Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

June 7, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

CAP-AND-TRADE 2.0....In the LA Times today, Patt Morrison has a story idea for Charlie Stross:

If Philip K. Dick, the man who inspired "Blade Runner," were alive, he would be scribbling dystopian environmental novels in which every newborn child is assigned a lifetime carbon debit card — like wartime ration cards. You only get to use so much plastic, or burn so much wood or eat so much imported food (how much fossil fuel does it take to get that bottle of Euro-water to Santa Monica?) before you use up your carbon points and you're out of the game. Dick's characters wouldn't be stock traders, they'd be carbon traders, blackmailing starving Sudanese villagers online for their carbon points in exchange for rice and water.

But will my cats get ration cards too?

Kevin Drum 11:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (69)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

No. In the future, people will be forced to ride their cats to work as a way to live "cleanly."

Posted by: rusrus on June 7, 2007 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

I guess it puts into perspective how silly all this carbon hysteria really is.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on June 7, 2007 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, where's your moderately moderate moderation we all know and love? Come on. Say "That sounds about right." Or something. Go to the index cards of Kevinisms!

Posted by: anonymous on June 7, 2007 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Does that make a nuclear plant a hospital in the future?

Posted by: Joe on June 7, 2007 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Presumably the full economization of carbon usage would give rise to the idea and practice of carbon credit and carbon debt, allowing one to excede one's ration provided that it is paid back at some point in the future.

How about a carbon-debtors prison then? Its population consisting almost entirely of ex-Hummer and Nascar drivers.

Posted by: lampwick on June 7, 2007 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, it has to be said:

CAN I HAS RATION CARDZ?

Posted by: Noah on June 7, 2007 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Only if they are actual live cats. Android cats and other pets count against your personal carbon ration. Of course, if you can afford a living cat you can probably afford to get your rations traded.

Posted by: zed on June 7, 2007 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

We'll give Paris Hilton a double ration, because we feel sorry for her.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 7, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Most Americans aren't bad, just lazy and selfish. I'd gladly trade the motorcycle helmet law for one levying a fine of amputation for the first failure to recycle properly.

Remember Americans had to be duped into getting behind the war effort in WWII with black-out curtains on the West Coast, ratio cards, unnecessary scrap drives, etc. at a time when there were next to no threat to the "American way of life," no shortages of food or consumer goods. So now when we are actually facing an in-the-not-so-distant-future term crisis, voluntary efforts just ain't gonna get the job done.

Posted by: JeffII on June 7, 2007 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

The hell with Paris. And what the hell is the LA County Sheriff's Office thinking?

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on June 7, 2007 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

This carbon trading can quickly get expensive for the consumer.

From today's Aviation Daily:

"The proposal to include aviation in the European Union emissions trading scheme will increase airlines cost by EUR4 billion (US$5.4 billion) per year, concludes a 104-page report commissioned by six European air transport associations.
The estimated cost is double the average cumulative annual profit of European airlines in the past decade, stressed European Regions Airline
Association Director General Mike Ambrose. The report, meanwhile, calculated the surge in costs could even reach EUR5.75 billion annually
if carriers have to bid for emission rights in auctions."

Posted by: Trashhauler on June 7, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

This seems to be the perfect distillation of the dream of every liberal.

Posted by: Homer on June 7, 2007 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Remember Americans had to be duped into getting behind the war effort in WWII with black-out curtains on the West Coast, ratio cards, unnecessary scrap drives, etc. at a time when there were next to no threat to the "American way of life," no shortages of food or consumer goods." (JeffII)

I'm not sure what version of WWII you're reading, but I was there - on the East Coast we had blackout curtains for the very sound reason that air attacks from Germany were not only possible, but probable. I watched tankers being sunk by U-boats off the New Jersey coast, and found pieces of subs on the shore.

Shortages? Everything went to the war effort. I didn't know what a new toy was until I was too old to care.

OTOH, it was a time of genuine community and common effort in the face of a real threat -- something we haven't experienced in this country since. My hope is that we (and the rest of the "civilized" world) will be able to rise to this occasion, but I have my doubts -- it may be too late.

Posted by: ClarkT on June 7, 2007 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII;
Actually, I'd be in favor of getting rid of the motorcycle helmet law, if it were replaced with one that said that if you ride without a helmet, you forfeit any right to public medical aid; (and your private insurance policy would probably drop you as well) - let riders make an informed decision, like the adults that they are.

Anyway - yeah - I doubt Americans will voluntarily comply with any kind of carbon cost scheme, until 95% of the State of Florida is under water (and good riddance) - and no; California is not in much danger, because there's at least a 100' elevation gain within a mile of most of the West Coast. (with LA being the notable exception - again, good riddance).

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 7, 2007 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

We could solve much of our energy problems if we could re-engineer humans such that we were only 2 feet in height...

Posted by: Robert on June 7, 2007 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

"...until 95% of the State of Florida is under water (and good riddance)"

Those of us who live on high ground in Florida coudn't agree more!

Posted by: ClarkT on June 7, 2007 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

osama_been_forgotten: California is not in much danger, because there's at least a 100' elevation gain within a mile of most of the West Coast. (with LA being the notable exception

And Silicon Valley. My brother in Mountain View is a whopping 15' above sea level. Maybe he should trade in his condo for a houseboat.

Posted by: alex on June 7, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Your cats eat a lot of imported food then? Or do they burn a lot of wood? Perhaps, they are big consumers of plastic or...or...omigod, (the lightbulb pops on!) ...do they use non-biodegradable plastic litter boxes....?? Jeez, Kevin! No, your cats won't get carbon ration cards for that.

Nice plot line for Philip K. Dick, btw.

Posted by: PTate in FR on June 7, 2007 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

"We could solve much of our energy problems if we could re-engineer humans such that we were only 2 feet in height..."

Not a bad idea, in "Schild's Ladder" Greg Egan actually shrinks his post-human characters down to a few inches for just that reason.

Posted by: popomo on June 7, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

"...We Americans toss away enough aluminum cans in a year to rebuild every commercial airliner in America..."

I found that quite stunning. We consume 25% of the world's petroleum. If we just cut our petroleum consumption by 1/3 by using more fuel efficient vehicles, mass transit, find a way people can afford to live closer to their employers, we might have another oil glut with cheaper gasoline, more money in our pockets and less carbon emissions, and perhaps cut commute times in half.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 7, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Well, as Homer Simpson said:
"Florida? But that's America's wang!"

But seriously folks - I'm actually being optimistic by saying that 95% of Florida has to be under water for the American People to buy into this global warming thing. (Drudge News Flash: "Archeologist says he has proof Florida was underwater only 1000 years ago. - proves global warming is only a natural cycle.")

I mean, we lost a major American city to this stuff already; New Orleans. And we're still in denial.

I read this in Kevin Drum's comments about 3 years ago: "I wonder what the Easter Islander was thinking when he cut down the last tree; This is MY tree, I have a right to cut it down, and nobody has a right to stop me!" - wish I remember who posted that; I think it was Global Citizen. . .

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 7, 2007 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

If present times are any indicator, this carbon-trading civilization would result in "conservatives" having large amounts of offspring so that the parents could cash in the children's future carbon credit needs in order to maintain their own extensive carbon-burning lifestyles.

Posted by: SoCalAnon on June 7, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Daniel Pearlman wrote a story like you & Patt Morrison describe in the collection "The Final Dream and Other Fictions" published by Permeable Press. It generalizes an environmental use allotment to each person, not specifically carbon.

Posted by: Pete Gelman on June 7, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Damn, I didn't realize how much gasoline we waste just sitting in cars in traffic jams all day. That makes a good argument for hybrids and electric cars:

http://tti.tamu.edu/documents/mobility_report_2005.pdf

"Congestion continues to grow in America’s urban areas. Despite a slow growth in jobs and travel in 2003, congestion caused 3.7 billion hours of travel delay and 2.3 billion gallons of wasted fuel, an increase of 79 million hours and 69 million gallons from 2002 to a total cost of more than $63 billion."

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 7, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

You should also lose a (big) fraction of your credits for every child you have (and they get their own of course).

Posted by: anon on June 7, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Your cats will cost *you* carbon credits.

Posted by: Name on June 7, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

anon;
Good point, anon.

You shouldn't get your carbon credits at birth. Until age 18, you live off your parents' carbon credits.

But now, we're not talking about "money" anymore, which in the modern age, is almost completely decoupled from physical resources (ie. the gold standard).

What we're really talking about is re-coupling money to a physical resource, commodity, or asset.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 7, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Robert at 12:10 PM: We could solve much of our energy problems if we could re-engineer humans such that we were only 2 feet in height...

That would put the whole cat-blogging thing in a new light.


Posted by: thersites on June 7, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Congestion...caused 3.7 billion hours of travel delay and 2.3 billion gallons of wasted fuel"

A Desire Named Streetcar

Posted by: thersites on June 7, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

We could review the history of the concept of global climate change through the ages or read Carter's speech from April 18, 1977 on the moral equivalent of war

…The energy crisis has not yet overwhelmed us, but it will if we do not act quickly.
It is a problem we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century.
We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and grandchildren.
We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources. By acting now, we can control our future instead of letting the future control us….

Posted by: Mike on June 7, 2007 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Burning wood or other biomass doesn't add CO2 to the atmosphere. The carbon in the wood came from the atmosphere a few years ago and if left to rot or buried in the landfill will release its C02 back to the atmosphere in a few years. ('Few' here generally means approximately 100 years.) Only fossil fuels, oil, coal and natural gas, add C02 to the atmosphere. Fossil fuels are the culprit.

You could make charcoal from wood and bury it. That would 'permanently' remove C02 from the atmosphere.

Posted by: slanted tom on June 7, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

I read this in Kevin Drum's comments about 3 years ago: "I wonder what the Easter Islander was thinking when he cut down the last tree; This is MY tree, I have a right to cut it down, and nobody has a right to stop me!" - wish I remember who posted that; I think it was Global Citizen.

Whoever posted it, they ripped it off from jared Diamond . . .

Posted by: rea on June 7, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

What a crock! The Bush-Cheney administration would have given Philip K. Dick so much material that he'd have to write 1,000 books before he got far enough down his list of topics to pen a story about environmental extremists.

Michael Crichton already has the Sci-Fi bottom feeding turf covered, anyway.

Posted by: Dover Bitch on June 7, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

PKD rules.

Posted by: jg on June 7, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Carter? Isn't that the guy who killed the nuclear industry in America?

Posted by: triplez on June 7, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "But will my cats get ration cards too?"

I've seen your pictures of your obviously well-fed felines -- and, yes, they need to be subject to rations.

But not to worry, because if the cats need more, they'll just appropriate for themselves whatever amount of your ration points that they want. And as their resident human creature, you'll just have to do without. ;-)

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 7, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

triplex: "Carter? Isn't that the guy who killed the nuclear industry in America?"

Only after that industry came this close to killing off Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 7, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

True or False:

Gobal warming will result in significant changes in the climate over large areas of the globe. These changes will occur over a time scale of decades to centuries.

Posted by: Adam on June 7, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Dover Bitch:

Comparing PK Dick to that hack Crichton comes awful close to fightin' words!

Posted by: thersites on June 7, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

"osama_been_forgotten: California is not in much danger, because there's at least a 100' elevation gain within a mile of most of the West Coast. (with LA being the notable exception

And Silicon Valley. My brother in Mountain View is a whopping 15' above sea level. Maybe he should trade in his condo for a houseboat.
"

Hmm. You guys are confident you can predict the effect of increased sea water weight on plate tectonics? I wouldn't be.

Of course I imagine that the kinds of a-holes who mostly live in central California probably couldn't care less an earthquake --- until they realize its the people living on the coast who've been generating all the wealth that gives them their lifestyles.

Posted by: Maynard Handley on June 7, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Only after that industry came this close to killing off Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Not really, but that's another story.

So, how's the mortality rating been going on the soot, particulates, coal mining and transport, and other crap associated with generating energy without nuclear power?

Posted by: triplez on June 7, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

thersites, I wasn't comparing, I was contrasting.

Posted by: Dover Bitch on June 7, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

DB: Cool. It is quite a contrast.

Posted by: thersites on June 7, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Of course I imagine that the kinds of a-holes who mostly live in central California probably couldn't care less an earthquake --- until they realize its the people living on the coast who've been generating all the wealth that gives them their lifestyles.
Posted by: Maynard Handley on June 7, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, every time an earthquake, mudslide, or brushfire wipes out all that extremely overpriced real-estate, they're happy to bring their hammers and saws all the way from Bakersfield to charge Malibu-rates. I shit you not. I live in a coastal town that is beseiged by wealthy bacos every 3-day weekend for the sand-dune fun. And all they talk about is how they can't wait for the next "big-one", and how Northridge put their kids through college, etc.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 7, 2007 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

The pros and cons of nuclear power are an interesting debate, but none of the arguments make the original Carter quote posted by Mike at 1:20 any less true.

Posted by: thersites on June 7, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

thersites;
Well - I've heard people in the pro-nuclear faction say that we'll run out of Uranium in 100 years, but if we reprocess spent fuel in a breeder reactor, we have enough for 10,000 years. Thorium reactors sound even more promising.

But we need ways to get around the biggest problem with nuclear power: you can't trust a human being to run a reactor safely and responsibly.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 7, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK
California is not in much danger, because there's at least a 100' elevation gain within a mile of most of the West Coast.

Which is nice for the people living in California's coastal hills, but doesn't do anything about the danger to much of the rest of the state, as there are plenty of gaps in those mountains (notably, the Golden Gate) and quite a lot of the populated and/or economically important areas of the state, even outside of the LA Basin, aren't that far above sea level (Sacramento is about 25 ft above sea level, for instance.)

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

osama; you can't trust a human being to run a reactor safely and responsibly.

I agree with you. That and the waste problem are pretty much showstoppers in my book. I just didn't want the original Carter quote to get lost in the noise of the nuke debate.

Posted by: thersites on June 7, 2007 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK
Carter? Isn't that the guy who killed the nuclear industry in America?

Three Mile Island killed off the nuclear industry in America. The only reason the industry is moribund is because the hazards are so great that, absent a complete shield from all liability in the event of an accident, no one will build new nuclear plants.


Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2007 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with you. That and the waste problem are pretty much showstoppers in my book. I just didn't want the original Carter quote to get lost in the noise of the nuke debate. Posted by: thersites

Agreed. They've been fucking around with clean-up at the Hanford Reservation now for about 30 years, and are no closer to getting it done now than they were a decade ago. No one likes to talk about it, but the storage tanks and such that have failed have already leached into the Columbia Basin Aquifer and into the Columbia River.

I guess the one positive is that with global warming toasting us apace, the aquifer will be pumped dry in short order and the Columbia Glacier in B.C., primary source of the river, will be gone in a decade or two. No water, no radiation in your water.

Then there are all the three-eyed salmon . . .

Posted by: JeffII on June 7, 2007 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

'The Bush-Cheney administration would have given Philip K. Dick so much material that he'd have to write 1,000 books before he got far enough down his list of topics to pen a story about environmental extremists.'

Err, he kinda predicted it:

From philipkdick.com:

"[Radio Free Albemuth] Plot Summary:
In the late 1960's, a paranoid incompetent has schemed his way into the White House and convulsed America in a vicious war against imaginary internal enemies."

Posted by: Sock Puppet of the Great Satan on June 7, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Maynard Handley: You guys are confident you can predict the effect of increased sea water weight on plate tectonics?

Sea level rise is supposed to occur from exapnsion of the water already there, IIRC. So the weight upon the plates will not change. Anyway, the increase in sea level is only supposed to be about 2 1/2 feet, so most of FL and all of Silicon Valley should be safe. Even Los Angeles.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 7, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Carter? Isn't that the guy who killed the nuclear industry in America?"

It's ironic to accuse Carter of that, given that he *trained as a nuclear engineer and ran a nuclear submarine*.

"Three Mile Island killed off the nuclear industry in America. The only reason the industry is moribund is because the hazards are so great that, absent a complete shield from all liability in the event of an accident, no one will build new nuclear plants."

You're usually right cmdicely, but your info is about two decades out of date. The nuke industry in the US went moribund 'cos of Three Mile Island (and later Chernobyl), but also because nuke plants were running at 60% on-stream time. They just weren't economical at that level of operation.

Now, those same nuke plants are running at 90% on-stream time, and the on-the-job accident rate is 1/3 the rate of the *financial and legal industry*. (Source: UC Berkeley Engineering Dept.) There are dozens of applications to build new nuke plants in the US, and there's surge of under- and post-grads entering nuclear engineering courses.

Posted by: Sock Puppet of the Great Satan on June 7, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

MatthewRmarler: most of FL and all of Silicon Valley should be safe. Even Los Angeles.

Damn.

Posted by: alex on June 7, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Anyway, the increase in sea level is only supposed to be about 2 1/2 feet, so most of FL and all of Silicon Valley should be safe. Even Los Angeles.
Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 7, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, after all the Ice melts, Greenland may become habitable.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 7, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

osama_been_forgotten: On the other hand, after all the Ice melts, Greenland may become habitable.

Maybe not. According to some models, and apparently some recent history, the melting of the Greenland glaciers at their periphery is supposed to be accompanied by increased snowfall in the interior.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 7, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Sock puppet of the Great Satan: There are dozens of applications to build new nuke plants in the US, and there's surge of under- and post-grads entering nuclear engineering courses.

do you have a reference for that?

More people died from the electricity generated by the Three Mile Island plant than died by exposure to radiation or by handling the fuel. Just a thought.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 7, 2007 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

A couple of points:

*Americans are not going to accept a solution that requires a reduction in our standard of living. They're just not. It doesn't matter if environmentalists think this is greedy, selfish, unfair. It's a political fact of life and it's not going to change. Look at the poll figures on gas taxes (over 70% against increasing them). Look at the Senate vote on Kyoto (unanimous opposition). Any attempt to improve things has to take this framework into account.
*Over half of America's electrical power is currently generated by coal. That's some low-hanging fruit right there. Coal is about the dirtiest, most dangerous power source there is. Replace it with just about anything else and the situation will improve.
*The anti-nuclear arguments are fatuous; not one of them stands up to careful scrutiny. A bunch of people have mentioned Three Mile Island, which didn't actually kill anyone. The fact is that (contrary to what OBF said in this thread) we don't have to trust the reactor operators; the reactors themselves can be designed to be foolproof. Chernobyl was an anomaly, a very poorly designed reactor that was designed for dual use (civilian power / military bomb material generation). No reactor in the First World uses the RBMK design and none ever will. Someone mentioned the U.S. Hanford Site, which was a military nuclear production facility, not a civilian reactor. Apples and oranges. France, Canada, and Japan prove that nuclear power can be used safely and responsibly. As for the waste issue, it's incredibly irresponsible and foolish to be burying high-level waste that still contains usable fuel. We can reduce the quantity (and radioactivity level) of waste by an order of magnitude by reprocessing. The arguments against this don't make any sense either. Above all, nuclear must be compared not to a hypothetical perfect alternative, but to the realistic alternative - namely, coal, the dirtiest and most dangerous power source we have.
*Higher CAFE standards have the potential to reduce gasoline usage, and are politically palatable since they place the burden on corporations rather than end users. In 10 years, 90 percent of the vehicles on the road should be hybrids. These are a proven technology that is popular with the American public.
*Is there any specific reason why planting more trees to absorb CO2 isn't a viable plan? The United States has plenty of empty space, much of it owned by the federal government already.

Posted by: Josh G. on June 7, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

the reactors themselves can be designed to be foolproof being designed by infallible gods, not by humans.

Posted by: thersites on June 7, 2007 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe not. According to some models, and apparently some recent history, the melting of the Greenland glaciers at their periphery is supposed to be accompanied by increased snowfall in the interior. Posted by: MatthewRmarler

What I read is that if the ice cap on Greenland melts rapidly enough, it could screw up the weather moderating mechanism of the Gulf Stream, rapidly cooling the N. Atlantic and causing increased cold and snow in Eurasia. They'd love 'em so more snow in the Alps. The last two FIS World Cup seasons have been crap for lack of snow.

Posted by: JeffII on June 7, 2007 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

buy your carbon offsets here:

http://www.terrapass.com/lp/index.mmc5B.html?creativeID=7804524&tn=3750&group=3750&failsafe='http://www.terrapass.com'&gclid=CPng9_jmyowCFQqgYgod7g6Gag

Josh G.: *Is there any specific reason why planting more trees to absorb CO2 isn't a viable plan? The United States has plenty of empty space, much of it owned by the federal government already.

Planting new trees was/is included in the Kyoto Treaty and all other plans. It's included in some of the commercial CO2 offset plans. The regrowth of American forests does in fact sequester a considerable portion of America's CO2 emissions, 80% - 100% according to papers published in the journal Science. In the Kyoto treaty America was given no credit for this. Almost as important as trees are shrubs and other perennials, because they grow faster at the start. Trees and shrubs require secure water supplies, but there are many salt-tolerant varieties that grow well along the coast. A landowner in Australia was paid a considerable sum last month by a CO2 offset company to grow his forest instead of logging it. A week or two ago school children in a part of India planted about 1.1million trees to extend one of the forest preserves. Tree-planting is definitely on the increase.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 7, 2007 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Josh G.:"Americans are not going to accept a solution that requires a reduction in our standard of living. They're just not. It doesn't matter if environmentalists think this is greedy, selfish, unfair. It's a political fact of life and it's not going to change."

...and this is exactly why Americans are going to experience gradual but persistent degradation in the quality of their lives. Those who imagine that our standard of living requires driving gas-guzzling autos and trucks for everything--food, jobs, clothing, socializing, education--don't have a clue about "quality of life."

Our particular form of democracy safeguards the right of each individual to do exactly what they please--regardless of the cost to other people. This focus guarantees that the most ignorant, short-sighted and greedy Americans will be able to block all attempts to adapt. It's the second hand smoke problem.

Posted by: PTate in FR on June 7, 2007 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Sock Puppet,

Radio Free Albemuth is excellent, but I preferred Valis.

Posted by: Dover Bitch on June 7, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

A new reason to fear for my life.

Posted by: Moo Cow on June 7, 2007 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK
Sea level rise is supposed to occur from exapnsion of the water already there, IIRC.

WTF? No, the sea level rise is supposed to occur from the melting of continental glaciers, mainly. (I suppose some might be related to drying of landmasses in desertification in some areas with the water ending up, through evaporation and precipitation, in the ocean, but the glaciers are the big factor.)

Anyway, the increase in sea level is only supposed to be about 2 1/2 feet, so most of FL and all of Silicon Valley should be safe. Even Los Angeles.

If the increase in sea level were to be only 2 1/2 feet, perhaps, but there is reason to expect that the increase in the next century might be several times greater than that.


Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2007 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

god, i wish phil k. dick was still alive, writing the great books that hollywood makes cruddy movies from.

your pal,
blake

Posted by: blake on June 7, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

A landowner in Australia was paid a considerable sum last month by a CO2 offset company to grow his forest instead of logging it. A week or two ago school children in a part of India planted about 1.1million trees to extend one of the forest preserves. Tree-planting is definitely on the increase. Posted by: MatthewRmarler

Too little too late. In the last 30 years, over 200,000 square miles of equatorial rain forest, the real "lungs" of the Earth, has been lost just in Brazil. Most of it, due to the unique and fragile nature of those ecosystems, will never grow again. You can plant all the trees you like in temperate zones, but it won't do a bit to offset the loss of equatorial rain forests.

Nothing will save us short of cutting fossil fuel Co2 emissions to near zero in less than two decades. And we all know the likelihood of that happening.

Posted by: JeffII on June 7, 2007 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Yer cats are rations.

Posted by: pjcamp on June 8, 2007 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

"Sock puppet of the Great Satan: There are dozens of applications to build new nuke plants in the US, and there's surge of under- and post-grads entering nuclear engineering courses."

Talk by Per Peterson of UCB.

"WTF? No, the sea level rise is supposed to occur from the melting of continental glaciers, mainly."

No, he's right, at least in the short-medium term. Precipitation is rising in continental Antartica, remember.


Dover wrote:
"Radio Free Albemuth is excellent, but I preferred Valis."

Haven't read Valis. Love PKD, especially the stories. I remember Radio Free Albemuth with fondness because at the end it dawned on me that I couldn' tbe sure whether or not the account was true or whether PKD's alter ego in the novel had be sucked into his friend's psychosis. I hadn't read any Gene Wolfe yet, so it was my first encounter with the Unreliable Narrator.

Posted by: Sock Puppet of the Great Satan on June 8, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly