Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 13, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

YET MORE OBSTRUCTION....I see that the climate change negotiations in Bali are going pretty much the way everyone expected them to:

"My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali," said [Al] Gore, who flew to Bali from Oslo, Norway, where he received the Nobel Peace Prize for helping alert the world to the danger of climate change.

....The United States, Japan and several other governments are refusing to accept language in a draft document suggesting that industrialized nations consider cutting emissions by 25 percent to 40 percent by 2020, saying specific targets would limit the scope of future talks.

....The United States delegation said while it continues to reject inclusion of specific emission cut targets, it hopes eventually to reach an agreement that is "environmentally effective" and "economically sustainable."...."We don't have to resolve all these issues ... here in Bali," said Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky, the head of the U.S. delegation.

Translation: Specific targets would limit the scope of the United States to continue doing nothing of substance. Gore's advice to the delegates was simple: just ignore the Bush administration, pass some targets for emissions reductions, and wait until next November. There's no guarantee that the next president will support greenhouse gas limits, he told them, "but I can tell you I believe it is quite likely."

Kevin Drum 11:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (64)

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8 years, nothing done. Mission accomplished.

Posted by: Bill Camarda on December 13, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

There is no way some bloated UN bureaucracy is going to solve the global warming problem. China and India produce about the same amout of CO2 as we do. Theirs will double in the next 25 years. Ours is nearly flat.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 13, 2007 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

"My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali," said [Al] Gore, who flew to Bali

I guess Al Gore has forgotten the basic Americana etiquette that it's wrong to attack America while on foreign soil? I guess I shouldn't be surprised since he's a liberal. Bill Clinton attacked America's liberation of Vietnam while on foreign soil also. Jimmy Carter bashed our President Bush on foreign soil. These kinds of actions only make liberals look bad because it relects negatively on them. If liberals really want to do nothing more than blame America first, they should come back to our land and our people and tell us directly instead of hiding behind a foreign flag.

Posted by: Al on December 13, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

China and India's CO2 output is NOT AN EXCUSE to sit around and do nothing. Like Gore said, China and the U.S. have got to stop using each other's behavior as an excuse for inaction. It's pathetic. This isn't preschool.

I am completely disgusted with our leadership, and I wish the other delegates in Bali would gang up on the US and Japan. I wish the U.N. would sanction or censure us. We don't have the luxury of waiting until 2009 to address global warming anymore.

Posted by: Caitlin on December 13, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Does Al Gore think he's President?! Who does he think he is saying things that everyday citizens can say, with the authority of a Nobel Prize winner! The President?!

Posted by: absent observer on December 13, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

I guess Al Gore has forgotten the basic Americana etiquette...

Here's some Dick Cheney etiquette for ya: Go fuck yourself.

He can say whatever he wants whenever he wants regardless of some bullshit rule that's only enforced by Republiscum against anyone who criticizes Republiscum.

Posted by: haha on December 13, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

I was preempting FOX News on that last comment. Just snark..

Posted by: absent observer on December 13, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

China and India's CO2 output is NOT AN EXCUSE to sit around and do nothing.

But what else do we have? If we can't deny that emissions contribute to global warming while simultaneously lashing out at China and India for not reining in their emissions, how can we keep up our stellar standard of argument?

Posted by: The GOP on December 13, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Gore seems to be negotiating on behalf of a potential future U.S. President. Seems kinda...wrong.

Also, why should the U.S. sign up for binding limits that won't apply to China and India? If you want to curb U.S. emissions, why does that need to be debated in Bali? Reid and Pelosi got more important things to worry about?

Posted by: kwo on December 13, 2007 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

And right on time, kwo chimes in...LOL.

Posted by: shortstop on December 13, 2007 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

If you want to curb U.S. emissions, why does that need to be debated in Bali?

they're working on an international treaty, Congress doesn't approve or reject treaties until afterward.

Posted by: haha on December 13, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Hey ex-liberal, what have we done to match China and India's work on population control? Sure, economic growth also cuts population grown, but they can't grow their economies without consuming more energy.

I suspect that a family in China, with their one child, wishing they could have enough, might think that they had done quite a lot already.

Posted by: dr2chase on December 13, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

There is no way some bloated UN bureaucracy is going to solve the global warming problem.

Yeah, we know -- the marketplace is going to solve the problem, and it's going to happen any day now.

I'll simply note what others have been pointing out recently -- you're slipping. The party line is that global warming doesn't exist, and here you are conceding it. Better watch your ass, or you might not get an invitation to Al's Christmas party this year. You don't want to miss that. I understand that his baby seal tartare is out of this world.

Posted by: junebug on December 13, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

they're working on an international treaty, Congress doesn't approve or reject treaties until afterward.

U.S. emissions won't be cut until the U.S. Congress so decides. The U.S. does not need to wait for Bali or the U.N.

Posted by: kwo on December 13, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

dr2chase, the United States has cut its birthrate quite dramatically, to below replacement level. It is true we have done that by private, consensual action, rather than by a government program of forced abortion: is that what you are complaining about?

Posted by: y81 on December 13, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

This is an honest plea to the people on this site. Please stop wasting your effort on Global Warming. We do not understand enough about the problem to take effective action right now. As was well put by some scientists, "Have the courage to do nothing." There are so many more pressing problems to put resources into that would do so much more to alleviate suffering. We do not understand enough about the causes to make an intelligent choice on how to proceed.

I will make one reasonable attempt at awaking some rational response from the GW fanatics. Notice that most GW predictions are about projected catastrophes 30, 40 or even 50 years off. Now walk backwards in history and visit newspaper articles of those times. Did they have any idea about what would be the pressing issues of our time??? Start using your brains on this issue and do not be afraid to agree with a conservative. The time has come to abandon the GW bandwagon and realize that under our current state of ignorance NO action beyond some more research is the best policy. Take a doctor's oath look at this problem. At least, DO NO HARM. Do not strap down the worlds economies with useless restrictions which will all be disobeyed when the best hope to alleviate some of the world's problems are through the wealth generated by the same. I hope just a few of you will come to your senses on this issue.

Posted by: John Hansen on December 13, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

**

Posted by: mhr on December 13, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

The U.S. does not need to wait for Bali or the U.N.

I could tell, what with all the forward progress our president and our Congress have made on the issue. /sarcasm

While we should be taking action here in the U.S., the reality is that global Warming is a global issue that MUST be addressed on an international scale. Which is what Bali is for. And the reality is that the U.S. isn't waiting for Bali or the U.N. They are the ones that are waiting on us.

As for John Hansen's post? Whatever, man. The assertion that we don't know enough about global warming to act now is completely bizarre and merits no response. Especially when the actions we need to take are actions we should be taking anyway for myraid reasons.

Posted by: Caitlin on December 13, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

dr2chaseL I suspect that a family in China, with their one child, wishing they could have enough, might think that they had done quite a lot already.

I agree. That's why an agreement to cut CO2 emissions is doomed to fail.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 13, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

I leave for a couple weeks and come back to find a whole new breed of wingnut trolls plying their trade in this forum. Is the GWB economy really that bad?

On Topic: it is also significant that Gore called for implementation in 2010, not 2012.

Posted by: Disputo on December 13, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

While we should be taking action here in the U.S., the reality is that global Warming is a global issue that MUST be addressed on an international scale. Which is what Bali is for. And the reality is that the U.S. isn't waiting for Bali or the U.N. They are the ones that are waiting on us.

The reason the U.S. isn't taking action is because the U.S. doesn't want to. People are still driving SUV's, building big houses, etc. Vice President Gore's movie got nice reviews, but his campaign hasn't had much impact on how people live. Treaties, speeches, and conferences won't matter until enough individual people start pressuring Congress to do something.

Posted by: kwo on December 13, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Laughing my ass off at the moron above invoking the precautionary principal to excuse continuing the global CO2 release experiment.

Posted by: Disputo on December 13, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

How I do love junebug.

And y81 sounds like Will Allen on decaf.

Posted by: shortstop on December 13, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Gore has done what liberal Democrats have tended increasingly to do- go abroad and trash their own country.

Me thinks you need a refresher on Nationalism vs. Patiotism.

Posted by: Simp on December 13, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

John Hansen your completely full of shit. Why do anything that might involve planning for the future. Wow the raging ignorance of your statemnt reminds me of that scene in The Poseiden Adventure where the people get talked into staying in the ballroom.

Posted by: Gandalf on December 13, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Wow the raging ignorance of your statemnt reminds me of that scene in The Poseiden Adventure where the people get talked into staying in the ballroom.

Not bad, but in JH's version he refuses to allow anyone in the ballroom to have sex on their final night on earth. Plus, he looks like Shelley Winters from the original PA.

Posted by: shortstop on December 13, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

If you just ignore (or make excuses for, or whatever) China and India you are not serious about fighting global warming.

No one is ignoring China and India, but the reality is that until we own our shit, it's pretty rich of us to tell others to deal with theirs.

Plus our emissions still dwarf those of India and China along historic and population distributions. We need to be more honest about that, too.

Posted by: Caitlin on December 13, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

MHR- Al Gore is reminding the world that not everyone i the US is an incurious creationist hill-billy that panders to Big Oil.
That's not bashing America, that's bashing this administartion. 99% of the world & and 49% of this country are intelligent enough to make that distinction. Apparently you are not one of them.

Posted by: cboss on December 13, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Also, why should the U.S. sign up for binding limits that won't apply to China and India?

Why should I obey binding state law against rape, robbery and murder if some other people in my neighborhood won't?

Posted by: Stefan on December 13, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

dr2chase, the United States has cut its birthrate quite dramatically, to below replacement level.

This is simply false. The US birthrate is not below replacement level. If you claim otherwise, please provide a cite.

Posted by: Stefan on December 13, 2007 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

I was happy to see today's headline of Gore's complaint. I was disappointed with his Nobel acceptance speech, which was pretty soft compared to President Carter's.

The world should turn its back to W.Bush America. Nothing can change it.

Posted by: Brojo on December 13, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

We do not understand enough about the problem to take effective action right now.

Being married to someone who does actual research related to climate change, I can objectively and honestly say that Gandalf is right. You are completely full of crap.

But I'd like to thank you for statements such as:
Notice that most GW predictions are about projected catastrophes 30, 40 or even 50 years off. Now walk backwards in history and visit newspaper articles of those times.

They display what utter and complete ignorance you have on the issue. Its entertaining, to say the least.

Posted by: Simp on December 13, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, thank you for commenting on the Bali conference.

John Hansen wrote: "We do not understand enough about the problem to take effective action right now ... We do not understand enough about the causes to make an intelligent choice on how to proceed."

That is simply false.

The problem of anthropogenic global warming is well understood -- it is basic physics, thoroughly validated by empirical observation. We know more than enough about the causes -- and about the already observed effects -- to make an intelligent choice on how to proceed.

We need to proceed as quickly as possible to halt and reverse the growth of carbon emissions within at most 7 years, and then phase out fossil fuels and transition to a decarbonized economy based on clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar, thereby reducing emissions to near zero by the middle of the century. This is a challenge, but we know how to do it. We also need to draw down the excess CO2 we have already emitted into the atmosphere, since the current elevated levels are already causing dangerous changes to the Earth's climate, hydrosphere and biosphere. And this can be done through reforestation and carbon-capturing agricultural techniques.

John Hansen wrote: "As was well put by some scientists, 'Have the courage to do nothing.'"

The scientists who say that are either cranks or dishonest hacks in the pay of the fossil fuel corporations. They are in denial of reality.

The overwhelming majority of the world's scientists -- including formal statements from literally every scientific organization in the world that deals with anything related to the issue -- are calling for urgent, aggressive action against anthropogenic climate change and warning of disastrous consequences if we fail to act soon.

John Hansen wrote: "There are so many more pressing problems to put resources into that would do so much more to alleviate suffering."

Your crocodile tears for the suffering are not convincing and in any case you are wrong to suggest that mitigating global warming is in competition with other steps to reduce human suffering.

Every single international organization that works to promote economic development and relieve poverty in the developing world has said that global warming threatens to undermine and thwart their work, and lead to unimaginable suffering and impoverishment for billions of people.

Not one single such organization has complained that putting resources into mitigating global warming is taking resources away from their work; in fact they say the exact opposite, urging the rich industrialized world to reduce its emissions as an absolutely essential step towards reducing world poverty and human suffering.

Moreover, while the Bush administration's negotiators are refusing to agree to any binding targets for the rich industrial nation to reduce their emissions, they are also refusing to agree to any binding commitment to provide funds to the poor developing nations -- who will experience the most devastating brunt of the climate change caused by the rich countries' cumulative emissions -- either for the transfer of clean energy technologies or for assistance with adapting to the climate change that is already inevitable.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 13, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Who cares about "historic or population standards?" You are simply making excuses for two big polluters. China is now the biggest emitter of CO2.

Bullshit. India, China and the U.S. are using this as an idiot crutch to not take action.

I can't take the moral high ground until you actually take the moral high ground.

Posted by: Simp on December 13, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Whenever Al Gore is involved, all of the Bush-bootlicking, weak-minded, ignorant, neo-brownshirt dupes of right-wing mental slavery start frothing and spewing their scripted Republican Party drivel, but the fact is that this is not a partisan issue.

One of the strongest stances on the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions by any head of government in the world is that of Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is a genuine world leader on this issue, and he and the Democratic-majority California legislature working together have made their state a positive example for the entire world to follow in addressing global warming.

And several Senate Republicans, including Presidential candidate John McCain, have acknowledged the importance of the issue and proposed legislation requiring mandatory emissions reductions at the national level.

The Cheney / Bush administration, along with a handful of Congressional Republicans like Senator Inhofe, who are nothing more than bought-and-paid-for agents of the fossil fuel corporations, are increasingly isolated on this issue, even within the Republican Party.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 13, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Its not paranoia if its true.

Posted by: Captain on December 13, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

elrapido wrote: "You are one paranoid whackjob, SA."

That was one content-free post, elrapido.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 13, 2007 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

[Trolling deleted]

Posted by: elrapido on December 13, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

[Trolling deleted]

Posted by: elrapido on December 13, 2007 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a hypothesis, since we're talking about paranoia. The bushies not only deny global warming (then point out that global cooling was predicted in the 70's, then assert that humans aren't causing GW, then finally say "India blah blah"), but they actually have a vested interest in disastrous climate change occuring. The flooding of coastal cities, drought, etc., are going to cost lots of money to fight. And there will be a few well-connected companies in place to snap up those no-bid contracts. I can see it on the business cards: "Blackwater, providing security and humanitarian aid to flooded cities since 2013." The rich keep getting richer at the public's expense, and "patriotic" americans like Al and John Hansen have to put on a brave face and defend their leaders ever more vigorously as reality encroaches. But they'll never be taken alive.

Considering the last 8 years, we're not paranoid enough.

Posted by: Captain on December 13, 2007 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

John Hansen at 12:51 PM

We do not understand enough about the problem to take effective action right now.
That is a flat out error.
As was well put by some scientists, "Have the courage to do nothing."
While that worked for Coolidge, no serious scientists advocates such a stupid notion concerning global climate change.
There are so many more pressing problems to put resources into that would do so much more to alleviate suffering.
But Republicans do nothing about those either.
I will make one reasonable attempt at awaking some rational response from the GW fanatics.
In regards to climate change, causes and trend lines are clear. Computer models show the probable results of various actions or non-actions. You are being neither reasonable nor honest yourself.
…. At least, DO NO HARM. Do not strap down the worlds economies with useless restrictions….
Our current energy policies are causing harm. The only change called for is cleaner energy which, even without global climate change, would make life better for people. Cleaner air, cleaner water have long been American policy and have not hurt the economy.

…That's why an agreement to cut CO2 emissions is doomed to fail. ex-lax at 1:07 PM

To Republicans, failure is the overarching goal, not a consequence of ineffective policy which could be changed for better results.

Posted by: Mike on December 13, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Start using your brains on this issue and do not be afraid to agree with a conservative." Posted by: John Hansen on December 13, 2007 at 12:51 PM

...do not be afraid to agree with a conservative...

I would like to save my agreement for that conservative who will admit that the GOP is not an island unto its precious self.

Given that pollution on our planet, issuing from a horrific variety of sources, many of them corporate, is not being effectively dealt with utilizing the laws we already have, actually makes all of this verbal tennis about global warming pointless.

Even if our government spent its time working up dictates for steming CO2 emissions, so what? If vagueness or loop-holes aren't built in to whatever does actually get passed into law, then the agency tasked with oversight and enforcement of same will be slowly choked into ineffectiveness by lack of funds, lack of manpower, and/or unsympathetic management.

Natural resources are being bought by corporations. Other industries continue to pullute unabashedly through the federal loop-holes our government provides for them, and do we ship our electronic garbage to third-world countries for their benefit?

We don't use the laws, tools, and knowledge we have now to slow or stop the other kinds of pollution this earth swallows at our behest. Another set of laws? What will that accomplish beyond the photo-ops for self-important politicians and some busy work for our dear legislators.

Debating global warming seems to me to be wasting time better spent on reduction of already well-known pollutants, closing polluter loop holes, and enforcing the hundreds of laws we already have to protect the environment.

Posted by: Zit on December 13, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

This is an honest plea to the [neocons]. Please stop wasting your effort on Global [Warmongering]. We do not understand enough about the problem to take effective action right now. As was well put by [most Democrats], "Have the courage to do [diplomacy].

The time has come to abandon the GW bandwagon

I did that the moment he took office, Jan 2001.

Posted by: ckelly on December 13, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

I did that the moment he took office, Jan 2001.

Cracking up picturing ckelly cheerfully wearing a "Tippecanoe and Bushie II" straw boater right up until the inauguration, then promptly throwing it into a snowbank in disgust.

Posted by: shortstop on December 13, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

elrapido wrote: "You are one paranoid whackjob, SA."

Pretty rich coming from a probable supporter of the Administration that gave us the 1% doctrine.

Posted by: ckelly on December 13, 2007 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Please stop wasting your effort on Global Warming. We do not understand enough about the problem to take effective action right now. Hanson @ 12:51

That is the stupidest thing you have ever offered on these threads, and you have offered some really stupid wingnuttery.

Take a doctors oath "do no harm" approach, and DO NOTHING???

You are barking fucking mad, and that is likely an understatement. What sort of horrible things could happen if we clean up the air and water and soil? What terrible consequences might stem from environmental responsibility? Jesus Christ, I can't believe I even bother with you, your blinders are so firmly in place and you are so fearful of the realization that your whole life has been spectacularly wrong that you come here to lecture your intellectual betters on the virtues of trying to rewind time. Clocks turn forward, dude, that's why in the end, forward looking progressives will always win out over backward looking conservatives. The whole effort of conservatism is, by definition, futile.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 13, 2007 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks BG, that was beautiful!

Doing things the way we used-to is bound to create problems as conditions change.

"The only constant is change."

Posted by: slanted tom on December 13, 2007 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

What sort of horrible things could happen if we clean up the air and water and soil? What terrible consequences might stem from environmental responsibility?

It's a common error to think that reducing CO2 is always equivalent to cleaning up the air, water and soil. That's sometimes correct, e.g., better-milage vehicles reduce CO2 and reduce other pollutants. It certainly makes sense to take these steps.

However, the most practical way to significantly reduce CO2 emissions is to build many nuclear reactors all over the world and use nuclear power, rather than coal and oil, to generate electricity. Such a move would substantially reduce CO2 emissions, but the disposal of nuclear waste could make the soil and water more polluted.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 13, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

The Dec. 6, 2007 International Journal of Climatogy contains an article titled "A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions." The authors compared actual observed temperatures at 5 km and 8 km in the tropical troposphere with the temperature trends predicted by the global warming computer model.

The authors found that the actual temperature trends were dramatically (100-300%) different from the modelled trend. The lead author says, "The observed pattern of warming, comparing surface and atmospheric temperature trends, does not show the characteristic fingerprint associated with greenhouse warming. The inescapable conclusion is that the human contribution is not significant and that observed increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases make only a negligible contribution to climate warming."

Now this is just one set of data points that is inconsistent with the global warming computer model. It's possible that these scientists made a mistake in their measurements or in their interpretation of the data. It's also possible that the global warming computer model is flawed. There may be other data points that are consistent with the global warming computer model. I'm not a scientist, but I do know that science does not permit research just to be swept under the rug because it doesn't support a popular conclusion. Real scientists aren't wedded to conclusions but go where the data goes.

Posted by: DBL on December 13, 2007 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

We gotta stop googling and blogging.

http://www.govtech.com/gt/102970?id=&story_pg=1

Posted by: Luther on December 13, 2007 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

As I absolutely refuse to engage with you on any level, ex-liberal, I would appreciate if you would refrain from quoting me directly.

I still have no desire to speak to anyone who openly advocates Constitutional abrogation. I took an oath to protect this country from people like you, in fact. So far as I am concerned, those who advocate subverting the Constitution constitute one of those "enemies...domestic."

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 13, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

DBL, the climatologists at RealClimate recently addressed that paper. I recommend that you take a look at their dissection of the report.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/tropical-troposphere-trends/#more-509

Posted by: Caitlin on December 13, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, I guess Al forgot about Rio already...I mean, that was a long time ago, right?

Posted by: parrot on December 13, 2007 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

Re; birthrates.

We cut our birthrate (not below replacement) through economic growth and more choices for women. Economic growth tends to require energy -- China took that alarming step of cutting birthrate before growth by capping the number of children a family may have.

They've taken their giant step, and we've done very little. I would not expect them to take on yet another round of sacrifices until we do something substantial ourselves. It is absurd to expect China to permanently accept a lower standard of living; they will find a way to grow their economy, and broadly speaking there's not too many choices --
- we could be a little less gluttonous, and the two countries converge somewhere in the middle;
- we could find some way to live as well as we do without consuming so much energy
- we could trash the world-wide economy, which is another way to reduce energy consumption.
- we could fuck up the planet by doing nothing and burning all the coal we can dig out of the ground. We're going to get warmer, and sea levels will rise. But they could rise a little, or they could rise a lot, and it could get a little warmer, or a lot warmer, or we could push things into completely unknown territory.
- one of these hare-brained climate-modification schemes might work. Pardon me if Bullwinkle Moose keeps running through my head, "This time, for sure!"

That, as near as I can tell, is it. The rest of the world is not going to permanently accept second-class status, and one way or another things will even out.

Posted by: dr2chase on December 14, 2007 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

Why wait for next year? buy your own CO2 offsets right now. You believe in CO2 reduction don't you?

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on December 14, 2007 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

Surprisingly, the US has done an excellent job of holding down CO2 emissions -- considerably better than countries that signed Kyoto:

The Kyoto treaty was agreed upon in late 1997 and countries started signing and ratifying it in 1998. A list of countries and their carbon dioxide emissions due to consumption of fossil fuels is available from the U.S. government. If we look at that data and compare 2004 (latest year for which data is available) to 1997 (last year before the Kyoto treaty was signed), we find the following.

* Emissions worldwide increased 18.0%.
* Emissions from countries that signed the treaty increased 21.1%.
* Emissions from non-signers increased 10.0%.
* Emissions from the U.S. increased 6.6%.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/2007/12/019272.php

The US are the good guys. Also noteworthy is that the signers increased CO2 considerably more than the non-signers. The conclusion seems to be that signing the treaty is a meaningless act.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 14, 2007 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal,

However, the most practical way to significantly reduce CO2 emissions is to build many nuclear reactors all over the world and use nuclear power, rather than coal and oil, to generate electricity. Such a move would substantially reduce CO2 emissions, but the disposal of nuclear waste could make the soil and water more polluted.

Well it's hardly the "most practical" then, is it?

Your comment negates itself.

Posted by: electroglodyte on December 14, 2007 at 2:29 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal wrote: "the most practical way to significantly reduce CO2 emissions is to build many nuclear reactors all over the world and use nuclear power, rather than coal and oil, to generate electricity."

This is false. You don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about.

I realize that it is useless to engage with your weak-minded, ignorant, slavish regurgitation of scripted right-wing propaganda, but here are the facts.

Nuclear power is the least practical, least effective, most expensive, and most dangerous way to reduce CO2 emissions from the generation of electricity.

A 2003 study by MIT -- which advocated an expansion of nuclear electricity generation -- found that an aggressive expansion program tripling the world's nuclear electricity generating capacity by 2050 would only slightly increase nuclear's share of electricity generation, from 17 percent to 19 percent. And this could only be achieved through hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies and guarantees (which are the kind of government welfare handouts that Republicans love, of course), while creating enormous dangers from toxic waste, nuclear terrorism and nuclear weapons proliferation.

Moreover, because it takes years to build a nuclear power plant, it would be decades before this huge nuclear buildup would have any significant effect on global carbon emissions.

Nuclear power can perhaps make a modest contribution to reducing the growth of carbon emissions from electricity generation, to the extent that new nuclear power plants "replace" new coal-fired power plants yet to be built. If nuclear plants "replace" yet-to-be-built natural gas-fired power plants, there is little benefit because the total lifecycle carbon emissions (including the mining, refining and transport of fuel) from nuclear are comparable to those from natural gas.

But whatever modest benefit in reducing carbon emissions nuclear might offer is gained at enormous cost -- consuming resources that would more effectively be applied elsewhere -- and enormous risk.

By FAR, the most practical, cost effective and -- crucially -- fastest way to reduce CO2 emissions is conservation, elimination of waste (particularly in the USA) and the full deployment of new efficiency technologies.

And as to new sources of energy, solar photovoltaic and wind generation of electricity are the fastest growing energy sources in the world, growing at double-digit rates and far outstripping nuclear power, without demanding the hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer handouts that the nuclear industry insists are a prerequisite for building any new nuclear power plants.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2007 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

DBL wrote: "The Dec. 6, 2007 International Journal of Climatogy contains an article titled "A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions." The authors compared actual observed temperatures at 5 km and 8 km in the tropical troposphere with the temperature trends predicted by the global warming computer model."

As a previous commenter mentioned, the paper you refer to has been analyzed by the team of climate scientists who run the RealClimate.org website.

They concluded that the paper was deeply flawed by "over-confidence in observational accuracy and a lack of appreciation of short term statistics", writing "... there is no clear model-data discrepancy in tropical tropospheric trends once you take the systematic uncertainties in data and models seriously ... Douglass et al's claim to the contrary is simply unsupportable."

DBL wrote: "The authors found that the actual temperature trends were dramatically (100-300%) different from the modelled trend. The lead author says, 'The observed pattern of warming, comparing surface and atmospheric temperature trends, does not show the characteristic fingerprint associated with greenhouse warming. The inescapable conclusion is that the human contribution is not significant and that observed increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases make only a negligible contribution to climate warming.'"

The quote that you attribute to the "lead author" of the report misrepresents the actual conclusions of the paper. The paper itself does not even contend that "the human contribution is not significant and that observed increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases make only a negligible contribution to climate warming." It merely contends that existing climate models do not accurately predict the different relative rates of warming of different layers of the atmosphere over the tropics -- and according to the RealClimate analysis, the paper fails to prove even that narrow conclusion. The paper in no way even attempts to challenge the overwhelming consensus of the entire world climate science community that observed human emissions of CO2 are driving the observed rapid and extreme warming of the Earth.

This study is already being widely touted by people who get their "climate science" from Rush Limbaugh and right-wing blogs as "proving" that anthropogenic global warming is a "hoax". Of course, scientists cannot prevent their work from being misrepresented and distorted by ideologically-driven frauds and liars, but if the lead author actually made the statement that you attribute to him, then he is aiding and abetting such misrepresentation and distortion by engaging in shocking scientific dishonesty.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2007 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Look, there aren't any surprises here - we know that the US position is mandated by a retarded, warmongering oil pimp, so that's not going to change of its own accord.

What frustrates me (as a European) is the message that we can't do anything about it. Europe is perfectly capable of imposing trade sanctions on any nation which doesn't sign up to Kyoto or subsequent treaties. WTO? Fine, we'll leave that. Not a problem.

It would hurt Europe a fair bit, but it would turn America's current economic woes into their own personal black plague. As for the Chinese, good luck averting a revolution when a third of your export industry collapses, and India? Look forward to seeing the unemployment queues of tens of thousands of ex-call centre operators.

It's high time we stopped whining about other people's behaviour and did something about it ourselves.

Oh, and I do apologise in advance to my American friends, as they're all Democrats (de facto, because I met them outside the continental US - the only Republicans I've met outside the US are either in uniform or have one in their luggage)

Finally, ex-liberal - increasing CO2 output by a lower percentage isn't actually of a cause to celebrate when your per-head output is already monumentally bigger than anyone else's. It's like claiming to have become a more responsible serial killer because you've slowed to one or two hitch-hikers a year.

Posted by: Ally on December 14, 2007 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal wrote: "The US are the good guys."

The "good guys" include numerous governors of US states -- including in particular the Republican governor of California, a genuine world leader on the issue of climate change -- and the numerous mayors of major US cities who have undertaken aggressive policies to reduce carbon emissions from their jurisdictions, and the US legislators -- including some Republican Senators -- who have proposed legislation to mandate national reductions in emissions.

The "bad guys" are Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and other principals of the Bush administration, who for years have dishonestly sought to deny the reality of global warming by censoring US scientists and allowing oil industry lobbyists to rewrite US reports on global warming, who for years have lied to the American people about the economics of reducing carbon emissions, and who through their negotiators at Bali are actively working to destroy any possibility of a new global treaty to prevent catastrophic climate change while simultaneously refusing to provide any assistance to developing nations who will suffer the most devastating effects of the climate change caused by the rich industrialized nations' cumulative emissions, which are responsible for the overwhelming majority of excess atmospheric CO2 and the dangerous global warming that is already occurring, right now, today.

This is not a partisan issue. There are many Republicans who are on the right side of this issue -- in favor of mandatory, serious reductions in carbon emissions. The corrupt Cheney/Bush administration, and other bought-and-paid-for liars like Senator Inhofe, who serve the interests of their ultra-rich cronies and financial backers in the fossil fuel corporations and not the interests of the American people, are increasingly isolated -- not only internationally, but within the US, and even within the Republican Party.

Of course it is not surprising to see where Bush-bootlicking, propaganda-regurgitating mental slaves like "ex-liberal" stand on this issue.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2007 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

IMHO, SecularAnimist, the good guys are people like you and me, who bought high-milage cars and keep our thermostats set low in the winter. The good guys are automobile manufacturers, who developed vehicles that run more efficiently. The good guys are businesses that found ways to operate with greater efficiency.

The politiicians and pontificators will take credit and assign blame, but I don't buy it. In my book, the good guys are the doers, not the talkers.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 14, 2007 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

the latest from Bali:

"The small group of ministers and high-level officials has reportedly brokered a deal just after 2:00 am local time. The text would start a Bali roadmap leading to a post-2012 agreement in Copenhagen in 2009. The roadmap would include a "twin-track" process under the Convention and the Protocol. However, the deal still needs to be considered by all parties in plenary starting at 8:00 am tomorrow."

(from the

Posted by: Disputo on December 14, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

If loss of profit is one of the worries of the energy drudges, then perhaps they need to think a bit out of their comfort box. Rather than having people dependent on an enormous centralized power source that doles out energy as needed and of course, paid for, think of the jobs that would be created installing solar, wind and water power in homes and businesses. For a monthly fee, the current electrical plants could be performing maintenance as necessary and providing back up energy as well. They already have the face of and public trust as energy providers to assist in their evolution. The profit margin would be saved, jobs created, environment improved and they could get truckloads of PR making them sound like global warming saviours. Everyone wins. Woo-hoo.

Posted by: curiodog on December 16, 2007 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK
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