Tuesday, July 18, 2006

HOT at the Greek Festival

So the Starbucks group was gathered at the Greek Festival last Sunday and the table for twelve was, quite uncharacteristically, covered with water bottles. It was HOT! After consuming several bottles of Greek beer and a few bottles of Angelo's wine, talk naturally turned to… global warming.

Sweet Julie who moved to a ranch in the Inland Empire told us about her olive trees that are blooming a second time this summer due to the heat. Don’t tell her that the globe is not warming. Just look at the heat map of the US, nearly every city is coded RED. OK, OK… I give up – global warming is real.

In my ongoing debate with Mel, I am ready to stipulate that the UN IPCC report is correct. The globe has warmed by 1 deg. F (0.6 deg. C) over the last century and, if we do nothing to avert the problem, atmospheric CO2 emissions will double by 2100, the temperature will rise by 2.1 deg C and the sea level will rise by 20 inches.

Will this be a problem? Of course it will, even for a Northern Hemisphere country like the US. But lower Manhattan and southern Florida will still be above water and, hopefully, New Orleans will be rebuilt with this in mind. One can hope.

When we think about solutions to global warming, it is clear that we are acting like citizens of the world. What is the best thing we can do for the Southern Hemisphere peoples who will experience water and food shortages, increased malaria and other problems? (I’ll leave the Europeans to take care of them selves. They think it might be very cold over there. Go figure!) But global warming is not the only issue facing the poor in the undeveloped countries. They already have water and food shortages, malaria, HIV AIDS and many other serious problems. So let’s be serious and consider a set of reasonable proposals.

Imagine that the US government could be convinced to increase our federal budget by 1% in order to help the world with global warming and other problems. Thus, what should we do with an extra $25 billion per year? Here is a list of problem areas; how much would you like to spend on each?

1. clean water
2. climate change
3. communicable diseases
4. education
5. financial instability
6. governance/corruption
7. malnutrition
8. migration
9. trade barriers
10. war

Remember, if you spend the entire $25 billion on climate change, then there is nothing left to spend on malnutrition or averting war. What do you think?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part of the answer (and only part) is to give real incentives to lo emission contrivances (be it cars, power generators, boats - whatever.) The U.S. still leads the world as the most polluting nation and as such it must accept responsibility for the consequences. Global warming is systematically dismissed by the current administration as some sort of communist conspiracy by a bunch of bleeding hearts - when in fact the science that predicted it over twenty years ago has been validated every step of the way and notwithstanding the current administration's policy or lack thereof it will continue unless responsible governance stands up to the demands of special interests in favor of the common good. Once the critical stage is passed (and we are very close to it now) there will be no going back and our way of life will be history - anarchy will be the order of the day as desperate people will take desperate measures to insure their survival. If you take global warming and add exploding populations, you will have a deadly cocktail. Excessive consumption of energy by Americans and their all too willing suppliers of polluting gas guzzling vehicles and appliances can not be sustained without impunity. Americans historically been a very ingenious people in the face of challenges, but when it comes to reversing the present trend, the special interests of oil and related industries have done everything in their power to stifle developments that could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and the devastating consequences to the environment.

This country's refusal to recognize the problem despite all the science confirming is a disgrace. This country should be the leader, not the lager in taking concrete steps to address the problem of global warming. Refusal to even join the world community in its effort to confront the issue (the Kyoto agreement) is shameful.


8:41 PM  
Blogger Bill Lama said...

Thanks for the feedback; very well said. But I must point out that you did not answer (even part of) the question. I asked: What should we do with an extra $25 billion per year? Here is a list of problem areas; how much would you like to spend on each? Unless you mean to say that you want to spend the entire $25 billion per year fighting global warming - but you have not said that.

I'd love to discuss the picture you paint of future doom, but at another time. For my blog tomorrow, I want to know how folks prioritize among the problems I listed. How about it?

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a novel thought.... how about we DON'T spend it??? Instead, use it to pay down the debt. ....... nah, that'll never do.


8:44 PM  
Blogger gary daily said...

Bill is always touting the wonders of the free market and capitalism’s creativity and innovative genius. Plenty of evidence to support his claims, though much of this wonder and genius comes with high social costs. Now he wants to divvy out a paltry 1% of the federal budget to let big bad government deal with global warming AND solve a plethora problems he has lumped together. Nary a word on how these many problems have been building up over many decades and the fact that most of them, not the least, global warming, can be traced in part to the greed and rapaciousness of free enterprise competitive practices.

General Motors is not going to solve its deep seated problems by laying off X% of their workers tomorrow. They can’t correct all of the bad decisions they’ve made since we put those mile high fins on 1950's Cadilacs. Their creativity and genius failed them long ago and now they are paying the price.

Let’s all admit that $25 billion is really chickenfeed when the problems we face come in flocks. The skies are dark with buzzards. Here’s Swiss Re, a major international insurer, not exactly your bleeding heart liberal institution, stating the dollar scope of the global warming problem. Please note the date of this warning and estimate.:

Wednesday, March 3, 2004 by Reuters
Insurer Warns of Global Warming Catastrophe
by Thomas Atkins

“GENEVA - The world's second-largest reinsurer, Swiss Re, warned on Wednesday that the costs of natural disasters, aggravated by global warming, threatened to spiral out of control, forcing the human race into a catastrophe of its own making.

“In a report revealing how climate change is rising on the corporate agenda, Swiss Re said the economic costs of such disasters threatened to double to $150 billion (82 billion pounds) a year in 10 years, hitting insurers with $30-40 billion in claims, or the equivalent of one World Trade Center attack annually.”

So Bill, forget the 1% games. Rip that tired old bumper sticker off of one of the fleet of cars you own, the one that won so many simple-minded votes in the past and helped to bury us so deeply in the present: “Tax! Tax! Spend! Spend!” and replace it with “Tax Fairly! Spend Wisely!”

I suggest we start with the Defense Department and those weapons systems that don’t work, won’t be used, and even the Generals don’t want. These easily add up to more than the chintzy !% you’re doling out. And don’t forget the money that could be saved by pulling out of Iraq–NOW. For an eye opener on this, go to:


This site will give you a good idea of our misplaced priorities today and what they are costing the nation.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are entirely correct on the subject of $$$$. My feeling is that 25 billion is a paltry sum in a trillion dollar economy, although a good start. Funding should be rapidly increased on three fronts: 1. educating the public on the problem and most importantly, letting the people know that the government recognizes that there is a problem. 2. Create new incentives for energy savings. 3. Fund and subsidize R & D in the fields of alternative sources of energy.

I may add that there are many examples to follow and although some of us may disdain the idea of following the lead of the E.U. it should be noted that they have managed to derive a much higher percentage of their energy needs from alternative sources, including: wind, sea wave action, hydroelectric, large scale fuel cell technology and nuclear among others.


1:58 PM  
Blogger Bill Lama said...

Gary, Gary, Gary,
How can you say so much without answering the question? What do you want to spend the $25 billion on? Come on, give it another try.

Liberals seem to have so much trouble responding to simple questions.

Notice that, like you, Steve missed the ball entirely in his first comment and still did not directly answer in the second comment(though I'm assuming he wants to spend it all on climate change).

Come on guys, focus!

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The global warming issue is a topic of discussion and debate for people who don't see what the real problems are. We need to be safe. We need to make education a priority at the highest level. We need to find a way how to prevent new "Hitlers"from hurting us.

I'm not good with money, so I wouldn't know how to spend the $25 million.


2:11 PM  
Blogger gary daily said...

You can place ten non-swimmers on an ice flow and throw them one life preserver. Will they fight over it or will they all cling to it and go under? And if you’re standing on the warm dry shore, and if you own a large supply of life preservers stacked up in stock options and real estate, what do you care about the 1 % you send skittering out to the unlucky, the unannointed, the unworthy. They need to learn how to swim in the cold waters of competition. Either that or they should arrange their lives so that they inherit a rich daddy’s cache of life preservers.

There’s divide and rule and there’s lump and rule. Anything to avoid zeroing in on real problems carefully studied, their roots and the true cost of a fix. I guess this 1 % for ten is what passes for a clever stratagem in some conservative circles.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Mel said...

Wow!!, From “global warming is a myth” to “global warming is real” in less than two months. Bill, you have changed faster than the climate. By the way the current IPC report presents a range of predicted (year 2100) temperature increases of 1.4 to 5.8 deg C., and sea level rise as high as 34.6 inches. Since the report was issued in 2001 it appears that climate change has actually speeded up (year 2005 was tied for the hottest and year 2006 is on its way to exceed that) so it is more likely we will be at the high end of the IPCC prediction range.

As far as choosing how to spend your chosen $25 billion dollar sum, I do not think this is the right approach. Of course, it is going to cost us taxpayers a lot of money, but doing little or nothing would cost far more. And, how do you put a price on such measures as raising the CAFE requirement on all cars to something like 40 MPG by 2012. The initial costs would be borne by the auto manufacturers and then passed on directly to the consumer. But the saving in not importing so much foreign oil could alleviate much of this cost. The point here is that the solutions to the problems of climate change are very complex with both potential cost and potential savings. Anyhow, this is a good topic for future discussions now that we finally agree that we have an important problem that requires major initiatives.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Bill Lama said...

Steve, Steve, Gary, Gary, now Mel,
Can't you guys EVER ANSWER a question??? Is it a liberal disease?? The only conclusion I can surmise is that you would each spend all the $25 billion per year on climate change. Please tell me if I am wrong.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you really giving in on this debate????? Your messages have been so persuasive. Why are you changing your position?


6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although other issues have merit and are important issues both socially and ecologically, this earth is the only one we've got right now. I, therefore, would opt for using the money to fight global warming, because it potentially overshadows everything else.


6:59 PM  
Blogger Bill Lama said...

Finally an answer. Thank you. I'll let you know the "correct" answer tomorrow.

Never fear, I only agreed that global warming is occurring. The rest I STIPULATED, because I wanted to get to the bigger issue -what to do? - how much to spend?

Too many times liberals think they can "fix" everything and avoid calculating the cost. The result is nothing gets fixed and money is wasted. Tune in tomorrow.

7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Classic conservatism....denial, anger, bargaining, and finally, acceptance....Even in the face of insurmountable evidence, Bill cannot continue with his Flat Earth propositions anymore. I actually think we're still in the bargaining phase....conservatives only look through the prism of how new knowledge will affect their pocketbook in the present...screw the rest. This is precisely what Galileo and Copernicus endured, the wrath of the elite who are forced to confront "inconvenient truths". This is not about New Age notions of "nature worship" , this is about the survival of our descendants.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

clean water
2. climate change
3. communicable diseases
4. education
5. financial instability
6. governance/corruption
7. malnutrition
8. migration
9. trade barriers
10. war
For the exception of war, no conservatives believe in funding any of the above. The familiar refrain is that "the market will take care of it". This is precisely the point. Conservatives do not believe government has any real role to play in helping the poor, educating our children, or maintaining the health of our citizens. No wonder they don't want the government to fund solutions to climate change....the free market will take care of it!

8:08 AM  
Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

What I find interesting in all of the "Culture Wars" going on in this great country is the idea that "All Conservatives, or All Liberals, this or that!"

What is probably true is that neither side has a bunch of drooling idiots on it, and the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

For example, the left's favorit "dogma" is the idea of "choice", (especially when it comes to abortion), but if those who are concerned about the poor and the climate were asked to vote with their dollars on their income tax returns, we would see who would put their money where their mouth is.

The governement is "force." The only way it gets taxes is by coersion, few people if any would pay taxes voluntarily. The founders made this point very clear when they said there were "unjust taxations." Only the things that "protect our life, liberty and posessions" were thought to be in the rehlm of "fair" taxation.

The government must be a "taker" before it can be a "provider."

Only the parents of the lower class have "failed" the lower class by not teaching their children the necessary tools and skills to get out of poverty.

There is a huge difference between being "poor" and being "broke."

Poor is a mindset. It says I am unable to improve my station in life without other peoples money that is coerced out of the population and given to me.

Broke means temporarily without money and is not a mindset. That is why Jesus said the poor you will have with you always.

Some people don't want to provide for thier sustance.

Now, please don't tell me about the exceptions, like the handicapped and others who cannot provide for themselves....do they all have no relatives who could help them.

There is a pecking order for the poor. It should be:

1. Themselves.
2. Their closest relatives.
3. Charity organizations.
4. Lastly the city government.


8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great compassion there FAR.

8:36 AM  

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