway?
What’s really creepy is that I can see the results of global warming every year I go on vacation to Destin, FL. In 1998, there must have been at least 100 feet of space between the bar hut and the ocean; now, the water is about 10 feet away from it. What’s even creepier is that Destin, FL is an overwhelmingly Republican district, its voting population primarily extremely rich dudes, and yet the national Republican Party will, at best, acknowledge the existence of global warming, but state that it’s not a threat. Considering that Hurricane Ivan utterly decimated Destin in 2004 (and left it in ruins until about 2006), I’d think that the voter population would want to protect their $2 million assets a bit better, especially when you can directly observe the changes going on there.
Ha. If we don’t get our asses in gear pronto, we won’t have time to wear Hawaiian shirts or produce deodorant, since we’ll be too busy fighting off the hundreds of millions of homeless, starving people from coastal Asia, equatorial Africa, and Latin America.
Not much ambiguity there. Jesus.
I’ve been wondering about that – what is going on in the heads of GOPers who own expensive beachfront property in very low lying coastal zones like Florida? The only conclusion I can come to is that the dumbasses who cut down the last stands of trees on Easter Is. were not alone in being some of the stupidest and least observant people ever to live.
As far as I understand them, I think that Dr. Hansen’s assessment of the reality of climate change are unassailable. However, he is also an alarmist and unhelpful when it come to the economics of climate change.
His proposals come down to a reduction of the world’s standard of living. Nobody is going to go for that, even if you could pull out a crystal ball and show them that the world might be severely affected 100 years from now.
For example, we are seeing that in some cases, the result of climate change aren’t worse or even better, just different (Stunning Picture shows how global warming is transforming Britain’s fields):
The New Yorker recently did a profile of Hansen, which was accurate both with respect to the past accuracy of Hansen’s predictions to the unreliability of his economic prescriptions (The Catastrophist, June 29 Issue).
The bottom line is that the science of climate change does not lead to a single, simple policy, and most “solutions” that people propose are not real solutions at all, but a yearning to return to something resembling 19th century pre-Industrial America.
General Winfield Stuck — And China is #1 in pollution emitters now. India and others are not that far behind.
This is kinda interesting because China and India are the West’s pollution proxies. That is, the pollution that results from the industrial and manufacturing output that these countries produce for US and European markets is just a shifting of the crap that American and European factories used to spew. And so again, it is pointless to ask that these countries impoverish themselves with draconian pollution controls while still producing goods for our benefit.
Montysano (All Hail Marx & Lennon)
Michelle Obama’s biceps. Malia Obama’s peace symbol tee shirt. Beyond that, not much.
Bad Horse's Filly
As a firm drum beater for saving the planet for the last 20 years, I’m beginning to believe it’s hopeless. The planet will be fine – as soon as it shakes of this pesky human infection it has.
On the plus side, if this is one of the new spokesperson for saving the planet, I may get my second wind and take up the fight again (yummy):
Mr. de la Fuente Goes to Washington
What about Taibbi’s take on Cap-And-Trade … that it’s designed to turn into another “commodity bubble” to be exploited?
Anyone know anything about this thesis? Does he have his head up his ass or is there something to worry about here?
Bad Horse's Filly
@Bad Horse’s Filly: Well that’s weird, it didn’t take the link.
Mr. de la Fuente Goes to Washington
I for one thought Waterworld was a bitchin movie………
@Tonal Crow: I’m not so worried about the homeless people from coastal areas as I am about the marauding packs of angry dolphins.
“Don’t call me Flippy. That’s my slave name. Call me ikikikikikilki.”
Because James Hansen is such a level headed guy and not a zealot.
NASA Scientist: Put CEOs On Trial for Global-Warming Lies
Dr. James Hansen of NASA GISS arrested
I’ll might take Anthropogenic Global
WarmingClimate Change seriously if alarmists like Ezra Klein and Glenn Greenwald stop flying to Brazil.
Davis X. Machina
They know your taxes will first buy them dikes, then buy them out altogether…
Tim F. Remember saying that no one listens to the discredited scientists who advocated the population bomb theory in the 70s?
John Holdren, Obama’s Science Czar, says: Forced abortions and mass sterilization needed to save the planet.
Tongue of Groucho Marx
The houses these people own are hardly the only plots of real estates they own. In addition, a good portion of the people that own houses there rent them out to tourists for a week at a time or so, meaning that it’s probably little more than a business venture for many (with a bonus of having a place to go for vacation). These people are the same ones that are utterly terrified at Obama’s move to raise the top tax rate from 35% to 39%, though, so I’m really not surprised. If they want to think only in the short term as far as profits go, then they shouldn’t be surprised when their houses become camouflage for sharks/porpoises/what have you.
For what it’s worth, Dr. Hansen has been rejected by ‘Environmental Research Letters’ (while he was head of the Goddard Institute, no less!) on peak oil theory. I know almost nothing about the subject, but I do know that peak oil theory is something that hasn’t been proven or disproven, and that peak oil theory can really bring in the kooks who say that our standard of living is not sustainable (i.e. Albert Bartlett and needs to be almost eliminated in order for us to survive.
What’s wrong? I came to this thread hoping to find BOB nattering on about oil shale and the only troll is Paul L. sputtering his usual non sequiters.
@Bad Horse’s Filly:
I must agree. Once we destroy ourselves, the earth will get back in balance. The sun is going to be yellow for many millions of years yet and we comparatively are only a blink of an eye in the history of this planet. Nature will move on. This whole climate thing is really about preserving the status quo for a little while longer. One way or another, this planet will achieve balance. One error on our part and it’ll be the end of us.
Cue Sen. Inhofe to decry this blatant attack on old widows living in northern latitudes who’re now sentenced to freeze to death in the current cooling period/ice age while commie prez Osam…oops…Obama nationalizes the energy industry and helps Jabba the AlGore get even fatter via this horrible legislation.
Yup, Waxman-Markey, in whatever form it emerges from conference, will be weak tea. But if we don’t start the ball rolling there may not be sufficient time to launch another climate bill of any sort.
General Winfield Stuck
Paul L. has been banned from about every liberal blog, so BJ is his last refuge to wank. Free speech to all, even the in(s)ane, right Cole?
Shhhhh, Glenn Beck’s on and he’s so sophisticated it takes complete concentration to follow him. Or so I’m told. Also.
There ain’t no such thing as the Earth being in balance. There’s evidence that the dinosaurs (and a great deal of the other flora and fauna on the planet at the time) were destroyed by the impact of an asteroid, which also allowed room for a little rat-like mammal to prosper and ultimately give rise to us. There was no magical balance at work here, only chance and the blind mechanisms of natural selection.
Human beings are no more an “infection” than any other life form that has arisen here. And when you get down to it, it’s nuts for you or for me to root for our own distinction.
What the hell would be the point?
And it makes it harder to come up with solutions for possible problems caused by climate change to suggest that we are pimples on the butt of the world that need to be popped. You might as well say, “let’s burn all the oil now and bring on whatever long night awaits.”
Well, I’m ahead of the rest of you, then.
I recommend Reyn’s; they used to make a lot of reverse print shirts, and I have about ten.
@ Brachiator #22
Yup, that’s why I try to not discuss ACC with geologists, because most eventually rock back on their heels and talk about this or that epoch, during which the CO2 level was that high or temperatures were much greater and look, we’re just fine now! They’ve got a very different viewpoint on things temporal. Understandable, but not too useful for a species that’s a few tens of thousands of years old.
For a completely different perspective, try talking about any of this with a 6,000-year-old-earther. And for a real treat, try getting groups 1 and 2 in the same room at the same time. Indescribable fun.
@Tongue of Groucho Marx: I’m no global warming denier, but the Destin thing is a matter of beach erosion rather than sea levels rising. Believe it or not, the state’s efforts to rebuild eroded beaches are being held up by the richies in Destin who are suing to keep them off private land or some such, and this has turned into a big political/legal dispute is going to the Florida Supreme Court.
That sums up Hansen nicely. Why we on the left put up with people who feel that their issue is so important it justifies lying, but we decry that from the right, is kinda a sore spot with me.
@angulimala: Taibbi doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about, frankly. I’ve actually seen more disinformation coming from the left on Cap and Trade than the right.
It’s truly an economist’s theory, given a name that terrifies both industrialists (cap) and hippies (trade) yet serves the interests of both.
But, at any rate, Taibbi needs to quit scaring the hippies.
Keep it up with the hand wringing assholes. The Earth is burning. Moderate measures ain’t going to cut it. China has the right idea – green energy, and ‘cap and trade’ but without the ‘trade’ when it comes to having a family. You get one kid. That’s the only way we’re going to get to a sustainable level of population and preserve anything like a comfy lifestyle. On the other hand if all the Christianists with their ‘full quiver’ bullshit want to keep reproducing like rabbits… well, we can live in caves I guess. Very warm caves.
Usually when an otherwise sensible person blows off global warming, it comes down to this. Yes indeed, geological history has a lot of change in it. The history of human civilization, however, doesn’t. The entire history of organized human life encompasses a period of incredibly stable climate. Stability allowed us to domesticate certain plants and animals that prospered under that climate. It allowed us to allocate agricultural land with the knowledge that wheat, rice or corn would reliably grow there. If the climate changes to the point that a relatively small number of staple crops become less predictable and more difficult to grow, the Earth probably won’t register the difference. Humans will go on as a species. But civilization is fucked.
But we can’t eat aloha shirts and deodorant. Part and parcel of the world’s ecosystem catastrophically shifting is that we’re going to lose a great deal of food production. In time, only the wealthy will be able to avoid starvation.
People need to start realizing that going green isn’t about saving the planet. It’s about saving people. The planet’s always going to be here, and the species of flora and fauna we’re killing off will, over the coming millenia, re-proliferate and re-evolve, once we’re gone, having killed ourselves off.
Tongue of Groucho Marx
I didn’t know that, thanks for informing me, although I’d think that beach erosion would occur at more dramatic rates with the increase in the ocean levels. I’m looked at this, I hope that this adequately explains why it happens. Is this also known as attrition (from HACC)?
I’m amazed that friggin’ libertarian South Carolina has a Beachfront Provision Act, although I suppose that satisfying the enormous tourist constituency there comes first. About the only tenable method to keep the beaches around is a combination of something akin to the Beachfront Provision Act and equilibration. (Would nourishment work in Destin’s case?)
Sorry if I sound like I’m asking too many questions, but I really do not know jack on this issue.
Media Browski: Just curious–why are you so high on cap and trade? Economic theory aside, is there any actual evidence that it would work in the way that it is supposed to work? I thought I read somewhere that, if one takes the historical examples of volatility and innovation associated with sulfur and NOx emissions trading, the conclusions would have to be that cap and trade schemes don’t always live up to their potential. And sulfur and NOx are examples of relatively easy problems to grapple with!
But I’m a scientist who knows next-to-nothing about economics, aside from a few vague notions about its intersection with the global warming issue. So I’m interested in learning more.
Also, you’re a bit harsh on Hansen when you say that he is “lying”. I’ve seen plenty of his talks over the past 20+ years, and he’s always careful to state the basis for his conclusions. Others may or may not agree with that basis, and the conclusions may be stated too stridently for some tastes. But that’s nowhere near the same thing as “lying”.
Relative Sea level on the southeastern sea board absolutely IS rising, for two reasons: (1) the ocean has become warmer and alpine glaciers have melted over the past few decades, both of which increase the volume of the ocean; (2) the earth’s crust is still reacting to the redistribution of load associated with the melting of the last ice age glaciers–the “filling in” of the hole left by this melting means that places on the periphery of the glaciers are subsiding. Thus, much of the eastern seaboard is experiencing a “double whammy” of sea level rise. This is happening, regardless of whether human-induced beach erosion is also occurring.
@Tim F.: Exactly.
I don’t blow off global warming. I blow off the idea, which is not supported by models, that global warming will inevitably lead to global catastrophe. I blow off the idea, which is an alarmist guesstimate, that all of humanity will be uniformly negatively affected. I blow off the idea that once science leads you to accept global warming, you then disregard science and go into a “do everything” panic mode. I totally and absolutely blow off the idea that the primary response to global warming must be to slow down industrial and economic activity even if it severely reduces the world’s standard of living.
I blow off the idea that human beings “owe” some mystical responsibility to the Earth that requires us to sacrifice our life, pleasure or comfort.
This is not true. You are deliberately limiting “organized human life” to the period when agriculture was developed. This is a dodge. Human beings are primates and likely have had some form of society even before we split from our ape ancestors, a period that covers maybe 6 million years.
But even if we limit the period to a time when humans were moderately intelligent bipedal creatures, say 2 million plus years, there have been periods of severe climate change which almost eliminated humans, who had far less ability to deal with the impact of weather changes.
I think we have an interest in dealing with climate change. But if we had to spend 50 gazillion dollars making sure that temperatures are reduced 10 degrees 150 years from now or spending 50 gazillion dollars to bring potable water to developing nations 5 years from now, and curing malaria, waterborne parasites and other illnesses 10 years from now, I go with the near-term projects. Note that I think we can do some of both.
However, the hysteria over climate change is beginning to sound like the tantrums of privileged Westerners who want to make sure that their creature comforts, which is not the sum of “civilization,” are maintained.
We may have to eat insects, which are available in the billions, and develop innovative agricultural techniques, but no one can say with any reliability that civilization will be fucked, or that we need to make a fetish over some arbitrary and artificial idea of a “stable” global climate.
To the extent that some of this is psychological, human beings are pattern-seeking animals who can more easily imagine the end of the world than they can new solutions to radical changes in their lives.
But sometimes the world is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.
This is what makes life fun.
@Prometheus Shrugged: Starting w/ Hansen, he’s been predicting the end of the world in 5 years for about 20 years now. Like the man said, you can’t trust him on economics.
As for will cap and trade work, and has it before? It all depends on if you design it to force real decisions between buying the permits and innovating your way away from them. Europe used an over-politicized model, but the CA SOx/NOx trading has a good history.
The main thing is the innovation though. Most people stop thinking about how it will impact things after they consider simple efficiency improvements, and there IS a lot of slack to be taken up there, but the innovation is the game-changer.
I’m already seeing the threat of a federal RPS/cap and trade regime changing how some companies are doing business. They’re developing wind farms, getting ahead of the game so that they are net sellers of permits, leaving their competition in the dust.
Anyway, it’s MUCH better than a tax, which just creates market distortions you have to correct for and eats up profits that would have gone to R&D. The cap and trade regime takes those same funds and directs them to the companies that do R&D rather than just wasting them.
CAP AND TRADE IS ALL ABOUT ALL PAIN FOR NO GAIN (EXCEPT FOR GOLDMAN SACHS WHO WILL MAKE A KILLING ON THIS BILL}
Are Goldman Sach’s lobbyists in the Obama Administration like Mark Patterson, the Treasury Dept Chief of Staff the real drivers behind the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill? Consider this, Goldman Sachs has been behind almost every “bubble” in the US economy including the housing bubble according to a well researched article in Rolling Stone by Matt Taibbi. Now Goldman Sachs is positioned to make another killing on an even bigger scam worse that anything Madoff could ever imagine, the Waxman-Markey Climate bill.
Moreover, as this article points out and other credible analysts are reporting the bill will have little or no impact on co2 emissions while doing great harm to the economy. refs, ?The Costs Of Cap and Trade? by Robert Zubrim http://www.rollcall.com/news/36393-1.html?page=2 and ?The Illusion of the New Green Economy.? by Roy Spencer, Ph.D http://www.prisonplanet.com/cap-and-trade-and-the-illusion-of-the-new-green-economy.html
So why is President Obama and Congress so gung ho about getting the bill passed when it will do little if anything mitigate global warming, result in higher energy costs for everyone and the loss of millions of jobs? Do President Obama and Congress have a suicide wish for the economy? The average Jill and Joe who will be hurt most by this Bill want to know.