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Glenn's "Jet Test" for Global Warming Policy:

Glenn Reynolds has a test to determine the sincerity of those who call for reducing greenhouse gas emissions: Limits on private planes and stretch limos. He writes:

No, seriously. A Gulfstream III releases 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide an hour. How can we demand "sacrifice" from ordinary Americans when our leaders — including those who call for the sacrifice — are flying in jets like this? If commercial first-class isn't good enough, they should stay home.

Of course, if the United States and other industrialized nations adopted a carbon tax (or its equivalent), those who can afford private jets could likely afford the tax as well.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds offers more detail about his views on climate change policy here.

ReVonna LaSchatze:
I thought "Glenn" was pro-business?

Lots o' places not served directly by commercial first class. And time is money. Choice.

If commercial first-class isn't good enough, they should stay home.
2.2.2007 2:49pm
Joel:
That's irrelevant. Saving The Planet (TM) is more important than mere money, right? /sarc
2.2.2007 2:55pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Of course, if the United States and other industrialized nations adopted a carbon tax (or its equivalent), those who can afford private jets could likely afford the tax as well.

Right. You can consistently fly in such jets while embracing the proposed carbon tax.

As usual, reading Reynolds is a sterile pursuit.
2.2.2007 2:56pm
JohnAnnArbor (www):
Choice.

That's the whole point! Laurie David and her ilk want us all to drive cars the size of roller skates while she jets all over the world.
2.2.2007 2:56pm
Randy R. (mail):
Actually, the majority of greenhouse gases are emitted by buildings, not cars or jets. I agree, we are all part of the problem, including those with private planes.

But my question for Reynolds: If they DO prove their sincerity and give up the planes, then what? Will Reynolds THEN take global warming seriously? Of course he won't. He'll just move the goal post further.

Here's the real problem. Global climate change has become extremely politicized. I don't know why, and I don't care who started it. But it must end. It's not a 'liberal' problem, and it's not a 'conservative' problem. If it's a problem, we all face it, and we should all act together to solve it. But comments such as Reynolds are, in my mind, rather divisive -- at best he is saying, "You move first." At worst, he is just trying to score policial points. Neither of these actually addresses the problem, or makes a serious inquiry as to what the problem is and what the best solutions are.

Can we please just stop playing games with our environment? We all depend upon it.
2.2.2007 2:59pm
plunge (mail):
"I thought "Glenn" was pro-business? "

Glenn is nothing in particular other than snarkily approvingly linking to things he won't actually defend or say outright and sneering at everything in sight.
2.2.2007 3:01pm
BobNSF (mail):
Childish nonsense.

Interesting, though, that he doesn't suggest they fly coach...
2.2.2007 3:01pm
Randy R. (mail):
" Laurie David and her ilk want us all to drive cars the size of roller skates while she jets all over the world."

No, actually not. What 'her ilk' want is choice, just like you said. We would like the option of buying electric cars, or cars with higher gas mileage than is availalble now. What is wrong with that?

But again, you prove my point that the debate about the environment has become a political one. Basically, if they are liberals or environmentalists, the right will knee-jerk in it's opposition, even if it's good for the economy.

Example: Detroit didn't anticipate the desire on the part of consumers for smaller and better gas mileage cars in the 70s and today. As a result, foreign car companies gained a huge share of the market by 1980, one that the US car companies never regained. Today, Ford is in the tank. Why? Because they listened to idiots who said that Americans just want big gas guzzling, pollution spewing cars.

Isn't it *conservatives* who like to say that the market is always right? Then in this case, being anti-environmental is wrong.
2.2.2007 3:06pm
JerryM (mail):
Actually, the majority of greenhouse gases are emitted by buildings, not cars or jets. I agree, we are all part of the problem, including those with private planes.

Actually, the oceans emit the most greenhouse gases. Another inconvenient truth.
2.2.2007 3:11pm
AF:
I actually agree with Glenn Reynolds that global warming activists shouldn't be flying around in Gulfstream IIIs.

However, it's idiotic for him to say that until they stop he won't take global warming seriously. Either global warming should be taken seriously or it shouldn't. What Laurie David flies in has nothing to do with it.
2.2.2007 3:13pm
Mr L:
But comments such as Reynolds are, in my mind, rather divisive -- at best he is saying, "You move first."

No, he's saying "if you're going to be out there pushing policy that makes everyone sacrifice time, comfort, and money in the name of global warming, then you can practice what you preach and not fly around the country in a pollution barfing private jet."

Imagine the CEO of a company announcing that because it's been a hard year, there won't be any bonuses for the rank-and-file. Suppose, then, it comes out that his bonus is well into the seven figures. Would complaining about this discrepancy be fair? Of course not, it'd be 'unfair' and 'divisive'!
2.2.2007 3:18pm
Jeff Shultz (mail):
Why should he take it seriously when it's proponents, by their actions, don't either?
2.2.2007 3:19pm
JohnAnnArbor (www):

Isn't it *conservatives* who like to say that the market is always right?

Um, yeah, which is why the Japanese ate Detroit's lunch then and (almost as badly) now. Duh. You say you want choice; you have it! Sometimes environmentalists seem to not understand basic engineering. An electric car, with present technology, is limited in range, sometimes dramatically. Some people probably could use that, and I'm a little surprised no car company has marketed such a car to "little old ladies" (all short-range, no fast driving, etc.). But I'm guessing the reason it's not done is that people simply won't put up with having to switch cars to drive any distance longer than a short commute. (And if you run out of power away from a plug, it's a LOT harder to recover; you can't just get a gas can!)

You have all the choice that engineers can provide, and lots of them are working very hard to expand that envelope with increased fuel economy for normal cars and better technology for newer types. Laurie and company want to increase fuel economy by simply mandating it, and never mind the reductions in mass that requires, etc.

Also, Europe drives lots o' diesel cars; they are much more efficient than gasoline. We have zero (one will come out soon). Why? European air quality laws are less strict than ours. So, there's a trade-off: better fuel economy but more particulates? Or less fuel economy and fewer particulates?

Lots of environmentalists like to pretend such trade-offs don't exist.
2.2.2007 3:22pm
Elliot Reed:
Ah, the argument ad homenim. (Some) environmentalists are hypocrites; therefore, climate change is not a problem. How could I have failed to see it!
2.2.2007 3:23pm
JohnAnnArbor (www):

Actually, the oceans emit the most greenhouse gases. Another inconvenient truth.

And a lot comes from cement manufacture, too.
2.2.2007 3:24pm
Falafalafocus (mail):

Example: Detroit didn't anticipate the desire on the part of consumers for smaller and better gas mileage cars in the 70s and today. As a result, foreign car companies gained a huge share of the market by 1980, one that the US car companies never regained. Today, Ford is in the tank. Why? Because they listened to idiots who said that Americans just want big gas guzzling, pollution spewing cars.


I must not be well versed in business history. Did the U.S. government issue a statute mandating the increased demand of smaller cars? Obviously, if being pro-green is the same as being pro-choice, then the government helped in the choice. . . Hmm. I just don't recall that mandate.

Nutshell: If I want a huge, gas guzzling super hummer, I'm an idiot, both for my own pocketbook and its effect on the environment. But it seems a little odd to say that if the government takes away my right to buy such a car it is somehow increasing my choice.

As for the source of our problem, everyone knows that the main contributor of global warming is the sun. That cursed wretch is not only the main source of warming, it also is one of the larger contributors of nuclear waste to be found on Earth. Worse still, that giant is not paying any taxes and is helping rich people get tans while poor people (who cannot afford this corporate fat cat's "lotion") get skin cancer. I say we take a stand and pass a law to tax the sun. It should pay its fair share.
2.2.2007 3:26pm
Elliot123 (mail):
How about an open skies policy? Suppose there were a web page which itemized the private jet travel by the vocal advocates of limiting carbon discharge. (Hint: anyone wondering what to do with all their free time.)

We could, for example, look up Al Gore or Laurie David and see where they flew, and how much CO2 was released into the atmosphere. It would also list how far one would have to drive a Hummer to release the same amount of CO2.

If these folks bicycled to the airports, fairness dictates those miles should also be included in the calculations.

If Laurie flew from LA to, say, Moose Creek, SD for a conference on saving furry penguins, then we would understand there probably was no commercial service available into Moose Creek. But if she flew from LAX to JFK, we might ask if the atmosphere now needlessly contained tons more CO2.

I agree it is about choice. Let's see what they choose when given the choice.
2.2.2007 3:29pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
If we're going to have a transportation carbon tax it should be progressive in terms of the carbon generated per energy used per weight of cargo carried. This would give the airlines an extra incentive to fill their planes (not that they really need it), and tax luxury of use aircraft. Of course Al Gore flying in a private jet does not directly bear on the scientific merits of climate change, but it does tell you something about his integrity.
2.2.2007 3:44pm
Bryan DB:
JohnAnnArbor,
You'll be better off if you become well-versed in the facts. This statement is demonstrably false: "An electric car, with present technology, is limited in range, sometimes dramatically. ... But I'm guessing the reason it's not done is that people simply won't put up with having to switch cars to drive any distance longer than a short commute."

Current technology is embodied in, for example, the Tesla Roadster, which "can accelerate from 0-60mph in 4 seconds and has a range of 250 miles."

You don't think you can commute to and from work in 250 miles?
2.2.2007 3:47pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Right. You can consistently fly in such jets while embracing the proposed carbon tax.
You can consistently fly in such jets while embracing the proposed carbon tax, but you can't consistently fly in such jets while crusading (often in apocalyptic terms) against global warming and in favor of limits on emissions.

After all, the point of the tax isn't to raise money, but to reduce emissions. And the money itself doesn't mitigate global warming; the reduction in emissions does. If you just say, "Aw, hell, I'm rich enough to buy my way out of this restriction," then you're not reducing emissions, and therefore warming, at all.

And what you're saying is, "Emissions ought to be reduced... by having other people be inconvenienced."
2.2.2007 3:48pm
Henri LeCompte (mail):
Hmmm, for some reason folks here are not getting Glenn's point. I don't think he was saying that he's not taking global warming seriously. I think he's saying that Laurie David and Al Gore and other cognizetti aren't taking it seriously-- as evidenced by their continued use of fuel gobbling monstrosities like Gulfstream jets.

It is not entirely trivial to point out that someone is a hypocrite. An "environmentalist" who wears baby seal slippers is a joke. One who advocates that "the little people" suffer all manner of deprivations that he is unwilling to undergo is likewise a joke. Is global warming a problem, or not? Is it "our" problem, or just "their" problem?

Unfortunately, too many people on the environmental side of this issue are only willing to propose absurd and unworkable pseudo-solutions (as evidenced by their own unwillingness to embrace them). I, for one, am waiting for Al Gore to propose that we begin building nuclear reactors for electricity production. Because, as anyone with a brain already knows, "conservation" ain't gonna get us there.
2.2.2007 3:49pm
jfalk:
So that's 5 tons per hour at a marginal abatement cost of around $15/ton? Doesn't sound like much of a problem to me...
2.2.2007 3:49pm
SeaDrive (mail):
Does it make any difference if the fat cat in the Gulfstream owns 1000 trees busy taking carbon dioxide out of the air?
2.2.2007 3:50pm
frankcross (mail):
"afford" is not an economic term. A tax would raise the price of such flights and correspondingly reduce the number taken. That's how economic works.

I'm a little surprised by the extreme left wing ideology about (liberal) rich folks having so much money they don't care about costs. That's not the way things work.
2.2.2007 3:52pm
lucia (mail) (www):
Interestingly, Laure David herself answers a question from From Grist: this way:

question: What advice do you have for people who are trying to convert their friends and family to the environmental cause?
answer: Set an example -- practice it yourself.


The only thing is, Laurie doesn't think setting this example requires her to do anything an ordinary American would consider "saving a lot of CO2". From Grist again:

Still, David is the first to admit that her mainstream brand of environmentalism does not require sacrificing a Hollywood standard of living. Though she wouldn't be caught dead driving anything with lower gas mileage than a Prius, she offers no apologies for her super-sized house, her extensive wardrobe, or her frequent-flyer lifestyle. It's time, she says, for environmentalism to lose its purer-than-thou attitude.


Though she indulges in whatever amount of energy it takes to support her lifestyle, it appears based on the article, she thinks yelling at SUV drivers on the highway is somehow useful.

Of course Laurie David's lifestyle choices tell us nothing about the theory of global warming.

But if everyone decides to imitate Laurie, buys a big house, purchases an extensive wardrobe and flies around constantly, it's going to be pretty difficult to reduce CO2 emmissions. Watching a movie, hobnobbing at a party Laurie David hosts to raise awarness, rolling down windows and yelling at SUV drivers and wearing the bracelets Laurie David hawks won't remove one molecule of CO2 from the atmosphere.
2.2.2007 3:53pm
gab:
And I have "a test to determine the sincerity of those who call for" our winning the war in Iraq. The test is - Is your kid fighting in Iraq?

"How can we demand "sacrifice" from ordinary Americans when our leaders — including those who call for the sacrifice — are" just talking about" winning but not sacrificing their children?

Hey, I like Reynold's structure - you can apply it to any hyprocritical stance you'd like. It's just like a template!
2.2.2007 3:53pm
Jaime non-Lawyer:
Brian, how much does a Tesla Roadster cost? According to Wikipedia it costs $92K. So yes, I could commute to work in a Tesla, but I wouldn't have any money left over for food.
2.2.2007 3:56pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Is this like "jet envy"? Because I suspect you're catching up more than Al Gore's in this web being weaved.

Of course Al Gore flying in a private jet does not directly bear on the scientific merits of climate change, but it does tell you something about his integrity.

Take care in pettily judging others with sweeping statements? That's Reynold's MO and the schtick is wearing thin in plenty of subjects.
2.2.2007 3:58pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
BryanDB: nice try, but the Tesla Roadster doesn't exist. They're looking to put it on the market in mid-late 2008; all they have now are an initial limited production run. The figures you're quoting are pre-marketing hype. We'll see what it gets in real life, with people running CD players and AC and such. Of course, even if gets the full 250 mpc (miles per charge), it's not really going to be a very popular car... at a base price of $92,000.

I think it's safe to say that John's comment about electric cars being unmarketable with present technology is still accurate, notwithstanding the Tesla Roadster.
2.2.2007 4:00pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
...as evidenced by their continued use of fuel gobbling monstrosities like Gulfstream jets.

See what I mean?
It's contagious minding other people's business.
2.2.2007 4:01pm
happylee:
Ah, so nice to see the commie thought process at work. Once upon a time, when the US was inhabited by good folks, the question would not be "how can I stop someone else from riding a Gulfstream" but "how can make it possible for more people to enjoy the comforts of small jet travel." The former inquiry eventually leads less overall happiness; the latter leads to more.

btw, the entire endgame of this mandmade global warming myth is visible with the question. It has nothing to do with saving the earth. It has to do with grinding us down into a new stonage -- just in time for a new ice age. Carbon is our friend.
2.2.2007 4:06pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
And I have "a test to determine the sincerity of those who call for" our winning the war in Iraq. The test is - Is your kid fighting in Iraq?

"How can we demand "sacrifice" from ordinary Americans when our leaders — including those who call for the sacrifice — are" just talking about" winning but not sacrificing their children?
That doesn't make the least bit of sense, actually. You can argue that a person who wants us to win in Iraq should be going themselves -- although that only makes sense if one believes that one's failure to be there is a contributing factor in the US not winning.

But it makes zero sense to talk about what "your kid" is doing, any more than it makes sense to say that Al Gore isn't serious about global warming if John Kerry uses a private jet. They're different people. You can't send "your kid" to Iraq -- only your "kid" [sic -- why is it that the left doesn't get that soldiers are adults, not "children"] can decide to go -- so whether your "kid" is there isn't a test of your sincerity about anything.
2.2.2007 4:08pm
chrismn (mail):
Serious question:

Why is it

a) good for me to power my car with electricity rather than gasoline.

b) bad for me to heat my house with electricity in the form of incandescent bulbs which use more energy because they put out lots of heat as well as light as opposed to using flourescent bulbs and natural gas to make up for the heat not being produced by the lightbulbs?

a) makes it seem that electricity is this magic clean energy source that comes from nowhere and b) makes it seem as if there is nothing worse than using electricity.
2.2.2007 4:11pm
aaaaaa (mail):
Or make them do carbon offsets. Which some people call for already:

http://cee.uiuc.edu/research/bondresearch/carbon-neutral.htm
2.2.2007 4:27pm
Dan R. (mail):
It should be pointed out that Al Gore uses commercial first class almost exclusively since being a private citizen -- precisely for the reasons identified by Glen.
2.2.2007 4:28pm
Kazinski:
I'll start taking global warming seriously when its proponents start proposing serious policy solutions rather than feel good band-aids which are merely a jobs program for bureaucrats. For instance the reason there aren't more alternative energy sources is because the it isn't economically feasible now. Its simple economics, alternative energy is about 5 times more expensive to produce than fossil fuel energy. It costs less than $1.00 a gallon to actually produce gasoline or diesel, the reason prices are so high is demand and regulation. So if they start producing more alternative energy, then demand for fossil fuels will drop, and prices will drop too, making alternative energy even less competitive. When Greenpeace starts advocating more nuclear power then I'll know they're serious. And if Greenpeace isn't serious about global warming why should I be?

The solution to creating more non-nuclear alternative energy is slap a 500% tax on fossil fuels, so alternative energy can compete, and producers will start making more. But what we keep hearing about is subsidies for ethanol and bio-diesel and CAFE standards.
2.2.2007 4:35pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
consistency + hobgoblins + little minds

Mix and match at will.

Strike pose.
2.2.2007 4:36pm
Adeez (mail):
"You can't send 'your kid' to Iraq -- only your 'kid' [sic -- why is it that the left doesn't get that soldiers are adults, not 'children'] can decide to go -- so whether your 'kid' is there isn't a test of your sincerity about anything."

No soldier has the option to go or not. Unless you consider being prosecuted by the government or fleeing the country equally valid choices.

Second, of course it's a test of one's sincerity. If my child (yes, these quirky people we call "parents" often refer to their adult offspring as their "children") is in Iraq, I will have a self-interest in our policy with regard to the occupation. It's a hell of a lot easier for someone to take an irresponsible position when they have no self-interest. Surely you can't be saying that just b/c the parents themselves aren't there, then they are in the same position as those with no family members there?

By the way, how do you define "winning in Iraq?"
2.2.2007 4:39pm
Loreg:
Why does it have to be an all-or-nothing question? For example, couldn't a market-oriented environmentalist convince Glenn of their sincerity by buying a carbon off-set for each mile he/she travels on a private jet?

Terrapass will sell someone a 450,000 pound carbon offset for the low, low price of $1,499.95 (and throw in a folding bicycle).

(chrismn, powering all the cars in the country from a few sources is more efficient than each car powering itself. Economy of scale. Within that economy of scale, however, there are inefficiencies that can be addressed, like moving from incandescent to fluorescent light bulbs.)
2.2.2007 4:41pm
Speed Racer 5:
Since cattle are a very major contributor of greenhouse gases, sincere foes of global warming must give up beef!
2.2.2007 4:41pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
You can't send "your kid" to Iraq -- only your "kid" [sic -- why is it that the left doesn't get that soldiers are adults, not "children"] can decide to go -- so whether your "kid" is there isn't a test of your sincerity about anything.

Forget the child/adult distinction. (though you might have a spirited discussion about true options/independence/choice and the maturity of your average college-aged students up to the mid 20s, especially before pre- military discipline. When does child become adult? Varies widely for American kids.)

At some point,
acknowledge that some families are contributing military and some are not. It's often a mindset, a way of thinking/living, a culture. Not a personal decision so much, but a far-reaching perhaps collective one. Nothing wrong with that.

So if your family-- which is thought of often as yourself by proxy/your "work"-- is contributing and active currently or near recently, you have more credibility. Period. Your interests are affected; there is true risk involved in the game being played. At some point, you do look to those not contributing and wonder if it's generational excuses, and if without the risk and accountability-- there is credibility.

The comparison is closer than you might think.
Best often to mind one's own business, not preach.
2.2.2007 4:43pm
Houston Lawyer:
Maybe we should all just fly free with the Air Force, like Ms. Pelosi and her entourage. Surely that doesn't contribute to global warming.

Think of all the green house gas emissions we could stop if we shut down the UN. All those guys have to fly here with their extended families and house slaves. Then they're obligated to double park idling limos all over Manhattan. I'm sure they have numerous junkets that require their attention world wide as well.

Hypocrisy is fun to point out. Most of those advocating a carbon tax could pay their share out of petty cash.
2.2.2007 4:43pm
JohnAnnArbor (www):

The solution to creating more non-nuclear alternative energy is slap a 500% tax on fossil fuels, so alternative energy can compete, and producers will start making more.

We should, at the very least, propose that any fuel suitable for vehicles that comes from a feedstock other than petroleum should be untaxed at any level. That would help people like these guys get off the ground. (Check the link; they're trying to make fuel from trash!)
2.2.2007 4:44pm
Speed Racer 5:
Here is a link that describes how cattle contribute more to greenhouse gases than driving.
2.2.2007 4:46pm
Observer (mail):
Prof. Reynolds didn't go quite far enough. Those people who live in 10,000+ SF houses (i.e., all of the Hollywood and Greenwich elite) and who proselytize the religion of climate apocalypse are not to be taken seriously. How much energy does it take to heat and/or cool a mansion?
2.2.2007 4:51pm
Bottomfish (mail):
How people can emit so much hot air about carbon taxes, when there is no clear idea of how much warming is actually caused by CO2, is beyond me.
2.2.2007 5:09pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):
It is interesting to see people argue that we shouldn't regulate certain aspects of greenhouse-gas emissions because they aren't the only source, or the largest, but don't think the US should have to do anything because it is the largest producer of greenhouse gases.
2.2.2007 5:16pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Elliot Reed got this right hours ago:

Ah, the argument ad homenim. (Some) environmentalists are hypocrites; therefore, climate change is not a problem. How could I have failed to see it!

I was always taught that ad hominem arguments were used primarily by those who were unable or unwilling to argue the actual facts. But if we want to play that game, I can say that I personally know a bunch of people who (i) believe that man-made global warming is a serious problem that should be addressed and (ii) don't use private jets or stretch limos.
2.2.2007 5:17pm
karl (mail):
Sea Drive:

Those 1000 trees the fat cat owns that suck up CO2 during the day also put out CO2 during the night. Some 10th grade biology student can give you a good lesson on plant respiration.

Also, termites are one of the major sources of CO2 emission.
2.2.2007 5:19pm
BobNSF (mail):
Uh... if the jet was going where it was going anyway, then Gore was doing his bit by ride-sharing...
2.2.2007 5:27pm
karl (mail):
Any Physical Geographer will tell you that we are nearing the end of the Wisconson Glacation, which at its peak about 13,500 years ago covered a great part of North America as far south as Western Pennsylvania. I wonder what caused this ice to melt?
2.2.2007 5:28pm
BobNSF (mail):
I had no idea termites drove. The things that go on while you're asleep... amazing!
2.2.2007 5:28pm
JohnAnnArbor (www):

I wonder what caused this ice to melt?

Ask the GEICO cavemen. It was they and their fires, no doubt. We need campfire regulation!

When will regulation turn its eye to auto racing? They release lots o' CO2 just going in circles, after all.
2.2.2007 5:38pm
TJ (mail):



Serious question:

Why is it

a) good for me to power my car with electricity rather than gasoline.

b) bad for me to heat my house with electricity in the form of incandescent bulbs which use more energy because they put out lots of heat as well as light as opposed to using flourescent bulbs and natural gas to make up for the heat not being produced by the lightbulbs?

a) makes it seem that electricity is this magic clean energy source that comes from nowhere and b) makes it seem as if there is nothing worse than using electricity.



Good questions. How clean electricity is varies by region. In lots of places, it's not so clean being produced mostly by burning coal.

A couple of nice things however about using electricity for cars is that as cleaner sources of electricity come into use , as is being mandated in our state, using the same cars by extension is also cleaner. Electric cars are also typically charged overnight during off peak hours so they really don't add anything to the load of the Utilities and therefore won't add significantly to the need for more electric power plants.

As far as heating your house with light bulbs goes, well, it's not a very smart way to do it for a variety of reasons. Natural Gas (for a fossil fuel) is a relatively clean source of energy. It wouldn't such be a bad source of power for automobiles if it weren't for its tendency to explode ;-)

Aside from typical home electricity not being very clean relative to Natural Gas, light bulbs also heat your house during the summer and make your A/C and/or fans work harder.

Light bulbs can produce lots of heat, but they don't distribute it well and they keep producing the heat no matter what the weather is.
2.2.2007 5:53pm
Russ (mail):
Why is it only a few people understand Glenn's main point?

He never said greenhouse gasses weren't a problem. He was pointing out, apparently in a way that some don't understand, that it's hard to take seriously someone who advocates sacrifice but fails to sacrifice themselves. When someone like Barbara Streisand posts on her website that you should save energy by air drying your clothes but then she refuses to save any energy by keeping her 10,000 square foot house at 68 degrees all the time, it begs the question, "Why won't she do it when she expects me to?"

Or when Rosie O'Donnell says those who buy guns are bad people, but her bodyguards carry them b/c she says she needs protection, the question is, "Why does she need it, but the rest of us should do without?"

Control your own actions and do yourself what you can for the environment, but don't act indignant when others won't do what you refuse to do yourself.
2.2.2007 5:59pm
RainerK:
Typical. Whoever started this latest concern du jour had to pick the older, far less efficient Gulfstream. Makes for better-suited numbers. I wonder how many are still in use by charter or other private owners.
I'd go a step further and outlaw anything but the maximum number of passengers on the most efficient aircraft. Could call it Sardines Class, oh, wait, some have that already ....
2.2.2007 6:11pm
BobNSF (mail):
I remember the last time a national politician personally did as he said we should do regarding energy.

You guys still make jokes about his cardigan and the solar panels he had installed on the roof (which Saint You-Know-Who had taken down immediately upon his inauguration).
2.2.2007 6:14pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Randy, you and your friends could have bought an electric car at any time in the past 33 years, at least. I considered buying one in 1973. Not for long, but I considered it, it was on the lot and I could have driven it off. It was, then, cheaper than any gasoline car on the market, so price wasn't what kept tree-huggers from buying.

As for imputing insincerity, I have a test. It is foolproof, at least as applied to anyone who claims to be speaking from knowledge about climate.

If a person says any variation on this theme: global warming is causing storms to increase in size, number or strength, then he is a fool or a liar.

As is well-known in the storm tracking community, storm records go back only a few decades. Data on such things as number, if not collected at the time, are irrecoverable.

Thus, you have to listen carefully. This morning, Ms. Solomon, the scientist hyping the IPCC document, used the 'storms are worse' argument, but she did say 'in the last half century.'

So under my rule, I cannot convict her of lying or even of insincerity. But what sort of scientist makes predictions about climate based on 50 years of data?

Lawyers, I suppose, will have experience to draw their own conclusions about what that sort of presentation to a naive audience suggests about the testimony.
2.2.2007 7:00pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Control your own actions and do yourself what you can for the environment, but don't act indignant when others won't do what you refuse to do yourself.

Better yet:
ask yourself, who really gets worked up about what Barbra Steisand puts on her website, what Rosie O'D. says, or if Laurie David likes SUV's (Does she have an opinion on trucks? And who is she anyway?)

The threat is in overreacting to these types, who don't pose much threat so they're generally ignored. To play around with Feynman, who cares who gets indignant about what you do? These women are a credible threat to you??

Or is it the jet envy thing, that pulls in others too?
2.2.2007 7:02pm
Well Armed Koward:
Sea Drive:

You wrote:

"Those 1000 trees the fat cat owns that suck up CO2 during the day also put out CO2 during the night. Some 10th grade biology student can give you a good lesson on plant respiration."

The kid gets an D, and I'm feeling generous, but I think you just made a terminologic error, so you get a C for effort.

Yeah, you can find a variable amount of C02 released by plants during the night, due to metabolic and some other more minor processes, but that's not a significant part of the carbon cycle among terrestrial plants. The idea in plants is to take in carbon dioxide; using energy from the sun and some nifty tricks involving photodynamic coupling of dyestuffs like chlorophyll and other resonators that are embedded in energy transfer complexes(you see them when leaves start to turn and the chlorophyll is broken down first). You generate three Classical pathway) or four-carbon (the Hatch-Slack pathway) intermediates. From there you go to to more storeable sugars, like glucose(mmmm....beeeeeer), fructose, sucrose, heptulose, and all that, that are ways to "store" the sun's energy. Pump those babies down into tubers(sugar beets, potatoes, etc.) and seeds/nuts (corn, sorghum,wheat, etc.)and convert them to very stable starches, or just keep it in the interstitial tissues(sugar cane) and you are all set for a long winter's night, or a mild summer night, or winter.
However, the output at night is typically oxygen (02). The overall cycle is kinetically limited (oak trees), or not (grasses). Anyway, that's the story, and I'm still pissed that a fat, pompous, ponderous politican can be seriously considered for a nobel prize and Hatch and Slack didn't get it for the C4 pathway (carbon pathway in grasses), the unraveling of which was a thing of beauty (nevermind the political handwaving of those Swedish candy-asses that make the peace and lit determinations).
Anyway, the oceans are a little different story, but mobilizing additional CO2 from any depot may just expand the total processing mass; the rate constants shouldn't be affected in a relatively plastic, expansible system. I dunno, but this is getting interesting since there are so many fakes, politicians (why did I make a distinction relative to fakes?), money-grubbing grant-seeking Ph.D.'s and a vast army of camp followers moving into this game. The fact that most people are illiterate but have climate opinions, yet can't get their arms around this spooky old world, doesn't mean that airheads who think they invented the internet can ('cause I know guys who did invent the internet, and none of them is named Gore:-). I'm not surprised by religious left, though...after all, casinos wouldn't exist if people could do math, much less think they could defeat aging with jojoba beans, or other magikle beans, or whatever. Still, I made good money with Harrah's stock, so who am I to complain.
2.2.2007 7:02pm
lucia (mail) (www):
ReVonna,
So is your point these women aren't credible even if we forget about their private jets?
2.2.2007 7:07pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Perhaps some truth-in-mockery is called for. For the record, I would fly all over the place if I had a Gulfstream and the money to fuel it. I'd race Laurie from coast to coast. However, when I landed I wouldn't be harping at the guy passing me in his Hummer while I drove a far more virtuous Prius.

So, who would not fly a Gulfstream if it was made available?
2.2.2007 7:36pm
luagha:
There is just way too much to respond to here...

Myers Motors sells the MM nmg, a single-person commuter electric car for $24,900 - comparable to a Prius. It has a range of 30 miles, recharges on house current, and a reliable top speed of 70+ mph. The idea is that it is the daily commuter vehicle and is more than adequate to go to and from work with random trips and errands. In addition, the family will have a second, gasoline-based car used primarily on the weekends for longer trips or for trips that require more cargo space. On sale now.

Several companies have electric carts and trams in the 30-40 mph, 30-40 miles per charge range. Some are sold for security services to tool about retirement comunities /amusement parks, and for little old ladies to go to the store etc.

A big reason that electricity, no matter how it is generated, is more efficient than gasoline is because a gasoline engine is very inefficient. It has different inefficiencies at different speeds - it's most inefficient breaking out of a dead stop at low speeds which is why the Prius, which does that electrically, is such a bonus. Most cars, depending, have an efficiency sweet spot at 35-40 mph and a lesser one at 60-70 mph though the wind resistance is much stronger at those speeds and steals away what gains can be built in.
An electrical generator, be it coal, nuclear, natural gas, or emergency gasoline generator, is always run as close to its optimum efficiencies as possible. In addition, government regulations generally require that the pollution scrubbers/transformers be appropriately maintained. That's why even a coal generation plant (the worst possible example) puts out about half as much pollution for the same amount of energy to send an electric car X distance as gasoline or diesel engines send an ordinary car X distance.
2.2.2007 7:59pm
Henri LeCompte (mail):
The point of Glenn's post (remember him? Way back at the beginning of this thing?) was that too many people propose "solutions" to global warming that aren't solutions at all. Telling everyone in the Western World that they are going to have to cut their energy use by 30% (or whatever) is just useless pap.

People are NOT going to intentionally impoverish themselves to solve a putative problem with distant consequences. Hell, you can't even get loaded Lefties to limit their lavish lifestyles! How are you gonna convince the rest of us selfish mugs? Lovely alliteration?
2.2.2007 7:59pm
Spectral Disorder:

doesn't mean that airheads who think they invented the internet can ('cause I know guys who did invent the internet, and none of them is named Gore:-)

Perhaps you should try reading what Gore actually said, rather than repeating the widely repeated distortion. And, if you really do know Kahn, Cerf and the other guys who "invented" the internet,`ask them if they have a clue who was responsible for getting them funding. 'Cause, um, the guys who developed the IP protocol certainly give Gore a lot of credit.
2.2.2007 8:16pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Electric cars are also typically charged overnight during off peak hours so they really don't add anything to the load of the Utilities and therefore won't add significantly to the need for more electric power plants."

While we might not have to build additional generating capacity, we would still need more electric energy, and that means additional consumption of fossil fuel, uranium or whatever the electric power plants use as a source of input energy.
2.2.2007 8:50pm
Dick King:
I understand that about a quarter of the retail price of gasoline is road use taxes that go towards road maintenance. If electric cars become popular, states and the federal government will to require their owners to pay this tax in some manner. This may remove some of the price advantage, if such an advantage exists.

-dk
2.2.2007 9:09pm
Randy R. (mail):
" He was pointing out, apparently in a way that some don't understand, that it's hard to take seriously someone who advocates sacrifice but fails to sacrifice themselves."

Okay. Great. I *get* it. So does he take seriously those who advocate sacrifice and sacrifice themselves? I don't see any evidence of it.
2.2.2007 9:14pm
byomtov (mail):
I think Reynolds' point is well-taken. I do wonder, though, if he has criticized Bush for not encouraging his daughters to enlist for service in Iraq.

I also wonder what he thinks, in general, about people like, say, Cheney, DeLay, and even Bush, who thought the Vietnam War was a glorious undertaking, but somehow had "other priorities" when it came time to go fight.

In other words, if Reynolds wants to point out inconsistencies between stated positions and behavior, maybe he should show a little consistency himself. Otherwise I don't see why anyone ought to take him seriously.
2.2.2007 9:18pm
Randy R. (mail):
Okay, I'm gettin just a LITTLE fed up with people who keep equating conservation with "sacrifice." We can easily cut energy consumption by huge amounts with ANY sacrifice at all. For instance, I have replaced most of my light bulbs with energy efficient ones. They cost a little more, but they last much longer and use less energy, saving my electrical costs.

Get it? I SAVE money while reducing energy consumption. Where is the so-called sacrifice?

Next up -- I live in a row house in the city. This summer I will look into turning my roof into a garden. If I can, then I will significantly reduce my AC costs in the summer while growing vegetables.

See, this is the real problem. The anti-enviros have convinced everyone that any sort of energy conservations means lowering the thermostat in winter, or driving less, and sheesh, we simply cannot ask any American to do that! (Although we really did make such sacrifices in the 1940s without any complaint). But it simply isn't true. Buildings consume far more energy than cars do, in toto, and the technology ALREADY exists to slash their comsumption of energy, AND slash the dangerous emissions. And in the long run, these buildings save the owners money. So why isn't this embraced by, like, all you so-called conservatives?

Please answer me that one, pretty please?
2.2.2007 9:21pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Dr. Susan Solomon, Harry, A member of the US National Academy of Science, and she has a glacier named after her, so she has a vested interest in them not melting.

Beyond that, let's look at what the IPCC Summary for Policy Makers ACTUALLY says about tropical cyclones and hurricanes:

There is observational evidence for an increase of intense tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic since about 1970, correlated with increases of tropical sea surface temperatures. There are also suggestions of increased intense tropical cyclone activity in some other regions where concerns over data quality are greater. Multi-decadal variability and the quality of the tropical cyclone records prior to routine satellite observations in about 1970 complicate the detection of long-term trends in tropical cyclone activity. There is no clear trend in the annual numbers of tropical cyclones.....

Based on a range of models, it is likely that future tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes) will become
more intense, with larger peak wind speeds and more heavy precipitation associated with ongoing increases of tropical SSTs. There is less confidence in projections of a global decrease in numbers of tropical cyclones. The apparent increase in the proportion of very intense storms since 1970 in some regions is much larger than simulated by current models for that period.

So yes, this fails someone who knows nothing about climate science's sincerity test. BFD
2.2.2007 9:31pm
MnZ (mail):
Randy R.,

Calm down. You, the Democratic party, and publications like the NYT seem to say that. However, whenever I ever see any serious numbers, they just don't bear out that point of view. If there truly was a "free lunch" out there, then wouldn't it pay the Democratic party to clearly define it? Instead, the Democrats only give vague platitudes when they are pressed on the issue.

Anyway, I replaced all the light bulbs in my house with CF bulbs. Any decline in my energy bill was imperceptible.
2.2.2007 9:34pm
MnZ (mail):
luagha,

Unless gasoline gets much more expensive (and electricity remains relatively cheap), who would want to buy a one seater with such a limited range when they could buy a larger car for less?
2.2.2007 9:38pm
MnZ (mail):
I think Glenn Reynolds has only a small point. Sure, anyone who rails against carbon emmissions while flying around in a Gulfstream is less than sincere. However, these people are mostly Hollywood types, who are rather insincere in general.

If we wanted to talk about damning insincerity on global warming, then I believe the focus should be the Democratic Party. For example, take wind power. It is a favored energy source among environmentalist Democrats, but when it comes to actually building wind mills, a non-insignificant number of Democrats oppose it (e.g., Cape Wind).

Anyway, guess which state is largest and fastest growing producer of wind power. Answer: Texas!!!
2.2.2007 10:16pm
Randy R. (mail):
Ralph Nader. now there is someone who doesn't drive a car, and flies regular airplanes. Can't doubt his sincerity now, so that means Glenn must take Nader seriously on global warming.

If you want information on how buildings can be build sustainably, see mcdonoughpartners.com. They are the leading architecture firm on sustainability. Also, Metropolis magazine has written extensivly on this very subject.

As for storms, one need only look as far as Lloyd's of London, the oldest insurer in the world, and the standard by which all other insurance companies follow. This summer, they issued an advisory that insurance companies withdraw capacity along the entire eastern seaboard of the US. Why? Because they concluded that climate change is real, and it will result in more intense and more frequent storms, resulting in greater damage claims for property and causualty insurance. Their website is www.lloyds.com.

Now, say what you will, but Lloyd's has no interest with the Democratic party, or Hollywood liberals. Insurance has always been, and remains, a conservative institution. Change comes slowly for them. And they have no interest in protecting the environment or forcing people to drive smaller cars. Their only interest is making money. And they see that they will LOSE money unless they address climate change squarely.

And the insurance industry is listening. They have begun to cut back on capacity. The Washington Post did an extensive article about how this is happening already, and what it means for you and me is that we will pay higher premiums for less insurance, if we are dropped by our carrier, it will be much more difficult to find any insurance at all, and businesses who pay higher premiums will pass those costs on to consumers. Meaning you and me.

Now, maybe you don't like this fact, but it IS a fact. The more we ignore the problem, the worse we make it for ourselves. And the fact is that we will pay, one way or another.
2.2.2007 10:49pm
Eli Rabett (www):
MnZ-
Why buy a tiny car? Maybe parking? That was one of the big drivers for the Smart Car in Europe.
2.2.2007 11:07pm
MnZ (mail):
Randy R.,

I think climate change is real. I think something needs to be done. However, I also believe in clear headed, honest policies.

Can things like buildings and cars be more carbon-emission efficient? Absolutely! For example, the antiquated windows in my office waste a lot of energy. They don't put in new windows, because it is cheaper to let the energy go to waste than replace them. However, if you put a tax on energy, then new windows begin to look economically attractive.

Unless people are given an incentive to change their behavior, they probably won't.

Eli,

I realize a small car is beneficial for parking. However, how small does anyone really need? Wouldn't a motorcycle be easier to park and a whole lot less expensive?
2.2.2007 11:25pm
luagha:
If you're a two-car household. Whoever is commuting within range uses the one-seater.
If your other car is a truck or other high-utility-power, low-gas-mileage vehicle, the one-seater is much more efficient for what it does.
As I said, the cost is very comparable to the Prius. It only fails in comparison to a relatively inexpensive no-frills compact car with high mileage. (Which is strangely enough what I drive.)
If you are willing to pay a slight premium to save gas and save the planet, it's an excellent choice and will likely improve in time. For certain patterns of use it's even more efficient.
2.2.2007 11:26pm
JohnAnnArbor:

Buildings consume far more energy than cars do, in toto, and the technology ALREADY exists to slash their comsumption of energy, AND slash the dangerous emissions. And in the long run, these buildings save the owners money. So why isn't this embraced by, like, all you so-called conservatives?

Are you seriously contending that businesses haven't bothered to save energy AND money through a bunch of readily-available simple methods?

Businesses, in general, adopt what's practical and proven to help their bottom line, in energy use or anything else. They LOVE fluorescent lighting because of this and have used it for a long time. (I knew compact fluorescents must be getting more practical once they started turning up in hotel rooms. I have some now, but sometimes the quality of light is more than a little "off." I'm sure they'll improve.) So the idea there's rampant waste and non-adoption of real simple and practical methods is hard to believe. Usually, they're talking about new buildings that cost three times as much as a normal one to build and are basically fussy science projects with weird maintenance needs.
2.3.2007 12:11am
Harry Eagar (mail):
Way to sacrifice, Randy. Put potted plants on your roof.

I feel your pain.

As for Eli, are you and Solomon seriously claiming that you can project climate over the next, say, 100 years, based on admittedly dubious data over the last 30 years? When neither you nor I nor Solomon nor anybody has any idea what the storm regime was at any point before the 1960s?

When observation satellites went up, storm trackers in the Pacific were astonished to learn that the average number of storms per year was much higher than what they had thought. The Pacific is a big, mostly empty place, where even a hurricane can arise in the east, travel hundreds or thousands of miles to the west and die out, unobserved.

And since the Central Pacific covers about 40% of the tropics, not knowing what went on there means not knowing much.

As for insurance, decisions are made based on risk, which is based on wealth. Hurricane Andrew did a lot of damage, but if a similar storm had hit the same area a generation before, the insurable damage would have been zero. Nothing was there to insure.

My insurance rates are up, although there has never been a hurricane where I live (not in recorded history, anyway), because there have been destructive hurricanes within a few dozen miles, and because there is about $15 billion worth of real estate in the way if a storm path should ever wander a little bit.

That's learned prudence on the part of the insurers. They got burned so bad shooting crap, they have sometimes started actually doing risk assessment.

When the last hurricane hit here, 1992, the state's biggest property insurer welshed. It was that or crash. Yet almost all the damage was on an island that had been hit by hurricanes three times between 1950 and 1991.

The people who run insurance companies are none too bright, and none have proven themselves dimmer in the past generation than at Lloyd's. You may recall the collapse of the 'names'? I forget what the final losses came to, but the figure $0.5 TRILLION sticks in my mind.
2.3.2007 12:14am
JohnAnnArbor:
My objections to motorcycles have to do with safety; I don't want to trust my life to one tire. I've seen prototype three-wheeled motorized tricycles, fully or partly enclosed, that "lean" into turns. GM had one called the "Lean Machine" in the 1980s. If you could prove one reasonably safe in an accident, I might consider it.

Again, though, you lose the flexibility of a car. Everything's a trade....
2.3.2007 12:15am
JohnAnnArbor:

This summer I will look into turning my roof into a garden.

Good luck. Hope the roof doesn't leak. And plant roots are pretty strong; they could MAKE a leak.
2.3.2007 12:18am
Pete Zaitcev (mail) (www):
In his narrow-minded drive to catch someone on "hypocrisity" Glenn went way too far over the line, at least in my personal opinion.

I am very concerned that he's seeding a wind of prohibition which he won't like later himself. Personal aviation in is a target of liberals already. If we start busting balls of people flying in Gulfstreams, what about those in Sino-Swearingens? How about Citations? Eclipse 500s? An SUV burns more gas than the Eclipse, per mile travelled. But hey, it's a personal jet, isn't it. Let's tax the hell out of it!

And this is not about personal aviation either. Right this moment euroweenies of all colors are up in arms about cattle carriers, er. discount airlines. Guess what, draconian taxes are already proposed. Pseudo-science of contrails is drummed out, too. But how unfortunate, they can't close all airlines outright, but hey, the bizjets... only RICH fly those. And RICH are always all right to target.

Frankly, I'm unhappy that Reynolds is carrying water for those types.
2.3.2007 12:24am
Randy R. (mail):
"Way to sacrifice, Randy. Put potted plants on your roof. "

Uh, Harry, the reason I mentioned that is to show disprove the notion that all forms of energy conservation equates to some sort of sacrifice. I'm merely stating that it doesn't need to be.

Sustainable building doesn't cost three times as much. Simple things, such as passive solar energy, can save quite a bit of money with no particular maintenence. Architects learned a hundred years ago that you could build a house with eaves that will provide shade in the summer, when the sun is high, and allows it to heat up the rooms in the winter, when it is low on the horizon.

As for insurance, you have a serious lack of knowledge of how the insurance industry works. It's based on risk assessment, which is based on predicability. For instance, they have stats on the average lifespan of a person and so base their premiums upon that average. You may die sooner or later than that date, but when you look at a large population, everyone will die, on average, very close to that number.
Same thing with property and casualty insurance. they can't predict where the next hurricane will occur, but they know that over the past few decades there will be an certain average of claims per year. When that average changes, and there is no way to predict what those changes will be (which is exactly what you argue, that we can't predict what the climate will be), then the risk goes up. And when risk goes up, so do the premiums.

Actually, the insurance industry as a whole is and always has been quite profitable. One of teh reasons is because of reinsurance. If you don't know what that is, look it up.

My point, though, is that Lloyd's is not some bunch of wild-eyed liberals who want to force conservation on you. Just the opposite. Most insurers are actually Republicans. But even though understand the dangers of climate change and are preparing themselves for it. Again, inconvenient facts.

Sooner or later, the people who claim that there is no such thing as climate change, that the glaciers aren't melting (they're just repositioning themselves in the sea) will be more and more like the people who claim things are great in Iraq -- they will be seen as unhinged, out of touch, extremists and willfully delusional.
2.3.2007 12:34am
Well Armed Koward:
Randy R:

You wrote:

"See, this is the real problem. The anti-enviros have convinced everyone that any sort of energy conservations means lowering the thermostat in winter, or driving less, and sheesh, we simply cannot ask any American to do that!(Although we really did make such sacrifices in the 1940s without any complaint). But it simply isn't true. Buildings consume far more energy than cars do, in toto, and the technology ALREADY exists to slash their comsumption of energy, AND slash the dangerous emissions. And in the long run, these buildings save the owners money. So why isn't this embraced by, like, all you so-called conservatives?

Please answer me that one, pretty please?"

Sure, Randy, no problemo.

The economics of adding energy saving technical advances to buildings, such as heat pumps, LED lighting panels (wonderful things), insulation on structural members, UV and IR reflective glass, zone-sensing HVAC, all make financial sense. These and many others are deeply and thoroughly practiced by architects, designers and civil engineers, irrespective of their being "conservative" or "liberal". Most engineers I've worked with are of a practical bent and therefore tend to be libertarian or conservative, but not all of them.

You also wrote:

"(Although we really did make such sacrifices in the 1940s without any complaint)"

The bird-brain calls for "sacrifice" by the GW crowd are in no way similar to the motives and sacrifices driving Americans in WWII. Whether it was rubber &other elastomers, grease (which could be hydrolyzed to provide glycerol and fatty acids for surfactants, lubricants, explosives and pharmaceuticals) or collecting scrap metal, the need seemed reasonable and the reason was clear: A bunch of thought-nazis who were Real Nazis were trying to tell everybody else what to do while profiting mightily themselves (Hmmmmmmmmmm.....). They were definitely not whack-job fellow citizens who will be long gone and dead before their projected drop-dead dates, when the sky falls and the tipping points tip (NOT!). In fact, even their progeny can claim that the sky didn't fall because of them.
Wow, I need to get a piece of this!

You also wrote:

"The anti-enviros"

Gee, that's odd, I could have sworn that my undergraduate classes and job in Ecology and my later work on the effects of photochemical smog components (nitrogen oxides and PAN) on crops and sucession communities would have made me a better person, but I guess you're right. My need for facts, not massaged stats, must've made me into an "anti-enviro" ....(now that cuts to the bone).
2.3.2007 12:36am
JohnAnnArbor:

As for insurance, decisions are made based on risk, which is based on wealth. Hurricane Andrew did a lot of damage, but if a similar storm had hit the same area a generation before, the insurable damage would have been zero. Nothing was there to insure.

Exactly. There's a lot more development on the shoreline that can get hit. When it does get hit, someone's got to fix it!

People have short memories. In 1938, a category 3 hurricane hit near New York, and the hurricane was moving 70 miles an hour! (Normal speed is 10 or less.) Imagine if that happened today; New York would sue GM, Ford, and the coal industry for damages based on "global warming"!

Another hit Newfoundland in 1775. "Global warming"! At least that's what we'd hear today.

A hurricane may have hit England in 1703. Satellite tracking was a bit iffy then, so we don't know for sure. But what if this happened next year? "Global warming! Behead Cheney! Destroy Exxon!"

Know your history! Weather has always been weird. And now that people live more places and we can communicate more, we know about a lot more storms. (Not to mention satellite tracking, as mentioned earlier, which found Pacific storms that would have remained unknown in the past.) It's similar to earthquakes. 1906 San Francisco is the "big one"; no one remembers the just-as-strong California earthquake of 1857, or the New Madrid earthquakes of 1812, because so few people were living in the areas at the time. If those happened now, it would be very bad, and there's no ready-made way to blame THAT one on CO2.
2.3.2007 12:45am
JohnAnnArbor:

My point, though, is that Lloyd's is not some bunch of wild-eyed liberals who want to force conservation on you.

No, they're businesses in a political environment. If they bail out of someplace because the risk is too great because there's "more development" or something, the governments they deal with might cast the baleful eye of regulation their way, and FORCE them to issue policies or other such government-mandated nonsense.

So they have to think. What would these governments be ready to hear? Wait, they're always yapping about global warming! That's the ticket! Then they'll look at us sympathetically and we can get out of an unprofitable sector cleanly!
2.3.2007 12:53am
Mark Buehner (mail):
I think Glenn has a clever, snarky, challenge, but i think a far better challenge is the nuclear energy question. Something like 1/3rd of US C02 emissions are created by fossil fuel energy production. Now, whatever you think of nuclear power, not many people are arguing that it is a world killer (particularly since France is getting along quite nicely these days vast majority nuclear). Worst case you get a regional 'Chernobyl' style disaster, which as anyone with a knowledge of nuclear energy agrees is already far-fetched with modern technology and Western standards of operation. Regardless, it doesnt hold a candle to what activists are arguing Global Warming has in store for us.

So the bottom line is that it seems completely lunatic that anyone claiming the dangers of AGW warrant massive social change wont also be screaming bloody murder for nuclear power to shut down our coal plants. I absolutely cannot see an alternative.

If you actually believe in the imminent, catastrophic danger of Climate Change, it follows that you must logically believe in the preferability of nuclear power (whatever dangers you may espouse to it) as a preferable alternative. They way Gore and ilk are talking, 50 Chernobyls would pale in comparison to what we are in for if we dont espouse his views on global warming.
2.3.2007 1:24am
K Parker (mail):
Randy R.,
Global climate change has become extremely politicized. I don't know why, and I don't care who started it. But it must end.
Great! Will you join me, now, in loudly and publicly abominating Steve Schnieder for saying, "Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest"?

AF,

I'd suggest we not take Laurie David seriously regardless of what she does or doesn't fly.

Happylee,

If you think Glenn is really advocating a ban on private jets, you need some remedial sarcasm-detection training.
2.3.2007 12:23pm
Sameer Parekh (mail) (www):
Some facts for your consideration:

DOC G-III: $2788/hr http://www.omnijet.com/doc/
Carbon emission: 5 tons/hr
Carbon tax: $150/ton (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_tax)
or $750/hr

Thus a carbon tax would add about 25% to the cost of flying a G-III. I think people flying around in private jets would notice.
2.3.2007 2:00pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Randy, you old romantic! I'd like to introduce you to several thousand residents of Kauai, who had their homes insured by the largest company in the state.

The company liked to write policies in Hawaii because its loss experience had been favorable. It projected that into the future, without thinking things through, just the way you do your trivial stock of climate data.

When Hurricane Iniki devastated Kauai, the insurer didn't pay. 'Sorry, we miscalculated,' was pretty much a summary of the response.

I am paid to understand how insurance works. Your version of the business is nicer than mine, but mine has the advantage of being accurate.
2.3.2007 2:04pm
Randy R. (mail):
OKay. I give up. The entire insurance industry is filled with idiots who don't know anything at all about how to calculate insurance, and that -- of course -- the ONLY reason they are worried about climate change is because government influence, event thought they all secretely disagree with it. They are of course willing to walk away from large profits on the east because they need to placate their governmental masters.

And all scientists who support the notion of climate change are paid stooges for Al Gore. All politicians who support it are craven for votes from a dupped public. Even British Petroleum, which supports it, of course is doing so only because their governmental masters tell them to.

This is a vast left wing conspiracy based on nothing more than hysteria and smoke and mirrors designed to wrench god-fearing americans from their hummers. Just because.

Sheesh. You know, I started out this line stating that the whole issue of climate change has been politicized, and you guys sure do prove it. So much for having an intelligent debate.
2.3.2007 2:33pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
Another "Inconvenient Truth" ... our Courts ... massive paper-based filing system ... the biggest contributors to the deforestation of trees ... causing global warming ... resistance to paperless electronic filing systems for all litigants ...

No wonder there is not enough funding in the state and federal courts to pay the judges enough and safeguard fundamental Constitutional rights ... all the funding is all wasted on global warming paper!!!

I think it appropriate to reprint my earlier global warming contribution from The Federalist papers thread:

The Federalist Papers

It is just amazing how so many in todays world continue to debate the meaning of these papers, while losing sight of the most important fact of all — what the writings are inked upon, "Papers." And so it will come to pass as their worlds as-they-know it collapse from all around them, the temperatures heat up, waters rise, and the great northward migration begins.

American papermaking began just over 300 years ago in Philadelphia. The first paper mill was established in 1690 in Philadelphia, historybuff, the hotbed of a youthful Bar and Bench.

Papermakers learned how to make paper from trees in the mid-1800s, allowing a massive expansion in communications via paper usage. At the time, people considered forests and energy to be unlimited, and air and water infinitely capable of cleansing and renewal. Today, we recognize the limits of resource demand and the necessity for environmentally sustainable production systems — i.e., the place paper should have in our brave new world.

The United States produces more paper and paper-board than any country in the world. It has maintained this position by consistently producing about one-third of total world production, far more than any other country. That's a lot of blame for who's causing global warming.

Todays Courts and Bar Examiners in at least four States — Florida, Georgia, California, and Kentucky — vigorously support massive deforestation efforts to maintain their paper-based judicial and attorney licensure systems. And lets never forget in addition to the Florida State Courts Systems resistance to paperless change, the number of paper briefs people have to file at the Florida Supreme Court, paper ballots, hanging chads, and Bush v. Gore.

As we are about to hear on February 2nd, when the first of the devastatingly grim global warming disaster climate change reports is released, it will become more clear than ever — these State Courts and Bar Examiners should no longer have the right to exploit the environment by utilizing deforestation to maintain a massive paper-based system that locks out disabled paperless electronic assistive technology users from meaningful access to the Courts and their licensure while destroying our Earth. Three centuries of global warming destruction is enough.

I have said it before, and I'll say it again — the northward migration from Florida is at the threshold, we need global climate change attorney reciprocity now.

As Bob Dylan warned many many years ago ...

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone

— Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin'

Now there's something for The Federalist Papers to really write about.
2.3.2007 2:33pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Randy, the insurers are withdrawing from places like Florida because they are overexposed there, not because global warming is causing more or bigger hurricanes, which it isn't.

They are withdrawing from Hawaii for the same reason: the number of hurricanes damaging the state has not increased.

It's a good business to get out of, and GW offers a convenient cover.

However, the tidal approach and retreat of property insurance companies is not a new phenomenon. It was going on before anybody ever heard of James Hansen.

Is GW a conspiracy? Yes, pretty much. Supposedly, the thing has been rocketing along now for a century or so. Yet when we look around, nothing has changed. No crops are being abandoned where they once flourished, nor are crops now being grown where once they failed. Cities are not being drowned, and neither does the desert bloom nor does it engulf the smiling farms.

And it has resulted in the transfer of something like $100 billion of wealth into the hands of the conspirators.
2.3.2007 9:05pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Well, Harry is very agressive. Very wrong, but very agressive. Don't put potted plants on your roof. For one thing they can damage the roof. For another, there is something simple and effective that you can do with your roof to save energy

Cover it with a light colored material. We did this and it save a bunch of energy and $. Doing so decreases the amount of heat that is reflected during the summer and the amount that is radiated during the winter.

Now Harry may be a young guy, but we have had satellite observations of the Pacific for ~35-40 years since the mid 60s if you include military satellites, and yes, climate models have become increasingly skillful over roughly the same period, which explains Dr. Solomon's confidence and mine. This does not mean that models work perfectly, but that their skill is sufficient to make predictions about 100 years from now about global temperatures, temperature changes in the arctic. On the other hand there are things that we do not have sufficient skill to make good predictions about, such as will the Greenland ice cap collapse, or go into an irretrivial decline in the next century. Our skill IS sufficient to know that this is possible. That happening, my friends is scary. Our skill is sufficient to know that there will be a major acidification of the ocean. We know that many biological systems will be negatively affected by this. We don;t know of any that will be positively affected. We don;t know the limits of damage. That is scary.
2.3.2007 11:28pm
Eli Rabett (www):
OK, editing problems. Covering with light colored materials increases the amount of heat reflected during the summer and decreases the amount radiated in the winter.
2.3.2007 11:29pm
Ken Arromdee:
So if your family-- which is thought of often as yourself by proxy/your "work"-- is contributing and active currently or near recently, you have more credibility.

There's a more important difference.

The person advocating we sacrifice for the environment is advocating this universally. He's saying that *everyone* should sacrifice for the environment. The person who advocates war in Iraq is not claiming that everyone should be a soldier.

The case for hypocrisy is *much* stronger in the former case. I think we should, as a society, have firemen and use them to fight fires. Does this make me a hypocrite because I am not willing to put on a red uniform and go into a fire myself? Of course not.
2.4.2007 12:17am
tsotha:
Eli,

I don't believe it for a minute. The idea you can predict global climate 100 years into the future in such an unstable system is ridiculous. Especially given the fact the initial condition data that gets plugged into those models is unreliable if more than a few decades old and incomplete at present. This is really no different than the high school chemistry student that measures everything to two digits and claims a precision of eight on the result.

The earth has been both hotter and colder than it is today. Were greenhouse gases the culprit when the earth was warmer eons ago?

And why are the other planets getting hotter? Is the mars rover really generating that much CO2?

Global warming has become a religion. If it were science dissenting voices would be heard out instead of shouted down. Can we really trust data from a group of people who know they'll never get another grant if they don't play along? That the non-tenured will be driven out and the tenured will be teaching six sections of "ecology 29 - freshman ecology for music majors" for the rest of their career?

I'm all for investing in research to determine if there's anything to worry about. But let's do the research instead of holding political conferences to vilify the unbelievers. We simply don't have the data we need to predict anything with confidence.

I think the reason this thing has become political is some of Global Warming's advocates have been somewhat disingenuous. I'll give you an example: hurricanes. Last year's hurricane season was supposed to be the most violent ever. And then it wasn't. So a bad hurricane season was supposed to prove Global Warming was real, but a mild one doesn't prove anything? That's not science. I would be content to ignore the whole thing until the science settles out, but not if people are proposing outrageously expensive solution to a problem that may or may not exist, and if it does CO2 may have nothing to do with it.
2.4.2007 3:50am
W A C:
Randy:

You wrote;

"OKay. I give up. The entire insurance industry is filled with idiots who don't know anything at all about how to calculate insurance, and that -- of course -- the ONLY reason they are worried about climate change is because government influence, event thought they all secretely disagree with it. They are of course willing to walk away from large profits on the east because they need to placate their governmental masters.

And all scientists who support the notion of climate change are paid stooges for Al Gore. All politicians who support it are craven for votes from a dupped public.


This is a vast left wing conspiracy based on nothing more than hysteria and smoke and mirrors designed to wrench god-fearing americans from their hummers. Just because."


Yep, that about covers it, Randy.
2.4.2007 3:53am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"That's not science. I would be content to ignore the whole thing until the science settles out, but not if people are proposing outrageously expensive solution to a problem that may or may not exist, and if it does CO2 may have nothing to do with it."

As I see it, if ya cut down as many trees as it takes to fill an entire States' state and federal courthouses with paper (multiplied by 50 states, the District of Columbia, and territories), CO2 indeed has a lot "to do with it."

Compared to all that Earth-destroying paper, paperless electronic court filing and service of all pleadings and other communications as between courts and among lawyers are mere fractions of a penny.

Another global warming denialist falls into the pit of logical fallacies, which will soon sink under the rising sea.
2.4.2007 7:09am
karl (mail):
To SeaDrive and WellArmed Koward:

I would give the kid an A-. At his acedemic level he probably looked at a cartoon of the Calvin-Benson Cycle and being unaware of the 1st and 2nd Laws, assumed the input and output of CO2 to be relatively equal. He wasn't all wrong. Photosynthetic organisms (including fat cat's 1000 trees) remove about 100 x 1015 (10 to the 15th power) grams of carbon/year. The amount of CO2 realeased to the atmosphere for all biota (including the 1000 trees) is estimated to be 102 x 1015 grams/year. add to this the carbon released by combustion of fossil fuels (5 x 1015 grams/year) and you can see the emissions are greater than the intake. The oceans only remove about 2 x 1015 grams C/year and the atmospheric carbon content is currently increasing by about 3 x 1015 grams/year. Over the past 200 years Atmospheric CO2 has increased from 280 ppm to 360 ppp, the current level.

No credible scientist denies the world is getting warmer; the total reasons and what effect it will have is what is in question. Alarmists, pushed by environmental zealots
see only disaster. But what about we optimists?

While the earth is about 10 bilion years old, the living atmosphere of today is only about 3 billion years old. In that time man has evolved from blobs of protein into the current species. Is it possible man will keep adapting to the changing atmosphere and keep evolving into some furture form of the species? Will global warming result in an expoential explosion of plant life such as existed prior to the Pleistocene Ice Age Epoch when mastrodons grazed in northern Siberia and plant eating dinosaurs roamed what is now the barren lands of Montana and the Dakotas? Will man's genius find an economical way to convert the rising oceans into irrigation quality water and solve the world's hunger problem. (Oh-oh, look out for overpopulation)

These problems won't be solved in our lifetime or for many generations to come. If man can survive his own devices, optimists believe he will adapt as will the earth and life will go on until the Sun dies, and then none of this will make any difference.
2.4.2007 9:45am
Harry Eagar (mail):
I'm probably older than you, Eli. Anyhow, I'm old enough to understand how foolish it is to project trends in complicated systems (climate, economics, agricultural output, traffic) based on 35-40 years of data.
2.4.2007 2:41pm
TJIT (mail):
Ecologically Hollywood is a complete waste of resources. It uses resources, produces pollution, and at the end of the day it produces a luxury item that no one actually needs. That is Hollywood's right and their choice and I'm glad they have it.

What we see now are political activists in Hollywood demanding.

1.That those who actually produce things that oftentimes serve a useful purpose change their lifestyle and consumption patterns.

2.At the same time they are demanding that the Hollywood activist do not have to change their consumption patterns or lifestyle.

These are actions of someone who is not to be taken seriously

If the Hollywood activists stopped making films and started to do something ecologically sustainable they will at least be walking the talk. Until then they deserve all of the taunting and charges of hypocrisy that can be stacked upon them.
2.4.2007 2:59pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Actually Harry we have a lot more data than 30-35 years. You asked about satellite observations What we have 30-35 years of is satellite observations of the whole earth. These have displaced the need for thousands of surface weather stations. From the weather stations we have instrumental observations going back 150 years and more. We have hundreds of years of weather diary information from ships and land that gives us useful (again, but not complete)information about cyclones among other things.

Climate models are constructed from physical theory. They can be and are tested against such data. Anyone such as Tsotha and Harry who think that climate is so unstable that it cannot be predicted probably does not believe in the seasons. Can seasons be predicted? Is it going to be colder on the average winter day than on the average summer day? Will it be warmer in a 2x CO2 world? Same sort of question. Same answer. Climate in the past has not been unstable on the time scales of decades. Major changes required centuries and millenia
2.4.2007 6:49pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Mary-Katherine, if you cut down the trees and make paper and STORE THE PAPER IN COURTHOUSES, that takes carbon dioxide out of circulation. Grow more trees, and repeat.

Sheesh.

Nice switch, Eli. Do you work a 3-card monte game when you're not posting?

My comment was about strength, frequency and size of storms. For these, we have no data before the early '60s. None, nil, nada, zip, zero, not any.

But let's consider your claim that we have secular temperature records from land and sea for 150 years. What sort of records do we have from 1857 for:


Antarctica? None.

The Arctic. Almost none.

Tibetan plateau. None.

Central Pacific. Very few.

Interior Africa. None.

Amazon Basin. None, except along the river itself.

Southwest Asia. None, excapt along the coasts.

We don't know whether 2006 was warmer or colder than 1906, because we don't know what the globe's temperature was in 1906. We do know that whatever change there has been, it has been very small.
2.4.2007 11:11pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Can we really trust data from a group of people who know they'll never get another grant if they don't play along?"

Last year, Ron Bailey was a prominent scientist, and he doubted all the claims of climate change. This year, after reveiwing the latest data, he converted, and now says that global warming is occuring. He wrote about this conversion in Reason magazine.

So was he a loony when he supported your view last year, or is he a loony now? How is it you could trust his judgment last year, but not now? He fully explains his reasons for the switch -- is that sufficient that he made his decision on scientific grounds, or must you now find he joined the worldwide conspiracy for no apparent reason?
2.4.2007 11:59pm
Randy R. (mail):
"We do know that whatever change there has been, it has been very small."

WRONG! We do know that the last five years have been the hottest on record, and by a fairly good sized margin. At least know your facts before you through them around. They were printed in this week's IPCC report.
2.5.2007 12:01am
Harry Eagar (mail):
Well, except in the southern hemisphere, where last year was the COLDEST ever recorded.

And even if the last five have been the hottest in the last six years -- that's as far back as the records go, after all -- I am not impressed.
2.5.2007 11:40am
John A. Fleming (mail):
My problem with Prof. Reynolds is that his persistent jet-busting devolves discussions of what, if anything, to do about global warming to "freedom for me, but not for thee", or alternately, "don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that other fellow behind the tree".

We the People invented the freedom of flight. Flight is a freedom we all enjoy. And like most freedoms, it costs money to exercise them. Our government is supposed to secure all of our freedoms, not deny some from one group, so another can continue to enjoy theirs.

If you're serious about global warming remediation by freedom denial, then attack the big contributors first. That means the destruction of the livestock industry to prevent methane from bovines, and we all eat tofu and drink rice milk. See? You want the freedom to eat beef anytime you want, and you'll demand that the government take steps to secure your freedom. So why is your freedom more equal than private airplane owners, even though beef eaters contribute more to global warming?

The technical solution to this dilemna is to get the external costs of pollution and global warming remediation into the price of aviation and automobile hydrocarbon fuels. That's a difficult problem, and one we should spend our time on, not attacking our fellow citizens and how they choose to spend their money and time.

The political problem is how to transfer the extra revenue from the buyer of hydrocarbon fuels, to the remediator, without having it go through the wasteful and corrupt governments. Because governments will surely see the revenue as free money to be spent on all sorts of bridges to nowhere.
2.5.2007 2:45pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Oh no, John! Not rice milk!

Haven't you heard that growing rice produces methane and methane is an even worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide?

We don't need to expend any effort figuring out how to remediate global warming because it isn't happening. How's that for cutting the Gordian knot?

Nevertheless, if those people who think GW is a problem want me to listen to them, they can jolly well live the way they seem to want the brownskinned people to live. As Huber said in 'Hard Green': The peasant hunched over his cow dung fire is not green, he's just poor.

When I see Al Gore hunched over a cow chip BBQ, I'll start thinking he's sincere. Not before.
2.5.2007 8:23pm
tsotha:
John Fleming,

I think the point of Reynolds' post was not so much to propose a solution as to indicate he's tired of being preached at by people who want to change everyone's behavior but their own. If you read the update you'll see his (unsnarky) position on burning fossile fuels.

Eli,


Climate models are constructed from physical theory.


Well, no doubt. But so was phrenology. Remember "nuclear winter"? That was based on physical theory as well. Wrong physical theory. Since you don't have a parallel earth you can move into the future to test your models, you can't be sure they're correct. Look at the amount of trouble economists have predicting, well, anything. All sorts of people have lost fortunes on stock market models that perfectly fit historical data. And climate is orders of magnitude more complicated than the stock market.

But even if the models are sound you don't have the quality of data you would need to make predictions for twenty years, let alone one hundred. It's the very definition of an unstable system to say small changes in input mean large changes in the output. We just don't have the data.

Now, predicting the earth will be warmer if we have twice the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere seems like a reasonable prediction, if all the other variables remain constant. But they don't. You realize Leif Erikson was farming in Greenland, right? Do we know why? In 2001 the IPCC released a 1000 year graph that just left of the medieval warming period. This is science?
2.6.2007 5:44pm