Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Last Words on Global Warming

In my last post about the global warming religion, I asked what the global warming warriors are so worked up about, what drives them? I offered as one explanation a profound narcissism that replaces religiosity.

Gary Daily answered: Bill equates science coupled with concern and a desire to educate the public with religion. If only religion really worked this way the problems in this sorry world, past and present, would be considerably reduced…. Religions die hard or never die the deaths they deserve.

It appears that Gary has found something to replace his religiosity.

I thought that liberal narcissism is connected to a naturalistic pantheism that drives some of the global warming warriors. I mentioned that capitalism, globalization and America’s power lead many global warming warriors to seek a diminished America.


Even if we do think warming is a problem, I prefer the free market solutions offered by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

FAR agreed: Sane people don't wish to bankrupt our budget dealing with a "computer model" that may have some incorrect assumptions; perhaps we should proceed with a little caution. Perhaps we should look at what the U.S. Senate said in its 95-0 vote (including Gore)on the Byrd-Hagel Resolution: [Kyoto]"would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States".

But Gary prefers "preventative anticipation, a willingness to take action in advance of scientific proof of evidence of the need for the proposed action on the grounds that further delay will prove ultimately most costly to society and nature, and, in the longer term, selfish and unfair to future generations.” Sounds like faith to me.

Mel was upset with the fact that this issue is vitriolic and so emotionally charged that rational discussion is no longer possible. But now the discussion has regressed to the point of questioning the religious faith and patriotism of the many people concerned with the possible degradation of our planet.

OK, I agree that the motives I attributed to the global warming warriors were not comprehensive. There are some who are narcissistic pantheists, some who wish to see America diminished, some who benefit from the global warming cottage industry. But there are others, too.


Dennis Prager wrote Why liberals fear global warming far more than conservatives do. Do conservatives handle heat better? Are libertarians better swimmers? Do religious people love their children less?

Dennis posed six likely explanations:

The Left is prone to hysteria. The belief that global warming will destroy the world is but one of many hysterical notions held on the Left.

The Left believes that if The New York Times and other liberal news sources report something, it is true.

The Left believes in experts.

The Left is far more likely to revere, even worship, nature. (That’s one of mine.)

Leftists tend to fear dying more. (A consequence of not believing in an afterlife)

People who don't confront the greatest evils will confront far lesser ones. The Right tends to fight human evil such as communism and Islamic totalitarianism. The Left avoids confronting such evils and concentrates its attention instead on socioeconomic inequality, environmental problems and capitalism.


Global warming meets all three of these criteria of evil. By burning fossil fuels, rich countries pollute more, the environment is being despoiled and big business increases its profits.

So I ask Gary, Tex, Mel et al, where do you find yourself in the pantheon of global warming warriors? What is it that drives you guys? And if you believe what you say you do, what do you propose? What should we do to avoid the catastrophe you expect? Please be specific.


13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Dennis Prager has some interesting ideas. Let's look at them. I'll use quotes here.
1. "The Left is prone to hysteria. The belief that global warming will destroy the world is but one of many hysterical notions held on the Left."
Sure there are liberals who overblow stuff. But so do conservatives. The fear mongering and hysteria generated by the Bush admin over 9/11 to win elections and grab more executive power is illustrative. Also, conservatives are DEATHLY afraid of gay marriage!

2. "The Left believes that if The New York Times and other liberal news sources report something, it is true."
But when conservatives listen to Limabaugh, Dennis Prager, and Fox News, they uncritically accept everything they say uncritically. It just so happens that the NYtimes is our nation's best newspaper. Even Dick Cheney reads it!

3. "The Left believes in experts."
Wow, this is getting into bizzaro world here. Believing in experts is a bad thing? I guess believing in Canada Free Press and any number of right wing think tanks is more reliable. Get real. Remember this when you go to the doctor for your cancer treatment!

4. "The Left is far more likely to revere, even worship, nature."
This is just plain BS. I guess Bill and the rest of the fundamentalists hate nature, and have no problem destroying it. This is just silly, and for the record that is not "yours" Bill. Dennis Prager wrote it. Are taking credit again? We all have a stake in preserving nature that supports human life.


5. "Leftists tend to fear dying more. (A consequence of not believing in an afterlife)" This is just plain stupidity! Everyone's afraid of death, liberal and conservative alike.

Overall, I would suggest that Dennis Prager makes some very interesting points that have absolutely no relevance to the global warming debate.

7:05 AM  
Blogger gary daily said...

I’ll bite, Bill, even though this will be a case where a liberal fool for messy democracy is rushing in where all the angels with free market angles claim to have THE answer to all questions.

Not being a scientist by any stretch of the imagination, but being a democrat (with a small “d”) of fierce conviction, what should be done when a problem such as global warming becomes technical, beyond my meager grasp? I opt for relying on the authority of those professionals who have the expertise I lack. So my reading of these experts and the accounts of the work of these experts on global warming brings me to the conclusion that global warming is real. I put less stock in my personal observations, the photos I’ve taken over the past 25 years of the receding glaciers in Glacier N.P. and on Mount Ranier.

I think I have been around the block a few times and know “experts” are fallible, they can even lie, and they can have agendas unrelated to their real work. But when the evidence on global warming piles up, when it comes from scientists in all corners of the world, when it is at first grudgingly and then fully embraced by early skeptics, who am I to stand in front of a moving train? Al Gore becomes just a messenger in this development. And the unseemly attacks on Gore, the messenger, only say to me that global warming deniers and doubters are avoiding the truth for the small satisfactions of making political points, salving self-doubt.

I’m still left with the question Bill wants me to confront, what to do, specifically, given my science-based belief in global warming. Of course, the “specifically” is a trap. If I say that we should revisit mistaken decisions, say this one:

“BONN, July 23, 2001 —— With the Bush administration on the sidelines, the world's leading countries hammered out a compromise agreement today finishing a treaty that for the first time would formally require industrialized countries to cut emissions of gases linked to global warming.”

I’ll hear about China.

If I jump on board with Tony Blair on the issue: “The prime minister said he regarded environmental degradation in general and climate change in particular as "just as devastating in their potential impact" as weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. "There will be no genuine security," he said, "if the planet is ravaged." [NYT, March 23, 2003]

I’ll hear about how any step we take will devastate our domestic economy.

And if I should have the temerity to advocate a $1 a gallon rebatable tax on gas, strong emission controls and alternative energy sources, well, forget it. These proposals are met with slogans posing as thought: Tax and Spend; Big Brotherism; Utopian Dreaming.

So why put forward these specifics in a climate dominated by conservative thinking, business as usual and business is always right thinking, and Free Market Rules thinking?

My only answer is what I said at the top of this post. I believe in democracy. I believe this is how democracy works.

Democracy doesn’t work for many conservatives. Many do not trust democracy–thus their antipathy toward government action, their blind faith in market authority, their naive patience with and worship of “free” market solutions for everything from health care to golf course fees. Irving Kristol, a current God of Conservatism speaks for them: "Conservative thinking," he said, "should teach you not to expect too much from politics, at least in the short run."

Global warming is a long term problem but as a full believer in democracy and the messy politics such democracy entails, I support putting forward solutions now so that my grandchildren will not spend their adult lives dealing with crises not quite covered by the slow cooker/manic vagaries of market solutions.

My view is, in the final analysis, we all live and die in the short run, so let’s do our democratic best for all with the hiccup in time we are given.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Mel said...

Bill,

I wrote yesterday that, because the discussion had become irrational and emotional, this was to be my last comment to your blog regarding global warming and climate change. But now you have asked what drives me (and the other “global warming warriors”), and what specific actions do we propose to avoid the “catastrophe we expect”. So before finding the exit as I promised, I feel I owe you and your readers a rational answer to these questions. I can only respond for my self as follows:
- First let me be clear that I am not either a leftist or rightist, and I try to not let any political leanings influence my views on global warming and climate control. I try to maintain a comprehensive fact-based scientific view on the subject, and mostly confine my readings to established experts in the field. Along these lines, I was very disturbed by your recent blogs that contain a great deal of political rhetoric, and ridiculous accusations that this issue is primarily a “leftist based historical notion”. Unfortunately, quoting a source such as Dennis Prager on this issue shows that you cannot separate your politics from your science.
- What I am driven by is a genuine concern that the scientific data, and the interpretation of this data by most (but not all) of the world’s relevant scientists and scientific organizations, leads to the conclusion that 1) global warming and climate change is real, 2) it is slowly getting worse, 3) it is primarily caused by human activity, 4) and it is likely to cause major disruptions to our environment and the livability to much of the planet. But I do not think the current environmental models are developed enough to predict just how bad this degradation could be, and to provide an accurate timetable of when we reach some kind of critical point. To predict an utter catastrophe at this time would be foolish, but to ignore the potential for severe negative consequences would be far more foolish.
- What to do about it is a very complex question. Obviously, we have to substantially reduce the carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels. Using alternate energy sources such as nuclear, wind, and solar is one component of the solution. But I think becoming far more efficient in the use of energy offers even larger and quicker rewards. For instance, the often-proposed major increases in gas mileage of our vehicles would not only reduce global warming emissions, but would reduce our dependence of foreign oil. In fact, there is a strong synergy between reducing harmful emissions and alleviating our energy crisis. Most of the large gas guzzling SUVs and trucks I see driving around seldom have more than one or two people in them. Why are Americans so enamored with everything over-sized? (big houses also required big energy usage).
- Bill, I can continue to be even more specific but I think you must get the idea by now. I don’t know just how bad things will get or if it becomes a planet-wide catastrophe. But I do know that just “waiting for more scientific data” (G. W. Bush) before we act would be not only imprudent but would be a major blunder. And as to the disruptions and costs to our industries and commerce cause by reducing carbon emissions, I see this as a short term negative and a long term positive. The ingenuity of American industry can lead the way in reducing global warming with innovations and new technologies that more than make up for the short term losses required to reduce emissions.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Case Closed: The Debate about Global Warming is Over

Executive Summary


From the link
When global-warming concerns became widespread, many argued that more scientific research was needed before any policy decisions. This was hardly just the contention of oil-company executives. "There is no evidence yet" of dangerous climate change, the National Academy of Sciences declared in 1991. A 1992 survey of members of the American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological Society, two professional groups of climatologists, found only 17 percent believed there was a sufficient ground to declare an artificial greenhouse effect in progress.

That research is now in, and the scientific uncertainty that once justified skepticism has been replaced by near-unanimity among credentialed researchers that an artificially warming world is a real phenomenon posing real danger. The American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological Society, skeptical in 1992, in 2003 both issued statements calling signs of global warming compelling. In 2004 the American Association for the Advancement of Science declared in its technical journal Science that there is no longer any "substantive disagreement in the scientific community" that artificial global warming is happening and could become dangerous. In 2005, the National Academy of Sciences joined the science academies of the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, China and other nations in a joint statement saying, "There is now strong evidence that Data Center said research now supports "a substantial human impact on global temperature increases." And this month the Climate Change Science Program, the George W. Bush Administration's coordinating agency for global-warming research, declared it had found "clear evidence of human influences on the climate system."
Case closed.


What world leaders most urgently need to know today about global warming is not what computer models say the temperature will be, say, in Paraguay in 2063 or any similar conjecture. Rather, they need to know if a program of mandatory greenhouse gas reduction via market-based trading will work without harming the global economy. If the answer is “yes,” then an artificial greenhouse effect is not destiny. The only way to find out if the answer is yes is to start greenhouse trading programs that include mandatory reductions. A significant fraction of corporate America already assumes that mandatory greenhouse reductions are inevitable and is simply waiting for Washington to say a single word: "Go." Leader companies such as DuPont, General Electric, 3M and others have already instituted corporate-wide greenhouse gas reduction programs and are running them without loss of profits—and cutting greenhouse emissions even as their manufacturing output increases.


Reducing greenhouse gases does not have to bankrupt the country. That talking point that has no merit.

You are well aware of NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies(GISS)believe global warming is caused mostly by human influences.


Are you aware that the Pentagon has the same belief? The Pentagon does not worry about cause (not their job) just impact and unlike Iraq they do look at worst case scenario.

"The authors say these changes could increase geopolitical tensions and spark military skirmishes over water, food, and natural resources like oil and natural"

People in government and others on the right are disputing for political purposes what the government agencies already know to be true. Global warming is mainly caused by humans and needs to be dealt with.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill,

"What should we do? Please be specific."

Three levels:

(1) On the world stage the U.S. needs to re-engage itself and be the leader only it can be. We should grab Kyoto and support it, accepting that, at the moment, it's a largely symbolic move. We should throw our weight behind a serious push for an international emissions agreement which is more comprehensive.

(2) The US should put its house in order. Frankly, it's unacceptable that we're the worst greenhouse polluter (both in aggregate and on a per capita basis) in the world. This means a lot of things, including higher automobile mileage standards, tougher emissions regulations for automobiles, diesel engines and industry, increased tax incentives for green investments etc etc. Refundable gasoline taxes are OK.

(3) At the personal level it means a recognition of the problem and a desire to do the right thing. The increased price of energy will drive individual behavior but its broader than that. As we know, when the people of the U.S. decide they want to do something, they generally achieve it. You don't need me to give you the list of things an individual can do to reduce carbon emissions.

Fundamentally, it needs the nay-sayers to get out of the way and let the U.S. show the world again that it can lead.

Don't give me all the stuff about destroying industries. The U.S. car industry is on its knees because it HASN'T embraced these principles rather than because it HAS. The U.S. oil industry is perfectly capable of making cleaner gasolines and diesels, given some notice and some certainty in regulations, and it certainly has the cash to do it!

I don't understand why you think it's acceptable that we're the worst greenhouse polluter in the world. To me, it's a source of shame not pride.

Tex

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

California Emissions Up 85% Between 1960, 2001
An environmental group cites California's growing population as the cause of emission increases after 1960.
By Janet Wilson
Times Staff Writer

June 21, 2006

Global warming-related emissions in California jumped a whopping 85% between 1960 and 2001, according to a new analysis of federal data released Tuesday by Environment California, which called for tough new state laws to reduce the trend.

Increased carbon dioxide emissions from cars, trucks and other vehicles were responsible for 61% of the increase, the group found, and carbon dioxide emissions from natural gas used for heating and to generate electricity were responsible for the rest.

Using data compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy, the study concluded that California emitted 198.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 1960. By 2001, the state's emissions had grown to 368.7 million metric tons.

California ranked third in emissions behind Texas and Florida. But if emissions from coal-fired power plants in other states, which provide about 20% of the state's energy, were included, "we would be the No. 1 emitter by far," said Dan Jacobson, legislative director for Environment California, a San Francisco-based environmental group.

Jacobson said the rate of greenhouse-gas emissions per capita has actually slowed in the state, but because of millions of new residents, the total amount has climbed sharply.

"From an environmental perspective, per capita doesn't really matter," he said.

"Melting ice caps don't really care" if greenhouse gas emissions are produced by one person or millions of people, Jacobson said.

Numerous scientific studies have concluded that global warming is occurring and that it is caused by human activity.



The group called for mandatory reductions of greenhouse gases to bring the amount down and swift enactment of Assembly Bill 32, which would require caps on industry emissions. A Senate hearing on the bill, sponsored by Speaker Fabian Nuñez and Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), is set for next Tuesday.

"We know how to control it," said Jacobson. "Eighty-five percent is dramatic; it shows we have to take steps to get it more under control. This is where we need elected officials to step in."

But the California Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday issued a survey of its own, calling the bill one of several "job killers" proposed by legislators.

The chamber said the bill would only increase greenhouse-gas emissions in China, India and other countries with less stringent emissions standards.

"We think AB 32 is a lose-lose for California," said Allan Zaremberg, head of the chamber. "It's going to cost us jobs because it will increase the price of energy…. Companies are going to move jobs to developing countries, where energy generation may actually increase carbon emissions."

He said tax credits and other incentive programs should be offered to help businesses convert to cleaner energy and stay in California.

*

Times staff writer Marc Lifsher contributed to this report.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://tinyurl.com/mhv74

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know it has to be true when even FOX news reports it!
http://tinyurl.com/qbx84

1:07 PM  
Blogger gary daily said...

This today from CNN. It appears that even some Republicans are ready to listen to the established science on global warming.

"The report was requested in November by the chairman of the House Science Committee, Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-New York, to address naysayers who question whether global warming is a major threat.

Last year, when the House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, launched an investigation of three climate scientists, Boehlert said Barton should try to learn from scientists, not intimidate them.

Boehlert said Thursday the report shows the value of having scientists advise Congress.

"There is nothing in this report that should raise any doubts about the broad scientific consensus on global climate change," he said.

Other new research Thursday showed that global warming produced about half of the extra hurricane-fueled warmth in the North Atlantic in 2005, and natural cycles were a minor factor, according to Kevin Trenberth and Dennis Shea of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, a research lab sponsored by the National Science Foundation and universities. Their study is being published by the American Geophysical Union.

The Bush administration has maintained that the threat is not severe enough to warrant new pollution controls that the White House says would have cost 5 million Americans their jobs."

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Global Warning Signs

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IF YOU READ FRIDAY'S FRONT PAGE YOU WILL READ WHY THE BEST SCIENTISTS AGREE TO GLOBAL WARMING. SO YOU CAN TAKE YOUR SO CALLED "EXPERTS", INCLUDING THE "GREAT DENNIS PRAEGER" AND STICK THEIR HEADS BACK IN THE SAND. BUT YOU SAID THIS WAS YOUR FINAL WORD ON GLOBAL WARMING; GIVE UP?

THE ORACLE (Vic)

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Post. I TRY to listen to Dennis Prager daily. I’m going to his SJF Lecture in July.

Marie

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dennis Prager is where I get all my info on Global Warming. He's awesome. Al Gore just wants to make me gag! Egads!
Rose

8:19 AM  

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