Claiming that climate change does not exist will get you nowhere- except dismissed as a backwater republican hick. Regardless of whether or not climate change exists, too many have been brainwashed by 'consensus science' to make opposing it feasible. Not to mention, besides climate change, there are other detrimental effects- plant growth decrease and ocean acidity, among many others. Fortunately, this doesn't mean you have to agree with those annoying anti-civilization liberals. As always, they're covering up an ulterior motive. We as Republicans however, can approach the issue with an (actual) open mind and come up with more economic solutions. What's more, by agreeing with the liberal on the existence of climate change, you can gain credibility for yourself and other republicans, while still proving them wrong. The best part of course, will be quoting the climate change bible at them: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), or sometimes Al Gore.
The climate crisis offers us the chance to experience what very few generations in history have had the privilege of knowing: a generational mission; the exhilaration of a compelling moral purpose; a shared and unifying cause, the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict that so often stifle the human need for transcendence; the opportunity to rise.....
Who could resist answering this clarion call: to fight slavery with Lincoln, to fight fascism with Roosevelt, why even to fight for civil rights with LBJ? And all you have to do is eschew bourgeois consumerism and ride your bike to work. By God, we’re going to save the world!
The world certainly does need saving:
- 20% of humans live on $1 per day; the next 20% live on $2 per day.
- In 2006, 3 million humans died of HIV/AIDS,
- 2 million of tuberculosis, and
- 1 million of malaria.
These are all treatable infectious diseases. As one continues further down the list of humanity’s problems: malnutrition, bad water, civil war, it becomes clear, however, that some prioritization is necessary.
Which are the most pressing problems that can be solved most easily? For Al Gore, there is no doubt: climate change, because,
At stake is the survival of our civilization and the habitability of the Earth.With his "Live Earth Pledge" in July, 2007, Al called for us to pressure developed countries to decrease global-warming emissions by 90% by the next generation (say, 20 years). Well, as we like to say, that is a Testable Hypothesis.
Civilization: GDP and Energy UseEdit
Let us start by discussing our American civilization. Its foundation is the Industrial Revolution, starting with Watt's steam engine in 1774, and continuing with the internal combustion engine in 1886 and electric generators in 1886 to our present Information Age, starting in 1982 with ARPANET.
The massive gain in productivity that has created our present wealth is driven by three fundamental inputs:
Capital constructs the intelligent configuration of concrete, silicon and steel, but it takes power to make these structures run. The more energy a nation uses, the richer it gets. One has only to plot a nation’s energy use versus its GDP to see the relationship.
Energy Efficiency and ConsumptionEdit
The more efficiently we use energy, the more energy we use. New uses for the more efficient technologies multiply faster than the older technologies that get replaced, swamping all the energy efficiency gains. This creates the paradox that to curb energy consumption, you have to decrease efficiency, not improve it. No politician planning on being re-elected is going to propose this because curbing either (they are related) must inevitably lead to lower standard of living.
- The problem is that 85% of America’s 100 Quad energy use in 2007 is from hydrocarbons.
- The Energy Information Administration of the federal government predicts that we will get 83% of an expected 124 Quads needed in 2030 from the same CO2-producing sources.
- While energy efficiency will increase, with per capita CO2 emissions increasing only 3%, there will be an overall increase in CO2 production of 25%.
- In the past decade, world energy consumption has rapidly increased with the emergence of China and much of the third world as industrial nations.
- China may surpass America this year in its energy consumption. It seems improbable that China’s population, now averaging $1400 per year each, is any more likely to go back to its agricultural past than we are. If that is the case, then how does the 21st century look?
The IPCC developed four scenarios of future economic development, from rapid economic growth based of fossil fuels (A1F1 in the below talbe) to a world enacting global solutions to economic, social, and environmental problems with a rapid move to an information/service based world economy and use of clean technologies (B1). It is well worth thinking about the likelihoods of each. Here are projections in each scenario, for 2100, and the data from the IPCC 4th assessment report (AR4). The scenarios can be found in depth at, Wikipedia, but a summary will follow. Spend some time studying this data.
|Scenario||Temp change (°C)||Range (°C)||Sea level rise (cm)|
|Constant year 2000||0.6||0.3-0.9||NA|
- Note assumptions are based on no climate initiatives (e.g. Kyoto Protocol)
- The B families are ecologically friendly while the A family are not
- The 1 families assumes an integrated world, the 2 families assume a more divided world
The A1 scenarios are of a more integrated world. The A1 family of scenarios is characterized by:
- Rapid economic growth.
- A global population that reaches 9 billion in 2050 and then gradually declines.
- The quick spread of new and efficient technologies.
- A convergent world - income and way of life converge between regions. Extensive social and cultural interactions worldwide.
The subsets are:
- A1FI - An emphasis on fossil-fuels. Also known as "Burn baby burn," or "Drill baby drill"
- A1B - A balanced emphasis on all energy sources.
- A1T - Emphasis on non-fossil energy sources. The "Green" scenario
The A2 scenarios are of a more divided world. The A2 family of scenarios is characterized by:
- A world of independently operating, self-reliant nations.
- Continuously increasing population.
- Regionally oriented economic development.
- Slower and more fragmented technological changes and improvements to per capita income.
The B1 scenarios are of a world more integrated, and more ecologically friendly. The B1 scenarios are characterized by:
- Rapid economic growth as in A1, but with rapid changes towards a service and information economy.
- Population rising to 9 billion in 2050 and then declining as in A1.
- Reductions in material intensity and the introduction of clean and resource efficient technologies.
- An emphasis on global solutions to economic, social and environmental stability.
The B2 scenarios are of a world more divided, but more ecologically friendly. The B2 scenarios are characterized by:
- Continuously increasing population, but at a slower rate than in A2.
- Emphasis on local rather than global solutions to economic, social and environmental stability.
- Intermediate levels of economic development.
- Less rapid and more fragmented technological change than in A1 and B1.
Let's say we decide to limit the total rise in temperature to 3°C, somewhere near the middle of the scenarios.
- We could allow atmospheric CO2 to rise from its present 380 ppm to a peak of about 480 ppm in the year 2020.
- To do this, CO2 production would have to decrease as much as 30% from the year 2000 levels (estimates range from +5% to -30%).
- IPCC 4 states that all stabilization scenarios indicate that 60-80% of the reductions would come from energy supply and use, and industrial processes, with energy efficiency playing a key role in many scenarios.
- Substantial investment flows and effective technology transfer will be necessary.
- The IPCC report makes clear that it expects implementation will be top-down mitigation, i.e. by government, based on a carbon tax of $20-$80 per ton of CO2 by the year 2030.
- This will have the effect of decreasing world income in 2100 from an expected $78,000 per person per year (scenario A1F1) to $21,000 per person per year (scenario B2).
- Al Gore, remember, wants to decrease global-warming emissions by 90%.
The Al Gore Model and Polar BearsEdit
What climate disasters are about to befall us that could require such expensive measures? Before we crash our world economy by taxing ourselves out of fossil fuel use before we have a substitute, let us see if there aren't other ways to proceed.
In his movie, Al Gore makes several appeals to our emotions, his son's car accident, his sister's cancer death and his bitter election defeat, but only one relating to climate change: polar bears.
Polar bears have become the symbol of global warming and are appropriate in more ways than were originally intended. In the movie, a polar bear with suspicious resemblance to the Coca-Cola cartoon bear, is seen to be hopelessly trying to climb on a too-small ice flow, while Al intones, "a new scientific study shows that, for the first time, polar bears have been drowning in significant numbers."
Present studies of the polar bear are instructive. The "drowning bears" story was based on a single sighting of four dead bears the day after "an abrupt windstorm" and can be dismissed as emotional manipulation.
The science is more complex. Field studies up to 2005 showed that bear populations had been increasing due to restricted hunting, leading to statements like "of 13 bear populations in Canada (home to 2/3 of polar bears), 11 are stable or increasing in number. They...don't even appear to be affected at present." (Taylor, 2006). Later that year, however, the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group reported updated data showing that of the 13 groups, two were seriously depleted due to hunting, five were declining and five were stable. This is much less reassuring.
Going into the future, the disproportionate warming of the poles will decrease the amount of sea ice necessary for ringed seal mating. As the majority of a polar bear's annual caloric intake is the 45 seals it takes on the ice surface, loss of the ice poses a critical future problem. Unmentioned in all of the discussion, however, is that 300-500 bears are shot by hunters each year.
This leaves us with the following conclusions.
- Dishonest emotional manipulation is common.
- It is easy for your data to be out of date.
- The data does not lead to straight-forward conclusions.
- Future problems are based on models and extrapolations. That does not mean they are not true.
- Best solutions may not be based on decreasing CO2 levels. For example, the cheapest way now to help polar bears is to simply stop shooting them. Other polar bear deaths will become negligible.
A Level Headed EvaluationEdit
So what are the consequences of global warming that we will face? For the purposes of discussion, let us take the middle range of the possible IPCC 4 scenarios and assume a temperature rise of 2.5 to 3.0 degrees C by the year 2100. The major human consequences will be:
- It will be warmer, with increased heat spells and decreased cold spells
- Increased typhoon/hurricane intensity
- Changes in weather patterns, with subsequent water stresses
- Rising sea levels
- Change in disease patterns
Let us review these problems in turn.
Heat Deaths from Global WarmingEdit
We have already begun to see the kind of heat waves that scientists say will become much more common if global warming is not addressed. In the summer of 2003, Europe was hit by a massive heat wave that killed 35,000 people.
--Al Gore 2004
- Global Climate Models (GCM) indeed do show that heat waves could occur every three years instead of every 20 years.
- What is unstated is that cold spells will decrease from one every three years to one every 20 years.
Let us take Al Gore's example of Europe.
- Taken as a whole, there are an estimated 200,000 deaths per year from excess heat.
- By comparison, an estimated 1.5 million people die from excessive cold.
If cold deaths exceed heat deaths by seven fold, then global warming indicates fewer temperature-related deaths.
Also unaccounted for is the fact that we will adapt to the warmer climate. In Philadelphia in the 1960's, death rates increased when the summer temperatures climbed into the 100's. Now, with better living conditions, temperatures of 100°F cause almost no excess deaths. There still is an increase in deaths during Philadelphia cold spells.
All of our cities are getting hotter, not only due to global warming but also to the "heat island" effect of asphalt and dark structures. It may seem comically simple, but one study showed that London could lower its highest temperatures up to 18 degrees by painting its roads and buildings white.
Compare this to Al Gore's suggestion that we urgently and massively decrease CO2 production. The Kyoto Protocol was his signature project, which he helped broker in 1997, personally signed in 1998 and made a plank in his presidential campaign of 2000.
Its estimated cost of 0.5% of the world's GDP seems modest.
The greatest burden of it, however, fell disproportionately on the US, with its estimated cost of $5 Trillion over the century.
The gain? We would have reduced temperatures in 2050 by about 0.1°F, a postponement of temperature increases by less than three years. By the year 2100? 0.3°F.
The US senate voted 95-0 against it in 1997. We clearly need better ways to reduce CO2 emissions than the disproportionately-American borne cost of $180 billion per year in the Kyoto Treaty.
Increased Hurricane IntensityEdit
While there is no evidence yet of more severe hurricanes, they do derive greater strength from warmer water. As the oceans warm, it is likely that hurricane strength will too. It is not the strength of hurricanes that matters to us though, but rather the fact that stronger hurricanes are more damaging.
US hurricane damage over the past century seems to confirm that economic costs are increasing dramatically. Three progressively more costly storms stand out: Andrew set a new record in 1992, only to be surpassed by hurricanes Charley and Ivan in 2004, only to be dwarfed by Katrina in 2005
Does this show that hurricanes are more severe or rather that more people now live near the coast in more expensive properties? If you imagine each of the past century's hurricanes hitting the US as it is today, a clearer picture emerges.
The worst would have been the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 which today would cause twice as much damage as Katrina. Next would be the Galveston hurricane of 1900 which would now cost $100 billion instead of the $600 million dollars of damage to a smaller city with simpler buildings.
So what should we do about possible upcoming hurricane damage? We can follow Al Gore's advice, participate in Kyoto, spend a lot of money and get a trivial decrease of 0.5% in hurricane damages, or we can manage the problem by building structures that withstand wind, and have good evacuation plans.
Changes in Weather PatternsEdit
Global warming will change rain fall distributions with more rain in the higher latitudes and less rain in the subtropics.
In the American South West, water short falls will become even more severe. Glacier melt is a critical source of water in many important river basins. If they disappear, the annual amount of water may remain the same, but the glacial “reservoir” effect will be lost, leading to summer droughts.
As with hurricanes though, is the better solution to painfully decrease CO2 production or make societal adjustments such as more efficient water use and better storage of seasonal water through dams and reservoirs?
Increased rainfall in Northern areas has been predicted to cause flooding of rivers. This kind of prediction exceeds current models. The current status of GCM does not give much insight into regional patterns, nor seasonal variations. Rain in the spring may cause flooding behind ice dams and compounding thaws, while fall rains, a period of lower flows, do not cause flooding.
Again, people such as Al Gore have done such a poor job of explaining what the costs will be that the only image people can conjure is that from The Day After Tomorrow
Rising Sea LevelsEdit
This is the subject that best lends itself to the "fear, terror and disaster" environmentalists. In his movie, Al Gore discusses the possibility that the collapse of a major ice sheet at one of the poles will suddenly raise global sea levels 20 ft, flooding coastal areas and producing 100 million refugees.
Yet IPCC 4 predicts a rise in sea levels of 5 inches by 2050 and 1 to 2 feet by the end of the century. How can they both be right? This is another good example of unnecessary distortion of the science by Al Gore. He is technically right that if the Greenland ice sheet ended up in the ocean, sea levels could rise 20 feet.
If he is trying to scare, why did he stop there? If the entire Antarctic ice sheet melted, it would raise sea levels 186 feet. That would make losing Florida, Holland and Bangladesh, as he shows in his movie, seem like a minor inconvenience. These so called “dynamic processes” of rapid ice sheet breakdown are not included in models because they are not yet understood well enough to predict. The effect of the movie’s emotional manipulation, however, is to make us distrust the other perfectly honest claims. Ironically, Gore did not even need to cheat, as data from the last two years (IPCC 4 data set was closed in 2005) seems to suggest an increased ice sheet vulnerability to warming.
So what will be the consequences of the predicted rise in sea level? Well, sea levels have risen about one foot in the past century, and we have not thought much about it. The rich countries have mostly used barriers for high water events and cleaned up the excess. Poor countries suffer much more.
Which will help protect poor counties more, Kyoto or getting poor countries to an economic level where they can protect themselves? This is not to argue that we should do nothing about CO2 emissions, but that it possible to do too much of things that have too little effect.
This is not heavily emphasized in the movie, just a comment that West Nile Virus spread may have been enhanced by global warming due to expansion of areas suitable for insect vectors.
The "fear, terror and disaster" opportunity has been irresistible for many other groups however, with malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, and encephalitis leading the list. It is important to remember though, that malaria was endemic in the US until 1951. It seems hard to believe now, but in 1920, 2% of Americans had malaria each year; in the 1930's, there were more than 400,000 cases per year. At the time of the New Deal, 30% of the residents of the Tennessee Valley had had an infection. Malaria was endemic in 36 states, and found as far north as Montana and Minnesota.
When the CDC was founded in 1946, its first charge was to eliminate malaria. It did this through many factors including mosquito-control programs including drainage and spraying homes, better access to medical care, better nutrition and the benefit of a population moving to cities, where there was less exposure. It seems difficult to believe that Boston will get endemic malaria because it will become as warm as Philadelphia.
The Science is SolidEdit
Al Gore and the Kyoto protocol aside, the science is remarkably solid if politicized: there is anthropogenic global warming. With the IPCC 4 report, the science is strengthened further. Global climate models, first developed in the 1980's, have adequately predicted the most recent 20 year warming patterns, including the disproportionate effects on the north pole with lag in the south pole, the warming of the oceans below 1000 M and the rise of the tropopause. If they have been wrong anywhere, it has been in under predicting the loss of sea ice. We must resist the siren song of the Hypocrite's Fallacy. Each Republican will have to satisfy herself on the science of the argument. Start with the IPCC 4 Report and read the entire Summary for Policy Makers. Then go to a creditable website like RealClimate.org and read their responses to all the the standard arguments against global warming. It just doesn't matter that you think Al Gore is a manipulative, whining, windbag.
This is not a partisan issue; it is an intergenerational issue. Remember that the effects of CO2 are going to progressively build up. Not much is going to happen before 2030, with the first real bite starting to come at the end of the century. None of this is going to effect the Baby Boomers, just you and your children. Politically, global climate change is the same as Social Security and Medicare, in that these are problems that compound with time. The sooner you start, the lower the eventual cost. In degrees of difficulty, Social Security is easy, Medicare is hard, and decreasing CO2 production brutally difficult. Most scientists believe that we must meaningfully decrease production within 10-20 years. Remember also, that the Boomers are the most self-absorbed, entitled generation in American history; expect them to make no sacrifices. It is you against your parent's generation.
This is a global problem, not just an American problem. Yes, Americans make up 4% of the world's population and produce 25% of its CO2 emissions. Any decreases in production we make, however, are going to be overwhelmed by China's rapid industrialization. If China continues to grow at its present rate and uses the same amount of oil per capita as us, by the year 2030, they will use 99 million barrels of oil per day. Current world production is 89 million barrels per day. Americans use 2 tons of coal per person per year. If the Chinese were to use the same amount, they would use 2.8 billion tons per year. Current world production is 2.5 billion tons peryear.
Ultimately though, the two things that matter most are cars and coal.
- Cars produce 20% of US CO2 and first have to become more efficient and then become electric.
- Coal is responsible for 50% of US CO2 production, and is the main fuel for electricity production.
It will have to be replaced, initially by nuclear power and eventually by renewables. The use of renewables will first require a breakthrough in the storage of energy. Republicans will have to be vigilant, or Democrats will seize this opportunity to start massive government projects.
Democrats and The Free MarketEdit
The Democrats are not to be trusted. As Republicans, we know that history has shown that free markets produce innovations beyond the imagination. We believe that the role of government is create the guidelines for that economic growth. How should government signal the markets to shift our fossil fuel economy to non-carbon energy sources? Initial decreases in CO2 production will have to come from increased efficiency. This will best be achieved by taxing energy sources proportionate to their carbon production and allowing the marketplace to find the most efficient path.
Whether this is by carbon offsets or a carbon tax matters less than the signal. What we must not let the Democrats do is use this as an opportunity for increasing government revenue and increasing government regulation. Using tax incentives for eliminating outdated inefficient practices in both industry and homes, and creating prizes for technical breakthroughs, would seem a good use of carbon taxes. Democrats will think that giving it to social projects would be a good idea.
One has only to review our past experience with Democrats on the relatively easy fixes for Social Security to fear their dishonesty on the vastly more difficult subject of replacing fossil fuels with clean sources of energy. Social Security was founded in 1935 as a social insurance program, not a tool for the redistribution of income. Democrats have been trying to make it the latter ever since.
As its financial underpinnings have become increasingly unbalanced, the need for reform has become more urgent. In 1982, when Reagan first tried to make Social Security fiscally sound by decreasing benefits, the Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill responded by saying, "For the first time since 1935 people would suffer because they trusted in the Social Security system." A reporter asked if Reagan had made a political mistake. O'Neill shot back: "I'm not talking about politics. I'm talking about decency. It is a rotten thing to do. It is a despicable thing."
A decade later when G. W. Bush suggested that some privatization of Social Security would increase returns enough to cover the shortfall, Democrat economist Paul Krugman said, “It's politics. Since the days of Barry Goldwater, the Republican right has really wanted to dismantle Social Security...It's hard to understand why anyone would want to return us to the days before the New Deal, when millions of elderly people lived in poverty. But if you really dislike the notion that the government provides a safety net for the poor, then Social Security is the prime target.”
Make no mistake, fixing the modest short falls in Social Security are trivial when compared to remaking the energy sources of the industrial revolution. If you would like a taste your upcoming experience, ask a Democrat what could produce the amount of electricity necessary to replace coal in the next ten years, other than nuclear power?
If that does not satisfy your masochistic tendencies, ask the Democrat if renewable biofuels are carbon efficient.
This is more than a technical problem; it requires a cultural realignment. For over two centuries, we have viewed Nature as inexhaustible, both for resource extraction and for dumping waste. Realizing that we have reached Nature's limits and that it will now require management is going to take more than just getting new technologies.
Take the automobile as an example. For Americans, it is more than a means of transportation. It is part of our personal identity and an expression of our relationship to our environment. How else can one explain 4000 pound SUV's, designed to go off-road, with 250 horsepower engines, as the vehicle of choice for suburban commuters?
Making the switch to small, light cars will take more than just raising the tax on gasoline. None of the parts of our lives stands independent from its dependence on energy.
- Another reason we buy those larger vehicles is because we are larger: over one-third of Americans are obese and will not fit in a smaller car. We are obese because we eat too much and exercise too little.
- We exercise too little because we drive our cars everywhere. We eat too much because our food is so cheap, in part because it is government subsidized.
- We eat a great deal of meat, which in and of itself creates 17% of green-house gases due to animal methane production.
- Cultural changes are possible, but they are painful and very gradual. As an example, think of cigarette smoking in the past ten years. In Washington state, despite high taxes and a massive cultural shift in acceptance, the number of smokers has only decreased from 24% to 18%.
- When applied to energy, as our President said, we are all “addicted to oil”. There is no avoiding this national debate.
The Way ForwardEdit
- First, each Republican must satisfy himself that he believes the science. The science is rapidly improving and it will be important to make sure you are up-to-date.
- Once enough Republicans are convinced of the problem, our party must adopt anthropogenic global climate change as our own.
- We cannot allow this to become a Democrat issue, because it marries two malignant strains in their party:
- Lover's of central government who will see an opportunity for rationing and big projects and
- Birkenstock environmentalists who are anti-growth.
- Remember that global warming is only one of many urgent global needs.
- We will have to make sure each proposal gets a cost-benefit analysis.
- When 6 million people die each year from treatable infectious diseases, hard priorities will have to be made.
- Understand that solutions will be both technical and cultural.
- Solutions will require both mitigation (decreasing CO2 production) and adaptation (living with the problems).
- Lastly, we will have to bring our core Republican philosophy, that economic frontiers are open, not closed, to the discussion.
- While the means for addressing human influence on climate have not yet been invented, the best chance of developing them lies with entrepreneurs and the marketplace.
Developing Policy SolutionsEdit
An noted earlier, all solutions must be global. This presents a unique challenge for several reasons. First, any top-down mitigation would require either amazing foreign relations on behalf of the US (unlikely at present), or else some sort of international body. Again, we must avoid the hijacking of that international body- the UN for example, has turned into a giant welfare program that does almost nothing of importance. The position of China on the security council, with veto power means that any program that would challenge their industrial interests is blocked.
The same will hold true for almost any third world, industrial, or pre-industrial nation. They have more pressing concerns about disease, water, agriculture etc too be worried about climate change. As mentioned earlier, China at $1400 per person per year is not likely to sacrifice even a penny to reduce carbon. Certainly the 20% of the world on $1 per day and the next 20% on $2 per day will not sacrifice even a second of their time to reduce carbon emissions.
The solution therefore, may lie in bringing third world countries through their industrial ages very quickly, into an information age and a service based economy, and past that down the path the United States will hopefully follow, towards sustainable practices.
This will require two things. First, the US and Europe must be leaders in climate change initiatives. If the US refuses to improve its sustainability, and Europe is incapable (it is, after all, run by liberals), then we can expect to see much more lip service than progress. This may involve sacrifices on the part of the US. Of course, these sacrifices will undoubtedly be politically unpopular- and we return to inter-generational conflict (old people who will feel no effects vote, young people don't). A fundamental culture shift may be necessary first.
Second, as for industrializing third world nations quickly, we must promote cultural exchange between the west and the developing world, since culture is the driving force behind our prosperity. Again, this will require a decline in US nationalism, again a massive cultural shift. Even then to encourage investment in third world industrialization, we need two things. The first is a massive inflow of capital, likely driven by cheap labour, hopefully followed by the use of capital etc. to build schools and an educated workforce capable of moving the country in question out of its industrial age. This will mean that eventually most manufacturing will be automated. Second, we need to ensure property rights- a Catch-22 since the only way to do this is to either 1) replace the government or 2) enforce militarily. The only way to change the government is to make everyone richer, to do which we need a government that can enforce property rights. A military solution, if US, would run counter to the spirit of non-nationalism and defeat an important part of the climate change initiative. It is also unlikely the UN or some other body would do it themselves. There is a third option however, if multi-nationals can hire security guards...
Even after all this investment, we must avoid the urge to exploit third world nations and take their resources home.
Lastly of course, we must, as always, allow the free-market to produce new technologies. However, again, government may have a role in adjusting the incentive structure. It could do this by assigning negative property rights to the environment, or provide Prizes as a way to change the incentive structure for new research. Not again that these must be non-national, but international, solutions otherwise the effect will be to drive all carbon emitting production of wealth overseas.
Avoiding the Liberal MethodEdit
Every policy must achieve a true cost-benefit analysis. Liberals have an image of The Day After Tomorrow in their heads, and human extinction. They think that a collapse of the polar bear population is infinitely more important than some number of human lives and often value the ecosystem above its value to human beings.
Always remember to do your cost-benefit analysis in terms of human results. If the collapse of polar bear populations costs 10 poachers their livelihood, but leads to an increase of the number of seals and 20 new jobs are created hunting seals, this may actually be preferable (of course the actual calculation is significantly more intricate). No number of trees is more important in and of themselves than five human lives we could save with those trees, unless the rise in sea levels kills more than 5 people (and other associated effects).
Cost of Carbon AnalysisEdit
We must be able to correctly evaluate the invisible cost of releasing, say, 1 ton of CO2 into the air. Its cost is the minimum of the following:
- The cost to remove that much carbon from the air as you emit it
- The cost to decrease the temperature of the earth equal to the amount the carbon you emit will increase it
- The cost of protection against the climate change (cost of pumping water, buying air conditioners, spraying for mosquitoes etc.)
In essence, the invisible cost of emitting carbon is the cost of the cheapest way to fix every effect.
Cost-Benefit of CarbonEdit
Thus when burning 1 ton of CO2 we must ask ourselves, 1) How much profit will we make (wealth produced), 2) how much will it cost to offset the carbon. Again we should use the power of the free market by correcting the incentives structure to cover the actual cost of emitting carbon. A tax on carbon emissions is possible, but the other option would be (assuming proper enforcement) to require companies to buy carbon offsets. Again, allow the free market to find the cheapest way to get carbon offsets. However, numerous audits would be required for this method to work.
Cost-Benefit of Anti-Carbon PoliciesEdit
As for actually replacing carbon production (say with nuclear or solar etc.) we must again do a cost benefit analysis. Take the cost of producing with solar power minus the cost of producing with carbon, this is the net cost. The benefit is the amount of money that not releasing that much carbon would save. If the benefit outways the cost we should employ the policy. Note that by changing the incentive structure with some sort of tax (direct to government or indirect by requirement for carbon offsets) we will achieve this policy if the benefit outweighs the cost. Avoid an argument to emotion summoned by drowning polar bears standing in water instead of ice. Liberals will try to claim we should save the environment but force them to quantify the costs and benefits of saving the environment.
Remember, just because we're assuming climate change exists, that doesn't mean we have to stop producing carbon. There are other options such as unhiding the costs of carbon (aka changing incentive structure) and simply removing the carbon after we produce it. Do not allow liberals to hijack this movement (as they have done) to increase the size of government and move us towards socialism, communism, and/or a nanny-state.
Current Policy OptionsEdit
Global climate change is not something we can solve with a Manhattan Project or a 3 year long war nor any quick solution. It will be a long and arduous process that will require international unity or else for every part of the globe to develop a good solution independently. After uniting the world, we'll still need to fight an inter-generational conflict with our parent's generation so they don't squander our resources than die (as in Social Security, and Medicare). When we're done with that we'll still have to fight off the left and their ulterior motives. This is all, of course, assuming some other, larger problem doesn't arise first.
Current policy options, such as Cap-and-Trade, or the Kyoto Protocol are all meaningless because they are either 1) only in the US, or 2) poorly designed so as to mandate instead of providing incentives. Discuss the road to a solution.
- ↑ See envy in The Rich, Fairness and Politics
- ↑ Transportation provides a good example.
- Despite improving from 9 gallons per 100 vehicle miles in 1973 to 6 gallons per 100 vehicle miles in 2003, our total fuel use has gone from 115 to 180 billion gallons per year.
- The entire US economy as a whole is twice as efficient as in 1950, from 20 thousand BTU per $GDP to 9 thousand Btu per $GDP, while total energy consumption has gone from 35 to 115 Quads (1 Quad = 1015 Btu ≈ 1.06EJ, where 1Exajoule is 1018 Joules) per year. 1 Btu heats 1 pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit
- ↑ Mr. Gore well knows this. In 1996, he was part of the Clinton administration’s decision to sell 7 million barrels of oil from the federal petroleum reserves just to help balance the budget.
- ↑ I have picked this because the B2 scenario seems the most likely to me, and it is in the middle of the ranges: The B2 world is one of increased concern for environmental and social sustainability compared to the A2 storyline. Increasingly, government policies and business strategies at the national and local levels are influenced by environmentally aware citizens, with a trend toward local self-reliance and stronger communities. International institutions decline in importance, with a shift toward local and regional decision-making structures and institutions. Human welfare, equality, and environmental protection all have high priority, and they are addressed through community-based social solutions in addition to technical solutions, although implementation rates vary across regions.--IPCC 4
- ↑ Data from WHO statistics, as quoted in Cool It, Lomborg, 2007.
- ↑ Greater London Authority, 2006.
- ↑ These are only theoretical gains. From 200-2004, U.N. Data showed that the US, not a party to the treaty, had a slower increase in emissions (1.3%) than the E.U. (2.4%), who was. Increasing emissions is a far cry from the promised decrease of 5%.
- ↑ Lomborg, Bjorn, Cool It, p.78 2007
- ↑ After Katrina, one insurance company found that 90% of the damages could have been prevented using techniques like using simple structural techniques like bracing walls.
- ↑ Damage does not come from an increase in average sea level, after all, we deal with tides twice a day. The trouble is with storm surges where every foot of increased height causes more damage.
- ↑ Study Wikipedia: DDT for another example of liberals overreacting]
- ↑ Feel free to kritik the environmentalist movement for the politicization of almost every issue it touches and the botching of a solution, but as mentioned at the beginning, if you wish to deny anthropogenic global warming, you're going to be lonely. Certainly there are problems: the increase in hurricane strength mentioned earlier may not exist. The IPCC conclusions were reached not by scientists but by politicians (the scientists did the science, the politicians did the rest). There is a significant body of evidence that recent trends are due to solar output trends. Nevertheless, the theory itself is pretty sound and politics aside, so is the science. Even then, you'll have a hard time earning anyone's respect (or getting a job in some cases) if you don't believe in anthropogenic global climate change. At the very least spot the liberal its existence then prove them wrong.
- ↑ The hypocrite's fallacy states that an argument stands on its own merit, irregardless of who states it. Thus you cannot disprove my statement that “stealing is bad” by showing that I am a thief. It just doesn't matter that Al Gore lives in a huge house with a heated swimming pool and flies private jets to his meetings.
- ↑ That is to say, they can't burn oil. Mini-nuclear power plants, cold fusion (or hot fusion, very small in both cases), compressed air, hydrogen fuel cell (somewhat questionable), or some other form of power we cannot yet imagine all work fine. Do not fall victim to Public Transportation the car is the basis of freedom in the United States. Worse, cities vote democrat and without cars we have no urban sprawl... Note that helicopters (in essence flying cars) may be a suitable alternative if they fit nuclear plants better.
- ↑ Nuclear power is not technically renewable. However don't forget that the entire universe has Uranium
- ↑ this is a very good discussion on the history of big American government projects
- ↑ Don't forget that ulterior motive
- ↑ Here is a snappy metaphor to use in an argument: "the role of government is to steer the boat, not row it"
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Here is an example of how efficiency gains have been made: NatCap.org
- ↑ What you tax will decrease, what you subsidize will increase. Furthermore, we in essence assign property rights (one of the cornerstones of the free market) to carbon production.
- ↑ X PRIZE is perhaps one of the smartest concepts known to man. Gone are the old days of government grants etc. Instead let the free market do the research with the proper incentives. Equivalent to putting a carrot in front of the donkey instead of feeding it and hoping it moves. Adding a stick can't hurt (taxes). See X PRIZEs as a Model for Government Research
- ↑ The Fake Crisis
- ↑ Nothing.
- ↑ No. An article in Science, Feb, 2007, finds that corn-based ethanol will nearly double the output of green-house gases instead of reducing them by 1/5 as is usually estimated. A separate paper in the same issue concludes that clearing native habitats to grow biofuel crops will lead to more carbon emissions. Don't forget that corn ethanol has put 100 million people in poverty (World Bank) by raising food prices, and any biofuel neccesarily takes land away from crop production, again raising prices. (Perhaps with the exclusion of switch-grass cellulosic ethanol)
- ↑ Seattle Post-Intelligencer
- ↑ Al Gore in Fortune Magazine, 2007, "What we are going to have to put in place is a combination of the Manhattan Project, the Apollo Project and the Marshall Plan and scale it globally."
- ↑ A good example of cost-benefit prioritizing is the Copenhagen Consensus
- ↑ Believe it or not, rich people actually have time to think about their government's injustices and revolutions. The poorer and more oppressed a population the less time it has to think about revolution. Paradoxically, the British fermented a revolution in the US not by oppressing us, but by not oppressing us.
- ↑ As we do by selling T-Bills to China- in essence they enslave their population and give the excess to us in exchange for debt we'll never pay. The result is the oppression and exploitation of their population
- ↑ Since the free market incentive structure, the driving force behind the free market, cannot properly account for global warming because global climate change's benefits are felt narrowly and its detriments widely (the opposite of outsourcing etc), it will occur in the status quo. The government there for is legitimized in education and monetary incentives to change the incentive structure
- ↑ In essence, calculate the cost of emitting a ton of carbon into the air (see cost-benefit analysis), then tax people for emitting that ton of carbon and use that money to offset the effects. These are negative property rights because you own the right to destroy something. With the actual cost apparent, the free market, with the correct incentive structure, will achieve the most efficient method)
- ↑ Yes, a life can be valued. If it costs $10 to save a life from death from malaria, or $20 to save someone for starvation (numbers are made up), then the cost of a death from global warming is $10. The fundamental premise of utilitarianism is that no life is more important than another. Saving one life and letting one person die from global climate change is no different than preventing the death from global climate change (not this assumes that each person is statistically equal i.e. they produce the same amount of utility)