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December 14, 2007 04:04 PM UTC

Friday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”

–Ronald Reagan


12 thoughts on “Friday Open Thread

  1. He oughtta know. More of his administration sent to jail for crimes than any other, IIRC.  And until GW, certainly ranks as the Master Liar.

    “What elephant?  I don’t see no elephant?” –  Jimmy Durante

  2. One would think that countries that committed to the Kyoto treaty are doing a better job of curtailing carbon emissions.  One would also think that the United States, the only country that does not even intend to ratify, keeps on emitting carbon dioxide at growth levels much higher than those who signed.

    And one would be wrong.

    Before I get beat down for the fact that htis comes from a conservative blog, the stats are from the government and are found here:

    1. is that the U.S. leads 220 countries in the emissions of carbon dioxide @ 1,612,000,000 metric tons, up from 1,297,000,000 in 1980. China is second @ 1,284,000,000 metric tons,up from 397,000,000 in 1980! There’s 1.3B people in China (approx.) and 301M in the U.S. So, on a per capita basis, the U.S. emits more emissions than China by about a 5:1 ratio.

      Your example needs some work to prove your point.

    2. International treaties executed by giverment bureaucrats will have no impact on CO2 emissions until and unless citizens make substantial changes in their lifestyles.  That means not buying SUVs, not living in suburbs and commuting miles to work, not running the air conditioner (how about opening the windows?), driving 55 MPH, changing the school week from 5 to 4 days, working at home, minimizing concrete use in construction (e.g., not pouring that patio, but using flat stone, rehabing old building rather than building a new glass tower).

      One of the inconvenient truths of global warming is that many of the limosine liberals who decry global warming don’t walk their talk and make any changes in their lifestyles.  They come up with lots of reasons why they can’t change their lifestyle, and why it’s the fault of car dealers, electric utilities and big business.

      The reality of global warming is that it’s probably too late to have much impact.  Adding 1 Billion new drivers in India and China and the growing affluence of those countries probably means whatever we do here will be swamped by emissions in those countries.

      1. instead of driving one person to a car, at 55 mph or any other speed.  As to a billion new drivers in India and China, I think $20 a gallon gasoline will ease that prospect substantially.  If the peak oil theorists are right, we’ll hit that mark in a shockingly short time.  

      2. I wrote of the need for a social revolution of sorts before. The fact is that our culture has evolved into a very car-dependent one ever since the introduction of the model-T.

        Fortunately, as more people use computers to do their job there is the potential for more clerical sorts of jobs to be done from home. There are 3 people in my family, including my wife, who do their jobs from home and do not commute anywhere.

        Transitioning more jobs to the home will require more outside-the-box thinking on behalf of industry and business leaders, not to mention politicians who may be called upon to revise workplace statutes and regulatory agencies (like OHSA – spelling?) to help make that happen.

        That, of course, is just one thing people can do. It won’t help the fact that you’re all but forced to drive in order to buy anything you need or get anywhere you want to go. But it’s going to take a step at a time to achieve real CO2 emissions reduction.

        1. I think that an inconvenient truth of global warming is the assumption that it’s the responsibility of businesses and government to fix the problem.

          Yet, people who are passionate about global warming still live the suburbs, still buy gas guzzlers, run air conditioners in Colorado’s relatively temperate climate, build MacMansions with KY bluegrass water-guzzling lawns, and live a nearly disposable consumption-oriented lifestyle (how many shirts, pants and shoes are in your closet?  Do you really need them all and the carbon their production, maintenance and transport entailed?).

          1. that I’m advocating that individuals do nothing in the interim, are you?

            In case you are, let’s make something clear – I am on your side, and I believe people need to change their behaviors as much as you. Give me the respect and consideration an ally deserves.

            We need to be practical about approaching this topic. People won’t change without example or incentive. People like living in the burbs and like large vehicles. People like green lawns and AC. (And despite the relative coolness of the last summer, it does get pretty damn hot sometimes.)

            So, if you don’t think business and government should take the lead, then who should?

            Side critique: drop the “the inconvenient truth…” from your posts. It makes your comments sound like the condescending, aren’t-I-clever drivel Another Skeptic posts.

            1. Sorry to have pissed you off.

              I’m really tired of posts that “blame” business or government inaction for global warming and look exclusively to them for solutions, but refuse to make any significant personal effort to address the problem.  We’re all in the same lifeboat.  

              Assigning blame doesn’t fix anything.

              In the 1960s Ronald Coase wrote an article about externalities — The Problem of Social Cost (the single most cited economics article ever).  He wrote about the classic example of a train that emitted sparks that burned adjacent farmers’ fields.  He wrote that the “cause” of the externality can be viewed either as the train traveling through the fields or as farmers who planted too close to the tracks.  He wrote that legal and political systems are designed to assign “blame” rather than come up with mutually advantagous (for both the farmer and the train) soltutions.

              Global warming is a giant externality — is it caused by business activities (coal fired power plants, auto manufacture) or the consumers of those activities?

              1. Re: externalities – point taken. I’d say consumers do shoulder the burden if blame must be assigned, but it’s wise to try to address the issue and not focus on that.

                We need to change but I’m cynical about getting people to do it because it’s the right thing. The way the flocked back to big cars and SUVs after the 70s energy crisis doesn’t give me much hope that they’ll start buying Civics, take the bus, or move to Lodo. And that doesn’t touch on all the other things we Americans do with the help of good old fossil fuel consumption.

                I have a hard time envisioning accomplishing emissions reduction without government action for that reason. I hope businesses and individuals can read the writing on the wall and do what they can voluntarily, but given the number of people who still believe there’s no correlation between these activities and climate change… Well, I’m at a loss as far as what else can be done.

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