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Tilting at Windmills

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September 19, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

BUSH AND CLIMATE CHANGE....The Independent claims that George Bush is getting ready to become a true believer in global warming:

After years of trying to sabotage agreements to tackle climate change he is drawing up plans to control emissions of carbon dioxide and rapidly boost the use of renewable energy sources.

Administration insiders privately refer to the planned volte-face as Mr Bush's "Nixon goes to China moment"....Sources say that the most likely moment [for the announcement] is the President's State of the Union address in January.

Environmentalists expect the measures to fall far short of what is needed, but say this does not matter. "The very fact that Bush would reverse his position will liberate many Republicans to vote for meaningful pollution cuts," says Phil Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust.

Naturally, I have no idea if this is true, and even if it is true I have no idea if Bush will propose any genuinely effective measures. In the worst case, it will end up being an effort to bring "federal standards" into this arena in order to water down more aggressive state efforts like the one recently approved in California. In the best case, Bush has genuinely gotten religion on this issue.

But it's a provocative rumor. I thought you'd all be interested.

Kevin Drum 11:10 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (86)

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Comments

Well, would this be poiltically beneficial to Bush? If so, perhaps it's true.

Posted by: gussie on September 19, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

If Bush becomes a true believer on global warming will the trolls have to change their names?

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 19, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

It will enrage his base. They claim a divine right to forego stewardship of the land for their own financial benefit. After all, Jeebus is coming soon anyway, and he doesn't care what shape the world is in since he's gonna instigate Armageddon and destroy the earth anyway.

Posted by: Reprobate on September 19, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, Al Gore invented the global warming issue, but do you think Bush will acknowledge the brave political pioneers who stuck their necks out in the last 10-20 years while he stonewalled and pandered to the energy companies?

Here's how his global warming pitch will be made to Republicans:

"There does appear to be some evidence that the world's climate is warming a bit, but big government Democrats will regulate you to death just to save the homes of a couple of polar bears. Don't be fooled by big government promises -- proper tax cut policy will incentivize companies to lower their carbon emissions."

Global warming will become just another justification for tax cuts. Count on it.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 19, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Well, his proposed solution will undoubtedly involve bombings or tax cuts.

"We must defeat carbondioxidefascism."

Posted by: Urinated State of America on September 19, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Politically beneficial to Bush doesn't really matter much. He will never run for office again.

Maybe reality has punctured his bubble? In the last week I have seen articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals that acquit the sun of all charges in the rise of globaL temperature averages, and top-tier environmental scientists (that's what I want to be when I grow up) are proclaiming that we have a ten-year window in which we can turn the tide on global warming, after that, all bets are off.

What we are seeing now is an undeniable rise in temperature of the arctic ice sheets, and a decrease in the size of these same sheets.

Remember this truism folks: No ice, no us.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

This is too absurd to be true. George Bush is probably setting liberals up to be mocked. "We'll counteract the global warming fairy tale of the 90's with the global cooling of the 70's! Equilibrium!". Go off and make more fairy tales, liberals. Maybe the earth is also magically becoming more magnetic, and all our computer hard drives will be erased! PEAK OIL! RUNNING OUT OF CORN! ANGRY GNOMES WILL STRIKE US DOWN!

Posted by: American Hawk on September 19, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Great! Too bad global warming is going to kill most of us regardless of what we do:

http://billmon.org/archives/002743.html

Although I will say this: I am already tailoring my resume for the "Post-Apocolyptic Warlord" position that will be opening up in Antartica in about 2025. Seems like a sweet gig.

Posted by: owenz on September 19, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Reprobate: Despite the bad rap the religious right has on the environment (largely deserved), there is a growing movement which much more positively regards the environment.

Posted by: LJ on September 19, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I hope you've realized after six years, Kevin, that everything Bush touches turns to shit. Even if it sounds like a good idea, if Bush is going to do it, it will be screwed up- at this point the best strategy is to run out the clock on this administration letting them do as little as possible. Remember the Dsquared challenge:

Can anyone... give me one single example of something with the following three characteristics: 1) It is a policy initiative of the current Bush administration 2) It was significant enough in scale that I'd have heard of it (at a pinch, that I should have heard of it) 3) It wasn't in some important way completely f***** up during the execution.
Posted by: SP on September 19, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Flip Flop!

Posted by: David in NY on September 19, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Nothing can help Bush politically. He's never again going to run for political office. He's a lame duck.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 19, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Scam. The leak is right before the election, but no specch will be given until after the election? It fits the usual Bush M.O. of Big Talk/No Action.

It's jive to get Moderate Republicans to stay in the fold. ("See, Bush can change his mind- on this important issue to you").

Posted by: Alderaan on September 19, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

This is only a surprise to people who never read anything but the New York Times or liberal blogs.

From the White House in July

Posted by: rnc on September 19, 2006 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Reports say he's going to propose that we work towards stabilizing carbon dioxide levels at 450 ppm (about 120 ppm above current levels in ....

... wait for it ...

... the year 2106. Yes, you read that right - a century from now. What a joke.

Posted by: Leszek Pawlowicz on September 19, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

The problem is that the only effective steps that might be taken to increase energy efficiency (and thereby address climate change) are all politically unpopular, while all the potentially popular steps are likely to be ineffective.

The effective steps all involve taxation as the primary policy tool. The ineffective steps will rely instead on regulations and subsidies. Liberals, being desperately frightened of espousing ideas they know will be unpopular, have convinced themselves that energy use can be reduced by disguising the cost from the public -- by regulating oil companies, retailers of petroleum products, and automobile manufacturers, or by having the government borrow still more money to throw at the problem of getting manufactureres to develop more energy efficient technologies when energy is still relatively inexpensive.

President Bush has shown in the past that he's not afraid either of the government telling the private sector what it must do or of running up more debt. If he does this rumored "about-face" then liberals who share his enthusiasm for these things can congratulate themselves on winning the argument -- the thing that matters most in American politics today. What they won't be able to do is look forward to real progress toward greater energy efficiency, let alone progress with respect to climate change.

For that we would need to increase taxes on energy use, significantly. Businesess would object; consumers would object. This is not a step that would fit easily into anyone's campaign strategy, which is why both liberals and administration supporters devoted to the permanent campaign abhor the very thought of an idea that has only one advantage -- we know it will work.

Posted by: Zathras on September 19, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

In the best case, Bush has genuinely gotten religion on this issue.

He is doing the Clinton thing. He'll propose just enough good measures to get enough votes that the opposition party does not increase its vote.

That, plus good economy, plus war on terror, plus Democratic corruption matching Republican corruption, plus declining fuel prices and increased domestic energy production, plus tort reform, plus bankruptcy reform, plus Democratic desires for increased taxation in every form --- you get the idea. Republicans will retain their Congressional majorities.

Posted by: republicrat on September 19, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Bush is thinking about his place in history. There is nothing he fears more than a successful Gore presidency. He knows we all know that he stole the 2000 election from Gore and are beginning to suspect that things might not be going well under his stewardship. He is just another repentent, born again criminal.

The prospect of him 'leading' a Democratic congress on this issue makes me want to puke.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on September 19, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

If Bush were serious, he would be making a major statement before the election, not letting vague rumors be selectively leaked. When he gives a speech saying that we need to act now, then I will believe that he has reformed on this issue, not one second before.

Posted by: freelunch on September 19, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

This is a classic Rove rope-a-dope designed to do nothing except compromise an issue that isn't all that important to begin with.

The fact is emissions are already improving rapidly as manufacturing continues to migrate to the polluting 3rd world and it's rather easy to agree to superficial non-binding measures. GWB has already started a tremendous market based shift in alternative technologies such as clean coal, nuclear and ethanol as well as conservation all based on letting markets operate as freely as possible to direct the smartest investment path.

This move will be based on clean skies which is something as American as apple pie. There's also a repeat here of the Clinton model which was far from original. By passing this type of legislation late in his Presidency he gets a free pass for being green and saddles the next President with any costs. Virtually all of Clintons measures were disigned to kick in after he left office. It's hardly original.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas1:

You can't vote Gore/Lieberman again. The Ministry of Truth has now declared Lieberman Double-Plus-Ungood.

Posted by: wsmith on September 19, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Bush wont announce at SOTU but on April 1st!

Posted by: R.L. on September 19, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

State of the Union in 2007 does bush no political good at all. If bush does end up changing his policy of sabotaging of all environmental efforts, it won't be then.
.

Posted by: pluege on September 19, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Go talk to yourself Thomas1. I'm very much not interested in what you have to say.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on September 19, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Thomas1" is Charlie, who is a psychopathic liar.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 19, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

This "rumor" about Bush is bullshit.

Forget about it, and read the speech that Al Gore gave yesterday at the New York University Law School.

Global Warming Is an Immediate Crisis
By Al Gore
New York University School of Law
18 September 2006

Excerpt:

The serious debate over the climate crisis has now moved on to the question of how we can craft emergency solutions in order to avoid this catastrophic damage.

This debate over solutions has been slow to start in earnest not only because some of our leaders still find it more convenient to deny the reality of the crisis, but also because the hard truth for the rest of us is that the maximum that seems politically feasible still falls far short of the minimum that would be effective in solving the crisis. This no-man's land - or no politician zone - falling between the farthest reaches of political feasibility and the first beginnings of truly effective change is the area that I would like to explore in my speech today.

[...]

My purpose is not to present a comprehensive and detailed blueprint - for that is a task for our democracy as a whole - but rather to try to shine some light on a pathway through this terra incognita that lies between where we are and where we need to go. Because, if we acknowledge candidly that what we need to do is beyond the limits of our current political capacities, that really is just another way of saying that we have to urgently expand the limits of what is politically possible.

[...]

Many Americans are now seeing a bright light shining from the far side of this no-man's land that illuminates not sacrifice and danger, but instead a vision of a bright future that is better for our country in every way - a future with better jobs, a cleaner environment, a more secure nation, and a safer world.

[...]

Our children have a right to hold us to a higher standard when their future - indeed the future of all human civilization - is hanging in the balance. They deserve better than the spectacle of censorship of the best scientific evidence about the truth of our situation and harassment of honest scientists who are trying to warn us about the looming catastrophe. They deserve better than politicians who sit on their hands and do nothing to confront the greatest challenge that humankind has ever faced - even as the danger bears down on us.

We in the United States of America have a particularly important responsibility, after all, because the world still regards us - in spite of our recent moral lapses - as the natural leader of the community of nations. Simply put, in order for the world to respond urgently to the climate crisis, the United States must lead the way. No other nation can.

Developing countries like China and India have gained their own understanding of how threatening the climate crisis is to them, but they will never find the political will to make the necessary changes in their growing economies unless and until the United States leads the way. Our natural role is to be the pace car in the race to stop global warming.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 19, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Bush has never claimed he DIDN'T believe in global warming. But so far, his big push has been for voluntary measures and a bit of research money.

Now if he's willing to push for legislation increasing the CAFE standards to 40 MPG over the next decade, including all vehicles that don't have to stop at a weighing station on the interstate, then I'll believe he's had a change of heart. Not until.

Posted by: RT on September 19, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas1:

1. Stripping trees, domestically and around the globe, reduces the environment's ability to naturally process CO2. President Bush's Healthy Forests Initiative along with road construction on public lands = legalized tree stripping. Good for construction & lumber company executives, bad for the rest of us.

2. Incresing fuel efficiency on SUVs by 15%? The CAFE requirement on light trucks is 20.7 mpg. 15% increase = 23.8 mpg. Big f'ing deal. Many SUVs get much worse mileage. How far along is this initiative, anyway? The Bush Administration is known for lots of talk and poor follow-through.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 19, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure he'll SAY something about it, but he won't actually do anything. Well, he may rollback some existing restrictions and then reintroduce them under a new name, that's about par for the course for his Presidency.

Posted by: Fred F. on September 19, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

WOW...! Gas is approaching 2 bucks and now the shrub is gonna save the environment. Its like the rapture is coming. What? Oh yeah, mid-terms are coming. I smell the stink of Rove...

Posted by: American Idiot on September 19, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Gore's idea is a good one;

Don't tax income.

Tax pollution.

Unfortunately, pollution can be difficult to detect and prove sourcing, and define. We have problems with tax cheats now, I can't imagine how a "pollution tax" would be enforced.

But it's still a damn good idea.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 19, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie posting as "Thomas1" wrote: "Those kind of drastic measures are not needed."

Yes, they are.

From Al Gore's speech at NYU yesterday:

A few days ago, scientists announced alarming new evidence of the rapid melting of the perennial ice of the north polar cap, continuing a trend of the past several years that now confronts us with the prospect that human activities, if unchecked in the next decade, could destroy one of the earth's principle mechanisms for cooling itself.

Another group of scientists presented evidence that human activities are responsible for the dramatic warming of sea surface temperatures in the areas of the ocean where hurricanes form.

A few weeks earlier, new information from yet another team showed dramatic increases in the burning of forests throughout the American West, a trend that has increased decade by decade, as warmer temperatures have dried out soils and vegetation.

All these findings come at the end of a summer with record breaking temperatures and the hottest twelve month period ever measured in the US, with persistent drought in vast areas of our country. Scientific American introduces the lead article in its special issue this month with the following sentence: "The debate on global warming is over."

Many scientists are now warning that we are moving closer to several "tipping points" that could - within as little as 10 years - make it impossible for us to avoid irretrievable damage to the planet's habitability for human civilization.

In this regard, just a few weeks ago, another group of scientists reported on the unexpectedly rapid increases in the release of carbon and methane emissions from frozen tundra in Siberia, now beginning to thaw because of human caused increases in global temperature. The scientists tell us that the tundra in danger of thawing contains an amount of additional global warming pollution that is equal to the total amount that is already in the earth's atmosphere.

Similarly, earlier this year, yet another team of scientists reported that the previous twelve months saw 32 glacial earthquakes on Greenland between 4.6 and 5.1 on the Richter scale - a disturbing sign that a massive destabilization may now be underway deep within the second largest accumulation of ice on the planet, enough ice to raise sea level 20 feet worldwide if it broke up and slipped into the sea.

Each passing day brings yet more evidence that we are now facing a planetary emergency - a climate crisis that demands immediate action to sharply reduce carbon dioxide emissions worldwide in order to turn down the earth's thermostat and avert catastrophe.

"Drastic measures" are needed, and soon.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 19, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Politically beneficial to Bush doesn't really matter much. He will never run for office again."

No, the republican party has to set up Bush for his beatufication so they are ready for his funeral and the 2028 presidential election.

Posted by: jefff on September 19, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Sources say that the most likely moment [for the announcement] is the President's State of the Union address in January.

that strikes me as being too late. Probably a rumor to catch the Democrats off-guard. He'll probably make the announcement when campaigning for Sen. Tenant in MO, or in some other close race. He can do it right beside one of the new biofuels facilities that his 2005 energy bill helped to get started.

Or, he can do it when standing amongst a bunch of nuclear power supporters in a red state where actual plans to build an actual nuclear power plant have recently made a big step forward.

Posted by: republicrat on September 19, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie, posting as "Thomas1", wrote: "LOL -- to those like SecularAnimist and Al Gore, the 0.01 degree change requires 'emergency solutions' -- we need to make sure the cure is not worse than the disease, people."

In addition to being a pathological liar, you are an ignorant dumbass.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 19, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat wrote: "Or, he can do it when standing amongst a bunch of nuclear power supporters in a red state where actual plans to build an actual nuclear power plant have recently made a big step forward."

That wouldn't surprise me at all, since the nuclear power industry is well-connected to the Bush administration, whose only agenda has ever been to enrich its cronies and financial backers, and which promotes nuclear proliferation around the world.

Moreover, since nuclear power has little or no value in actually dealing with global warming, it would enable Bush to appear to be addressing the need to reduce GHG emissions while actually not doing anything about it.

All of which -- enriching politically-connected corporate fatcats, promoting global war, and cynically pretending to address real, urgent issues while in reality doing nothing about them but exploiting for political gain -- is exactly what the Bush-bootlicking neo-brownshirts love about the Bush administration.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 19, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

There are two carbon cycles in case there is anyone left who does not know that. One is biological, and the other geological. Trees and plant life are useful to combat buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere if it comes from biological sources. But the geological carbon cycle, otr "long" carbon cycle is a different thing entirely. Plant life does not do that much to combat the buildup of geological CO2 in the atmosphere. The problems we face are due to CO2 buildup from geological sources (fossil fuels).

Anyone who doubts this should conduct the following experiment: Pull your car up by your Mom's favorite rosebush and let the exhaust "nourish" it for a tankful and just see what happens.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie, posting as "Thomas1", wrote: "I have no idea if the average temperature today is any hotter than 100, 1000, or mosre importantly 10,000 years ago"

Like I said, you are an ignorant dumbass. You just admitted that you are completely ignorant of the most basic facts about global warming science, and yet that doesn't stop you from making all sorts of inane pronouncements about it. You are a bad joke.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 19, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

I have been pissing off my green counterparts for years by advocating nuclear power. No emissions, and the way we build 'em here, the containment works. Remember Three Mile Island? It is an inhabitable area, unlike Chernobyl, because the containment area was adequately designed, and it did what it was supposed to do in the event of an accident.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas1 - google ice core sampling and brush up. There is plenty of evidence available to extrapolate average temperatures.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, Thomas1 trucks out old Republican bromides like "Is the cure worse than the disease?" Depends on how you define the disease, Tommy.

Better questions: how will reduced ocean salinity affect salt water fish populations? How will we protect coastal businesses, particularly chemical and petroleum installations located in and around our busiest ports? How would 10-foot higher tides impact the New York subway system?

Republicans are politically pre-disposed to avoid negativity, except when it comes to the negative consequences of terrorism. Negative consequences of social and environmental problems tend to lead to Democratic solutions. Negative security consequences have military solutions and play into the hands of Republicans.

That's why Democrats get the "chicken little" treatment on the environment and the "appeaser" treatment on national security. On the one hand, things aren't nearly as dire as we say; on the other hand, things are much more serious than we can imagine.

If the threat to the environment had a military solution you can bet the GOP would be on board.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 19, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Gotta get to class. Back later.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who doubts this should conduct the following experiment: Pull your car up by your Mom's favorite rosebush and let the exhaust "nourish" it for a tankful and just see what happens.
Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I think all the Global Warming deniers should park their running SUV in a closed garage, and sit in there for a spell. Maybe pray for the rapture while you're in there.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 19, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

I can live with nuclear power.
Posted by: Thomas1 on September 19, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Then you'll volunteer to allow a nuclear power plant built in your neighborhood.

Come on!

It's safe!

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 19, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Yea and they predicted this Hurricane season spot on this year. How many did they originally project? 17 with some portion of that hitting land? I see the later revised those figures.

Maybe when they start predicting weather better ill start to believe them on the complex models of global warming. True, I dont follow all the science, but for every piece of science that supports others refute. Unless of course you're only predisposed to believe one part of the equation.

Funny how a group of people who seem to ridicule the beliefs of others (whats the average number of rapture jokes per comment thread around here). Have an unshakeable and profound belief in Global Warming. There's no point arguing against hardcore beliefs, unless of course it comes to religion around here..

Posted by: bubbles on September 19, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Spread that fog, bubbles. You got nothin'.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 19, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas1:

What's your definition of a blue state? New York has a Republican governor and NYC has a Republican mayor. California has a Republican governor. Virginia has a Democratic governor and a Republican legislature.

Maybe, just maybe, the environment is a non-partisan issue. Try this: sit down in a comfortable chair in a quiet room in your house, close your eyes and envision shaking a Democrat's hand to close a policy deal.

Does it make you break out in a sweat? If it does, well, get used to it.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 19, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Completely meaningless.

Of course Bush will say what he thinks people will want to hear in the SOTU. It means nothing. He would have to budget for it, then he would have to see that the money was actually allocated, then he would have to have technocrats that were able to implements actual proposals.

Aside from the speech, none of those things is going to happen.

I suppose the only interesting takeaway is that perhaps focus groups are beginning to favor curbing carbon emissions now more than before.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on September 19, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

All this tells me is that Haliburton has finally situated itself to make money off of Global Warming remediation, mostly through theft and nondelivery of services and work product.

Nothing new here.

Posted by: Disputo on September 19, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty sure Global Citizen has a pretty firm grasp on what "extrapolation" means. Isn't she a scientist?

Posted by: Joyfully Subversive on September 19, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Extrapolation: A mathematical procedure designed to enable one to estimate unknown values of a parameter from known values. A common method of extrapolation is to look at data on a curve, then extend the curve into regions for which there is no data. Extrapolation is often used to predict the future.

In the PhD program I just started we use known to build computer models to look backward hundreds, thousands even tens of thousands of years.

Joyfully Subversive - you know damn good and well I am a scientist, and I know who you are, and what your old screen name was.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

*known=knowns

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, I came back and lurked for a while, waiting for one of the Global Warming accomodators to return, and engage in civil discourse on the topic, but they moved on while I was in class. Another time, perhaps.

SecularAnimist, if you see this, we should both arm ourselves with peer-reviewed data and be ready for the next thread that addresses the topic.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Extrapolation: A mathematical procedure designed to enable one to estimate unknown values of a parameter from known values.

This def could also refer to interpolation. Extrapolation implies that you are estimating the values beyond your known data set, as opposed to interpolation which means you are estimating values in between known data pts.

(yes, I know you know this; just being pedantic.)

Posted by: Disputo on September 19, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen wrote: "... we should both arm ourselves with peer-reviewed data and be ready for the next thread that addresses the topic."

Peer-reviewed data is wasted on the climate change deniers. They will just ignore it, or pretend that you haven't posted it, or pretend that it doesn't say what it clearly does say, or trot out their scripted idiotic talking points. They are all mental slaves of right-wing extremist propaganda, on this issue as on all issues. When Rush Limbaugh tells them that global warming is real, they'll immediately change their tune, but not until then.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 19, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

When Rush Limbaugh tells them that global warming is real, they'll immediately change their tune, but not until then.

The funny thing is that in that event, Rush will insist that he has always thought that way, and his sheeple audience will agree.

Posted by: Disputo on September 19, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

In brief: Temperatures and chemistry are pretty damned close to exact sciences. They use discrete measurements; and they are quantified, not merely qualified. (This is why I continue to maintain that the Social Sciences are not "real science" in that labcoat sort of way; with certain narrowly defined fields of study in Psychology being the one area where I might yield that opinion. Sorry cmdicely, but we must agree to disagree on the status of the social sciences.:)

Everything we do is peer reviewed. If it isn't duplicable or otherwise verifiable; the theory and models must be adjusted to bring the new data into the equations; and hypotheses are refined using this process. It is called the scientific method in case you have forgotten the ten hours of science you had to take in college. I am not being a smartass - I am teaching Cellular Biology to nursing students so I am in keep-it-simple mode in my explanations. I appologize if anyone feels they have had their intelligence insulted, that is certainly not my intent.

But I digress. We are not getting warmer because of sun-flares. We are getting warmer because of human activity. These are givens among the scientific community, and it is our job to take these things seriously and know the score. There is too much at stake. We are fully aware that a blackboard full of equations with a box in the middle stating "miracle happens here" won't cut it.

Do you think research scientists want to wreck the economy with scare tactics? Think for a second...we want to keep studying, and that takes research grants. Those dry up when the economy goes south.

Personally, I can see a lot of economic benefit from making some serious changes, and I would be glad to discuss this topic as well.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

As soon as I posted that definition I looked at my husband and said "I should have included interpolation in that definition. Someone is going to bust me."

Smart people be here.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Scientific American takes the Wall Street Journal to task for lying about climate change on their editorial page.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Global Warming is a National Security Threat.

If you can't access this article (from my schools academic database) let me know and I will cut-and-paste it to a blog and link to that. It phrases the debate in terms that the wingers can get behind.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

That link was six lines long, but it is clickable! Damn I'm good!

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Even if Bush promises to do something good for the environment, he has a habit of not following through on his promises that involve compassion. It seems more likely that it will be an election-related P.R. initiative.

Posted by: DanM on September 19, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen wrote: "I can see a lot of economic benefit from making some serious changes, and I would be glad to discuss this topic as well."

There is enormous economic benefit from transitioning to clean, renewable energy and phasing out fossil fuels as rapidly as possible.

The problem is, that the economic benefit from doing that does not flow into the pockets of the ultra-rich corporate elites of the oil companies, and they are in control of the US federal government's energy policies. That's why their propaganda always identifies the economic benefits of clean renewable energy as costs.

Because clean renewable energy technologies like photovoltaics and wind are inherently distributed, the economic benefits will be likewise distributed, as will the economic benefits from energy efficiency. Not only the manufacturers of photovoltaics and wind turbines will make money, not only will the utilities that invest in wind farms make money, but the myriad small businesses that install and service photovoltaics, wind turbines, solar hot water heaters, etc. will make money, as will farmers who lease a portion of their land for wind turbines, as will homeowners who install rooftop photovoltaics and sell their excess electricity back to the utility through net-metering, and on and on.

And not only will the economic benefits be distributed, but photovoltaics, solar hot water heaters, and residential / small commercial wind turbines inherently put ownership of energy production into the hands of individudals, small businesses, and communities.

The clean renewable energy revolution is thus also an economic and political revolution, which not only protects the Earth's biosphere and disengages US foreign policy from the global war to control dwindling supplies of fossil fuels, but fosters economic and political democracy and local and regional self-reliance at home.

And that is a scenario that the ultra-rich neo-fascist corporate-feudalist ruling class of America's military-industrial-petroleum complex doesn't much want to see happen.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 19, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

True, the economic benefits I see would be distributed in a more egalitarian fashion, so it will have to be couched differently and it will have to be a populist movement.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

When there are windmills dotting the landscapes of red-state farm country everywhere one looks; the state legislatures will fall into line and the house of representatives will have no choice but to follow.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

There will be a meeting of the Trainites at my place this evening.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

The Jury is back, and the sun in the sky stands acquited of the charge that the sun, and not human enterprise is responsible for global warming.

For the last ten years or so, the charge has been that the sun is responsible for world-wide temperature increases as it goes through it's eleven-year cycle of solar flares. Reseasrchers from several different countries, working under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany have determined that solar flares can only explain 0.07% of the increases in temperature that the planet has experienced in the past century. Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers report that data collected from satellites since 1978 reveal a negligible impact on earth temperatures is due to solar activity. They also found little evidence to support solar involvement inheating and cooling phases that have occured since the 17th century. To extrapolate this data, they used telescope observations and temperature records that have been kept since the 1650's.

After the telescpoic and temperature data was analysed, they verified their findings by checking the more ancient evidence of rare isotopes and temperatures trapped in sea sediment. Ice core analysis was also used in their verification process. These methodologies also showed no evidence that climactic shifts in solar energy output for at least a millenium.


Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

Secular Animist: The problem is, that the economic benefit from doing that does not flow into the pockets of the ultra-rich corporate elites of the oil companies, and they are in control of the US federal government's energy policies. That's why their propaganda always identifies the economic benefits of clean renewable energy as costs.

Partly true, but too narrow. It is also true that the economic benefits of solar PV and windfarms acrue to the companies that make the devices. Those companies have employees, growth, lobbyists and boosters. right now PV isn't economical without tax subsidies, but production is growing worldwide, and probably will be economical before long.

Also, the oil companies are major investors in alternative sources of energy. the expansion of windfarms in TX is partly financed by Texan oil companies that are running out of oil. There will still be wind when there is no oil, and they intend to profit from harvesting that wind.

Peer-reviewed data is wasted on the climate change deniers.

You should focus your attention on undecideds and on swing voters. Among them, peer-reviewed articles will help you win the debate. Then again, I post links to peer-reviewed articles and nobody here gives a shit.

osama_been_forgotten: Then you'll volunteer to allow a nuclear power plant built in your neighborhood.

I will. I doubt the US will ever suffer as much from nuclear fuel, altogether, as it suffers from either automobiles or from alcohol-related diseases or from home-cooking fires. Downwind from Chernobyl, the incidences of leukemia and lymphoma increased, but most of the cases would have occurred anyway. Compared to other threats, the threats from nuclear, considered altogether, are slight.

secular animist: enriching politically-connected corporate fatcats, promoting global war, and cynically pretending to address real, urgent issues while in reality doing nothing about them but exploiting for political gain -- is exactly what the Bush-bootlicking neo-brownshirts love about the Bush administration.

I do think that you underestimate two things: (1) the cumulative effect of small changes over the next 25 years, if they are sustained; (2) the importance of arguments that appeal to swing voters and undecideds. A consistent program of nuclear power plant construction, started now and sustained, would considerably reduce US CO2 emissions by 25 years from now, and the program is supported by lots of well-informed citizens, not just the imaginary brown-shirts.

Posted by: republicrat on September 19, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

GC,

You make no sense. If someone developed competitive solar or wind there would be tens of billions of dollars to be made in profits and plenty of investment available. Home Depot ad Lowes are GE are much bigger than any electric companies and they would gladly sell and install the equipment.

A great example now is the gigantic investment in ethanol being made by a variety of sources. Because investors can make a nice buck in ethanol when oil is above $50 there's no shortage of dollars available for construction. The slowdown is setting up the infrastructure. Plants need massive amounts of corn as well as a distribution system to deliver the product. Production increased 40% last year and another 40% this year.

If I could buy a solar system that saved me money I'd buy it in a heartbeat and Home Depot would see it and there would be contractors to install it. Big Oil would lose some business but someone else would gain. That's the beauty of capitalism. The most efficient technology will win.

BTW: It's questionable if this massive investment in ethanol will be smart if prices fall back to $35 but at a minimum we'll learn much and have a viable alternative if prices rise again. There's a very good chance that if in 2006 the cost of a gallon of Ethanol to produce is $1.00 it will be down to $.90 by 2011 and down to $80 by 2016 such is the advantage of capitalism in the USA. We will get better at ALL PHASES OF THE OPERATION with the potential for a breakthrough in the fermation process vi the use of emzymes to speed up the process or allow substitute crops to lower the cost and/or increase the yield.

The longer we work at ethanol the better we'll get. A reasonable projection is that if crude stays at $50 or higher investment will continue until total production represents a solid 10% of gasoline demand. With that kind of economy of scale all of the major chemical and farming research are working for better yields.

The market works. The old corporations are evil populism is nonsense.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

I make no sense?

We own forty acres of timber in northern missouri. We built an efficiency home, 2 bedrooms and 1240 square feet, into the side of a hill. It has three earthen sides up to about six feet in the back, and tapering down on the sides. It is powered with three windmills that my husband (his bachelors degree is in electrical engineering) designed and built on the next ridge over. We hired my cousin to bury the power lines, and I have not seen an electric bill since they started turning. The hot water is from a tankless electric and the heat is from radiant electric flooring. The only thing that I buy is water, from the county water department. But there is a well on the property, where the old farmhouse was, that has not been filled in.

And by the way - reread what I posted. I honestly believe that you have me confused with someone else.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

And that is a scenario that the ultra-rich neo-fascist corporate-feudalist ruling class of America's military-industrial-petroleum complex doesn't much want to see happen.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 19, 2006 at 7:01 PM

Is that what you thought I wrote?

I did however post the following:

True, the economic benefits I see would be distributed in a more egalitarian fashion, so it will have to be couched differently and it will have to be a populist movement.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 7:11 PM

and

When there are windmills dotting the landscapes of red-state farm country everywhere one looks; the state legislatures will fall into line and the house of representatives will have no choice but to follow.


Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 7:15 PM

Where in my posts do I even intimate that "corporations are evil" you accuse me of.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 19, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Hey there Jason. How's it going? Read my posts and tell me I don't make any sense. Did hne really mean me?

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 20, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

I am dead to the world. If I don't get some sleep, I think I'll go nuts. See you later Jason.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 20, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

GC,

I could not access the Scientific American article.

You probably saw the special issue from Sept 2005 listing energy solutions. It was an amazingly positive piece that served, unintentionally I'm sure, as a testament to the power of capitalism and markets. The general these was there's ton we can do to cut fossil fuel consumption dramatically.

They are quite right but a little too optimistic.

Liberals tend to think we need massive govt programs for everything but the fact is markets work much better and much faster and are much more important. Private investment dwarfs govt investment and private investors pay attention to markets.

We are not going to have permanent $70 oil. markets react to increase supply and lower demand until prices drop to more reasonable levels. Jimmy Carter ignored all this in creating a monsterous boondoggle and pissnig away billions. Bush was too smart. The imbalances of the last few years exacerbated by Katrina have largely been corrected and we'll see more supply on lower demand for several years. Prices are coming down.

Meanwhile technology will still advance at a rational pace and the vision laid out by SA will eventually come true. Cars will get lighter with smaller engines and better mileage and we'll get much closer to replacing gasoline engines with fuel cells.

At that point OPEC will be broken. Let markets do it. It will happen more quickly and with much less expense.

Posted by: rdw on September 20, 2006 at 7:27 AM | PERMALINK

Again, I restate that I have not uttered one peep about the economic side of the debate. Science is my forte and I leave economics to the voodoo priests in the Social Sciences building.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 20, 2006 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Unless you count the sentence at the end of a post where I said I could see economic benefit from pursuing alternative energy sources.

Of course markets have their place in this debate. But market forces might not be the be-all-and-end-all for emerging technologies in the nascent field of developing alternatives.

By the way, I have pissing off my green counterparts for a couple of decades now by advocating for nuclear power.

I lived in Wichita during the time the Wolf Creek power plant was under construction and when it opened. The Chernobyl accident happened at that time. Everyone asailed me and used it as an "I told you so" example.

I remained unflappable and resolute, pointing to our own experience at Three Mile Island the previous decade, and the fact that the containment chamber did what it was supposed to do: It contained the contamination, and palliated the problem. "We don't build them the way the Soviets do" became a mantra, and I didn't give ground. I still don't.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 20, 2006 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Somewhere between the "markets are inherently evil" meme and the "market forces are all we need" position lies common sense and solutions.

I guess I am staking out the middle ground as the territory where I will build my fort.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 20, 2006 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

GC,

Since science is your forte what exactly did you think of the SA issue I noted above in terms of it's level of optimism?

I would not pretend to be an expert on science or technology but I've had a life-long interest in both and followed the developments regarding energy diversity in the 70's quite closely having once subscribed to the now defunct Solar Age magazine. It seems we've been 5 years away from major developments in solar, wind, fuel cell and other alternative technologies for at least 35 years.

When are we really going to be 5 years away?


My sense is we'll continue to make incremental but slow progress and the best we can hope for is a series of incremental advancements in a number of different areas, i.e., materials development, that will have a positive application for one or more of the energy alternatives. For example, in the SA article a common thread was a belief the need isn't for an extraordinary breakthrough but the concerted application of the many smaller advancements that have occired over the last 20 years but have not been applied because fuel was so cheap. Cars could be substantially lighter by applying current technologies for thinnner streals and stronger plastics, allowing smaller engines and dramatically better fuel mileage. The lower power requirements would make for smaller fuel cells making them a more practical alternative.

I think SA was overly optimistic as they have been for at least 35 years.

Posted by: rdw on September 20, 2006 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

I don't have time to read Scientific American. That is pop science. If I can't source it when I write a paper, I don't have time for it. Once in a while I read an article, but it has been years since I actually oicked up an issue and read the whole thing.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 20, 2006 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

GC,

We agree comletely on nuclear. I see one of the more interesting outcomes of this recent price surge and the increasing shrillness of the Gore clowns as playing perfectly to the nuclear crowd. There's been a major rebirth for the industry internationally as the Chinese, Indians and many others don't much care about the anti-nukle types. There's also been a very significant warming up in the USA. It makes too much sense. We'll have to see if any of the dozen or so permits begin process actually get approved but this is still a major step unthinkable a few years ago.

We'll disagree on markets. I see this as far too important and large to be left to govt intervention. Carter was a moron but that's what happens. I have no problem with the govt spreading some seen money for promising emerging technologies but they should not be making big bets. If in fact some technology does emerge with real promise it will not lack for investment dollars.

We are starting to see the advantage of markets and price signals. There has been a tremendous surge in investment dollars on the supply side and we are seeing results. Many are predicting a good report from the govt today on inventories would send prices below $60 and possibly run to $50. OPEC announced today they expect demand in 2007 to be lower than in 2006 by 800,000 barrels due to increased supplies outside OPEC. This is an almost 3% drop which combined with a 500K increase in OPEC capacity will put spare capacity over 10%.

The WSJ on Monday ran a story on deep water exploration listing 5 major discoveries all outside OPEC all likely to be tapped for domestic consumption for the USA, China, India and Brazil with the 5th off Africa likely for export.

The price signals are working.

Posted by: rdw on September 20, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

And I see it as too important to be left solely up to market forces. As I said earlier, my stance is somewhere in the middle. It won't come about if the government takes total control, at least not in a streamlined efficient manner that will be of greatest benefit. But I don't entirely trust the markets, either.

I think this issue will require the input of both institutions.

Government has its place. I don't build my own roads, and only mega-corporations raise their own armies.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 20, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK


We mostly agree.


Posted by: rdw on September 20, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Since we are mostly in agreement on this issue, are my liberal credentials ion jeopardy?:)

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 20, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

here is the Scientific American link again. If this one doesn't work, I give.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 20, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Ah. That is one that I accessed through the community college on-line database. If anyone is interested in reading it, I can access it and cut-and-paste it elsewhere and put up another link. But that is a lot of trouble if no one is interested.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 20, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Apologies if someone else has raised this, but I would LOVE to know why Cheney's 1% doctrine ("If there's even a 1% chance that a terrorist plot might be materialize, we must act as though it is a certainty") isn't applied by this administration to global warming. Surely if there's even a 1% chance that serious climatic change is happening or will happen as a result of burning fossil fuels, Cheney's epistemology and policy formula would dictate a radical response -- e.g. a carbon tax. But Cheney et al. poo-poo the research and demand certainty before acting.

Posted by: DNS on September 20, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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