Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 14, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

BALI BUFFOONERY....I realize that diplomacy and sausage making aren't always pretty, but the latest "compromise" at the Bali climate talks is about as ridiculous as anything I've seen in a long time:

Talks had been deadlocked all week by U.S. insistence on the removal of a passage in the document's preamble mandating that industrialized countries reduce their emissions 25% to 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.

....A compromise proposed by Indonesian Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar makes the controversial targets footnotes to the preamble, a move that seems to have satisfied both sides.

"This is a compromise. We can live with this," said German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

The U.S. also seemed pleased. "We can live with the preamble," said chief U.S. negotiator Harlan Watson.

Italics mine. Why not just put the numbers in hexadecimal and then rejoice at all the progress we've made?

Kevin Drum 9:34 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (80)

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Comments

The terrorists have won if we are forced to agree to specific climate change targets. C'mon, everybody knows that, including those Euro fellow travelers.

Don't you worry, though, Preznit Huck will use Chuck Norris' third fist to clean up the climate.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on December 14, 2007 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, the Bush administration is going to treat these footnotes with as much respect as they did the footnotes in the origingal, unedited Iraq NIE.

Posted by: Cheney's Third Nipple on December 14, 2007 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

If there is only a 10% chance of a threat...

Oh, wait, that only applies to Scary Brown People.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on December 14, 2007 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

It bothers mne that it's the "U.S." that is said to be doing this, when in fact it's a very small part of the country that's doing it. On every major issue, from global warming and general environmental issues, to Iraq, to Iran, the minority view of this country is enacting policy. It's almost as if the country is being run by a dictator, who is able to operate with absolutely no consideration for the views of the people he rules.

Posted by: Martin Gale on December 14, 2007 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I guess you just haven't been initiated into the gentlemanly practice of the P1$$ing Contest. It doesn't matter what the issue is, the most important thing -- the only thing -- is to see the other side give in.

Posted by: idlemind on December 14, 2007 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Barring technological change, these targets aren't going to be met anyway, so who cares?

Posted by: Adam on December 14, 2007 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

Why not put the numbers in base 2 and watch the the US delegation members have heart attacks?

Note 7: By 2020 all industrialized countries will lower their carbon emissions by 110101010%

Posted by: pj in jesusland on December 14, 2007 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

Preamble may not be that bad. If the D's win big in 08, we will likely do a Rudd, and quickly enact it. Meanwhile until then, we will do nothing. I don't think anyone had any expectations that the US could be brought on board. Like most of the recent Bush outrages, my reaction has become Ho-hum, I didn't expect it to be any different. At least my worldview (and administration view) seems in no danger of being upset.

Posted by: bigTom on December 14, 2007 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Kev, this isn't as ridiculous as it seems. Everyone understands that the GWB admin pays no attention to footnotes, but the assumption is that the next admin will abide by it. In other words, the rest of the world got GWB to sign-off on an agreement that he can live with through the rest of his admin, and the world can live with after that. That's the best anyone could have hoped for.

Posted by: Disputo on December 14, 2007 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

I see bigtom beat me to it.

Posted by: Disputo on December 14, 2007 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

What an embarrassment. How does it feel to be out of step with 99% of humanity? Like the Village Idiot perhaps? The Disgustometer just lurched upwards again. Time to cull the herd. Volunteers?

Posted by: anon on December 14, 2007 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

The US has now fully enacted its transformation into the Evil Empire.

Posted by: rabbit on December 14, 2007 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Let me give the mike over to Yvonne Ypsilanti-Cruikshank:

"And then we come to the Bali conference. When, years from now, you have to look into the eyes of your impoverished grandchild, standing there in soiled, tattered clothes, and try to explain to him why he must be consigned to utter destitution, mention to him the name of "Bali" second only to Kyoto in the annals of hackneyed, globalist socialistic scams. Tell him that Mr. Ban Ki Moon and Al Snore sold your country down the river, ripped up our capitalist traditions and replaced them with gutter hippie sham morality. It's high time we stopped letting these environmentalists push us around!" [reprinted with permission]

Pretty damming, eh?

Posted by: egbert on December 14, 2007 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

BigTom -- Yeah, your Democratic President and what Senate? The one led, er, 'somethinged' by Harry Reid? The guy who makes Daschle look like he had a spine?

Oh that's right I'm so sorry. Kthxbye

Posted by: anonymous on December 14, 2007 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

egbert, that is the funniest damned thing I have ever read. I am doubled over, tears are streaming and I have a stitch in my side from laughing at the sheer histrionics that came up with that overwrought imagery. (I'm seeing one of those those paintings of the kids with the oversized eyes, come to life.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 15, 2007 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

It's funny how America's "Greatest Generation" gave birth to the most worthless and amoral generation in our nation's history.

The Greatest Generation was born into the prosperity of the Roaring Twenties, suffered through the Great Depression, and went on to save the world for from fascism. And not only didn't they brag about it, they rarely talked about it even if hard pressed.

A tiny fraction of their children were sincere crusaders for Civil Rights, gender equality, and governmental accountability. But the overwhelming majority were really just spoiled, selfish, amoral hypocrites who were only in it for the easy drugs and free sex. They turned right around and voted for Reagan and became one of the greediest and most self-centered generations ever. And they're the ones have been leading the way towards the destruction of our planet. Apparently they place a higher value on driving gas guzzling SUVs than they do saving the planet for destruction for their children.

Why not bundle Social Security, Medicare and the Kyoto treaty all in one bill. You wanna torpedo the last ditch efforts to save the planet from destruction? Well, fine, then don't come complaining when you're suffering a crippling disease while homeless on the streets.

But maybe your grandchildren will show you some mercy, despite the devastated planet you passed on to them, and put you up in concentration camps.

I know it sounds extreme, but that's only because your brain has been pre-programmed to doubt and devalue the threat of Global Warming to the point where it's merely a political abstraction. Otherwise it should be a pretty obvious that saving the planet for its nearly 7 billion inhabitants is more important than the lives of a tiny fraction of its inhabitants (70 million Baby Boomers). Or perhaps you're just like the Baby Boomers and you think they're more important than anyone and everything else, including the world.

Posted by: Augustus on December 15, 2007 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

Most other press coverage of this describes it differently: the US insisted on the removal of numerical targets and they were removed. See for example this other LA Times article:

U.S. prevails on climate draft, Ban says

So it must have been more than just moving it to a footnote -- the language making the targets binding must have been changed.

Interestingly, this compromise (seen by many as a victory for Bush) may have been the result of Gore's speech. The NY Times says:

Coincidentally or not, the mood shifted after a speech on Thursday by former Vice President Al Gore... After declaring that the United States was “principally responsible for obstructing progress” in Bali, he urged delegates to agree to an open-ended deal that could be enhanced after President Bush left office.
Posted by: JS on December 15, 2007 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

"Preamble may not be that bad. If the D's win big in 08, we will likely do a Rudd, and quickly enact it. "

This is hilarious. You need to get out more. Rudd's first act as PM was to back away from his campaign promises. This is all fluff. The Europeans know better than to try to implement their promises. It's all about trying cripple the US.

Posted by: Mike K on December 15, 2007 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

It's all about trying cripple the US.

Paranoid wingnuttery at its finest... Yep, Mike, we're all out to get ya. Booga booga!

Posted by: snicker-snack on December 15, 2007 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Augustus -- competing with egbert for shear over-the-top unintentional hilarity, are we?

They must be having a pancake supper for trolls next door.

Posted by: idlemind on December 15, 2007 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

The Europeans know better than to try to implement their promises. It's all about trying cripple the US.

You have to give American Conservatives credit for having the most developed and hyperactive paranoia and persecution complexes in the world. Yes, everybody is out to destroy the US, even the Europeans.

Um, the United States states is one of the primary economic engines in the world and is routinely leaned upon by the Europe and Asia in times of economic downturns to help keep the world economy afloat. When the US economy shivers, other regions risk catching colds. Outside of the Taliban, al Qaida, and the Bush administration, nobody is crazy enough to want to hurt the American economy.

The weakness in the US dollar, for example, is caused almost exclusively by the explosive increases in deficit spending by the Bush administration. When all is said and done, Bush will have added more debt than all of the other administrations in the history of our nation combined. And almost all of that debt from three Republicans - Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II.

But you know what would be worse than the economic consequences of having to conserve on our consumption of carbon emitting fossil fuels? Destroying the planet because we couldn't conserve our consumption of carbon emitting fossil fuels.

Just because Conservatives are too stupid and selfish that they'll choose driving an SUV over saving the planet, doesn't mean the rest of the world is out to get you when they advise you to do the right thing.

If we stay on this path, the Global Warming deniers and enablers may yet face an ironically French comeuppance known as the guillotine.

Posted by: Augustus on December 15, 2007 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

Augustus -- competing with egbert for shear over-the-top unintentional hilarity, are we?

Strangely I don't see the humor in the harm the baby boom generation has done both to this country in terms of crippling debt or to the world for their disproportionate share of melting the planet's ice caps. Perhaps you're one of little Neros from that generation who enjoys fiddling while the world burns, but we all know how well that ended up for him personally and for his reputation (a reputation so bad that it has survived two millennia despite an interceding period of illiteracy known as the Dark Ages).

Sure, there are plenty of good members among the Baby Boomers, but as a collective whole their greed and willful indifference to the fate of the planet itself will echo through the centuries.

Oh sure, they could still probably do something, but we all know what their preferred modus operandi of these spoiled, worthless brats: take the easiest path and vilify anybody who dares to impugn them.

The Death of Planet Earth - brought to you by the Baby Boom Generation and generations donations by Exxon Mobile.

Posted by: Augustus on December 15, 2007 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

Every day another tragedy in the news associated with GW. Today I read about the deaths of thousands of walruses in late summer, early fall of this year. Unlike seals, walruses can't swim for indefinite periods of time. No Arctic Sea ice, no walruses. I don't want to live in a world of only humans. I'm honestly glad I'm heading into my sixties. With any sort of luck I'll be out of here before the worst hits.

Posted by: nepeta on December 15, 2007 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

Augustus - There is no reason to 'blame' any particular generation for global warming. I'm curious, though, about Al Gore's professor being onto it in the 1960s. What stopped the scientific community from taking a serious look much sooner than they did? Was there any concerted effort to stop the research like what we've seen from interested parties in the last ten years?

Posted by: nepeta on December 15, 2007 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

ok!!
电加热器

Posted by: ww on December 15, 2007 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

Hexadecimal? Get with the program, Kevin. It's octal you want to use.

Posted by: Quiddity on December 15, 2007 at 2:47 AM | PERMALINK

Otherwise it should be a pretty obvious that saving the planet for its nearly 7 billion inhabitants is more important than the lives of a tiny fraction of its inhabitants (70 million Baby Boomers). Or perhaps you're just like the Baby Boomers and you think they're more important than anyone and everything else, including the world.

Personally, I think that saving that planet for its trillions of non-human inhabitants is more important than the lives of 7 billion humans.

Posted by: Disputo on December 15, 2007 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

The beauty, strength and power of the polar bear cannot match the doom of carbon dioxide.

Posted by: Brojo on December 15, 2007 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta

The scientific tools and data just didn't exist to make firm conclusions before the late 1980s. However people have been speculating about global warming since the 1930s (and indeed since the 19th century). Also the planet has decisively started to heat up in the last 25 years, beyond what natural phenomena can explain.

http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

If you read this (there is a summary, but the whole book is excellent, either online or in paperback) then you will see that Arrhenius considered the question of global warming at the end of the 19th century.

However he concluded human industrial activity would never be so great as to actually cause a problem: a theoretical nicety at best.

Ironically our efforts to clean up the atmosphere in the 1970s by reducing smog emissions, removed a (temporary) block on global warming, the emission of SO2 into the atmosphere.

Posted by: Valuethinker on December 15, 2007 at 4:34 AM | PERMALINK

The Bushies are as good at diplomacy as they are at predicting which countries have active nuclear weapons programs,

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on December 15, 2007 at 7:12 AM | PERMALINK

The point is for everyone to save face and for the Europeans to have signalled, that they're tired of American initiatives to sit around and talk some more.
One side and that side being the Bush administration actually standing up and saying they were wrong and changing their position wasn't in the cards, and to the extent it's anyone's fault (not sure it is) it's that of the American people in 2000 and 2004.

Posted by: markus on December 15, 2007 at 7:13 AM | PERMALINK

Augustus - There is no reason to 'blame' any particular generation for global warming.

No, of course not, why should we start holding the Baby Boomers accountable for anything now? Sure, they're the ones who are in power - in politics, in big business, and in the voting booth - and the ones calling the shots to deny the existence of Global Warming and/or to kill any efforts to do something about it... but why hold them accountable for their actions?

The Baby Boomers themselves have perpetrated the romantic mythology that they were political activists and champions of great causes. For example, that generation prides itself on stopping the war in Vietnam and putting an end to the American-led genocide. Except the awkward reality is that the primary motivation for the protests was entirely selfish: they were protesting the draft. The protests quickly faded away once the draft was abolished.

So where are all of these Baby Boombers, the self-proclaimed champions of great causes, now? As a group, they don't really give a sh*t about their kids (yet alone grandkids), not really. Oh sure, they love their kids, but not enough to show the tiniest inkling of self-restraint and pass along a fiscally sound government and economy. They've taken their kids/grandkids credit cards and spent lavishly on themselves and will leave future generations deeply in debt to the Chinese and Saudis (the two countries that are least likely to have America's best interests at heart). And now they're doing far worse to the planet. And they know it and can't be bothered to do anything about it. Maybe if someone promised free sex, drugs and rock and roll at the protests they might show up (but probably not, since retirement communities are statistically more promiscuous than teenagers).

They've never had to sacrifice before or take any real responsibility for anything, ever - but man oh man do they think the world of themselves. Sorry, but the romantic myths about that generation are a complete and total fraud. And their hypocrisy and inaction is at the heart of the destruction of this Republic and our planet.

Posted by: Augustus on December 15, 2007 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

So where are all of these Baby Boombers, the self-proclaimed champions of great causes, now?

They are getting old and getting ready to retire. When they do, they will start consuming less Stuff™ and do everybody a big favor. The generations coming behind them entering their prime working years will not be consuming as much Stuff™ as the boomers did, but it isn't because their attitude is different-it's because they won't be able to. It isn't the generation that's the problem, it's the post-WWII "produce-consume" paradigm that will have to change.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 15, 2007 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

BS, Augustus. The first baby boomer to be President was Bill Clinton in 1992. The real turn to 'conspicuous consumption' was in the 50's, when boomers were being born, and has continued to this day. Atmospheric CO2 started increasing around 1875 when industrialization began on a large scale. Although many environmental problems arising from excess consumption have been of great concern, mostly those deriving from pollution of one sort or another, no one knew what was happening in the upper atmosphere. I find that strange, but it's the way it is.

Posted by: nepeta on December 15, 2007 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Doc, I'll become a 'zero energy consumer' in Huckabee's use of the term. Would you call that a euphemism? (grin)

Posted by: nepeta on December 15, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

An interesting quote from Bloomberg:

"The agreement ended a day of drama that saw China's delegation demand an apology from the conference organizer, Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, leave the stage in tears, and the U.S. change its position minutes after being booed for rejecting the recommendations of poorer nations.

``I'm astounded at how that was handled by the U.S.,'' said David Doniger, a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official who's now climate policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. ``They were completely isolated and it just shows how much the world wants a new face from the U.S. on global warming.''

Posted by: nepeta on December 15, 2007 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Doesn`t hexadecimal make numbers look smaller to everyone with base10 goggles? I would go for binary. This may also be an explanation for Huckabees 100% reduction!!!

Posted by: nian on December 15, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Yea Augustus it's all the fault of the baby boomers. What planet have you been living on? God I hate fucking idiots. I suppose whatever generation you fancy yourself to be a memeber of is currently working feverishly to save us all and the planet as well. Oh let's see would that be the generation of mindless video game slackers who vote in such massive numbers that they effect every election in the U.S. WAKE UP ASSHOLE IT'S NOT ANY SPECIFIC GENERATION THAT IS THE PROBLEM. It's greedy corporate bloodsuckers who can never get enough.

Posted by: Gandalf on December 15, 2007 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Nepeta:
The juicy bit is after your cite.
From the telegraph:
"The conference reconvened, but instead of getting closer together, the two sides grew further apart. Saudi Arabia, in what observers assume was a wrecking tactic, supported India and the United States' chief negotiator, Paula Dobriansky, riposted that India's proposed change was something "we are not prepared to accept".

South Africa then made an emotional appeal for the Americans to reconsider their statement – and was supported by delegation after delegation from the developing world while Miss Dobriansky and James Connaughton, President Bush's climate change adviser, talked increasingly animatedly off-microphone.

The killer blow came from the Harvard-educated representative of Papua New Guinea, Kevin Conrad, who used Mr Connaughton's diplomatic gaffe of earlier in the week to humiliate the Americans.

Mr Connaughton had said: "We will lead. We will continue to lead but leadership also requires others to fall in line and follow."

Mr Conrad said, to applause: "If you are not willing to lead, then get out of the way."

Miss Dobriansky finally pressed her button to speak again and said: "We will go forward and join the consensus."


FWIW: the bit of the delegate of New Guinea (20 second applause - at an international conference!) got a lot of play here in the european press.

The reputation of the US abroad going furhter down the gutter. Should you start talking about invading New Guinea?

Posted by: News from abroad on December 15, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

This kind of pettifoggery is an ancient and honored diplomatic position. 30 years ago, for example, it was the US government position that the east germans weren't allowed to stamp the passports of americans traveling from west germany to west berlin (because that was all one country and the roads weren't part of east germany). But it was OK if you used a secondary border station rather than the main one...

Posted by: paul on December 15, 2007 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Th Baby Boomers responsible for the what was good about the Sixties, hippies, free speech, anti-war demonstrations, LSD, etc., were a small minority of that generation. Most Baby Boomers were just like their parents from the 'Greatest Generation,' who were obedient consumers and warriors. Most Baby Boomers, their parents and grandparents supported imperialist conquest to supply them with cheap commodities, goods and labor, and so do their children and grandchildren.

Posted by: Brojo on December 15, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for clearing that up, Brojo. (grin) I'm trying to decide whether Augustus is very, very old or very, very young. Actually I have an internet friend who is in his late 40's and shares Augustus' suspicion of, and apparent contempt for boomers. It appears to be a sentiment that is 'out there.' I was quite surprised when I first ran into it.

Posted by: nepeta on December 15, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert's problem is that he can't evaluate what motivates people to do things outside of his own "the Free Market Rules!"-centric world.

Thus anything that anyone does must have a core financial motivator, I mean, what the hell else is there?

After all, the climate scientists are simply looking to move into the class of the 1%ers

Its pathetic, but pretty damned funny to watch.

Posted by: Simp on December 15, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Valuethinker, Thanks for the link. I'll be interested to read the history.

Posted by: nepeta on December 15, 2007 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Nepata it's just another bull shit reason to divide us.Brojo's pretty much nailed it. Blaming Boomers as a group for anything is just as ignorant as blaming christians or muslims as groups for any perceived wrong.

Posted by: Gandalf on December 15, 2007 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

I was looking at a patent by Puharich [Andrija Puharich: Water Decomposition by AC Electrolysis. US Patent #4394230] for hydrogen production and it looks fairly simple...

Posted by: Ya Know... on December 15, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Augustus wrote: "... the Baby Boomers [are] the ones who are in power [...] and the ones calling the shots to deny the existence of Global Warming and/or to kill any efforts to do something about it [...] So where are all of these Baby Boombers, the self-proclaimed champions of great causes, now?"

Well, you might have heard of one of those Baby Boomers. His name is Al Gore. He recently won a Nobel prize for championing the great cause of stopping global warming.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 15, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Mr Conrad said, to applause: "If you are not willing to lead, then get out of the way."

Thanks to the fools on the hill with their imperial adventures and the falling dollar, borrowing from China, getting out of the way seems unavoidable

Posted by: Ya Know... on December 15, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Wait till you see their signing statement!

Posted by: Bosco on December 15, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose whatever generation you fancy yourself to be a memeber of is currently working feverishly to save us all and the planet as well. Oh let's see would that be the generation of mindless video game slackers...

When the realization finally hits the mainstream and panic sets in, blame will most definitely start to be meted out. Blame will continue to pass down to each successive generation that doesn't do anything to stop the runaway global warming we're starting to see now. As well it should.

Obviously everybody is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. But right now it's the Baby Boomers who have the most sway in this country, and as usual they aren't stepping up to do much of anything, yet alone make any hard decisions or sacrifices.

As for the video game slackers (obviously you don't have a problem with negative generational labels when the target is other generations), demographically they're a hell of a lot more palatable as human beings than Boomers. The younger you go demographically, the less racism, bigotry, homophobia and xenophobia you get. As an aside, they're also more likely to favor rehabilitation instead of imprisonment for non-violent drug crimes (as opposed to Boomers who consumed drugs at a much higher rate, then turned around and supported mandatory minimum laws that can lock up people for 20 to life for non-violent, non-trafficking offenses).

It's the 'do as I say, not as I do' hypocrisy (or false claims of greatness) that make the Baby Boomers so unpalatable as a generation. The alarms are sounding on their watch and yet...?

But I'm not surprised Americans balk at assessing blame even to those who have the most economic and political clout and responsibility. We're not really good at holding those in charge accountable, whether it's CEOs, presidents, or military commanders. America has gone from a nation of pioneers, rugged individualists, and inventors to a nation of me-first consumers who believe that they, as customers, are never ever wrong, and how dare you for even suggesting it.

Blaming Boomers as a group for anything is just as ignorant as blaming christians or muslims as groups for any perceived wrong.

So Christians aren't responsible for the Inquisition, the Crusades, or countless religious wars?

The ugly and honest truth is that people only really complain about collective labels when they are negative. Americans ate up the idea of the "Greatest Generation" but people here are balking at applying that same broad brush to another generation. Sounds hypocritical.

Christians honk their own horns as a collective group with masturbatory regularity. As a recent example, Mitt Romney boasted how the abolition of slavery would not have happened without Christianity - conveniently oblivious to the fact that the slave owners were themselves Christian (and invoked God in their war), or that slavery had been accepted by Christians since biblical times. Sorry Mitt, if credit is due, it would be better directed at the Enlightenment, not Christianity.

I don't care whether you agree with me or not, but for the sake of intellectual consistency if you're going to balk at labeling the Baby Boomers as the 'wost generation' then please also refrain from using other broad labels for groups. You must of course drop all positive, broad sweeping statements about the Baby Boomers, and their parents' ("the Greatest Generation"). You'll also have to stop the broad, sweeping positive statements about Christianity too.

But most will be fine rejecting the broad labels they don't like and retaining the ones they do because most people are hypocrites. The "Greatest Generation" sacrificed tremendously (both at home and abroad) to help rid the world of fascism.

Who wants to take odds that the bulk of the Baby Boomers will go to their graves without having sacrificed much if anything to stop runaway climate change?

Posted by: Augustus on December 15, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Wow augustus. I guess the idea of irony doesn't resonate too well with with you. Your a twit.

Posted by: Gandalf on December 15, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry about the last comment augie but the business about the video game generation was tongue in cheek to draw attention to how simplistic your categorizations are.

Posted by: Gandalf on December 15, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Well, you might have heard of one of those Baby Boomers. His name is Al Gore. He recently won a Nobel prize for championing the great cause of stopping global warming.

And what evidence is there to show Gore is not simply a shining exception to the rule?

I'm a huge fan of Al Gore's and desperately wish he would run. But he isn't. He himself has said the president of the United States would have the most power to effect positive change on Global Warming. And he's not running. This country needs him. The planet needs him. And he's not running.

Why is that, do you think? A cynic might say he's shirking his responsibility (which would tie into my rant about Boomers). Or perhaps the more depressing reality is that his calls to action are falling mostly on deaf ears, or perhaps the problem isn't the ears but the connection from the ears to regions of the brain that put things into action.

Baby Boomers liked Bush so much they elected him twice. And his recent fall in the polls isn't actually a revelation in the voting public that Bush has abused power, violated the Constitution, and damaged our economy - it's war fatigue punctuated by hurricane Katrina.

Posted by: Augustus on December 15, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry about the last comment augie but the business about the video game generation was tongue in cheek to draw attention to how simplistic your categorizations are.

Yes, because nothing indicates subtle humor like CALLING PEOPLE OBSCENE NAMES IN ALL CAPS. Nice try.

So we can all expect you to start making a name for yourself here objecting to instances where people use positive sweeping generalizations too? About, say, Christians? It's the same (il)logic.

Of course that might be a bit awkward if you happened to be both a Christian and a Boomer.

Posted by: Augustus on December 15, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Poor little augie never heard the word asshole before. Go to Lewis Black show dude.

Posted by: Gandalf on December 15, 2007 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

NYTimes leads with the US making these trivial concessions at Bali and plays it as a big turnaround by the Bushies. Sheesh.

Posted by: SqueakyRat on December 15, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Augustus, like every baby-boom basher, thinks everyone who who was born between 1945 and 1960 started out as a leftist or a hippie and then sold out and voted for Reagan. 'Twasn't like that at all, my friend.

Posted by: SqueakyRat on December 15, 2007 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Mike: Barring technological change, these targets aren't going to be met anyway, so who cares?

The technological change is occuring, so the targets might be met. I have posted about technological changes here a lot. Two new items, one on topic, one off topic.

The first large scale cellulosic ethanol plant is about ready to be built, in Georgia, where the transportation infrastructure and a culture of handling wood by-products is already in place. When complete it will manufacture 100 million gallons of ethanol per year, and by the end of 2008 it will be producing at the rate of 20 million gallons per year. Four more are in the planning stage. by a few years from now, the 5 plants will be producing 500 million gallons per year of ethanol from cellulose. the nitrogen-rich residue will be trucked back to the farms and forests to be used as fertilizer.

The city of Carlsbad, on the CA coast, is building a water desalination plant beside one of its power plants on a lagoon. It will use the waste heat from the power plant as its energy source. It will produce at least a few million gallons per day of salt-free water, a non-negligible amount.

And to repeat: the U.S. more than doubled its solar power production over the last 2 years, and will approximately double its solar power in 2008. Production of PB cells, in the U.S. and worldwide, will increase by about a factor of 10 in the next 4 years or so, due to improved technologies and reduce production costs. Production of power from wind is increasing at a somewhat higher rate.

The energy proposal promoted by the Democrats in Congress will probably accelerate these trends at least a little.

This is happening primarily because of increased fuel costs, secondarily by concerns for the environment. There are good reasons to oppose any mandates agreed upon by the delegates to the Bali conference.

Who here besides me has bought his or her CO2 offsets? If you believe in anthropogenic-CO2-induced global warming, shouldn't you buy them soon, and renew every year? The money goes to plant trees, harvest methane (a GHG) from feedlot waste and landfills, finance wind farms, and sequester CO2 for use in industry (cleaning, oil extraction).

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on December 15, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

for up-to-date news about energy technologies, go to

www.technologyreview.com {MIT affiliated}

www.energy-daily.com {mostly business news}

www.nrel.gov {national renewable energy laboratory}

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on December 15, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Just yesterday I signed up for CO2 offsets with my electric company, Pacific Gas & Electric. I need also to find a reliable site to offset other energy use - which includes about 8,000 miles a year on my Toyota Prius. Each of us can do something to help, without the government leading the way.

Posted by: JoAnn C. on December 15, 2007 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

What an embarrassment. How does it feel to be out of step with 99% of humanity?

Well, I wouldn't say 99%, probably only 70%, but the truth is when your out of step with 70% who have been duped by bad science, it feels pretty good actually.

Posted by: John Hansen on December 15, 2007 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Poor little augie never heard the word asshole before. Go to Lewis Black show dude.

I've watched all of Lewis Blacks specials on TV. I've seen Lewis Black in person many times. He's a very funny man. You're no Lewis Black.

Just so know, if it weren't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent this entire morning on this silly rant.

Augustus, like every baby-boom basher, thinks everyone who who was born between 1945 and 1960 started out as a leftist or a hippie and then sold out and voted for Reagan. 'Twasn't like that at all, my friend.

There are two main competing stereotypes of Baby Boomers: One, the peace and love protesting hippies (of whom only a tiny fraction of their ranks were sincere). The other falls under the broader umbrella of the so-called "Silent Majority". Reminding us of the group whose conscience wasn't bothered by Watergate, supported the war in Vietnam, and wasn't particularly bothered by Jim Crow , doesn't mitigate the negative stereotype of that generation, it reinforces it.

I would love nothing less than to be proven wrong and see the Baby Boomers step up and meet this problem head on. And they might yet. But the last two presidential elections don't exactly inspire confidence.

Maybe when the polar ice caps are completely missing in another decade, people will finally be frightened enough to tackle this problem. Otherwise, we're going to have to wait for the gradual but inevitable demographic change to improve the net compassion and humanity of our nation's voters.

I'll add one anecdote that I think illustrates the type of breakdown in American society that I believe begins most conspicuously with the Baby Boomers.

The streets along St. Charles in New Orleans are lined with ancient oak trees, some almost two centuries old. Some of the old grand houses outside of the city (e.g. the Oak Alley plantation) have rows of oak trees running down their driveways. The interesting thing was that many of these trees were planted before the roads extended that far, or before the houses were built (the trees at Oak Alley were planted 80 years before the house was built). They planted those trees with the knowledge that the shade and beauty of those trees would be enjoyed not so much by their generation, but future generations to come. It also required foresight and planning (you had to know where the roads and houses would eventually go before you could plant these trees).

The modus operandi of the Bush administration, the poster boy for the worst of his generation, would sell the trees (after all, they're on public land) to lumber companies that contributed to their campaigns, enriching both parties at the expense of the public.

But the reality of the true middle ground isn't much better. Our federal government doesn't tax people today and spend the money on future generations so much as it mounts up massive debts (to be payed by future generations of taxpayers) for political expedience today. And few people seem to have a problem with it.

Baby Boomers fully expect to receive full social security benefits (can you imagine the political hellfire they would raise if the government reminded them that they didn't object when Bush I raided the Social Security surplus and then cut their benefits accordingly?), but ask subsequent generations and they're not as confident they'll receive their benefits back. They are, after all, just straight wealth transfer payments from young to old, and demographics suggest the current levels of benefits are unsustainable.

Who spent the money? The people who are currently alive. Who will get stuck with the bill for massive federal debts, social security deficits, and any efforts to stop Global Warming? Future generations.

You can shoot the messenger if you want or even dismiss me as a lunatic, but when the bills finally come due, posterity will not be kind to the Baby Boomers and any subsequent generations who continue this sociopathic behavior.

But hey, it's nice to see Baby Boomers can get angry about something. Just wish they cared a little less about their image than their grandkids and the planet.

Posted by: Augustus on December 15, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Who here besides me has bought his or her CO2 offsets?

Not long after 9/11 I bought a natural gas vehicle (the cleanest internal combustion engine made commercially), have purchased offsets for our cars, our house, and any air travel; my wife commutes to work on the bus several days a week (she's an attorney, we live in Los Angeles); we paid more to live within a couple of miles of work (in an area where we don't need to run the air conditioner but a few days a year); have a crop share (buy local, eat seasonal, reduce fuel used in shipping); we've replaced nearly all of our lights with low energy bulbs and will be replacing them with even more efficient LEDs (they use only 1-3% of the energy of regular light bulbs). We even have a solar oven (you can cook rice, chicken, and even ribs in it... a great replacement for the extremely polluting charcoal grills - albeit slower). We are also fighting with our HOA over trying to get solar panels installed.

But of course we don't live in a cave and do use electricity from the grid, so conservatives should feel free to call us hypocrites since we do have a carbon footprint (even if it is mostly offset).

http://www.terrapass.com/
http://www.solarovens.org/

Posted by: Augustus on December 15, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Augustus,

I have always enjoyed your comments. Until now, anyway. I think you generalize a bit too much.

I am just a few months too old to be a boomer, but I was there (the sixties) and apparently you weren't.

I was disappointed even back then by the "teeny boppers" (who are now the baby boomers) because I sensed that they were partaking of the fun and games because it was fun and games, not out of any heartfelt moral principles.

Nevertheless I, and some of my contemporaries, protested the Vietnam war out of general concern that our country had gone down a wrong path. I protested long after I became ineligible for the draft.

The sex, drugs and rock and roll didn't really come into my life. As a poor college student I didn't even own a stereo, and I didn't like pot. Sex? dontmakemelaff.

I voted for Jimmy Carter twice, and can't forgive the bastards who excoriated him for wearing a sweater.

I first became aware of the possibility that a build up of carbon dioxide might lead to global climate change in the late sixties. I had not heard of Al Gore at the time but when he published Earth in the Balance I read it immediately.

I became involved with several groups of middle aged hippies (late 70s) who sought (ineffectually, as it turned out) to raise the energy consciousness of my small community.

Up until Reagan got elected and proceeded to decimate Carter's tax credits for alternative energy I made a modest living designing passive solar homes.

The Reagan era brought me a few months of protracted unemployment, but I have survived to tell about it.

I have never strayed from my liberal views about war, the environment, energy use, etc.

Then I come to Washington Monthly and find that some twit who probably wasn't even born then knows all about the sixties and thinks that I and my cohort is responsible for practically all the world's ills.

Here's the deal: I have no microphone, no bully pulpit. I have no voice in the national discourse. I can vote, write letters nobody reads, but I have no power. And I am not alone. I have many friends (the dreadful boomers) who feel the same as I do. There are hundreds of thousands of us, perhaps tens of millions.

But we didn't choose politics or movies or teevee as our career paths. We have no voice.

Yet you blame us for failing to unshit George Bush's bed.

Oh, and you are dead wrong about: Baby Boomers liked Bush so much they elected him twice.

The baby boomers elected Al Gore in 2000.

So, sure there are a lot of boomers who discovered that by selling out to what we quaintly used to refer to as "the establishment" they could make lots of money. And they got stuck there and it infected their souls. Same as a lot of non baby boomers.

The sad fact is, when you generalize so, it is deeply offensive to the legions of us who didn't sell out.

I believe I can now wean myself from reading your comments.
They will henceforth go where Al's and John Hansen's go.

Posted by: DFH on December 15, 2007 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Augustus: But of course we don't live in a cave and do use electricity from the grid, so conservatives should feel free to call us hypocrites since we do have a carbon footprint (even if it is mostly offset).

As long as you are actively reducing and offsetting your own carbon footprint, no one can successfully accuse you of being a hypocrite. The hypocrites are those who do next to nothing while calling on the government to control the actions of others. Some of the CO2 offset companies are frauds, but most do legitimate work.

The other frauds are the plans to transfer funds from the rich nations to the narrow cliques who govern the poor countries. Nothing good ever comes from that, and nothing will come of it when it is done in the name of preventing global warming.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on December 15, 2007 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

A good quote:

begin

At the recent climate jamboree in Bali, the Rev. Al Gore told the assembled faithful: "My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here." Really? The American Thinker's Web site ran the numbers. In the seven years between the signing of Kyoto in 1997 and 2004, here's what happened:

•Emissions worldwide increased 18.0 percent;

•Emissions from countries that signed the treaty increased 21.1 percent;

•Emissions from nonsigners increased 10.0 percent; and

•Emissions from the United States increased 6.6 percent.

end

That's true. It's from Mark Steyn.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on December 15, 2007 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

Al Gore told the assembled faithful: "My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here."

A good quote:

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increased 1.7 percent between 2003 and 2004, setting a new global record for the highest level of emissions ever recorded by any country.

The figures released by the EPA show that total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increased 15.8 percent between 1990 and 2004. The United States now accounts for roughly a quarter of all manmade greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere worldwide.

That's true. It's from the EPA.

No matter whether one is measuring actual emissions or political obstructionism, the U.S. is clearly principally responsible for obstructing progress.

Posted by: trex on December 15, 2007 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

The United States now accounts for roughly a quarter of all manmade greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere worldwide.

Steyn's quote was a comparison of rates of increase in GHG emissions of various regions of the world since the passage of the Kyoto treaty. The U.S. is the only developed or developing nation with much more forest cover now than 100 years ago. When Americans cut down their forests to make houses and furniture, they did not plan for the regrowth of those forests to sequester our anthropogenic CO2, but that's what happened. In places as diverse as the lumber farms of Washington and Georgia, and the Allegheny National Forest and the Redwood forests, eastern Connecticut and Western Massachusetts and southern Missouri, millions of tons of CO2 have been sequestered by the regrowing forests of America in the last century.

Fossil fuel consumption declined by 1.4% in the U.S. in 2006, despite a growing economy. Fossil fuel consumption has declined again this year, again with a growing GDP, but exact figures won't be known for a while.

The U.S. is not the worst contributor to anthropogenic GHG accumulation. Those are China, the EU, and Japan.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on December 15, 2007 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Mark Steyn (born 1959) is a Canadian journalist, columnist, and film and music critic."

And conservative pundit. He's certainly the person I would go to for factual CO2 emissions info. Sheesh...

Thanks for your 'factual' info, Trex.

Posted by: nepeta on December 15, 2007 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Fossil fuel consumption declined by 1.4% in the U.S. in 2006, despite a growing economy.

Yep. Global warming, loss of manufacturing jobs, and skyrocketing energy prices definitely reduced the need for energy. Yay! Let's hope for more of all three in the future!

And the Bush administration continues to be the principal political actor putting obstacles to any real emissions controls regulation worldwide. Even wiener. Pretty impossible to put some sort of favorable spin on this, huh?

And those forests? Not sequestering carbon so much any more. True story!

I wonder if Mark Steyn knows.

Posted by: trex on December 15, 2007 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

"even wiener" should be "even weirder".

It's a simple mistake with handwriting recognition but I'd like to think it was my tablet PC expressing its opinion of Bush.

Posted by: trex on December 15, 2007 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

There are two main competing stereotypes of Baby Boomers: One, the peace and love protesting hippies (of whom only a tiny fraction of their ranks were sincere). The other falls under the broader umbrella of the so-called "Silent Majority". Reminding us of the group whose conscience wasn't bothered by Watergate, supported the war in Vietnam, and wasn't particularly bothered by Jim Crow , doesn't mitigate the negative stereotype of that generation, it reinforces it.

So why not just stop with the stereotypes, Augustus? They are not exactly the sharpest analytical tool in the drawer, you know. Certainly not sharp enough for someone like you!

Posted by: SqueakyRat on December 16, 2007 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

I have always enjoyed your comments. Until now, anyway. I think you generalize a bit too much.

Yes, I admit without reservation that it was a wildly sweeping generalization that obviously doesn't hold true for a very large chunk of Baby Boomers. That should be self-evident. But funny how you rarely see people bristle at similarly broad generalizations when they are positive (such as those the Boomers generally enjoy).

With all sincerity I commend you for the sincerity of your political activism. I simply disagree with the commonly accepted myth that the Boomers as a generation deserve the reputation as champions of great social and political causes. I simply see you and others like you as the exception to the rule (and anyway, you mark yourself as falling outside the Boomer generation). So it's not entirely clear to me why you take exception to my generalizations while at the same time distinguishing yourself as an exception to that generation (e.g. your expressed disappointment with the "teeny boppers" who seemed to have joined in the protests largely for fun).

The sad fact is, when you generalize so, it is deeply offensive to the legions of us who didn't sell out. I believe I can now wean myself from reading your comments.

So I was wrong to take a few instances of bad behavior from the Baby Boomers and form a negative opinion of that group. Let's assume you're correct*. But to show me the errors of my way, you are taking this instance of bad behavior on my part and have formed a negative opinion of all of my posts going forward...?! You're doing to me what you are criticizing me of doing to the Boomers.

I would suggest an alternate approach: accept or reject arguments based on their own merits, not the messenger or your ego.

* an argument based on voting trends would have been more compelling than your commendable biography, if you're trying to rehabilitate the image of that group. Better yet, and more on point, would have been some mention of what the Boomers as a generation are doing to help save the environment. I freely admit there are plenty of good examples to be found. But as a group, Boomers really aren't living up to their reputation as champions of great causes - least of which is the greatest cause to ever face humanity: saving the planet from environmental catastrophe.

Snarks aside, maybe we really do need to incentivize the environmental movement with a no-brainer choice of drafting people to risk their lives overseas for a lost cause or staying home and enjoying lots of free sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It worked then, anyway.

Posted by: Augustus on December 16, 2007 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

MrM:
"The U.S. is the only developed or developing nation with much more forest cover now than 100 years ago"

Likely WRONG.
From my memory, it is also the case at least for Germany and France since WWII.

Posted by: News from abroad on December 16, 2007 at 5:07 AM | PERMALINK

News from abroad: it is also the case at least for Germany and France since WWII.

German forests have been in near steady-state for hundreds of years, because almost all forests were managed by the aristocracy and then the central government. The French started a massive forestation project under Louis XV or XVI to grow masts for their combat ships, and those forests were mature by about the mid-19th century, with little net increase in forest cover since that time. Under the farm policies of the Common Market and then the E.U., there was a small net clearing of forests for ag production.

trex: Global warming, loss of manufacturing jobs, and skyrocketing energy prices definitely reduced the need for energy. I referred to fossil fuel use. GDP and manufacturing both increased in the U.S. in 2006 (as well as 2005 and 2007), but fossil fuel use declined in part because of less wasteful use. Walmart may have been the largest company to undertake a widely-publicized effort to reduce its fuel consumption, but many companies have done so. Amory Lovins and his associates have acquired increased influence as fuel prices have risen, and they have helped large and small companies to reduce fuel waste.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on December 16, 2007 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

From the french ministry of agriculture:
"La surface des forêts françaises a doublé depuis 1850 et couvre aujourd'hui environ 15 millions d'hectares, soit plus du quart de notre territoire. De nos jours, la forêt s'accroît d'environ 40 000 ha par an. La surface des forêts françaises atteint actuellement 15,5 millions d’hectares. Elle s’accroît fortement depuis la deuxième moitié du XIXe siècle. On estime que la surface boisée de la France était comprise entre 8,9 et 9,5 millions d’hectares en 1830 (Cinotti, 1996*). Depuis 1980, la progression annuelle enregistrée par l’IFN est d’environ 68 000 hectares."

Translation : MrM is wrong. But nice from him to know about Colbert.

For Germany, I gave up (found something about the superficy in 1911, but too much change in the boundaries, you know). I found nevertheless this from VERBAND DEUTSCHER FORSTBAUMSCHULEN e.V.:
"Seit 1960 hat sich die Forstfläche in Deutschland um eine halbe Million ha vergrößert."
Translation : that would be more than 10% growth since 1960.

But Forst is not Wald, so it does not coincide nicely with the data of the EU, which gives stability in Germany and France within 1% of national superficy since 1970.
Which would rescue the good faith of MrM concerning the last 30 years. Almost. If he can show what is the change in the US for those last 30 years and explain why he took 100 years, not 150 years, 50 or 30.

I smell cherrypicking at work here. I suspect the US only grew their forest because of the growth in sue of coal and then Oil instead of wood since the turn of 1900. Especially in the US, which still made for 25% of the excess Co2 present in the atmosphere today.

AN MRM: the relative numbers from Steyn are nice, but 6% growth from the biggest sinner not signatory of Kyoto is likely a bigger amount per capita than 20 % for the signatories...


Posted by: News from abroad on December 16, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

but fossil fuel use declined in part because of less wasteful use

It declined in larger part due to high fossil fuel prices and mild winter temperatures -- according to the Department of Energy.

See also here for the same dynamic in 2005:

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC 20585

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 28, 2006

Factors that drove emissions lower include weather conditions that reduced the demand for heating and cooling services; higher energy prices for natural gas, motor gasoline, and electricity, that reduced energy demand; and the use of a less carbon-intensive fuel mix (more natural gas and non-carbon fuels) in the generation of electricity.

Industrial emissions fell by 3.3 percent in 2005 as the U.S. economy continued to move away from heavy manufacturing and as petroleum and natural gas prices rose.

The U.S. is not the worst contributor to anthropogenic GHG accumulation. Those are China, the EU, and Japan.

China, yes -- and just this year. But per capita they aren't even close to us. They have almost five times our population and yet they're only a a percentage point or two above us in contribution of overall GHG emissions.

You need to provide a cite for Japan being a larger contributer of greenhouse gases than than the U.S., given that everyone else doing the counting puts it at the fifth largest contributor worldwide (I'm sure you have some crazy oblique metric to try and force your argument to fit).

And the European Union, while considered a party to Kyoto, isn't a signatory and neither is it a country with a cohesive energy policy, so it doesn't make sense to compare its output with other countries.

What's the upshot of all this, besides showing that half the time your assertions aren't factual? It's that your pollyanna attitude based on those assertions is unfounded. You're on record here saying that we don't need a Manhattan project to find a solution for our energy needs despite the dire twin pillars of peak oil and global warming, that we shouldn't even waste time on a project like that, and that eveeeerything will all just take care of itself on its own because of "the market" -- while energy consumption and fossil fuel emissions are, in fact, being constrained by those very two factors that are outside of our control and are the problem in the first place.

Thank you for your input Captain Edward John Smith.

Oh, and you may not have spoken with a forestry biologist, opened up a newspaper, or looked out your fucking window lately, but our-carbon sequestering trees are not only reaching saturation -- they are dying off in massive numbers.

Posted by: trex on December 16, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

news from abroad: I smell cherrypicking at work here.

that's true. I supply facts (I think they are facts) that run counter to the glib conclusions presented here. I have paid for CO2 offsets for my carbon fuel use, and I have acknowledged that anthropogenic-CO2-induce global warming may be occuring.

Which would rescue the good faith of MrM concerning the last 30 years. Almost. If he can show what is the change in the US for those last 30 years and explain why he took 100 years, not 150 years, 50 or 30.

Huh? America clear-cut vast swathes of land to make houses and furniture and other stuff. The regrowth of American forests over the past century was shown in a series of articles published in the journal Science and the other peer-reviewed literature to have sequestered American CO2 over the past century. You can see an example in California's redwood forests, where hundred-year old, very tall sequoia sempervirens ("immortal sequoia") trees grow around the 15-foot diameter stumps of the trees that were removed a century ago. There's millions of tons of CO2 in the new redwoods alone. And there are hundreds of parks and forest preserves (and commercial forests) with similar histories.

trex: Industrial emissions fell by 3.3 percent in 2005 as the U.S. economy continued to move away from heavy manufacturing and as petroleum and natural gas prices rose.

Oh, yes, "heavy" manufacturing. That's true.
Total manufacturing, total manufactured exports, and GDP all grew over the same time span. Manufacture of wind turbines and PV cells (and other solar power generators), while not a large part of total manufacture, has risen dramatically.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on December 16, 2007 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, yes, "heavy" manufacturing. That's true.
Total manufacturing, total manufactured exports, and GDP all grew over the same time span.

Sorry the Department of Energy is killing your buzz with their "facts."

GDP grew in 2006? So what? Sectors that are not as heavily reliant on fossil fuels as manufacturing can push GDP. For instance, state and federal governments, which contribute more to GDP than all manufacturing output. Or the financial sector. Or the real estate market. Or other areas that are now tanking. It does not follow from that growth that we are becoming "less wasteful" with our fuel use or that this trend can continue indefinitely, your typical use of generalized assertions based on parochial examples notwithstanding.

Nor does it follow that we should just patiently wait for the country to move from reliance on petroleum to wind and solar -- they're good, they're just not enough. Even if we explode the potential in everything from biomass to tidal power, it will still not be enough to meet our future energy needs or replace the unique properties of petroleum that we rely on.

Not to mention the half a dozen other claims you were either shown here to be wrong about or that were red herrings.

Posted by: trex on December 17, 2007 at 2:29 AM | PERMALINK

trex: GDP grew in 2006? So what?

That's a good one.

Nor does it follow that we should just patiently wait for the country to move from reliance on petroleum to wind and solar -- they're good, they're just not enough.

Who wrote anything about "patiently waiting" I have been writing about actively investing. And I have written about more than wind and solar.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on December 17, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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