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Bush Administration Turnaround on Global Warming?:
I had blogged a few weeks ago about the possibility that the Bush Amdinistration may be changing course on global warming, and this article in the Independent (UK) suggests that an announcement on the topic may be coming soon. Stay tuned. Thanks to Tim Dowling for the link.
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
My guess is its just another lever that they want to be able to pull to manipulate, control, and tyrannize. Traditionally the conservatives use national defense, "law and order", and now the "War on Terror" to push buttons, create fear, and bring about the results they want. The liberals have traditionally had ownership of the environmental scare tactics - pollution, overpopulation, etc. The Neocons now want to be able to use environmental issues too - because its more money that can be taken, a different set of rights that can be infringed, other/larger swathes of the public that can be scared, snowed, and manipulated, etc.

The libertarian analysis works quite well here - they're all statists, they just formulate different reasons to take your property, infringe your rights, attempt to control you, etc. The Neocons just want to get their hands on another set of scare tactics.
9.18.2006 8:12pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Interesting idea... I'll be watching closely for evidence of your theory, AP. (!sarcasm)
9.18.2006 8:17pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Incidentally, the use of environmental issues to control and manipulate was predicted by G. Edward Griffin in his book "The Creature from Jeckyl Island." If you are someone that automatically scoffs at the suggestion of "conspiracy theories" you should check it out. The creation of the Federal Reserve on Jeckyl Island is one of history's ultimate "conspiracy theories" that is hidden in plain sight.
9.18.2006 8:18pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Daniel Chapman-

Thanks, maybe you'll be able to grasp what's actually being done to your country, currency, and rights. (!condescension, pity) Hint: Inflation of a fiat currency is hidden taxation, smart guy.
9.18.2006 8:22pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
wow... dare I ask what brought that on?
9.18.2006 8:24pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Wait... you DO know that ! means "not" right? I included that tag specifically so my genuine comment wouldn't be misinterpretted as sarcasm, and I can't see any other reason for your response. It would also explain the conflict between your "not condescension" and the obvious tone of the post.
9.18.2006 8:29pm
Brian Garst (www):
Of course, the administration couldn't actually believe there's war worth fighting. Oh no, it's all made up to scare people. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Cynical hysteria aside, the likely explanation is simply politics.
9.18.2006 8:50pm
Kazinski:
Now that we are back on subject.

Didn't the Senate vote 95 - 0 on the Byrd-Hagel Resolution:

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that--

(1) the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto in December 1997, or thereafter, which would--

(A) mandate new commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Annex I Parties, unless the protocol or other agreement also mandates new specific scheduled commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for Developing Country Parties within the same compliance period, or

(B) would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States; and

(2) any such protocol or other agreement which would require the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification should be accompanied by a detailed explanation of any legislation or regulatory actions that may be required to implement the protocol or other agreement and should also be accompanied by an analysis of the detailed financial costs and other impacts on the economy of the United States which would be incurred by the implementation of the protocol or other agreement.


I hope Bush remembers this is an elective democracy and "There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution."
9.18.2006 9:00pm
BGates (mail) (www):
Right on, Psikhushka! This is the same administration that is so deep in the pockets of Big Pharma it's allocated millions to send drugs to Africa to perpetuate the idea that some invisible 'virus' makes people sick when they have promiscuous sex. It's the intellectual heir to a government that was wholly owned by the powerful Seat Belt Industry, to the point of extorting billions from Detroit based on paranoia about people being thrown through windshields at 60mph. The tyrrany stretches back at least to Ben Franklin, who started the first paramilitary 'Fire Department' to scare people into thinking so-called 'flame' posed a threat. You fight the power, AP!
9.18.2006 9:12pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Daniel Chapman-

Didn't know that "!" means not. If you didn't mean it sarcastically then I apologize.

Brian Garst-

"Remaking" the Middle East by "changing" regimes and "installing" western-style democracies was a project on the PNAC's and other neocon's agendas for some time. Attacking Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11, while are borders are still unsecured seems a pretty strange use of resources.

Al Qaeda, in the beginning, was a group of religious fanatics numbering maybe in the low tens of thousands. Comparing them to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan - both technologically advanced military powers of their time - is absolutely ludicrous. The invasion of Iraq has made this worse, of course, since the only question when we accidentally bomb a wedding party is whether we've created one dozen blood enemies or two. But there still isn't justification for trampling the Constitution and Bill of Rights, violating international treaties that we helped draft and sign, violating international human rights, maintaining the status quo in Iraq, considering an attack on Iran, still looking at the "War on Terror" in the same way, destroying and demoralizing out military, etc.
9.18.2006 9:12pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
BGates-

No, its the same administration that's wants to "psychologically test" every person in the US in a plan sponsored by Big Pharma. A plan so corrupt and totalitarian that an investigator employed by the state of Pennsylvania quit his job in disgust when he looked into it.

I don't know why you're bringing "promiscuous sex" up, but the place to look is both political parties - they had to import hookers for both national conventions.

If you want to save the world, BGates, fine. Whatever you do with your money or money that someone voluntarily gave to you, is up to you. But realize your efforts end at anyone else's body or property.
9.18.2006 9:22pm
Randy R. (mail):
BAck on topic:

Let's hope that the Bush administration is on the wave regarding global warming. I'd had enough of the deniers -- now it's time to act and actually do something before it's too late.

BTW, one of the reasons that the Senate voted against Kyoto is that the costs of implemental would be too much for the country to bear. At the time, I believe the costs were estimated at about $500 billion.

Well, we've spent more than that on the Iraq war, so whether we can afford Kyoto is a moot point now. Had we spent that on homeland security and preventing climate change, we would all be safer today, in many ways.
9.18.2006 9:46pm
JohnAnnArbor:

No, its the same administration that's wants to "psychologically test" every person in the US in a plan sponsored by Big Pharma.

You're beginning to sound like a Scientologist. Or a loon on acid.
9.18.2006 9:56pm
Dan R:
I hope the administration doesn't change its position on global warming. The science is not settled, the climate is very complex and it is impossible to run a controlled experiment to empirically determine effects from individual causes. Natural changes may dwarf the effect humans have had on the climate.
9.18.2006 10:09pm
JonBuck:
Randy:

We will not be able to adjust the planet's tempreature as if we have a thermostat. We will be unable to prevent climate change, since there are natural factors involved as well. And I see no emphasis at all on adaptation. This is a huge mistake. Especially since China and India, with a huge part of the world's population, are under no emissions restrictions whatsoever.

So I'm going to ask this. Would adaptation cost us less than prevention?
9.18.2006 10:30pm
ras (mail):
Rants aside, Bush will want to move the country away from foreign oil dependence for security reasons anyway. It's time.
9.18.2006 10:39pm
ras (mail):
p.s. As a believer in the principle of paying the true cost of things, an open q: in the case of oil, should the cost of fighting Islamic terrorism be included in the price at the pump, given that terrorism is mainly funded, ultimately, by the oil revenues of state sponsors?
9.18.2006 10:41pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
no.
9.18.2006 11:42pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
ras: Yes, or at least most of the cost of the US Middle East policy should be so reflected in gasoline and oil prices. But, my belief is predicated on the notion that we taxpayers are essentially subsidizing the oil companies' and refineries' costs of access to Middle East oil through our government's foreign policy in the Middle East, which is predicated upon ensuring access to such oil. If I am correct, it would be more efficient and more fair for the consumers of oil (myself included) to pay a direct tax that in turn is used to subsidize the USA's Middle East foreign policy, rather than imposing this cost on everyone, including people who do not consume much oil or gasoline. Also, it would make the true cost of our foreign policy in the Middle East known to the US public.

On the other hand, if you believe our foreign policy in the Middle East (including our policies regarding Iraq, Israel, and Iran) are largely about promoting democracy and reasons wholly unrelated to ensuring access to Middle East oil (preventing terrorism that can harm US citizens), the answer is no. My bottom line is that we wouldn't have invaded Iraq but for the oil reserves that country possesses, and we would support the various Arab dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait etc., but for those nations' oil reserves. Aid to Israel is an exception to this rule, as obviously supporting Israel does not help us gain access to oil (I think it is driven by moral and religious considerations). So, maybe we should deduct the amount of aid we provide to Israel from the tax imposed on oil and gasoline, if we want to be consistent.
9.19.2006 12:44am
A. Zarkov (mail):
American Psikhushka

…and now the "War on Terror" to push buttons, create fear, and bring about the results they want.


Do you really think international terrorism is simply a scare tactic? Do you really think we have little danger to our personal lives here in the US? Need I remind you that a few thousand people can really disrupt domestic life? Here is a small sample (in no particular order) of past events that caused major disruptions and fear.

*The random shootings perpetrated by only two people terrorized the Washington DC area a few years ago. While only a small number of people were actually killed, many people were afraid to go shopping.

*In 1982 seven people in the Chicago area died from poisoned Tylenol. Paranoia swept through Chicago neighborhoods. The manufacturer, Johnson and Johnson issued 500,000 warnings to doctors, recalled 22 million bottles, and faced a class action lawsuit. All this from a few poisoned bottles.

*Until this very day you can't find a locker in New York Airports because in 1975 a bomb went off in a LaGuardia Airport locker.

*In 2001 random mailings of anthrax contaminated letters caused major disruptions in Washington DC and New Jersey. It cost $22 million to clean up the Brentwood Postal facility, $14 million for the Hart Senate Office Building and $13 million for the Trenton Postal facility.

What would you think would happen if terrorists randomly poisoned the food supply in the US? Suppose all three Bay Area Airports were hit with Anthrax attacks and closed. The hit to the economy of the Bay Area would be enormous.

I think anyone with a little imagination can see that even low-level terrorism is a big deal in terms of cost and fear. It really doesn't take that much.
9.19.2006 4:08am
orson23 (mail):
Anyone remember Bush's new energy intitiative from the last State of The Union speech? Me nether. Just an excuse for pork barrelling.

THIS is merely more of the same.

Randy R. opines: "I'd had enough of the deniers -- now it's time to act and actually do something before it's too late." Too late? Tell, Randy - are US property insurers quaking in fear of "global warming"? No.

Given that the instrumental record of the past few decdea show warming in the Northern hemisphere, but none in the Southern - and since no model of warming claims that anthropogenic CO2 is anything other than a well-mixed gas - can we rule out land use change in the North, where five-sixths of the planet's human population lives, to account for this? Nope.

So why the urgency? When we don't "know" what "we" know?
9.19.2006 5:37am
A.C.:
Oil oil oil... most of our oil doesn't come from the Middle East anyway. That supply is mostly for Europe, Japan, and developing countries. But there's only one world market, so the Middle East influences the price that everyone pays. If US policy makes it easier to get oil in the Middle East (not that I'm claiming it does!), then we are actually subsidizing other countries as much as or more than American motorists. A tax on U.S. drivers therefore wouldn't do much good.

Even so, I'll believe the government is serious about global warming when it takes on COAL. That's the 800-pound gorilla in the room.
9.19.2006 6:33am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
JohnAnnArbor-

Yeah - I'm a real looney-tune. I guess the facts in this article are all a fevered delusion of mine.

A. Zarkov-

The administration's actions don't match the scare campaign. If the emphasis were on security the borders would be sealed and the ports would be more secure. Instead, they seem to be following a variation of the PNAC's "plan" to "re-make" the Middle East.
9.19.2006 6:48am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
A.C.-

Actually, with some of the technological advancements in methods of turning coal into a cleaner liquid fuel it could wind up being a big part of the solution to our energy problems. And the more expensive oil gets, the more attractive liquid fuel from coal becomes.
9.19.2006 7:08am
Ex parte McCardle:
Say, AP, did you happen to have a look at the date on that article? What happened to this nefarious plot? I'm still waiting for the white-coat boys to show up at my office to dole out the Thorazine and/or ECT.

By the way, since I live in Georgia, I do know about Jeckyl Island: it's beautiful.
9.19.2006 9:36am
A. Zarkov (mail):
American Psikhushka

The issue of the terror threat is distinct from the measures (or lack thereof) taken to mitigate it. It's one thing to say that the terror threat is exaggerated, but another to say Bush's responses to the threat are inadequate.

All that being said, I agree with you completely. The borders must be sealed. As part of a project, I got to stand behind the counter at passport control at a major US airport and listen. The following is typical.

Officer: "Where will you stay during your visit?"

Foreign visitor: "With a friend."

Officer: "What the friend's address?"

Foreign visitor: "I don't know."

Officer: "If you don't know how will you get there?"

Foreign visitor: (silent—puzzled look)

Instead of sending these people home, they admit them knowing full well they are lying and are coming here to work on a tourist visa. It's not the fault of the INS workers and managers; they know full well what's going on. It's policy from Congress and the administration. The US borders are an open sewer.

Then there was a bomb scare in the terminal. Instead of sending the passengers back to the airfield, they evacuated them out to city streets. So hundreds if not thousands got no passport control whatsoever. We are just not serious about border control.
9.19.2006 10:08am
Kazinski:
If the Bush Adminstration rethinks its Global Warming position it will be to push a new wave of nuclear power plants. And when the environmentalists jump on the nuclear bandwagon then I'll know they actually believe their own global warming propaganda and its not just a sham issue to push their social agenda.
9.19.2006 12:46pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Ex parte McCardle-

They seem to have backed off the plan somewhat, probably due in part to public outrage.

I don't doubt that Jeckyl Island is quite beautiful. After all, if I am a tycoon coming up with a scheme to grant myself de facto control of the American economy why not do it in a place of natural beauty?
9.19.2006 5:03pm
A.C.:
American Psikhushka --

Liquid fuels made from coal may be a viable source of energy, but I doubt they do much about global warming. I was thinking of electricity generation when I mentioned coal, actually. That's a huge source of carbon, but for some reason everybody always talks about cars and oil and how to pester individual consumers into driving less. There may be good reasons for doing that, but we still can't let the coal-fired electric utilities off the hook if we want to make a real dent in carbon emissions.

When politicians take them on, I'll know they have started going after the hard targets.
9.19.2006 5:42pm
Randy R. (mail):
Orson23:

Where are the property insurers? I'll tell you. Lloyd's of London (that hotbed of radicalism) recently issued a letter of advisory to all insurance companies worldwide, indicating that global warming is in fact occuring and that insurance companies should be prepared to deal with the devestating consequences therefrom.

Partly in response to this, partly on their own, US insurance companies just adopted a policy to reduce capacity all along the eastern seaboard of the US, on the grounds that we will be experiencing more tropical storms of greater intensity due to climate change.

My brother-in-law used to be head of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, so that's how I know this.

Now, the insurance industry is not prone to take drastic measures, nor is it an industry that will give up a huge profitable market if the science in unsettled, as some still claim. So I guess they are just a bunch of stupid people who hae fallen for Al Gore's slick movie? hardly. Just last week, The Economist -- a conservative magazine from Britain -- did a special section on global warming, and concluded it's real, and there are things we can do to prevent or slow it down.

My question: Please let me know how reducing our dependence upon oil and coal, reducing pollution, finding new renewable energy sources, is somehow 'bad.' I mean, if we WERE to adopt all the things that we should do to limit CO2 emissions, these are all GOOD things, things that reduce pollution and reduce our dependance upon foreign oil.

AT the very least, we would have a cleaner planet and less of our money going to the Middle East
9.19.2006 5:58pm
Randy R. (mail):
For those of you who don't know, when the insurance industry decides to reduce capacity, what that means in real terms is that it will be much more difficult to find insurance coverage for your property, and when you find it, it will be much more costly.

So the costs of doing nothing will now begin to mount. How much higher before you realize the costs of combating climate change is cheaper than ignoring it?
9.19.2006 6:00pm
Publicus:
Will Bush SAY he believes that global warming exists? Who the f%ck cares? He won't DO anything about it. Here's some other things he's said:

"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him."
- G.W. Bush, 9/13/01

Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, ratified by the United States and more than 130 other countries since 1984, forbids governments from deliberately inflicting severe physical or mental pain or suffering on those within their custody or control.
- G.W. Bush, June 2003
9.19.2006 6:10pm
Randy R. (mail):
I care only because it makes is much harder for the people who have their head in the sand. I can tell them that George Bush agrees with me on global warming, and it will be up to them to contend that he is lying, playing politics, stupid, wrong, and so on.

And then I will ask them whether this is what the Republican Party stands for, playing politics with our environment. And I will ask them why they continue to support such a weasel.
9.19.2006 7:45pm
Bill Woods (mail):
Randy R.:
My question: Please let me know how reducing our dependence upon oil and coal, reducing pollution, finding new renewable energy sources, is somehow 'bad.' I mean, if we WERE to adopt all the things that we should do to limit CO2 emissions, these are all GOOD things, things that reduce pollution and reduce our dependance upon foreign oil.

The question remains whether they are worth the cost. Kyoto certainly wasn't.

Mind you, I'm sufficiently convinced to think some measures are justified. How about a tax on the carbon in fossil fuels, phased in over time so it wouldn't disrupt the economy. Say, the equivalent of $.05/gallon/year for a decade or two?

But trying to reduce our dependence on "foreign" oil is a waste of time. Oil is a globally-traded, fungible commodity. We'll be dependent on oil until someone invents an energy source which is cheaper than Saudi oil ($5/bbl).
9.19.2006 11:01pm
Randy R. (mail):
ARe they worth the cost? Well, many estimates of Kyoto were around $500 billion. Boo -hoo -hoo, the Senate cried. America can't afford that. Then we enter a war based upon lies, and guess what, not only can we afford $500 billion for war, we can afford a heckuva lot more! After all, our fearless leader, Dick Cheney, is on record as saying that Reagan taught us that deficits don't matter. So please, if you are a conservative, don't tell me that Kyoto 'costs too much."

But the basis of your cost analysis is that our fossil fuel usage does not include the FULL costs of using it. When we pay at the pump, we are not paying for the environmental damage caused by fossil fuels; we are not paying for the health damage to millions of people in the forms of asthma and carcinogens that shorten lives and drive up health care costs. If we actually factured that in, there is no doubt that eliminating our dependence upon fossil fuels would be a cost savings.

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the concept of 'green architecture.' Chicagoans are well aware of this. It's that buildlings can be built which provide the same level of comfort, but use far less energy to operate. Businesses like it because it saves money.

But according to you, we can't afford this concept which saves money. We must keep building buildings which consume ever increasing amounts of energy and wasting money. How in God's name is this even rational?
9.20.2006 12:03am
Randy R. (mail):
One more point: At some point in time, we will actually run out of oil. Or the price of extracting the remaining amounts will be prohibitive. Now, I know many conservatives argue that this won't happen for at least another 50 years or so. Others argue it will be much sooner. Whatever. What's not in dispute is that it WILL run out.

So would it not be prudent to have an alternative source of energy already up and running BEFORE that happens? If you were the CEO of the world, isn't this the rational thing to do? Then there could be a smooth transition from fossil fules to this alternative one, a transition that can be planned for in advance so that there are as few disruptions as possible.

Or do you just wait around and hope something will turn up before that fateful day? An energy policy based on crossing your fingers and hoping?

I'll say it again -- show me any downside to reducing pollution through elmination of CO2 exhausts, regardless of the issue of climate change. And even if you can, please argue that this outweighs having a cleaner planet.
9.20.2006 12:08am
orson23 (mail):
Randy R-

Your brother may well know some of the story, buty not all.

The Lloyds of London action? The EU insurance market is not a free market: Munich Re, for instance, also "endorses man-made global warming - but only because they have to as part of Kyoto and the EU's acceptance of it. In other words, it's politic, not ecoomics controlling these decisions. They are, thus, coopted into becoming prostitutes for ACW.

The US market, not being a Kyoto treaty signatory, is not.

As for this claim, "Partly in response to this, partly on their own, US insurance companies just adopted a policy to reduce capacity all along the eastern seaboard of the US, on the grounds that we will be experiencing more tropical storms of greater intensity due to climate change. " NOT SO.

This is because of well-known and long-lived multi-decadal pattern of hurricane increase in the Carribean Basin, followed by decrease in their numbers. This pattern predates any ACW effects and is quite independent of it. (See Philip Klotzback, Geophysical Review Letters, Spring 2006, for a recent look at the details of the last three decades, comparing the Carribean increase with Pacific decline.) There's simply no ACW "there" there. The rest is smoke and mirrors of the politics of BIG SCIENCE, when mega billsions are on thje line. $6.5 billion US this federal fiscal year.

Tom Karl at NCAR in Boulder, CO, says climate models are accurate and important because he gets the big bucks for doing them and NCAR's papers diss the skeptics of ACW. Meanwhile, John Christy looks at the hard data of com piled from weather stations in California's mountains and Imperial Valley over 150 years, and finds no statistically significant warming in the data. Model with alarming results versus hard data. You say "too-may-to" and I say "toe-mah-to."

How do I know this? It's my graduate field of study at the University of London.
9.20.2006 3:04am
Randy R. (mail):
Sorry Orson, but you are wrong. Go to www.lloyds.com/News_Centre. This is Lloyd's own website, and they make is clear that they base their decision on science, not politics. And their advisory is for ALL insurance companies, not just those within the EU. Money quote: "The debate is over. Global warming is a fact."

I'm glad there is no warming in the IMperial Valley. But the models for global warming show that some places on earth will stay the same, some will actually cool. There is nothing inconsistent with your friend's findings and the reality of global warming.
9.20.2006 10:25am
Randy R. (mail):
John Christy's position has evolved as the scientific community has gathered more evidence. First, he denied that global climate change is really taking place. Then, he had to admit that global climate change exists, and so denied that the observed global climate change was the result of human activity. Now, it seems, he has abandoned that position too. At present, Christy's position is merely that global climate change will not be catastrophic.
9.20.2006 10:49pm
David Krinsky (mail):
Might this be the big announcement?

"White House Outlines Global Warming Fight" (Washington Post, Sept. 21, 2006)

"Technology and voluntary cutbacks urged." Sounds like more of the same old nothing.
9.21.2006 1:10am