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Tilting at Windmills

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January 20, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

CLEARING THE AIR....Over at The Corner, Rod Dreher writes about Margaret Keliher, the top county executive for Dallas:

I asked Judge Keliher yesterday why she, as a conservative Republican, has gotten active to fight industry for cleaner air....She replied that for one thing, it's about health, and health-care costs. For another, it's about creating a good business climate companies don't want to move to a region that's got bad air and the health problems that go with it. And then there's the family values thing Judge Keliher said that she's tired of seeing little children around here having to run to the sidelines during soccer games to use their inhalers. All of these are ways to think about the environment that resonate with conservative Republican voters.

My first instinct was to make fun of this, but I guess I'll resist. If "family values" and "good for business" are the code phrases that will convince conservatives to get serious about clean air, then count me in. Once they're used to it, maybe we can start talking about global warming too. That's not so good for kids or businesses either.

Kevin Drum 2:06 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (186)

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Comments

You really have to wonder why it's taken so long. I mean, do rich kids not breathe air too?

If people think they really want to live without environmental and business restrictions, they are free to move to China.

Posted by: craigie on January 20, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

We've been trying to tell them that for years. I guess the words "in the long run" made their eyes glaze over.

But now that Kaitlin and Caitlyn and Katelynn need inhalers ....

Sheesh.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on January 20, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: Family values is one of those phrases that is just crying out to be used by us, and that really should not be ceded to the right. Think about all the things that harm families: the stress of financial problems of the sort caused by e.g. layoffs or unexpected medical bills or having to care round the clock for elderly relatives with dementia or giving money you don't really have to your parents whose pensions have just been stripped away. Think of what it does to families when a parent gets sick (or, a twofer: injured in a preventable workplace accident) and there is no medical care to be had. These are things that cause enormous stress to families, and that's not in the least unrelated to why progressives care about them.

So why on earth have we allowed 'family values' to become code for being against gay marriage and thinking that Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky was the worst thing ever? I have no idea.

Posted by: hilzoy on January 20, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

You mean rich Republicans have to breathe the same air as everyone else?

I mean, isn't that, like, gross?

Posted by: frankly0 on January 20, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

But now that Kaitlin and Caitlyn and Katelynn need inhalers ....

pretty funny!

Posted by: shortstop on January 20, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0,
You mean for them or for us?

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 20, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Trust your first instinct.

Posted by: Roger Ailes on January 20, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

I think the clean air issue will make some headway in the Republican Party, now that corporations are multinational.

Now that multinationals can flee the American workforce, regulation and taxation, the GOP will become more green, and more populist.

That's my take.

Posted by: TJ on January 20, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

You mean for them or for us?

Now that I think about it, probably for all involved.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 20, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Presidential Election 2012

Repub Presidential Candidate: We are for clean air.

Dem Presidential Candidate: Uhh Uhh Uhhh me too.

Just like Freedom and Liberty are now owned by Republicans.

Democrats will continue doing their research on what is hidden below the surface in the data obtained from polls by developing new three by three matrices classifying the voters into clean air hogs, clean air devils, and clean air neutrals.

Posted by: lib on January 20, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

franky o

actually republicans don't have to breath the same are as 'us'.

Neumont mining now poisons Peruvians instead of Coloradoans. We threw em out of the whole western slope with regulations that made blowing cadmium and arsenic a crime punishable by fines and imprisonment.

I think multinationals can be persuaded to poison impotent brown populations instead of American cities, if its profitable.

Then the GOP will become noticably more green -

Posted by: TJ on January 20, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

amazing: within 10 comments, all the great lines and concepts have already been taken! so second to craigie, second to hilzoy, second to franklyo, second to lib....

Posted by: howard on January 20, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Pollution = Short Term Economic Gain

No wonder the slugs like it.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on January 20, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Since conservatives generally reject the values of community, stewardship, and responsibility for others, you have to couch any sort of reform in terms of their naked self-interest and greed. Simple, but sad.

Posted by: Stefan on January 20, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

But now that Kaitlin and Caitlyn and Katelynn need inhalers ....

Don't forget little Sawyer and Thatcher and Cooper...

Simple rule of thumb: the richer the parents, the more likely they are to give their child a medieval serf's profession as a first name.

Posted by: Stefan on January 20, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget little Sawyer and Thatcher and Cooper...

Simple rule of thumb: the richer the parents, the more likely they are to give their child a medieval serf's profession as a first name.

LOL! I'm saving that one, although I'd say it applies more to the wealthier WASPs.
My favorite is the rich kid on "South Park", named Tolkein.

Posted by: Ringo on January 20, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I think this points to a key insight as to why Dems have lost the "middle" (in many senses of the word) of the country: "Liberal" = "Liberal Humanism" minus "Humanism."

To the principled members of the GOP (I know, I know, bear with me), "businesses" comprise collectives of individuals trying to make their lives better through free enterprise. When "Liberals" prize, say, endangered tree toads as an abstract social good without being able to contextualize the human importance of environmentalism, they alienate wide swaths of the electorate -- and then deride those swaths for their ignorance and backwardness.

Mock the GOP's knack for humanizing social problems all you want, Kevin, but until the Dems learn how to do a better job of it, it's gonna be a hard slog.

Posted by: The Confidence Man on January 20, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Simple rule of thumb: the richer the parents, the more likely they are to give their child a medieval serf's profession as a first name.

Stefan, you're killing me.

This reminds me of an Alexi Sayle routine in the 80s, when Maggie Thatcher was king. He said "in the old days, you were named after what you did. So if you were named Cooper, you made barrels. If you were named Miller, you made bread. And if you were named Thatcher, you made people sick!"

It probably worked better in 1986.

Posted by: craigie on January 20, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

"I asked Judge Keliher yesterday why she, as a conservative Republican, has gotten active to fight industry for cleaner air..."

That really says it all right there.

Posted by: BeingThere on January 20, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

This is the difference in the type of businesses..just because one is "pro-business" doesn't always mean the same thing.

On one hand, you have small and starting businesses. Often, it takes these business years to turn a profit, and once they do, it's nothing extreme. They could lose it all at any time with a downturn in the local economy.

At any time.

On the other hand, take large multi-national corporations. The people running these corporations, as well as shareholders, care nothing about long-term profits, as long as short-term goals are met. Get the bonuses, get the stock value up. Get the money. Then if everything goes south, so what. You still got the money..your golden parachute, so to speak.

Interests of long-term business owners, are strictly in the Democratic camp. Interests of short-term business owners, are in the Republican one.

Posted by: Karmakin on January 20, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

You forgot Karliegh. A real name, I swear.

Posted by: lib on January 20, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

there's a rich kid named Tolkein on south park?
really?

are you sure you're not thinking of the one black kid, named Token?

Posted by: mr. crunky on January 20, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

they alienate wide swaths of the electorate

You mean, like a few hundred thousand people in Ohio?

Or a few thousand in Florida?

I know it's a GOP talking point that Dems are all but extinct, but out here in real life, it ain't so.

Your larger point is valid, though. Environmentalism isn't its own cause - it's a logical response to wanting to stay alive. Exhibit A, for example

Posted by: craigie on January 20, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

"Simple rule of thumb: the richer the parents, the more likely they are to give their child a medieval serf's profession as a first name."

Wow, I never really noticed that.

I have noticed that, nowadays, if you see a Classical name pop up- Ulysses, Darius, Theodoric, etc.- usually the name's owner is either black or rural white. Not sure why that is, but I'm glad someone is keeping the good old names alive.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 20, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

How come tbrosz hasn't come in here to remind us that Dems polute too?

Posted by: craigie on January 20, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

We are rapidly destroying the very capacity of the Earth to support life, and our anthropocentric delusions are the basic underlying reason why.

So, yes -- the people who are only interested in so-called "environmental" issues in terms of how they directly impact humans are not only part of the problem, they are the essence of the problem.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously, what amazes me about this is the implication that rich Republicans only understand something is good if is labeled "family values" or "good for business". I mean, if global warming results in the destruction of New Orleans in 2005 and New York in 2015 isn't it fucking obvious that that is not good for "families" or "business"? In other words, are conservatives seriously unable to stretch their imaginations sufficiently to understand that global warming is bad, even without passing "family values" and "good for business" under their noses for recognition? If this is really the case, then these people are much more stupid than I have realized, and they may not be evil after all. I might have to completely re-think my view of the world.

Posted by: Baldrick on January 20, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect that liberals' allegiance to environmentalism is only a means to their end of regulating businesses and controlling others' lives.

I would bet that when Republicans start talking about clean environment, as this little episode suggests that they are beginning to do, it will resonate with people, as the electorate has an innate understanding of Republicans' uncanny grasp of citizens' real concerns. On the other hand, the people have learnt to associate elitism with any position that the Democrats take on such issues.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 20, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Once they're used to it, maybe we can start talking about global warming too.

Does Kevin mean "global warming" or the mythical "anthropogenic global warming"?

Posted by: Al on January 20, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Truly one of the best fake tbrosz posts ever!

Posted by: shortstop, howling on January 20, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

There is a very very cool website that graphically tracked names in America but I can't seem to find the link.

Essentially names are started by the rich to be unique and then copied by the rest of us until they become common and the rich find other names.

I'm waiting for 'Cobbler' for a little white boy and "Subpoena" for a little black girl.

Posted by: Tripp on January 20, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

hmmm...gas prices going up again...right after the holidays!

Guess the junta didn't want all those families spending time together over the break talking to each other about the high gas prices are...

...but now that everyone's home...they go back up...hmm...

Posted by: The Hague on January 20, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Tripp, my favorite name-related amusement came from listening to someone ranting about "ebonic names"- and using "Darius" as their main example.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 20, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz would never say 'learnt', too British

Posted by: WhoSays on January 20, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Out of fairness I should mention that 'Tripp' is a nickname. My real name (Griffith Lyle) is an old family name and nothing to brag about.

Posted by: Tripp on January 20, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

craigie,

Point taken. I don't mean to be buying into the "Dems are extinct" GOP talking point (although that one's kinda hard for me to understand how they square it with anti-evolutionism ...).

I was somewhat inexact with my phrasing, mixing up "Dem" and "Liberal." Certainly, Dems of all stripes, libs to cons, free-range to factory-bred, are thriving in and out of captivity.

However, easily caricatured Liberal positions (and the knee-jerk adoption thereof by key leaders in the Dem party) on things such as tree frogs are turn-offs to a lot of centrist voters, Dem and GOP alike.

Posted by: The Confidence Man on January 20, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Conservative = Conservation have the same route.

What is most distressing in the current environment is how well a corporatist ideology has advanced some radical changes while still clutching the cover of conservatism.

On many issues the alleged conservatives are pushing very risky strategies. On foreign policy, attacking Iran would hardly be prudent. On energy, just gambling that the environment can handle chemicals and gases on a scale never experienced wouldn't be risk - adverse, etc.

And "liberals" do well when they do reach back to the ideals that this country was founded on. Martin Luther King struck a major cord when he pointed at the disconnect between the country's ideals and what was happening.

What this women is pointing out is that a lot of obstensibly "liberal" issues rest on very conservative bedrock.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on January 20, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone has room to grow. Just as conservatives will slowly begin to understand that healthy families need a healthy environment, the liberals will slowly begin to understand that improving health care or equality for women or whatever probably requires the killing of hordes of brown people.

Posted by: Boronx on January 20, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

My hats off to Boronx. Brilliant.

Posted by: lib on January 20, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but clean air and water have always been conservative values. Liberals don't care about clean air or water, they only use the environment banner to attack industry and commerce. It's all about destroying capitalism than caring about the environment. Same goes for women and gays' right. Liberals could care less.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 20, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

The Confidence Man wrote: However, easily caricatured Liberal positions (and the knee-jerk adoption thereof by key leaders in the Dem party) on things such as tree frogs are turn-offs to a lot of centrist voters, Dem and GOP alike.

The so-called "centrist" ignorance of the profound significance of the extinction of "tree frogs" and other species of amphibians, and the ongoing mass extinctions of other species of plants and animals all over the world as the direct result of human destructiveness, is just as easily charicatured.

Amphibians are the "canaries in the coal mine". The mass extinction of amphibian species that is happening all over the world right now is a screaming red alert about what is in store for us humans in the not too distant future.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

I can think of something besides air pollution that is not healthy for children and other living things.

Posted by: Ken D. on January 20, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

That baby name link, if it's the one I'm thinking of that was going around a couple of years ago, is here, but I can't get the Java to load right now so I can't be postive.

But I have to say that the whole rhetorical trope of referring to "little [stereotyped-name]", whether it be little Keishia, little Kaylee, or little Jason, enrages me for some reason. I think it's because just sounds so damn superior.

And I was named after a cartoon duck, so I'm in no position to throw stones.

(Not really.)

Posted by: DonBoy on January 20, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Family values and good business USED TO BE the mantra of the environmentalists across the board from Roosevelt to Roosevelt to Nader to Nixon. It was about preserving the environment for the benefit of human beings, and understanding that being environmentally responsible as a business made good financial sense.

Somewhere along the line it got twisted and we worried about the poor wittle animals with their cute faces and forgot that the reason to stop plants in Ohio from spewing poison into the air is because it makes human children sick in New Jersey.

This is not something to ridicule, but to welcome. The left environmentalists should once again talk about the benefits to human beings -- health, longer lives, lower medical costs, lower absenteeism, increased profits, etc. -- when working on environmental issues instead of some abstract "good" that 95 percent of the people have a hard time getting their heads around.

Posted by: Nathan Rudy on January 20, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Boronx, funniest thing in a long time.

Freedom Fighter, if that's really you, you have become a parody of yourself.

Posted by: craigie on January 20, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan Rudy: It was about preserving the environment for the benefit of human beings ...

That's exactly the sort of arrogant anthropocentrism that is destroying the Earth's biosphere, which is mistakenly referred to as "the environment". It is not an "environment". It is a living system, a web of life. And the Earth's biosphere does not exist "for the benefit of human beings". It did perfectly well without us for billions of years before human beings evolved, and it will do perfectly well without us for billions of years after human beings become extinct, although it may take a hundred thousand years or so to recover from the massive damage that our insane anthropocentric conceit and arrogance is inflicting on it, and it will then be an entirely different global ecology than the one we have known for the past ten or twenty thousand years.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

I was named after Imelda Marcos.

Isn't Boronx' post, which was already hoot-inducing, even funnier because of Freedom Fighter's contribution closely following it?

Posted by: shortstop on January 20, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0: rich people only have to breathe the same air as the rest of un because God plays indulges in class warfare.

tbrosz: I really think you should take us Democrats more seriously. And that bit about elitism sounds like something you are trying to sell. Or maybe just a serious case of projection.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 20, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Ah.. that was just the fake tbrosz, a guy with a rather strange hobby.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 20, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

Duckboy,

Yeah, that is the link! Thank you. It is very fascinating. I can't wait to show it to little Cobbler and Subpoena.

Posted by: Tripp on January 20, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

I once worked at a small electrical manufacturer where the laborers were upset about being exposed to some conductive ink vapors because of a lack of ventilation. The head engineer sneered that since most of the laborers smoked they had no complaint. I offered to have the ventilation systm changed to pump all of the ink vapors into the engineer's lab, but that idea was not well accepted.

If we make polluters eat or expose their children to their noxious elminations, they will reduce their exploitation of public goods like air, water, and earth.

Posted by: Hostile on January 20, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist shows exactly the kind of environmental philosophy that's taking over the movement.

In the early years, it was about cleaning up industries that were doing some serious polluting, and about protecting things common to all, like the air and water.

If you make a landfill, protect the area around it from leakage. When it's done, reclaim the area. Our best local recreation area was built over a landfill, and it sells recovered methane to burn for power.

If you build a strip mine, when it's done, reclaim and replant. Make sure tailings don't end up in rivers, or contaminating the area for years to come.

If you build a factory, make sure the smokestack exhaust is cleaned up, and that the waste is not dumped into the general water table. Cleaning up pollution from factories is what my Dad did for years.

Environmentalism used to be about using resources wisely.

Now, though, factories and mines are "evil." The works of man are a cancer on the Earth, and a foul outgrowth of capitalism. It isn't about doing things clean any more. It's about not doing anything at all. "Wise use" is now considered a curse.

Too much of the modern environmental movement has been a refuge for collectivists, and lately, a refuge for outright nihilists.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 20, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Sheeshlaweesa.

Gee - where have I heard that environmentalist's goals are not contrary to those of business and people before? Seems like someone said it before the republicans.... Who *could* it have been???


Way to lose track of history, See-No-Evil.

Posted by: cdj on January 20, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

I think GE's executive managers and top engineers and stockholders should be made to eat the PCB's they dumped into the Hudson River.


Posted by: Hostile on January 20, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

I was named after a female Russian cosmonaut. Honest to God. My son has one of those "serf names" and my middle child has a purely Gaelic name (Finola) and the "baby" - she's 19 - is named Lyric (everyone had a Melody by that point.)

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 20, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

"And the Earth's biosphere does not exist "for the benefit of human beings"."

And why would we care about the Earth's biosphere if it wasn't here to benefit us? The biosphere supports those living things that are fit to live, and we are the result of millions of years of evolution and natural selection.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 20, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop,
Are you Filipina, by any chance?

My name is fairly pedestrian, but I've already told my fiancee any male child we have will be named Taksin (after a Thai king, not their current prime minister).

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 20, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

A report released in 1998 by the World Health Organization revealed that of the ten most polluted cities in the world, seven can be found in China.

Capitalism is the cause of pollution? Tell me another one. And find something else to feel guilty about, or another reason to take a cheap-shot ungrateful rip on the United States.

Posted by: 512thirteen10 on January 20, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

It's funny how Liberals treat Darwinism as infallible in the schools, yet don't want to see it practiced in the real world.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 20, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

It's funny how Republicans find "Social" Darwinism so appealing, but not the real kind.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 20, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

and we are the result of millions of years of evolution and natural selection.
Posted by: Freedom Fighter

some of us further along than others ... incidentally, tell your masters to quit pushing that ID bullshit when clearly none but the christifascists actually believe it.

Posted by: Nads on January 20, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans that believe in Social Darwinism, also believe in evolution. It's the Liberals who are very selective in their beliefs.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 20, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: Environmentalism used to be about using resources wisely. Now, though, factories and mines are "evil." The works of man are a cancer on the Earth, and a foul outgrowth of capitalism. It isn't about doing things clean any more. It's about not doing anything at all. "Wise use" is now considered a curse.

Ah, nostalgia just ain't what it used to be.

For as long as I've been around (which isn't much less time than you) there have been extremists, doomsayers and people enthralled with the possible demise of technological civilization.

Nevertheless, now as then, the vast majority of people, and even some politicians, are moderate environmentalists. They understand that environmental protection is for, amongst other things, preserving resources for future use and health.

Very few people actually want to destroy technological civilization. Of course they're not always thrilled with the sacrifices that may be necessary to preserve the environment, but who is thrilled with sacrifices? That's why, unfortunately, we need laws and regulations - to prevent a real tragedy of the commons.

Too much of the modern environmental movement has been a refuge for collectivists

Collectivists? Please provide details. I wasn't aware that the Communists in the State Department had moved to the environmental movement.

Posted by: alex on January 20, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

"some of us further along than others ... incidentally, tell your masters to quit pushing that ID bullshit when clearly none but the christifascists actually believe it."

But apparently you guys believe in ID. How else can you explain the PC nonsense you subscribe to?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 20, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Capitalism is the cause of pollution? Tell me another one. And find something else to feel guilty about, or another reason to take a cheap-shot ungrateful rip on the United States.
Posted by: 512thirteen10

How retarded are you? are you seriously suggesting that the pollution in those chinese cities isn't the result of factories? sulfur dioxide and resultant acid rain from COAL production is the major contaminant in china. no one said anything about capitalism.

... actually, I just word-searched this thread, and the only dipshits to use the word capitalism were yourself, freedom fucker, and tbroz ... all setting up happy little strawmen of liberals hating capitalism and progress for yourselves to knockdown. It's like a fucking rightwing circle jerk ... try not to get any of tom's spunk in your eye ... that shit'll give you chlamydia.

I like capitalism. I like it when they're responsible about it, too, and won't give me or my kids cancer. asswipe.

Posted by: Nads on January 20, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Most Republicans are environmentally concerned. You guys spend way to much time congratulating yourselves on how smart and caring you are by comparing yourselves to charicatures of Republicans you have in your minds.

The difference between Republicans and Liberatarians has a lot to do with acceptance of regulations. But the difference between Republicans and what appears to me to be the Democratic position, is that Republicans want to see costs and benefits weighed.

Kyoto could never pass a realistic cost-benefit analysis. Windmills don't make electricity on those clear cold nights that are most often windstill, when us Northeasterners use so much power. I could go on and on, but I won't. But anytime a conservative raises questions like this, he is labeled a tool, or a troll, but his questions are seldom answered. Particulates polluting the air, lead in the air, few Republicans are for those things. That's why we were pro nuclear power, and why we regret that you guys seem to have won that argument, venting hundreds of millions of fossilized carbon, as well as particle polution(some radioactive BTW), into the atmosphere over the past couple decades as a result, that could have been left in the ground. How many coal miners have died as a result of anti-nuclear campaigns? How many nuke plant workers have died over those same years? I will not get an answer on that one either.

This is a dialog of the deaf. Although I keep posting because somehow I think that Kevin is actually struggling with these issues in an honest way.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

In the eastern mountains, the first born son was often given his mother's maiden name as his first name. I think the modern practice of la-di-da first names inherited the facade but not the substance of the earlier ways.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 20, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

But apparently you guys believe in ID. How else can you explain the PC nonsense you subscribe to?
Posted by: Freedom Fighter

thinking white men have a racist, mysoginistic history and a historical advantage in america? you don't need ID to believe that; you just need to keep your eyes open.

if god does exist, he should probably smite the whole lot of you racist fascist bastards ... seeing as he hasn't, he obviously doesn't exist.

QED, motherfucker!

Posted by: Nads on January 20, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz wrote: The works of man are a cancer on the Earth

"Cancer" and "parasitism" are apt metaphors for the behavior of the human species on this planet. We could be the cerebral cortex of the biosphere, but instead we have chosen to behave like a parasite that is killing its host.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop,
Are you Filipina, by any chance?

I was just kidding, MJ. Sort of an inside joke to a friend.

Nads: I don't compliment you often enough on your posts. I love a man who's brilliant, foulmouthed and takes no prisoners.

Posted by: shortstop on January 20, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

tool: Kyoto could never pass a realistic cost-benefit analysis.

You don't have the slightest clue what you are talking about. You are just regurgitating rubbish that you heard from Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

"if god does exist, he should probably smite the whole lot of you racist fascist bastards ... seeing as he hasn't, he obviously doesn't exist.

QED, motherfucker!"

LOL! So, does that mean you don't really believe in Darwinism then?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 20, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, speaking of "clearing the air" and "global warming", I'm surprised that Kevin hasn't written anything about Iceland trying to go gasoline-free... or did I miss it?

Posted by: Liberal Lion on January 20, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Tool, it's decided then. We'll put a lovely nuclear power plant in your backyard sans any of those burdensome safety regulations or disposal restrictions...umm 'kay?

Tool.

Posted by: ckelly on January 20, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: "Wise use" is now considered a curse.

Well, no. We're just not as trusting as you are about who's actually using wisely. See, we've noticed that corporations often say one thing and do another.

But by all means, keep taking all corporate press releases as gospel while viewing every single government-issued statement as highly suspect. That makes you a sophisticated analyst.

Posted by: shortstop on January 20, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

I would bet that when Republicans start talking about clean environment, as this little episode suggests that they are beginning to do, it will resonate with people, as the electorate has an innate understanding of Republicans' uncanny grasp of citizens' real concerns. On the other hand, the people have learnt to associate elitism with any position that the Democrats take on such issues.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 20, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

"Tool, it's decided then. We'll put a lovely nuclear power plant in your backyard sans any of those burdensome safety regulations or disposal restrictions...umm 'kay?"

Funny how the same Liberals complaining about high energy prices are also the ones trying their best to restrict energy production. Liberalism is just full of contradictions.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 20, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

"millions of tons of fossilized carbon"

oops.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: that's sweet of you.

oh, and good work on calling arsenia out for being the bigot that she is the other day ... good eye. maybe if you weren't so damn "causy" all the time, you'd be open to her brand of love.

Posted by: Nads on January 20, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

"You don't have the slightest clue what you are talking about. You are just regurgitating rubbish that you heard from Rush Limbaugh."

See, you guys don't want to win anybody over, you just want to scare guys on your side from falling away. I would go chapter and verse with anybody who appears to know anything about the subject, unfortunately for the tree and rock worshipper, this rules you out.

"We'll put a lovely nuclear power plant in your backyard sans any of those burdensome safety regulations or disposal restrictions...umm 'kay?" -ckelly

in response to my post which contained these words:

"The difference between Republicans and Liberatarians has a lot to do with acceptance of regulations." -tool

Have I ever said I was not a Republican? What is so hard about understanding a simple paragraph for you guys.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry about how long this post is, but ... God, the green bashing never seems to end!

I was active in the Sierra Club -- and made my living writing for over a dozen different environmental groups -- for years and years. It never failed to amaze me or any of my fellow environmentalists what bald-faced lies the rightwingers were willing to make up (and that's the only way to describe it) about us. Truly Orwellian: we were "Communists" simply using environmental concerns as a "cover" for our "real" agenda of "overthrowing Capitalism."

Pure crap! Complete fiction. Yet, this meme -- cooked up, originally, by industry lobbyists (doubtless many of the same now up to their necks in the K Street Project) -- was literally beaten into the heads of the slack-jawed yokels who regularly turned out for every rightwing convocation across the country. I believe (but am not sure) it was The Nation that, on one occasion, sent a reporter to a major convention of conservatives, and was astonished that "green-bashing" was THE most prevalent theme ... not attacking liberals, or abortion, or the Kennedys, or the Clintons, or the ACLU, or anything else. Those other things were common themes, yes, but EVERY speaker denounced environmentalism. Wish I could now quickly lay hands on that article to link for all of you.

And then we have the bull about how, somehow, we environmenalists have "strayed" from our original "pure" message. Nathan Rudy, above, seems to think he actually knows something about the history of the conservation movement. He's wrong. Contrary to his mythology, from decades before Roosevelt (T) to long after Roosevelt (FDR), the conservation movement ("environmentalism" was a term not yet much in use) was almost ENTIRELY focused on "the poor wittle animals". More specifically, it was almost entirely focused on preserving forests and the various mountainous regions, and the wildlife in them. This would be typified by the many writings of John Muir, or George Perkins Marsh's "Man and Nature" (1864).

Throughout all those decades, very little was said or done, or understood, by the broad grassroots-level conservation movement about air pollution, water pollution, urban sprawl, species extinction, pesticides, chemical toxins in paints and foods and plastics, indoor pollution, etc. There were a few voices in the wilderness, to be sure, but MOSTLY the action involved wilderness preservation -- to cite one example, the battle in the 1950s to save Dinosaur National Monument.

Only when Rachel Carson came along with "Silent Spring" did the widespread conservation community begin moving toward the broader concept of "environmentalism." (There are plenty of good histories on this. One good one is Roderick Nash's "American Environmentalism: Readings in Conservation History").

In the mid-'60s and '70s, of course, wildlife groups continued and grew. Greenpeace (founded around 1970), for example, initially was all about whales and fur seals, and nothing much else. But that didn't last too long: they soon expanded to cover all manner of environmental issues and threats.

The reason that environmentalists in the 1980s seemed to focus a bit more on such things as spotted owls had nothing to do with any substantive change in our agenda, and everything to do with the law. Species extinction was and remains a devastating fact. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed to try to confront it. As it happened, I was the direct mail writer working with the lawyers at the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (SCLDF, now called Earth Justice LDF) who originally came up with the idea of stopping the mind-numbing clear-cutting of our national forests by using lawsuits brought under the ESA. Mine were the very first letters that talked about their tactic, explaining it for the first time to hundreds of thousands of environmentalists (both donors to SCLDF, and other groups also).

The problem we faced was simple: clear-cutting was (and still is, dammit!) out of control. It WAS devastating wildlife habitat, among other things. The scientists were confident that clear-cutting and wilderness timber road building was endangering dozens, perhaps hundreds, of species of all kinds. The lawyers settled on just one species -- the spotted owl -- because that's pretty much what the law required of them: to find and prove the case for ONE species at a time.

And by the way, it worked ... which is precisely why the rightwingers hate it so much: the Legal Defense Fund, in that single move, saved about ten thousand times as much wilderness as all the whacko leftist fringe tree-sitters combined. (Most of the several million self-identified active environmentalists in America have NEVER been very fond of the handful of loud extremists at groups like Earth First! ... the tiny little groups that the GOP and rightwingers naturally love to talk about).

But, it's completely wrong to suggest that the major green groups have moved even an inch away from their many other concerns over these last 20 years. And what always astonishes (and, frankly, encourages) me is the fact that despite the literally HUNDREDS of millions of dollars that corporate America has spent trying to bash environmentalism -- often by making fun of the "widdle animals" -- public opinion STILL mostly favors protecting our land, water, air, AND wildlife, over corporate interests.

Posted by: Roger Keeling on January 20, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

tool of some sort: I'm going! I'm going!
Modern Major General: Yes, but you don't go!

After your big "I'm done with this site!" huff and flounce yesterday, tool, why are you still here?

Posted by: shortstop on January 20, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Roger,
You seem to know a lot, and your heart seems to be in the right place. So you believe that the case for Kyoto has been made? How and when?

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, absolutely solid data about how pollution affects millions of other people's children doesn't make a dent in the right wing "don't regulate" mantra. What it takes is watching one's own soccer-playing child or grandchild wheezing. That's when bad air becomes a problem (unless, of course, you can move out of the neighborhood).
MNL

Posted by: Martin on January 20, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop, I am a TROLL! I show up where I am not wanted and demand answers to hard questions. Besides, Kevin keeps bringing me back with his honest sense of inquiry.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Nads, Arsenia's new alter ego (Wenn) is getting even better. Check out the google/privacy thread, where she is arguing that government intrusions on privacy will be self-correcting once the white middle/upper classes get tired of the untermenschen government workers pawing through their belongings and data.

"Old trolls never die- they just change names!"

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 20, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Sadly, absolutely solid data about how pollution affects millions of other people's children doesn't make a dent in the right wing "don't regulate" mantra."

If "don't regulate" is a mantra, I am sure you can provide plenty of examples where the Republicans wanted to just throw out regulations willy nilly, with nary a reference to costs and benefits. You guys are the ones who fought nuclear power tooth and nail, and so take responsibility for hundreds of millions of tons of soot.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

If you want to "conserve" resources then simple enough; make individuals pay the full cost of the pollution they create. Of course, we would exempt big government of all stripes, which consume some 40% of the resources, after all, big government trumps the environment any day.

Now, before we implement the conservation program, all liberals must have their special interest groups exempted, right?


Posted by: Matt on January 20, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

It's funny that the conservatives sound so stupid in print, and that they sound more stupid in person.

Posted by: lib on January 20, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Nads says: "How retarded are you? are you seriously suggesting that the pollution in those chinese cities isn't the result of factories?"

Well, no. I'm saying that it's the result of factories that are being run by governments who don't care a whit about pollution (or human rights), and who are held to an incredibly low standard by the rest of the world.

And some or you really should pursue the vocation of name-calling. You have the knack.

Posted by: 512thirteen10 on January 20, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Roger Keeling, that was a terrific post.

I would add one other point about the changing focus of so-called "environmentalism".

Until relatively recently, most of the problems that the environmental movement addressed were local in nature: clearcutting of this or that forest, pollution of this or that river, preservation of this or that wilderness area, etc, and the effects that such things had on localized populations of humans or other animals.

However, nowadays the most profound and serious "environmental" problems are global in nature. The overriding problem is the large scale alteration of the chemical composition of the entire atmosphere, i.e. anthropogenic global warming. But other problems are also global or at least large-scale bioregional in nature as well.

It is no longer a matter of dealing with smog from a particular factory that is poisoning inhabitants of a particular city or town, or destruction of a particular forest that threatens a particular population of an endangered species. We humans are systemically poisoning the entire biosphere, and systemically destroying the basic biological systems that maintain the earth as a viable living system.

What is needed is fundamental and far-reaching change in the basic ways that humanity "makes a living" on this planet, including agriculture, mining, forestry, etc, as well as a reduction of the human population to a level that is sustainable -- at a decent standard of living for all -- over the long term.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

"It's funny that the conservatives sound so stupid in print, and that they sound more stupid in person."

Lib,
Did you ever think that maybe it's you? Because if you have never seriously considered the possibility that you might be wrong, you most probably are.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Read Jared Diamond's latest, and you'll think twice about making fun of this idea. in Collapse, he presents a number of example where companies and industries adopt environmental measures in the interests of profit, and puts forward the idea that it is less costly to prevent pollution than it is to clean it up and/or live with it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty on January 20, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Well, no. I'm saying that it's the result of factories that are being run by governments who don't care a whit about pollution (or human rights), and who are held to an incredibly low standard by the rest of the world.

BUT your original statement was a whine about libs purportedly blaming "capitalism" and using chinese pollution as an example, since they're obviously commies, and therefore libs are stoopid.

again, moron ... I LIKE capitalism. the lack of regulation in china that you're lamenting (which you're now backpedaling to assure me is what you meant) is EXACTLY what I'd like to remedy here. only the resident right wingnut trolls here have brought up the strawmen of libs hating capitalism.

And some or you really should pursue the vocation of name-calling. You have the knack.
Posted by: 512thirteen10

you flatter me ... I only come off looking so bright because you and your comrades are so fucking dim.

Posted by: Nads on January 20, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

"What is needed is fundamental and far-reaching change in the basic ways that humanity 'makes a living'"

This is why we feel like a lot of greens are "watermelons" green on the outside, red on the inside, it is statements like this.

Think of the implications of it for a moment, than ask yourself if it is possible for reasonable people to disagree on giving up things associated with the "basic way" our economy works.

To be honest with you, if AGW is proven, it makes a rather strong statement against capitalism, and especially against the more libertarian versions of it.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Roger,

That was one fine post.

A very interesting summary of the political history of environmentalism.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 20, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

"you flatter me ... I only come off looking so bright because you and your comrades are so fucking dim."

I guess Nads figured you were asking for an encore.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

"It never failed to amaze me or any of my fellow environmentalists what bald-faced lies the rightwingers were willing to make up (and that's the only way to describe it) about us. Truly Orwellian: we were "Communists" simply using environmental concerns as a "cover" for our "real" agenda of "overthrowing Capitalism."

-- Roger Keeling

"What is needed is fundamental and far-reaching change in the basic ways that humanity 'makes a living'" -- Secular Animist

Uh, so it is just our imagination about wanting to overthrow capitalism, which is the basic way most Americans make their living. Or maybe some of you bright liberal lights could explain how the two statements don't contradict one another.


Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

tool wrote: To be honest with you, if AGW is proven, it makes a rather strong statement against capitalism, and especially against the more libertarian versions of it.

That's pure unadulterated rubbish. Who do you think manufactures, and profits from, photovoltaic panels and wind turbines and biodiesel fuel? Capitalists, that's who. Specifically, smart, innovative capitalists who understand that there are profits galore in the new technologies that will be the foundation of a post-fossil-fuel sustainable human civilization.

You are an unbelievable moron spouting unbelievably stupid garbage.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

I thought "peak oil" cancelled "global warming".

I have this fear. In 2050, the equater is 200 degrees, and science finally figured out why. Huge metropolises were acting like huge heat pumps along the temperate zone. The Kyoto protocol raised the price of oil, causing a rapid shift to massive megalith factory centers, holding tens of millions of people.

These new monoliths, created by Kyoto, caused massive energy to be released into the temperate zone, resulting in rapid cooling of the poles, and wiping out the human race; similiar to the way social spending wiped out Frenchmen.

The problem, scientists figured out, was that the anti-oil groups used Kyototo to push CO2 emissions when the real problem was massive cities. The data was clear to the Kyoto freaks at the time, but it was politically expedient to declare "a consensus"

Posted by: Matt on January 20, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

tool: so it is just our imagination about wanting to overthrow capitalism, which is the basic way most Americans make their living

No, in point of fact, in economic terms most Americans do not "make their living" from capitalism. Most Americans "make their living" from wages received for labor. Relatively few Americans are literally "capitalists" making their living from the income generated by capital that they own.

But that's not what I was talking about anyway. When I say that we need fundamental and far-reaching change in the basic ways that humanity "makes a living" what I mean is that we need new technologies across the board -- from agriculture to material flows to energy production -- that do not destroy the basic planetary biological systems upon which not only human life but all life on earth depends. In terms of the sustainability of human civilization on the Earth, whether the "economic" system in which these technologies are deployed is capitalist or communist or something else is completely irrelevant.

As long as the basic technologies that humanity uses to obtain food, energy and so on are destroying the biosphere, arguing about capitalism vs. communism is like arguing over the arrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

See Matt, that's why SecularAnimist stated that humans need to adapt our lifestyles and livelihoods to a changing environment.
Increased fuel costs will make such megalopolises a really bad idea. How much food can you grow on a busy street? Even if the vehicles don't use fossil fuels for motive power ...

Large urban areas create localized perturbations in temperature and micro-climate due to heat absorption, among other things, but to have the kind of effect you seem to be worried about they'd have to stretch 360 degrees around the globe. It's not easy to build a city atop an ocean, so you can stop worrying about that aspect of it.

Posted by: kenga on January 20, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

"You are an unbelievable moron spouting unbelievably stupid garbage."

Uh, I know you are not the sharpest tool in the shed, but the only way that you are going to get "capitalists" to stop using coal, which is cheaper, and will get cheaper still as demand for it drops, as you envision, is by force of govt in the marketplace, intense, even burdonsome, but in your hypothetical, worth it, regulation.

Regulation to keep people from burning cheap fuel that is laying around in the ground all over the planet. Force of govt would be required to over-ride the law of supply and demand which would have the market begging for coal, and the producers of same begging to sell it.

Incidentally, if someone could make a solid case for AGW, you could sign me up for such a program. But instead, you call me a tool of soome conspiricy or other, oh yeah, and a moron.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

"so you can stop worrying about that aspect of it."

Thanks for the advice. I am sure to bet the future on the planet based on your reassuring comments. Probably better than listening to the CO2 emission nuts.

Posted by: Matt on January 20, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Truly Orwellian: we were "Communists" simply using environmental concerns as a "cover" for our "real" agenda of "overthrowing Capitalism."

Just a side point. One of the great "peace dividends" of the end of the Cold War is that this line of smear has been rendered inoperative. Hell, even "Red China" is starting to look as capitalistic as we are -- maybe they're even better at it??

Now, if they're going to decry something as "socialistic" they have to point to the horrible example of, what, Sweden?

Ow, Uncle! That hurts so bad!

Posted by: frankly0 on January 20, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

To be honest with you, if AGW is proven, it makes a rather strong statement against capitalism, and especially against the more libertarian versions of it.

Well, not against capitalism; understanding of the idea of social costs as a limiting factor in free markets requiring intervention for capitalism to work properly is as old as capitalism itself (or at least as old as Adam Smith, at any rate.) Now, its a strong statement against the kind of "regulation is bad even when it addresses social costs because government is inherently evil and always inefficient and social costs don't really exists blah-blah-blah" that gets spouted by right-wing corporate shills under the guise of capitalism, but that's not capitalism or any kind of economics, its just political propaganda designed to serve the short-term interests of present major holders of capital, where the salesmen are mostly either beneficiaries or well-paid by the beneficiaries of that propaganda. If that's what you consider "more libertarian capitalism", though, you have a point.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 20, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

I know this post is pure trolling, and I admit it, but preventing the clear cutting of forests appears to contribute to warming.

"The findings, reported in the journal Nature, have been described as "startling", and may force a rethink of the role played by forests in holding back the pace of global warming."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4604332.stm

Aside from the fact that anthropologist are starting to suspect that that the brazilian rain forest is a man-made garden.

"Before it became the New World, the Western Hemisphere was vastly more populous and sophisticated than has been thoughtan altogether more salubrious place to live at the time than, say, Europe. New evidence of both the extent of the population and its agricultural advancement leads to a remarkable conjecture: the Amazon rain forest may be largely a human artifact" -- Charles C Mann Atlantic Monthly

And the fact that North America has many more forested acres than we did, say in the 19th century, from which most temperature records date.


The article is fascinating, the book 1491 is pretty good too.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

tool: the only way that you are going to get "capitalists" to stop using coal, which is cheaper, and will get cheaper still as demand for it drops, as you envision, is by force of govt in the marketplace

Coal is not "cheaper". It only appears to be "cheaper" because most of the cost of burning it is foisted off on the public domain, so the folks that mine it and sell it and profit from it don't have to pay those costs, or pass them on to their customers. They let the public pay them.

The only government intervention that is required is to require that those who profit from the mining and sale of coal pay all the costs associated with the mining and burning of coal. They will of course pass those costs on to their customers, and guess what? Coal won't be cheap any more.

If you are in favor of allowing the companies that mine and sell coal to "externalize" these enormous costs and force the general public to pay them, then you are not advocating capitalism at all. You are advocating some sort of corporate socialist fascism or whatever, but it is certainly not free market capitalism to force other people to pay the cost of cleaning up your mess.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK
Sadly, absolutely solid data about how pollution affects millions of other people's children doesn't make a dent in the right wing "don't regulate" mantra.

Since the absolutely solid data doesn't change the short-term effects on returns corporate capital which motivate the mantra, why would you expect they would?

Posted by: cmdicely on January 20, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Now, if they're going to decry something as "socialistic" they have to point to the horrible example of, what, Sweden?"

I read blacks, who are treated as last class citizens in the US are better off than Swedes... is that true?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 20, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Just to follow up on my admittedly OT point about how, after the end of the Cold War, the poison has mostly been sucked out of the smear "socialistic".

What is the single most important political consequence of that?

That we will now be able to approach politically the possibility of national health care.

Talk about unintended consequences.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 20, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

"but that's not capitalism or any kind of economics, its just political propaganda designed to serve the short-term interests of present major holders of capital,"

The more heavily you regulate capitialism, the more you restrain its output. That is what cost benefit thing is all about. There is a principled argument that if you harm economic growth too much, with protocols like Kyoto, you reduce our ability to respond to the effects of it, without necessarily reducing those effects. Think of America's response to the tsunami, we responded with ships and helecopters and food and shelter because we have those things in abundance. That is a big thing to risk.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Recommended reading, even for idiots like tool of some sort:

Natural Capitalism
by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, L. Hunter Lovins

Publisher's Weekly review:

Paul Hawken (author of The Ecology of Commerce) and Amory and Hunter Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, an environmental think tank, have put together an ambitious, visionary monster of a book advocating "natural capitalism." The short answer to the logical question (What is natural capitalism?) is that it is a way of thinking that seeks to apply market principles to all sources of material value, most importantly natural resources. The authors have two related goals: first, to show the vast array of ecologically smart options available to businesses; second, to argue that it is possible for society and industry to adopt them. Hawken and the Lovinses acknowledge such barriers as the high initial costs of some techniques, lack of knowledge of alternatives, entrenched ways of thinking and other cultural factors. In looking at options for transportation (including the development of ultralight, electricity-powered automobiles), energy use, building design, and waste reduction and disposal, the book's reach is phenomenal. It belongs to the galvanizing tradition of Frances Moore Lappe's Diet for a Small Planet and Stewart Brand's The Whole Earth Catalog. Whether all that the authors have organized and presented so earnestly here can be assimilated and acted on by the people who run the world is open to question. But readers with a capacity for judicious browsing and grazing can surely learn enough in these pages to apply well-reasoned pressure. Charts and graphs, with accompanying CD-ROM.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: and I'm talking to the real one. You come across as somebody who simply wants to label environmentalists as wild-eyed extremists, then dismiss them.

Very shallow stuff, much like Rush Limbaugh. Which specific groups and/or leaders are you talking about? Just wondering.

Can you accept that George Bush is an environmental disaster? Or do you consider him to be one of the Republicans who are coming around? Just wondering.

Just wondering what lies beyond the denigrate-and-dismiss pap.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 20, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

tool: if you harm economic growth too much, with protocols like Kyoto

More regurgitation of the Rush Limbaugh script.

Kyoto won't "harm economic growth". It will promote a shift of economic growth from some sectors of industry, specifically the fossil fuel industry, to others, such as energy efficient buildings and machinery, biofuels, photovoltaics and wind power. The opposition to Kyoto comes from the fossil fuel corporations, who want nothing to do with anything resembling "free market capitalism" and have literally taken control of the US federal government and are using the power of the state to maintain their economic stranglehold on our society. In other words, the opposition to Kyoto is not "capitalist", but blatantly Stalinist.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

"mining and sale of coal pay all the costs associated "

We are still arguing about whether AGW is real, then aren't we? I told you that if you prove that, the rest of our argument is about distinctions without a difference, and lesez faire capitalism would be utterly discredited as a global economic system.

The problem is that you will not discuss an issue on which so much of your world view is based, near as I can tell. I am here talking with people who disagree with me and call me a moron. You are safely ensconsed among like-minded souls trying to get everyone who disagrees to leave the site.

"Once they're used to it, maybe we can start talking about global warming too. That's not so good for kids or businesses either." -- Kevin

You guys won't talk about it.


What you are describing, BTW, is more like Facsism. Ooops, I said the 'f' word, but really, go to Italy sometime, and see how the govt, unions, and business interact. Facsim, in its original sense, before Hitler got ahold of it, was about a social contract between the large players in a modern economy.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist, I actually fundamentally agree with you on most of your basic points.

You misread me: I wasn't saying anything about the reality of interconnected biological changes, "merely" the movement's and Dems' inability to effectively pitch pro-conservationist candidates and social policies to the American public.

Posted by: The Confidence Man on January 20, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK
The more heavily you regulate capitialism, the more you restrain its output.

That's an interesting statement of faith, but not particularly true. Regulation that serves to privatize social costs (that is, that assigns them back to the actors involved in the transaction which produces them) actually increases efficiency.

That is what cost benefit thing is all about.

CBA is conceptually a good idea, in practice, it is often abused, simply because the costs that are easiest to measure -- generally, the short-term and directly financial costs -- are more heavily weighted, while harder to measure and/or harder to financially quantify costs are often ignored entirely or simply assigned values based on the results whoever is performing (or requesting) the analysis wants.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 20, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK
I told you that if you prove that, the rest of our argument is about distinctions without a difference, and lesez faire capitalism would be utterly discredited as a global economic system.

Laissez-faire capitalism has always been discredited. The theoretical underpinnings of market economics have never supported the extreme laissez-faire position, which has always been sold by misrepresentation.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 20, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Kyoto won't "harm economic growth". It will promote a shift of economic growth from some sectors of industry, specifically the fossil fuel industry, to others"

I knew you were going to say that, Al Gore believes it too. I just didn't want to make my post too long, as I have a tendency to blogorrhea.

So, if you take an engineer for example, who could be working on anything, say, new drugs to treat some horrible disease, and you take away a cheap and easy fuel source like coal and oil, and tell them that now they have to work on replacing a resource that is still abundant, and in a free economic system would be used, you have used the economic value of that person's labor to replace something you already own.

Would you be better off if you abandoned a perfectly good room in your house to the mice, and built a new room elswhere to make up for it? Or would you be better off not to replace the room, and use the money elsewhere in you life? This is the "cost-free" choice you are proposing.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

tool, I don't know what the point of your last post was.

You want to "talk about" the reality of anthropogenic global warming?

OK, fine: anthropogenic global warming is real, it is happening now, it is accelerating, it is already having consequences that will be catastrophic for hundreds of millions of people within a few decades. This is the consensus opinion of the everwhelming majority of scientists in the world, as evidenced by numerous public reports and statements issued by multiple scientific organizations.

And now you can trot out your fake, phony, bogus, straight-from-the-mouth-of-Rush talking points about how anthropogenic global warming is a huge hoax concocted by a global anti-capitalistic conspiracy to destroy America.

And we've had our talk.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

"This is the consensus opinion of the everwhelming majority of scientists in the world, as evidenced by numerous public reports and statements issued by multiple scientific organizations."

Link please.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Martin Cruz Smith's novel "Wolves Eat Dogs" is set quite a bit in the waste area surrounding Chernobyl. More disasters like that are waiting to happen. Hubris. Knowledge always outstripping wisdom.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 20, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

I am kind of starting to like you, but I have to step out, really. But I will answer all of your points on AGW, probably tomorrow. Came back to see, I will argue about this as long as Washington monthly will spring for the bandwidth.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK
So, if you take an engineer for example, who could be working on anything, say, new drugs to treat some horrible disease, and you take away a cheap and easy fuel source like coal and oil, and tell them that now they have to work on replacing a resource that is still abundant, and in a free economic system would be used, you have used the economic value of that person's labor to replace something you already own.

The problem with this analysis is that it treats the private cost of extraction and use of the fuel source as the only costs. The problem, of course, is that there are also social costs of extraction and fuel use, which are not born by the direct participants in the decision to use the fuel. Considering those, it is debatable, at best, that coal use is cheap energy.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 20, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

All the poor little animals will be extinct very soon. Mankind's poor use of the environment is responsible for their untimely demise. The only animals left will be the ones who have adapted to living with us, whether domestic or wild.

Too bad we have not been able to live in coexistence with nature like it has been suggested Native Americans did. Think of the N. Am. bison. Native Americans used the buffalo as a renewable natural resource, while the Europeans used the buffalo as a one time resource. It is astounding how quickly the buffalo was put to near extinction, especially when you consider the advantage keeping a population that size available to feed and clothe a whole nation for generations. It seems the Amazonian rain forest is facing a similar fate, which is worse than sad because it could be used as is as a wonderful garden to produce lots of food and wildlife. Instead the Amazon is being destroyed for timber and farmland, yet it would have a lot more value if it was used as a huge garden.

Free markets should be able to regulate pollution, but the costs are not borne by the producers, who pass them on to the population at large by polluting the commons or public goods of atmosphere and water resources. It is not a free market when GE can destroy my water supply without first obtaining my approval and paying the full costs of it. It is not a free market when Exxon can pollute my atmosphere without first obtaining my approval and paying the full cost of it. ETC. This kind of environmental degradation is preventable, but our monopolistic capitalist political economy prevents it from being implemented.

Some things free markets cannot do, like be a custodian of the rain forests, utilizing very large natural resources whose value far exceeds anything individuals or companies can provide. It takes a concerned modern socialist government whose mandate is to provide the greatest utility to the largest amount of people. We do not live in that kind of world, much to the wittle creatures' regret.

Posted by: Powerpuff on January 20, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

The Confidence Man: I wasn't saying anything about the reality of interconnected biological changes, "merely" the movement's and Dems' inability to effectively pitch pro-conservationist candidates and social policies to the American public.

However, I am not really interested in "pitching" or "framing" candidates or policies in terms of the anthropocentric self-interest that allegedly motivates "centrist" voters, because I believe that anthropocentric self-interest is the very root of the so-called "environmental" problems that threaten not only the future of the human species but the future of all life on Earth.

I am interested in fundamentally altering the anthropocentric delusion that the Earth's biosphere exists for the benefit of human beings, that the world consists of humans on the one hand, with everything else being merely "resources" for humans to consume, on the other. I don't want to reinforce that delusion by pandering to it.

The Earth's biosphere is a whole living system, a web of life. We are utterly dependent on the well-being of that system. And we are poisoning it, to death.

As long as we think of it as merely an "environment" from which we extract "resources" and into which we excrete "wastes" we are never going to get out of the mess that we have made.

We need a fundamental alteration of human consciousness, at a very deep level, a spiritual and visceral as well as intellectual appreciation of the interconnected wholeness of the Earth's biosphere and the reality that we are just one species among millions that are threads in this web of life. That consciousness must be the basis of any possible sustainable future for the human species.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Slightly off topic: Here in Missouri, the states largest supplier of natural gas, Missouri Gas Energy, is charging customers a conservation surcharge. I live in an efficient unit, and I keep my thermostat low and have radiant floor heating. My gas bill for the month of December was >$37.00. Because I conserve, a conservation surcharge of about a buck and a half was tacked onto my bill! I called, I complained, I did not pay the surcharge.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 20, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Oops. My bill was

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 20, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

Oh forget it...less than $37.00

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 20, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK
Blacks ...are better off than Swedes... is that true? Posted by: Freedom Fighter
Nope, that's one of those tired old talking points. Check out the Standard of Living in Sweden and check out the CIA's world factbook on Sweden Posted by: Mike on January 20, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Well, but black Americans don't have to learn Swedish, so that's one advantage.

Posted by: craigie on January 20, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Mike, we would all be better off had we been born in Sweden, and not just for the living standards. Neutrality has a lot going for it, too.

Posted by: Hostile on January 20, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

tool wrote: But I will answer all of your points on AGW, probably tomorrow.

I am no more interested in reading your global warming denial bullshit than in reading holocaust denial bullshit.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

same goes for national healthcare. get the corporatists to understand that not having national healthcare puts them at a competative disadvantage in the global market, and viola repukelicans will be falling all over themselves to get it done.

Posted by: yowzer on January 20, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, there is an excellent interview on Daily Kos with three of the organizers of the RealClimate.org website:

Dr. Michael Mann; Associate Professor, Depts. of Meteorology and Geosciences, Director, Earth System Science Center, Penn. State

Dr. Gavin Schmidt; Climatologist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York

Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf; Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany

The interviewer is "DarkSyde" a.k.a. Brent Rasmussen.

Highly recommended.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Somebody said that [paraphrase of upthread] everyone has room to grow - democrats will learn that in order to protect our lifestyle we will have to kill lots of brown people.

I scanned the responses to see if anybody reacted to this -but no.

Anybody read Outside Magazine? It's published in Santa Fe New Mexico - and I know enough of its contributors to make this brash statement.

All environmental remedies will require huge die offs of brown people in funny sounding places.

And the greenies I know all speak the same language when it comes to Gorillas, Lions and Rhinos.

They want fewer Zulu, Bantu, Masai and Kikuyu in sub Saharan Africa... and a whole lot more Giraffes.

in whispers of course

The political reshuffle that is coming will pair Red State racists and with Blue State environmentalists - to reduce the populations of breeding hoards in the 2nd and 3rd worlds - in favor of rain forests and fisheries.

Why does nobody speak of this? It's right on the horizon.

Posted by: TJ` on January 20, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

TJ --

thank you thank you thank you thank you

Only the anonimity of blogging gives me the courage to comment on your profound observation.

I live in a greenie type community. They are all closet racists. Pass the joint, the tequila, and wine around the table a few times and it all comes out.

Our lifestyle should be reduced - but penicillin plus african birth rates = disaster for the forests, fisheries and animals we care about.

There, Ive said it. I can't afford to be an egalitarian. Not in this world.

Posted by: karen on January 20, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist>We need a fundamental alteration of human consciousness, at a very deep level, a spiritual and visceral as well as intellectual appreciation of the interconnected wholeness of...

I totally disagree with this, even though mostly agreeing with your practical-matters agenda. I was very active in BC politics and the enviro movement for about ten years, and formed the opinion that the above is actually the problem.

People with "spiritual" and "cultural change" agendas working within the enviro movement, promoting their cultural agenda as the solution , is the same phenom as the christian right using charitable organizations to promote christianity on the sly. "Our real problem is your lack of belief in god" == "Our real problem is our lack of spiritual depth and wholisticness". Same shit, different pile, in this case sacrificing the biosphere on the alter of the counter culture.

Of course, most people of this tilt are unconcious of what they're doing. And just as essential for volunteer manpower to the enviro movement, as christians are to the political right.

Biodiversity & stable geocycles, sustaining renewable resources we depend on, and accessible examples of nature, can be defended adequately via utilitarianism and (honest) economic arguments. Vs economics 1) externality theory and 2) the fact that the market will drain to zero any renewable resource that doesn't grow at greater than the market avg return on investment, is enough.

The problem is the other side is operating on its own ideologies, putting hypothesis before empiricism: On the one hand based on the idea that "God won't let us, his favoured children, fail as a species", or its related techo-deity variant. And on the other, economic right wingers who put a near-zero value on nature, and fall into denial mode if the facts on the ground of long-term sustainability contradict their pet ideology's theories. Their beliefs are even stronger then the christians - pushed hard enough and they'll claim 3 fingers is 4.

But at both ends, the biosphere is a victim of ideology. It's used as a sparring ground.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 20, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist --

No kidding it is a web. And if we disturb the web too much it is bad for human beings, so it would be best for us -- the human beings -- if we didn't do that. That's the kind of argument that can convince people to protect the web.

But it is also true that we need to protect the environment for us. You seem to think that human beings have the ability to destroy the world and the intricate web that sustains life on this planet. I think the web and life on this planet will exist with us or without us regardless of the "damage" we do. It's only damage because we see it that way, just like meteors and the ice age are "damaging" to individual species but not to the whole of the web. Actually, your line "anthropocentric conceit and arrogance" is better suited to you than to me.

We are a blip in time so far, and unless we correct ourselves we will end up no more than a blip. Your argument that the world was perfectly fine before we got here and will be perfectly fine after we are gone is 100 percent true. IT ALSO MAKES MY POINT PERFECTLY.

We could nuke the planet and kill off every single human being and a good bit of the surface species and there would still be life here. There would be mammals, fish, birds, bugs, amoeba, plants, virus, arachnids, etc. all living just fine without us here. And they will evolve or die out to survive in the new environments just as they have in the past.

Life is amazingly adaptable, and no matter what damage is done by us it will adapt to it and continue to thrive. It's survived meteors, global winters, warming, etc. Life exists in volcano plumes, arctic ice, the depths of the ocean and probably elsewhere in the universe. It is anthropocentric and arrogant to think that the environment needs us to be its steward.

The only ones who need us to treat the environment well is US! We have a stake in the world not heating up by ten degrees over 200 years. We have a stake in not setting off hundreds of nuclear bombs. We have a stake in not deforesting entire continents. We have a stake in keeping dioxin and other chemicals from our water. Life will adapt but we will not.

If we do not try to maintain a stable environment we will all die or shrink back to roving tribes the rest of life on the planet won't give a damn. But we need the natural world, and we need it desperately. And that is the reason why we should protect it.

Posted by: Nathan Rudy on January 20, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

TJ> Somebody said that [paraphrase of upthread] everyone has room to grow - democrats will learn that in order to protect our lifestyle we will have to kill lots of brown people.

Look here, genocide wish boy, what counts is resource throughput, not raw population. A human body runs on 80 watts. A car runs on hundreds of thousands of watts. Consumer Consumption x population. Africa is not a global warming threat.

Fat, oral & wasteful + moderate population North America is, and china and india are because theyt want what we have and there are 2 billion of them. At both ends, we bear the brunt of the responsibility for setting a bad example.

But it's sweet that you think that a life not lived in a mcmansion, driven to and from in a truck, isn't worth living and should naturally be ended.

Quality over quantity of consumer goods here, and continuing the fertility arc already underway there. A hundred years from now we meet at a common

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 20, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

As for suffering the consequences: I just can't wait to see the attitudes of the residents of Plano and Arlington when they have to accept 10,000 global warming displacesd Bangladeshis.

Posted by: natural cynic on January 20, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Everything you say is true. It won't change a thing.

See the post above - it's those Plano residents.

In our city, one set of New Orleans refugees went on a crime spree and robbed 10 businesses at knivepoint before they were 'resettled' in jail.

This isn't WISHFUL thinking on my part. It's astute observation.

The race wars of the future start with Islam, and they don't end there. Greenies are closet racists.

I agree they are more misanthropic than racist, but they'll settle for dead Africans if they must make distinctions.

Posted by: TJ on January 20, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan Rudy wrote: You seem to think that human beings have the ability to destroy the world and the intricate web that sustains life on this planet.

I think you greatly underestimate the impact of human activity on the planet. It is empirically observable that we do have that ability, and that we are in fact destroying the intricate web that sustains life on this planet.

The human species has appropriated approximately 40% of the entire biological productivity of the Earth for its own purposes. We are right now seeing global temperatures rising fifty times faster than they rose at the end of the last ice age -- mainstream projections of global warming indicate that temperatures will rise as much in this century as they did over 5,000 years at the end of the last ice age. We are right now, already in the midst of a human-caused mass extinction comparable to the one that occurred when an asteroid or comet struck the Earth and wiped out the dinosaurs and much of the rest of life on Earth 65 million years ago. Warming oceans are beginning to cause a mass die-off of the phytoplankton that are the basis of the entire oceanic food web. Global warming threatens to turn the world's most biologically diverse and rich tropical bioregions into desert wastelands.

This isn't just about rising sea levels flooding major coastal cities and causing inconvenient mass evacuations of humans to higher ground. It's about vast and fundamentally crippling changes to the ability of the Earth's biosphere to self-regulate.

Sure, mass extinctions on such a scale -- major, traumatic shocks to the Earth's biosphere -- have occurred in the past, as a result of asteroid/comet impacts or gigantic, long-term volcanic events. And the Earth's biosphere has taken hundreds of thousands or millions of years after these events to regain the rich diversity and dynamic homeostasis that such events destroyed. That's where the current direction of human activities is taking the Earth.

The only ones who need us to treat the environment well is US! [...] If we do not try to maintain a stable environment we will all die or shrink back to roving tribes the rest of life on the planet won't give a damn.

No. The other animals and plants with whom we share this Earth -- an Earth which "belongs" to them as much as it "belongs" to us -- also "need us to treat the environment well" because they are just as dependent on a healthy biosphere as we are.

And the "rest of life on the planet" would most certainly "give a damn" about the sort of events that would cause humanity to "die or shrink back to roving tribes", since much of that life would be killed off by such events.

James Lovelock, creator of the "Gaia hypothesis" that the Earth's biosphere is a vast, self-regulating superorganism that through complex feedback systems actively maintains conditions on the surface of the planet that are suitable for life, once wrote that a global thermonuclear war would pass almost unnoticed by "Gaia" due to the incredible stability and resilience of the diversity of the Earth's life system. He wrote in an article last week that he believes we have passed the point of irreversibility of anthropogenic global warming, the result of which is that within this century, "Gaia" will be so devastated by it that the biosphere's ability to self-regulate will be massively degraded, leaving a biologically wrecked and impoverished planet that will take a hundred thousand years or more to recover anything like the rich, resilient diversity that it has now.

As you say, the extinction of humans will be just a "blip". But the mass destruction of life that we leave in our wake will not. I hope Lovelock is wrong about our having already reached the "tipping point" of irreversibility, and that humanity may still awaken to the crisis and take sufficiently serious action sufficiently soon to avert catastrophe. But I do not doubt that if we fail to do so, that the dire consequences for all life on Earth that Lovelock predicts -- or worse -- will indeed come to pass.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

TJ > I agree they are more misanthropic than racist

You know, I can't stand it when people devolve into mud slinging matches. But you're a hate-filled and racist fool.

Nature will get along without us, eventually, no matter what we do. Damaging it impoverishes both the material existance and quality of life of human beings effectively forever compared to our short lifespans. That's the problem. I want kids a hundred years from now to have good lives and experience the richness of the world, not whatever takes our place 10 million years after a mass extinction event.

You really are a stubborn, hate-filled and materialist idiot if you see lefty-enviros championing developing world economic equality issues on the one hand, and attacking western hyper-consumirism on the other, and see either ethnic bias or hatred of human beings. PEOPLE ARE NOT THEIR STUFF. You are not your posessions. They are not their lack of shitty plastic consumer goods, either.

Enviros don't just care about people right now, they care about people in the far future equally. That's the difference. Thats not misanthropy, that's a deeper love of the human experience than your tiny brain can handle.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 20, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce the Canuck wrote: "Our real problem is your lack of belief in god" == "Our real problem is our lack of spiritual depth and wholisticness". Same shit, different pile, in this case sacrificing the biosphere on the alter of the counter culture.

They are not remotely the same shit.

Belief in "god" is by definition belief in something that cannot be empirically observered (that's why it requires "belief").

The interconnectedness, the wholeness, of all life on Earth is an empirically observable reality -- far from being a "counterculture" conceit, it is in fact the whole thrust of modern biology from the microcosm to the macrocosm, from genetics to ecology. And the absence of any special status of the human species in that interconnected wholeness is also an empirically observable reality. I am not asking anyone to "believe" anything. I am only asking people to see what is right there in front of their own eyes to be seen.

You may have been misled by my use of the word "spiritual". I don't mean anything religious or supernatural by the term "spiritual". When I say that we need a "spiritual" appreciation of the interconnected wholeness of life, in addition to a "visceral and intellectual" appreciation, what I mean is that we need not only to acknowledge interconnectedness and wholeness as an idea, as a scientific fact, but to "feel it in our bones", as part of the essence of our feeling of what we are as living beings and what we feel our place in the universe to be.

As long as we humans feel that we stand apart from the rest of the world, that we are something other than "it" and that "it" is something other than us, then we will see "it" as something for "us" to use. And that's where I think the source of our problem really is.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

SA> As long as we humans feel that we stand apart from the rest of the world...

I would agree with that statement. But I think that conclusion can be reached via the standard utilitarian arguments and analysis that served the left well, until dual disasters of po-mo philosophy and related new age-iness came along.

Most of the left/enviro's big gains came about from the people who came to leadership just before the counter-culture, not just after. People get confused because the baby-boomers tried to take the credit for the doings of the "silent generation" that just preceded them.

Going back to a strict enlightenment-derived, rationalist-humanist outlook could save the left in general, not just the green issues. There's a justifiably proud history there, and it was abandoned.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 20, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty fucking green, TJ, and I will kick the ass of anyone who calls me a racist.

I'm one of the original environmentalists. I'm a Jew and we have always been into planting trees.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 20, 2006 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Karen": Only the anonimity of blogging gives me the courage to comment on your profound observation.

Only the extreme loneliness of your life brought on by your moronic bigotry allows you to "converse" with yourself as different characters.

Posted by: shortstop on January 20, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop, don't bother. The karen is the same karen ladik that came in with arsenia and has a trail of the same racist and anti-Semitic garbage around the net.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 20, 2006 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce the Canuck wrote: ...dual disasters of po-mo philosophy and related new age-iness came along.

Sorry, but what is "po-mo philosophy" ??

Again, there is nothing "new age-y" about seeing interconnectedness, interdependency and wholeness as fundamental to life. They are all basic tenets of modern biology.

"Gaia" is not a new age religion, it is a scientific reality. James Lovelock's original term was "the biocybernetic universal system tendency" (the name "Gaia" was suggested to Lovelock by his neighbor, novelist William Golding, author of Lord of The Flies). And as an article in the British newspaper The Independent noted earlier this week, "the scientific establishment has become convinced of the essential truth of the theory, that the Earth possesses a planetary control system, founded on the interaction of living organisms with their environment, which has operated for billions of years to allow life to exist, by regulating the temperature, the chemical composition of the atmosphere, even the salinity of the seas ... and now (under the term Earth System Science) it has been subsumed into the scientific mainstream; two years ago, for example, Nature, the world's premier scientific journal, gave Professor Lovelock two pages to sum up recent developments in it."

We ignore the interconnectedness and wholeness of life on Earth at our peril -- particularly now that we have reached the stage where the impact of human activity on the biosphere is massive, and global.

Perhaps that's a utilitarian argument for the importance of appreciating the wholeness of life, then, after all.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Once they're used to it, maybe we can start talking about global warming too. That's not so good for kids or businesses either." -Kevin Drum.

"I am no more interested in reading your global warming denial bullshit than in reading holocaust denial bullshit." -Secular Animist

I didn't know "talking about" was liberal code for take a hectoring from us sitting down.

Secular Animist,

Couldn't find anything huh? Don't be ashamed, it's not there. There is no such consensus. If there were, you would have no problem providing evidence of it. As it is, you guys almost always refer to a single, discredited, study.

HEre str the money grafs, and the link to the rest. If you can find a convincing refutation to this that references facts, rahter that appeals to emotion, I will be happy to discuss it, meanwhile, read it and see why the center does not side with you on environmental issues when you get extreme.

"The author of the research [this would be the study you would cite], Dr Naomi Oreskes, of the University of California, analysed almost 1,000 papers on the subject published since the early 1990s, and concluded that 75 per cent of them either explicitly or implicitly backed the consensus view, while none directly dissented from it.

Dr Oreskes's study is now routinely cited by those demanding action on climate change, including the Royal Society and Prof Sir David King, the Government's chief scientific adviser.

However, her unequivocal conclusions immediately raised suspicions among other academics, who knew of many papers that dissented from the pro-global warming line.

They included Dr Benny Peiser, a senior lecturer in the science faculty at Liverpool John Moores University, who decided to conduct his own analysis of the same set of 1,000 documents - and concluded that only one third backed the consensus view, while only one per cent did so explicitly."

http://ff.org/centers/csspp/library/co2weekly/2005-05-12/magazine.htm

Now think about this; this is one of the reasons given for the rejection for publication of the paper:

"Dr Peiser submitted his findings to Science in January, and was asked to edit his paper for publication - but has now been told that his results have been rejected on the grounds that the points he make had been "widely dispersed on the internet".

Dr Peiser insists that he has kept his findings strictly confidential. "It is simply not true that they have appeared elsewhere already," he said.

A spokesman for Science said Dr Peiser's research had been rejected "for a variety of reasons", adding: 'The information in the letter was not perceived to be novel.'"

So, please, find some way to support your claims.

" This is the consensus opinion of the everwhelming majority of scientists in the world, as evidenced by numerous public reports and statements issued by multiple scientific organizations." --Secular Animist

cmdicely,

"The problem with this analysis is that it treats the private cost of extraction and use of the fuel source as the only costs. The problem, of course, is that there are also social costs of extraction and fuel use" -cmdicely

And I say you have not proven the "social costs". You guys just do not have the evidence. The argument is about global warming, and if you do have the facts on your side, you should start getting them out there. Instead of showing me the evidence, your side just compares me to a "holocost denier" Not going to win the converts you need that way. And it makes me suspect that you don't really have any evidence.

And just to get rid of any strawmen, I am not claiming that the world has not been warming since the '60s, just like it was cooling between the late '30s and the '60s, like it was warming from about 1917 to the '30s (remember the dust bowl?)

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 20, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

tool, you are an ignorant idiot. And if you expect me to waste any time responding to your cut and paste of right-wing boilerplate bullshit, you are an even bigger idiot. I wouldn't waste my time arguing with someone who says that the holocaust never happened and it's all a hoax perpetrated by the global Jewish conspiracy, and I'm not going to waste my time with you either.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 20, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

Just one quibble on Roger's post about the history of the environmentalist movement: Greenpeace originated in the "Don't Make a Wave Committee" in Vancouver, which was protesting the US gov't doing nuclear bomb testing on Amchitka Island in the Aleutians- the whales came later.

Posted by: MikeN on January 20, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it's about time. I never thought there was anything particularly liberal about having a clean environment, anyway. In fact, the real issue isn't liberal vs conservative, it's just how pro-business your party is. If business doesn't like some regulation, the Republicans are generally against it. If businesses decide it's not so bad, after all, the Republicans line up behind it.

So now that businesses are seeing an upside to environmental regs, the Republicans get on board, and announce that they invented the whole idea in the first place...

Posted by: mac on January 20, 2006 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

tool,

I am inclined to believe that you don't trust the scientific community's consensus on global warming because you find it threatening... which it is.

But isn't it a shame to prefer to believe the consensus of right-wing polemicists who charge that the scientific community is not to be trusted?

I mean, scientists make it their business to study the world and try to understand it. Polemicists make it their business to pander to your fears & prejudices. That's their job. And you can't seem to discern a qualitative difference in the wares these two groups are offering...

Your comments about "capitalism" are cartoonish. But if we're going to indulge crude oversimplifications, then do you not see the similarity between your "laissez-faire" and the human id? If there is an itch, laissez-faire says, "scratch it."

That means, you know, narcotics, child pornography.... whatever.

What is the difference between brisk commerce in heroin and brisk commerce in a cheap energy source that carries with it a devastating environmental cost?

So, if it is OK to regulate commerce in narcotics (is it?) then why not commerce in polluting petro-chemicals?

You see, representative gov't has at least the potential to act as our super-ego, or if you don't like Freudian terms, it has the potential to act as our collective critical intelligence overseeing and regulating our unbridled desires.

But, then, maybe that's something you just can't see.

Posted by: obscure on January 20, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Arsenia/Wenn/Karen:

I live in a greenie type community. They are all closet racists. Pass the joint, the tequila, and wine around the table a few times and it all comes out.

Our lifestyle should be reduced - but penicillin plus african birth rates = disaster for the forests, fisheries and animals we care about.

Here's another handle for you, you freak:

misanthrope.

Learn it, love it, live it.

You are as whacked out as...as...

Holy crap, you're rdw's wife!!!


Posted by: Pale Rider on January 20, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Dudes!!!

This Karen/wenn/Arsenio/Arsenia or whatever...

She's GOT to be rdw's wife!!!

Only someone that messed up could tolerate being married to rdw!

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 20, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider, this is the same Karen Ladik who was denounced on Reason Online for her lament that "if we speak of ridding the US of meddlesome Jews, we are marginalized as knuckle dragging lowlifes". I'm not sure if even our normal resident trolls would want to admit to keeping her company if they saw some of her other work.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 20, 2006 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks to the SecularAnimist for the the bevy of informed, exhaustive, and intelligent arguments and information. He and a few others have really made this an illuminating and worthwhile thread.

And just to get rid of any strawmen, I am not claiming that the world has not been warming since the '60s, just like it was cooling between the late '30s and the '60s, like it was warming from about 1917 to the '30s (remember the dust bowl?)

I think you need to look at the totality of the evidence, not just pieces here and there. The ten hottest years on record for the planet have all occurred since 1990. During the dustbowl the glaciers weren't disappearing worldwide as they are now, the surface temps of the Great Lakes weren't among the highest ever recorded, the Larson Ice Shelf wasn't calving bergs the size of Rhode Island, Alaska wasn't seeing the permafrost melt and record summer temps, atolls like the Maldives weren't losing beachfront to rising ocean levels, coral wasn't bleaching worldwide -- and on and on and on and on.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 21, 2006 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

Satellite photographs of the ice caps draw a frightening picture for anyone with rudimentary science and physics knowledge. Ice is light colored and reflective. Water is dark. Therefore water absorbs the heat of the sun instead of reflecting it back toward space. This raises temperatures, resulting in more melt off, resulting in more heat trapped in the atmosphere, resulting in more melt off, and so it goes.

There is a simple maxim that scientists have cited for years, that rings truer today than at any time in the past:

No Ice, No Us

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 21, 2006 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

Oh yeah, and everything Windhorse said.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 21, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

It's easy to mock the environmentalist concern about animals--for many, sympathy for animals is a sign of feminine weakness.

However, keep in mind that these animal species, be they cute or ugly--are growing extinct at an alarming rate--and are serving as the canaries in the coal mine. Environmental degradation is savaging the planet, and virtually all of us, whatever our ideology or theology, will suffer the consequences at some point in the next century.

Posted by: Arthur on January 21, 2006 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

Huh. Nobody touched on unsafe chemicals being prevalent in our society - people not taking cautions seriously( and the suppression of evidence by chemical companies - often by lawsuit ), the fantastic amount and diversity of garbage which needs to be disposed of intelligently, lack of makeup air in modern sealed buildings (asthma), obscuring of problems by industry and government promoting junk science. The loss in biodiversity alone could make up more than one thread. We're not going to run out of things to talk about in any big hurry.

Posted by: opit on January 21, 2006 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

It's probably too late to talk about global warming seeing that the gulf stream has slowed down 37% from its 1957 base: probably the best we can now hope for is another Little Ice Age -- as I type this the news has Russia experiencing a record cold snap.

Posted by: Brian Boru on January 21, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

"My first instinct was to make fun of this, but I guess I'll resist."

Uh, dude? Do you actually EVER make fun of anything? I mean graphs and charts of political polls are real helpful and all, but they're not exactly knee-slappers.

Posted by: Demogenes Aristophanes on January 21, 2006 at 2:49 AM | PERMALINK

Man, conservatives really do lack even the most basic forms of empathy, don't they?

"she's tired of seeing little children around here having to run to the sidelines during soccer games to use their inhalers."

Of course, she didn't give a rat's ass about the African-American kids who lived near the factory, but when privileged little white kids start to have troubles, *then* she notices.

Posted by: Kimmitt on January 21, 2006 at 4:26 AM | PERMALINK

Kimmit, your all a bunch of fools..

First off, kids use inhalers for asthma which is 99% of the time due to INDOOR air quality, not outdoor pollution.

This is due to dustmite and cockroach antigens.

Second, the left argument that conservatives don't want clean air is IDIOTIC....it is the conservatives that have the most invested in the future because they are actually having children. The birth rates among liberals continue to decline.

THE ISSUE HAS BEEN HOW BEST TO CLEAN THE OUTDOOR AIR, THROUGH FORCE OR THROUGH WORKING WITH INDUSTRY AND PROVIDING INCENTIVES.

FOR THE MOST PART IT HAS BEEN THE CONSERVATIVE SOLUTIONS THAT HAVE ACTUALLY MADE IT INTO LEGISLATION AND IT IS THE LEFTS 'KYOTO' SOLUTIONS THAT GO DOWN TO HUGE DEFEATS.

Posted by: Patton on January 21, 2006 at 7:59 AM | PERMALINK

ENVIRONMENTALISTS DON'T CARE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT.

PERVERTS DO!!!

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Patton...

Can I come over and play?

Posted by: Gas Gluefish on January 21, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Gloabl Citizen...have you tried Iceberg Vodka.

You couldn't get that 12,000 year old ice if we didn't melt a few icebergs.

Lighten up will ya...think of it as a very late term abortion of 12 Billion people. Then get over it.

What does it matter if the world exists or not? What is your point?

Posted by: Patton on January 21, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

"maybe we can start talking about global warming " -Kevin Drum

"tool, you are an ignorant idiot. And if you expect me to waste any time responding to your cut and paste of right-wing boilerplate bullshit, you are an even bigger idiot. I wouldn't waste my time arguing with someone who says that the holocaust never happened and it's all a hoax perpetrated by the global Jewish conspiracy, and I'm not going to waste my time with you either." -Secular Animist

"Thanks to the SecularAnimist for the the bevy of informed, exhaustive, and intelligent arguments and information. He and a few others have really made this an illuminating and worthwhile thread." -Windhorse

"The ten hottest years on record for the planet have all occurred since 1990." -Windhorse

Would it surprise you to know that those figures are adjusted with assumptions? Would it surprise you to know that another study has been done regarding those assumptions which calls them naive and inaccurate?

Now the following is "cut and paste" because the argument above is presented so often. In NYC, the temperature since the late 19th century has risen something like 5 degrees C. In West Point NY, from which you can probably see the night sky glow of NYC, the average temperature has dropped about a degree over that same period. In Albany NY a two hour drive from NYC, it has risen by something like 1.2 degrees C. It is called a heat-island effect. if the temperature figures don't account for this effect properly, well then, they are worthless.

"However, keep in mind that these animal species, be they cute or ugly--are growing extinct at an alarming rate--" -Arthur

Arthur,

How many species are there? If you can't answer that question, which nobody can, how can you describe the rate of extinction? 8th grade algebra where I grew up.

"Satellite photographs of the ice caps draw a frightening picture for anyone with rudimentary science and physics knowledge." -Global Citizen

How much ice was there 10,000 years ago? A lot of real estate, including you know, the Bering land bridge, has been flooded since them. The ocean has been steadily rising at something like 2 mm a year since that time. Are you suggesting that in the late 19th century the planet reached some optimum and stable state from which it could only be moved by man?

"tool,

I am inclined to believe that you don't trust the scientific community's consensus on global warming because you find it threatening... which it is.

But isn't it a shame to prefer to believe the consensus of right-wing polemicists who charge that the scientific community is not to be trusted?" -obscure

obscure,
How is it that instead of answering my arguments, you diagnose some kind of psycological condition? If the preponderance of the evidence is on you side, you should be able to knock every one of my objections out of the park, with authority. There should be websites everywhere knocking down these false arguments from which you could choose a wealth of responses.

If you can prove that CO2 is as harmful as heroine, you would be right about the economics. I have already conceded that, but you haven't.

Now let me indulge in a little psycho babble dissection of you guys point of view, sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander, and all that.

I think that you guys seize on this AGW stuff because you long ago accepted the brand of economics which would be required to counter it, so your confirmation bias prevents you from being able to even consider that you might be wrong.

You can say the same thing to me, to which I say, prove that my arguments are wrong. Name calling, psych diagnoses, strawmen, appeals to the authority of the DailyKos are not counter arguments. They only demonstrate how little you guys actually know about the subject.

Notice how I take each of your aruments seriously and respond? Try it, it might help you win elections. I have said it before on this thread, if you have never considered the possibility that you might be wrong, you probably are.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 21, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Did you see the article in the NYT couple days ago about crystal meth abuse in the Red States?

Aren't all the indications there that Patton is a user?

It would explain a lot.

Posted by: i know you are but what am i? on January 21, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

"""However, keep in mind that these animal species, be they cute or ugly--are growing extinct at an alarming rate--" -Arthur""

That's true, why just the other day I ate the last cow...it was delish!

Why is species extinct alarming? Isn't it natural? Have you heard of Darwin?

And just how do you GROW extinct? Is that an oxymoron or extistentialism

Posted by: Patton on January 21, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

I believed the scientific consensus when they said the earth was flat, that we were entering another Ice Age and that coffee was bad for me. Man did I get screwed.

OK, so according to the left, the Earth is warming and its going to kill us all...fine


now what do you want to do? Certainly stop buring fuels is not going to fix the situation so what else ya got?

Posted by: Patton on January 21, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

tool,

Thank you for responding.

OK. First, you have a habit of saying things that are not accurate. Like this: Notice how I take each of your aruments seriously and respond?

Each of my arguments? That's a yakker. Or this: Try it, it might help you win elections.

You are advancing the thesis that elections in America are won by the candidates who most meticulously and sincerely answer the arguments of their critics? You aren't serious, not even a little.

You asked me to provide evidence. That is fair. My claim was that "there is a consensus in the scientific community" that global warming is a real and serious problem. Here you go:

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science/science-of-global-warming.html

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_33/b3896001_mz001.htm

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002549346_globewarm11.html

Here are a couple of quotes from above links:

[Climate change is a greater threat to the world than terrorism, argues Sir David King, chief science adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair: "Delaying action for a decade, or even just years, is not a serious option."]

["The facts are there," says Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.). "We have to educate our fellow citizens about climate change and the danger it poses to the world."]

["There's an overwhelming consensus among scientists," said UW climate researcher David Battisti, who also was dubious about early claims of greenhouse warming.]

Here is a quote from a skeptic at the Cato Institute:

[ "We know how much the planet is going to warm," says the Cato Institute's Patrick J. Michaels. "It is a small amount, and we can't do anything about it."]

Notice that the skeptic is the only person quoted with the bad judgement to say "we know how much the planet is going to warm." Talk about unsubstantiated claims to knowledge!

But, seriously, tool. You have prepared yourself to hide behind words like "proof." That's a fools game.

A consensus of scientists does not pretend to "prove" anything. The future cannnot be "proven." And in the real world, intelligent people do not function that way. I don't need "proof" to make my everyday decisions on how to live. What I do need is two things: information and intelligence. These allow me to make a "judgement" about the best course of action. There is no difference when it comes to the decisions of nations.

BTW, Kyoto, too, represented a consensus, which certain troglodytes feared to join.

Posted by: obscure on January 21, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Would it surprise you to know that those figures are adjusted with assumptions? Would it surprise you to know that another study has been done regarding those assumptions which calls them naive and inaccurate?

No, I'm well aware of the heat island effect. I'm also aware that the majority of serious climatologists dismiss the criticism based on the better data that is available. The glaciers in Greenland, Alaska, and Montana are all disappearing, as is snowpack in the Alps, Rockies, Andes, and elsewhere. If the warming models were simply mistaken calculations of heat islands then this would not be happening.

As for your psychoanalysis, I can't speak for anyone else but I personally don't want a socialist or totalitarian government, so I represent at least one counter example. I'm predisposed to believe the majority of climate scientists on this issue simply because I've spent a lot of time outdoors in my life and I can see the changes taking place for myself.

And if it weren't enough to see the effects of global climate change on a massive scale by watching television or surging the net, I have friends around the world who are seeing similar drastic changes happening where they live. I spent last night visiting with my cousin from Alaska whose house began sinking into the ground because the permafrost and ground ice beneath it melted. A friend who travels to Peru each year has watched the high mountain lagoons dry up, something that hasn't happened in the five hundred years that the Q'ero Indians have lived there according to their oral tradition. My friend in Sydney tells me that they're experiencing such extreme drought and consequent water shortage that they're projecting a need to universally cut water usage by half for twenty-five years -- or face a critical shortfall which could spell the end of a large urban population in the region.

1491 is an excellent and provocative book that I would recommend to everyone here. I think you may have drawn some incorrect conclusions from it, however. Mann concludes that terraforming was practiced on a large scale in both North and South America -- but it took millennia to create, and was a matter of cultivating the existing biosphere. Yes, there was likely a period between after the catastrophic population decline in Native Americans in which there was more forested land in this country than had been when they were here. But as Mann points out, pre-1491 outside of the few urban areas what wasn't forest was farmland, or meadows and grasslands used as game preserves.

It was still all "natural" and there was a lot of it.

While 1491 does give challenge our idea of what it means for wilderness to be "pristine," I can't see how it offers anything in the way of refutation for global warming theory. If anything, it highlights the inferior living conditions of societies like those in medieval Europe who failed to integrate their way of life with the natural world as the peoples of the New World did, and as SecularAnimist has been arguing all thread that we need to find some way to return to or face serious consequences.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 21, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

That would be "surfing" the net -- or possibly "surging" the net when I have a lot of tabbed windows open.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 21, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Man, some of you guys ought to take a step back and ask yourself if you really do want to build an effective political consensus for a cleaner environment, or if you simply want to feel smug and self-righteous. I have no doubt that for a lot of you, hating Republicans is more important than cleaning up and conserving the environment.

I mean, look, do you really care why Margaret Keliher and other GOP pols here in north Texas have joined the fight against the cement kilns? Or is it more important that they *have done so*. You can't get anything done in Texas if the Republicans are against you. Keliher came to our office in the company of Jim Schermbeck, a leftie and longtime Texas environmentalist, who told me that the env. movement has erred in the past by not reaching out to conservatives on terms that mean something to them.

It is hard enough to get conservatives interested in environmental protection -- witness the dogpile sneerfest at The Corner when I posted this pretty anodyne item there yesterday -- without having those on the left who may have been enlightened on the issue for longer treating conservatives who actually want to work with them like lepers. Do you really demand that one be an environmentalist your way and your way alone? That is why y'all keep losing -- this snotty insistence on ideological purity, at the expense of practical politics.

And I invite those of you who love slinging around the Katelynn slurs to stop for two seconds and think about the demographics of a place like north Texas. It's very Republican, of course, but very many of those Republicans are middle, lower-middle and working-class folks, the kind of people who have no use for your white-gloved condescension, but who might be open to thinking about the environment as a family-values, or even a religious, issue -- and therefore changing their politics.

Again, I ask you: which is more important to you, hating Republicans or building an effective coalition to get the air cleaned up?

Posted by: Rod Dreher on January 21, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Do you really demand that one be an environmentalist your way and your way alone? That is why y'all keep losing -- this snotty insistence on ideological purity, at the expense of practical politics.

Rod,

Why don't you back this absurd accusation up with some evidence.

Better yet; read, observe, think before you speak.

Posted by: obscure on January 21, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

obscure,
Union of Concerned Scientist? Puhleeze, weren't they the same group that said that Reagan was going to end the world? Whom are you going to quote next? Paul (we'll be drinking sewage and eating our own dead by the year 2000) Erlich. They have a history if taking up left-wing causes and have even less credibility than the Wikipedia.

My point is, you should be able to find a group concerned about AGW that does not also have reigning in US military power, or other leftist agenda items on its list of "concerns".

On to your argments:

"There is no dispute that the temperature will rise. It will," says Donald Kennedy, editor-in-chief of Science. 'The disagreement is how much'"

This statement is undeniably true. Where I have a problem is where people are spouting worst-concievable-case scenarios as justifications to impose heavy regulation on the economy, justifing the weight of those regulations with these worst-concievable-case scenarios. [read the last sentence a couple times before you respond]

I would suggest you take a look at unemployment and economic growth in Europe before suggesting we copy their policies without real proof. Would the Muslim riots in the Parisien banlieu have happened the way they did if there were enough jobs to go around?

I don't trust the Cato institutte on any issue re AGW because they have a dog in this fight. As I have said upthread, I believe that were AGW proved true, then libertarionism would be indelibly discredited.

I already dealt with your buddy "Sir David King" upthread. Do a word search. Hint: Open the thread in a "new window" and it will open in a regular browser.

You will also find a news article in that same comment of mine, which disputes this line in your Seatle Times article:
Researcher finds that 1,000 studies all point to the same conclusion

So two of your citations, at least, depend on this same disputed study I referenced above. A study, by the way, given the stakes involved, it would be little trouble to try to replicate and settle the issue.

The IPCC is a political organization whose members have political goals. I don't know if they still deny that the Little Ice Age was a global phenomenon, but I have seen people on this site reference that claim they falsely made, as well as posters on your side correct the claim. The Little Ice Age was global.

If you want an analogy to the IPCC, try the International Telephone Union. Supposedly put in place to ensure that international telephony worked properly, but ended up ensuring revenue streams of billions of dollars passed from rich countries to poor ones in the form of regulated tarriffs. Maybe that was a good thing, but it was a political result, not an engineering one. The system was utterly disrupted by the internet, which is why you can call the UK for less than 10 cents a minute, but I digress.

As for McCain, just google "tool of some sort" and McCain if you want to see how I feel about him.

Windhorse,
"I'm well aware of the heat island effect. I'm also aware that the majority of serious climatologists dismiss the criticism based on the better data that is available" -Windhorse

Really? Do you have a link where the heat island criticism is dismissed? I would like to see it because I am calling bullshit. I need to search my library, but I will post later with the name of the study that documents the faulty heat island assumptions.

And what better data? Satelite data does not show the warming the models claimed to show, although recently the modelers changed their models, and added assumptions to the satelite data to make the difference smaller, it is still not gone.

We really don't know the extent of glaciation over history. We know that they have been shrinking for about 350 years or so in the Northern Hemisphere.

As for 1491, I loved the book too. You can look at my post and see that before referencing it, I did mention that I was admiting to "trolling" with that post.

One novel, that is sort of related to this thread is "Forever", by Pete Hammil. In it he descibes an event where a blizzard along the lines of "The Day After Tomorrow" hits Ireland. I thought as I was reading it that he was referring to a historical event, though I might be wrong.

Mary Shelly wrote the novel Frankenstein when several friends of her then more famous husband spent the summer trapped inside as cold rain fell incessently. In the novel, the chase continues across the frozen landscape of the Arctic.

My point is that climate is not stable, and never has been. The weather we see today is not out of the ordinary, or even the warmest we have seen since since written history began (Midieval warm period ring a bell?). If anything, the world has been gripped by ice ages for about 90% of the time, on and off, as far back as we can reliably read the climate record. This insistance on believing that the climate can be stopped in its perorations is a collective fantasy that borders on religion.

A couple OT points about that book Forever. In it, the evil villain rides though the country-side in an evil coach drawn by a team of horses that has a gigantic "W" emblazoned on its sides. I laughed out loud. The other thing was when the hero was sailing to NY from Ireland, he sees a mermaid in the water with two tails. I figure that's proof positive that he wrote that chapter in Starbuck's.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 22, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

obscure,
I didn't mean to write "each of your arguments", I meant to write "each of your arguments that I reply to"

I read them all, but many of them are so lame as to be beneath reply.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 22, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

"She analyzed 1,000 research papers on climate change selected randomly from those published between 1993 and 2003. The results were surprising: Not a single study explicitly rejected the idea that people are warming the planet." obsure's link to the Seatle Times.

Somehow supports this statement by SecularAnimist.

"anthropogenic global warming is real, it is happening now, it is accelerating, it is already having consequences that will be catastrophic for hundreds of millions of people within a few decades. This is the consensus opinion of the everwhelming majority of scientists in the world, as evidenced by numerous public reports and statements issued by multiple scientific organizations."

I don't think so.

Kevin, Roger,

Can you really wonder why the center won't go along with your histerical (not very pc of me, sorry) rantings on the environment and the need to scrap the American economy as it exists today.

I think all the reasons you need are right here in this thread.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 22, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

As for McCain, just google "tool of some sort" and McCain if you want to see how I feel about him.

Why do you think--even for one instant--that your "feelings" about McCain are relevant?

tool,

You grasp at straws, and you argue by ad hominem.

Bye now.

Posted by: obscure on January 22, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Really? Do you have a link where the heat island criticism is dismissed? I would like to see it because I am calling bullshit.

http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v432/n7015/abs/432290a_fs.html

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/population/article2abstract.pdf

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/population/article3abstract.pdfb

This insistance on believing that the climate can be stopped in its perorations is a collective fantasy that borders on religion.

The counterfactual to this would be: could we intentionally change the global climate long term through some kind of human activity: say, by purposefully flooding the atmosphere with greenhouse gases and particulates?

Since a single volcanic eruption can have dramatic global climatic effects (not to mention nuclear winter scenarios) I think it's reasonable to argue that human beings at our present level of technology would be able to simulate natural catastrophes and affect global climatic conditions. And if that's true, then by corollary it's reasonable to assume that humans may have been unintentionally influencing the climate in a cumulate fashion since the beginning of the industrial age by adding new variables into the equation, particularly if both data and observations point to such a conclusion.

So if anthropogenic warming is happening and has been impacting species in an adverse way, it should be possible to devise ways to reverse the effects -- which is what many environmental scientists have been doing by recommending a decrease in the burning of fossils fuels, for instance.

Even if the current warming trend is an example of a cyclic change, it seems to me we should still endeavor to use whatever means necessary to "aeroform" the atmosphere if those changes are threatening large-scale extinctions, humans and otherwise.

If tribes with stone tools were able to terraform two entire American continents and Bronze Age Egyptians could turn the lush Nile Valley into a huge desert -- then I think modern man may have at least a chance to solve the environmental issues he faces.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 22, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

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