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Is Bush Leading the Way on Climate?

This is a real question. Over the weekend I wrote an article for NRO on the new Bush climate initiative and the G-8 summit, and came to the conclusion that the Bush Administration has potentially set the stage for a meaningful international agreement on climate by, among other things, proposing an approach that could be acceptable to China, India, and other major emitters in the developing world. Given the Administration's relative inaction on climate change over the past six-and-a-half years, this is something of a surprise. As my column concludes:

If someone had predicted a month ago that President Bush would lead the way toward a meaningful global climate-change policy, they would have been labeled a loon, or worse. In the days leading up to the G-8 summit, policy mavens predicted the likelihood of a policy breakthrough was slim. But something funny happened on the way to Heiligendamm: The president proposed an alternative way to generate international agreement on climate policy, and now other nations are listening. If we see a climate policy breakthrough in the years ahead, it is possible President Bush will deserve much of the credit.

Let me be clear that I am not saying that the Administration's approach is perfect or the be-all, end-all of climate policies. What I am saying, however, is that given the very real political constraints on meaningful climate measures both at home and abroad, the Bush Administration appears to be setting a course toward something that could produce real results. Time will tell.

plunge (mail):
I concur. It would be sort of amusing if the one major legacy of success Bush leaves with is that he made real progress on climate change. Michael Chrichton would be PISSED.
6.12.2007 12:42pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Oh come on, are you really that naive and gullible? Or more likely, do you really think we (i.e., those of us who believe global warming is real, we can and should do something about it, and can do so without destroying the economy and don't think plans to do so is some nefarious socialist plot to destroy the U.S.) are that naive and gullible?

Bush's initiative is nothing but a stalling tactic so he can deflect, for the next year and a half, accusations that he is doing nothing about global warming. Save this post. I guarantee you, the day Bush leaves office, if any of these promised meetings have been held (which I doubt will even happen), absolutely nothing will have happened other than vague promises to study the problem further and have future meetings to establish voluntary goals and jointly develop new technologies. Maybe he will even give a speech in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner.

You must really think we are stupid.
6.12.2007 12:52pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Is Bush Leading the Way on Climate?

As to your initial question. The answer is an unequivocal "no".

Bush has not led the way on anything in the last six and a half years. Why on earth should he start now?
6.12.2007 12:54pm
alkali (mail) (www):
My rough sense is that for the last 6 years, the rest of the world has been looking for discussions on climate change and the Bush administration has been unwilling to meaningfully participate. The administration's recent announcement amounts to, "We now think there should be discussion of climate change, and we're going to pretend like we came up with the idea all by our lonesomes."

My guess is that the rest of the world will react to this volte-face either by saying:

(a) You're acting in bad faith, forget it, we'll wait to deal with President ClintonObamaEdwards;

(b) You may really want to do something here, but we're not going to help you build your "legacy," you big jerk; or

(c) We're pretty annoyed at you by reason of the last 6 years but we'll talk because climate change is a big deal.

I think (c) is the best result and probably the most likely. However, I'm not sure this really counts as "leading the way" on Bush's part.
6.12.2007 1:03pm
Justin (mail):
Maybe in an "only Nixon could go to China" sort of way, but that seems to be the wrong analogy. If a Democrat gets elected in 2008, public opinion isn't going to stop that President from doing something on climate change, since combating global warming is embraced by more than half of America. Sure, the GOP could try to stand in the way, but that will only lead to what will start to become an increasing irrelevance caused by being completely and utterly wrong on the issues - something America appears to finally seem to care about.
6.12.2007 1:03pm
Crust (mail):
What I am saying, however, is that given the very real political constraints on meaningful climate measures both at home and abroad, the Bush Administration appears to be setting a course toward something that could produce real results.

Did you just wake up from a six year nap or something? That's a radically unempirical statement.
6.12.2007 1:06pm
DCL (mail):
Pledging to "seriously consider" mandatory reductions in GHGs by 2050 is "leading the way"? Jonathan, we must have very different standards for leadership.
6.12.2007 1:07pm
Crust (mail):
PS my comment above really just referred to the last part of the quote:

[T]he Bush Administration appears to be setting a course toward something that could produce real results.
6.12.2007 1:07pm
Kazinski:
J.F. Thomas
How do you reconcile your cynicism about Bush's climate change initiative with the fact that since 2000 the US has performed much better than either Europe or Canada in reducing the growth rate of greenhouse gasses? In fact US CO2 emissions declined in 2006 while the EU's rose.
6.12.2007 1:14pm
A.C.:
Getting the major developing countries on board for SOMETHING, not necessarily mandatory emissions caps, is essential because that's the low-hanging fruit. To the extent those countries are using older and/or more inefficient technology, helping them upgrade to developed country standards of power generation could do a lot to prevent future emissions. It's a lot harder for countries that are already using current technology to make those improvements because upgrading means new invention. Not that new invention shouldn't happen, but it's harder to predict.

This argument makes no sense for anyone whose main global warming agenda is to reduce industrialization overall, or to scale back the economies of the rich countries, or to impose some kind of weird new austerity cult on residents of the rich countries, but it seems like the place to get the biggest and earliest emissions reductions. Yes, the countries in question might just use the new efficiencies for even more economic growth, but that just lifts more people out of poverty and will probably happen anyway.
6.12.2007 1:27pm
alkali (mail) (www):
Kasinski:

JF Thomas can speak for himself, but I'd note:

1) If the US has performed better than the EU with regard to growth in GHG emissions from 2000-2006, it is certainly not the result of anything Bush did in 2007.

2) In any event, it's not clear from the links you provide that the US actually has performed better than the EU with regard to growth in GHG emissions from 2000-2006. Emissions will vary from one year to the next for reasons unrelated to overall trends (for example, North America happened to have unusually moderate weather in 2006, which meant less power use for heating and A/C).
6.12.2007 1:31pm
pmorem (mail):
You'd still be labeled a loon, regardless. The world only makes sense if Bush is Hitler.
6.12.2007 1:33pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
How do you reconcile your cynicism about Bush's climate change initiative with the fact that since 2000 the US has performed much better than either Europe or Canada in reducing the growth rate of greenhouse gasses? In fact US CO2 emissions declined in 2006 while the EU's rose.

First off, can you point to the Bush initiatives that have led to the reductions in this country (other than the war that have driven up gas prices and caused people to buy less SUVs)? Secondly, Europe is already much more fuel efficient than the U.S. Even the CEO of Chrysler admitted that the fleet average fuel economy in Europe is 50% higher than in the U.S. so of course manufacturers can make more fuel efficient cars without sacrificing safety, the U.S. market just doesn't want them. We can reduce emissions a lot easier than Europe because we have a long way to go just to reach the levels they are already at (we use about 26% more energy per capita when consumption is normalized for climate and income).

As for Canada. Canada is in trouble because their exploitation of the oil sands produces incredible amounts of greenhouse gases. Guess who the number one foreign consumer of Canada's oil is?
6.12.2007 1:33pm
Sigivald (mail):
Jonathan: I think inaction is a vastly underrated policy, myself, especially when the action commonly suggested as an alternative is fairly radical, and the action's necessity is based on non-predictive models and worst-case fantasizing.

But even without those, inaction is still a great idea, and the State should embrace it more often on more topics, indeed even as a default (non-) action.

I personally want very strong evidence of an externality of great import that cannot be remedied without State action before I want to see the State forcing its remedy on anyone (Great Hayek's Ghost!).

Justin: Maybe in the abstract it's "embraced" by more than half of America.

The moment "doing something about global warming" makes prices go up significantly or requires significant sacrifices, that "embrace" will vanish from all but the True Believers (defined, for these purposes, as those who take the issue so seriously they'll embrace drastic cuts in their own quality of living and wish to force them on others, even if it does no good because China and India aren't on board!) - who are already giving things up for their idol now.

(In other words, answering yes to the poll question "something should be done about global warming: yes or no?" does not indicate support for any specific set of actions, let alone all possible ones that support that goal; believing it does leads to nasty surprises when trying to implement policies.

I'm absolutely sure that the majority of the population does not support enforced austerity measures on those grounds, for instance.)

Crust: "Appears to be setting a course that could produce real results" has no relation to the past six years; it's a statement about current actions and their apparent, possible effects.

Prof. Adler did not say The Administration Has Been Doing This Since 2000, or that it was Definitely The Real Thing and Definitely Would Produce Results.

What he actually said is consonant with the available data; you appear to be reading rather more into it than was said.
6.12.2007 1:44pm
Kazinski:
The reason the EU has a lower energy footprint than the US is because their energy taxes are sky high. We all know the solution to getting our energy consumption into line, jack up energy taxes through the roof. Name one prominent politician that has proposed a even a $1.00 federal gas tax. We all know that 3.00 should be the minimum IF we were serious about carbon reduction.

But we aren't. And until I hear some serious proposals its all posturing. From Gore, from Bush, from Obama, from Reid, from Clinton, from Pelosi, etc etc etc.
6.12.2007 1:55pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The reason the EU has a lower energy footprint than the US is because their energy taxes are sky high. We all know the solution to getting our energy consumption into line, jack up energy taxes through the roof. Name one prominent politician that has proposed a even a $1.00 federal gas tax. We all know that 3.00 should be the minimum IF we were serious about carbon reduction.

Something I have been advocating for years.
6.12.2007 2:04pm
jbrabby (mail):
Kazinski:

If you read farther down, the article summarizes the factors leading to the decline last year. They are: 1. Weather conditions 2. Rising energy prices and 3. A less carbon intensive mixture used in electricity production.

Now, I have no idea if the Bush administration is responsible for reason #3, but its possible. I think we can presume reason #1 is still beyond the power of the national government. Of course Bush has played a large role in reason #2, but I don't think he'd like to take credit for it.

The article does provide some statements tending to show progress on limiting increases in emissions since 1990, but doesn't attribute a cause to any of it.
6.12.2007 2:07pm
e:
A.C. has it right, as those who've spent time in Manila or other non-western industrial centers would admit. Interesting that some people continue to push per capita figures for political reasons, when per production unit figures are much more meaningful.

Plunge's comment on Cricton is amusing slander, if uninformed.
6.12.2007 2:22pm
Virginia:
In a recent WaPo/ABC/Stanford poll, 84% of people thought global warming was happening and 70% of people thought the government should do more to combat it. However, only 20% of people supported higher taxes on electricity, and only 32% supported higher taxes on gasoline. I would wager those last two numbers would be even lower if the question made clear the magnitude of the taxes that would be necessary to significantly reduce our carbon emissions.

Bottom line: people want a leader who talks about doing more to stop global warming without requiring any actual sacrifices. Bush's policy is perfectly tuned to that demand.
6.12.2007 2:23pm
Mike Keenan:
"Name one prominent politician that has proposed a even a $1.00 federal gas tax."

Unfortunately, the minute a US politician proposed it, he or she would cease to be prominent.
6.12.2007 2:28pm
Captain Holly (mail):
Maybe in an "only Nixon could go to China" sort of way, but that seems to be the wrong analogy. If a Democrat gets elected in 2008, public opinion isn't going to stop that President from doing something on climate change, since combating global warming is embraced by more than half of America. Sure, the GOP could try to stand in the way, but that will only lead to what will start to become an increasing irrelevance caused by being completely and utterly wrong on the issues - something America appears to finally seem to care about.

A majority of Americans "embrace" the idea of Global Warming because they've never had to actually do anything about it.

If you raised gas taxes to European levels, you'd see alot of that enthusiasm disappear.

Which explains why the Democrats talk a good game about raising taxes on gas, but fail to do it when they have the opportunity, as Kasinski has pointed out.
6.12.2007 2:39pm
The General:
Global warming = snake oil.
6.12.2007 2:42pm
Don Miller (mail) (www):
I was listening to a radio commentator yesterday and he made a point that fits into this discussion. I will paraphrase him.

It is not in a politicians best interests to solve any problems. Politicians best interests are served when they appear to be involved coming up with solutions to issues. The longer they can maintain the appearance of being important without actually solving the problem, the longer they can stay in office.

Most people approach problem solving with the "let's try something approach". Any effort is meaningful, if it doesn't work, we go back to the drawing board, figure out what went wrong, devise a new solution and try that.

Politicians don't do that. If they are forced to come up with a solution, they try to do something "comprehensive" that has been studied to death. It has contigencies for every possible outcome and the results are predictible. They will spend a lifetime working on this comprehensive solution to any issue. Why? If they try something and it doesn't work, the most likely outcome is they lose an election and are out of a job.

Real reform, real solutions will be driven by private actors just doing something in their own lives, inventing new technologies, finding more efficient ways to do business. After we find a workable solution, the politicians will follow behind to codify it and take credit for saving the world again.
6.12.2007 2:42pm
WHOI Jacket:
I eagerly anticipate the arguements from the Left on why they want to RAISE gas prices on the poor to over $5 a gallon.

Jobs, what jobs? They'll all carpool, every last one of them.
6.12.2007 2:46pm
Randy R. (mail):
Capitan: "A majority of Americans "embrace" the idea of Global Warming because they've never had to actually do anything about it.

If you raised gas taxes to European levels, you'd see alot of that enthusiasm disappear. "

Meantime, the glaciers in Greenland keep melting, without a care in the world. If only those stupid glaciers would learn how finagle the political system to their advantage, maybe we could do something about global warming.

Perhaps we could convene all the icebergs of the world to a major summit, and try to explain to them that if they would just be patient, we'll come up with a solution that won't require any sacrifice on our part. I would like to invite the coral reefs as well, since they are dying off at record levels. Anyone else?
6.12.2007 2:50pm
Houston Lawyer:
What I'd like to see is something like a cap on the amount of electricity you could use at any home. Sure, it would be complicated, and would need to be reduced substantially for second homes. Anything that would first make life more difficult for those rich folks advocating that the rest of us reduce our consumption would be good.

Then I want to see a tax on fat people, because clearly they are over-consuming and producing more body heat than thin people.

Jogging should be discouraged, because that is only a disguise for over-consumption.

My list could go on and on.
6.12.2007 2:51pm
Brian K (mail):

Which explains why the Democrats talk a good game about raising taxes on gas, but fail to do it when they have the opportunity, as Kasinski has pointed out.

When have the democrats ever had the ability to raise gas taxes?
6.12.2007 3:03pm
JerryM (mail):
Meantime, the glaciers in Greenland keep melting, without a care in the world. If only those stupid glaciers would learn how finagle the political system to their advantage, maybe we could do something about global warming.

Yes, those glaciers keep melting. Recent glacier melting in Switzerland reveals aqueducts built by the Romans. In the Italian alps, a 5000 year old body was found. Seems like these glaciers are returning to a state from 1500 to 5000 years ago. Hhhmmmmm. How can this be?
6.12.2007 3:28pm
rarango (mail):
Brian K: since January 2007.
6.12.2007 3:29pm
Brian K (mail):

Brian K: since January 2007.

So you don't think Bush will veto the increased gas taxes? Or do you think that enough republicans will vote for the increased gas taxes so that Bush's veto can be overridden?
6.12.2007 3:39pm
Randy R. (mail):
"I eagerly anticipate the arguements from the Left on why they want to RAISE gas prices on the poor to over $5 a gallon.

Jobs, what jobs? They'll all carpool, every last one of them."

Well, considering that virtually all the reports on global climate change state that the poor of the world will suffer the worst burdens, whether they are in Bangladesh, or Africa, or other places, I would eagerly anticipate the arguments from the Right on why they want to do nothing to avert this.

Lives, what lives? They can all drown or starve, every last one of them.
6.12.2007 4:02pm
pmorem (mail):
A tariff on imported oil probably would get Republican support.
6.12.2007 4:03pm
Tim Dowling (mail):
For another perspective on the Bush Administration's leadership on global warming, see EPA Wordplay: What Does "Endanger" Mean?
6.12.2007 4:26pm
Justin (mail):
Okay, someone wrote that there's not actual support for (moderate) Greenhouse reductions. That person used gas taxes as an example. I agree that gas taxes are difficult (but not impossible) to "sell" to an American people fixated with their ability to drive. That doesn't mean the American people are not willing to make any sacrifice, but just that you put two competing values together, and claim that this means that one of the competing values isn't valued.

OTOH, I think there's a lot of support for things like reasonable restrictions on factories, requirements to clean up factories and public utilities, requirements on automobile manufactuers to make cars with better gas mileage, economic subsidies for various pro-green initiatives. Other "easy" solutions - encouraging the use of lower-watt and energy-efficient lightbulbs - that have not been put on the table would probably not go over with "that" much difficulty, either. So just because one solution might get substantial resistance, does not mean that the issue is irrelevant to the American people, a contemptable myth that a portion of the GOP would like to believe that it is.
6.12.2007 4:50pm
A.C.:
The efficient lightbulbs SHOULD be an easy sell as far as home electricity use, and that's one thing the rich countries could be doing in the short term while we argue over the long term. I tried the bulbs 15 years ago, and they were dreadful at the time. But now they're good -- a third the price they were, with better light (better color and less flicker), and much smaller so they fit in a wider variety of fixtures.

The only doubt I have about them is disposal. You go through fewer bulbs if you use them, but I understand that each bulb is more toxic to dispose of. Does anyone know if this fact is a deal-breaker? Or if there's some other oddity about them, like very high energy use in production?
6.12.2007 5:02pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Can anyone tell us if the Kyoto accord has had any real effect on the climate? What is the effect? What are the numbers? How are the signatory nations doing? Are they meeting the goals set out by Kyoto? In the laboratory of those countries which signed Koto, has the Kyoto model been shown to be effective?
6.12.2007 5:08pm
Jaskie (mail):
Most Kyoto signatories havn't even lived up to the requirements and they claim that until the US signs they shouldn't have to.

At the end of the day we are approaching Global Climate Change Avoidance/Preparedness the wrong way. The biggest supporters of Global Warming essentially argue we have no way to stop the effects at this point when looking at the problem in a practical way. 5 years to decrease to below 1990s levels give me a break.

Other global warming fanatics have taken to argueing whether or not we will in fact be in for a new ice age as a result of Global Warming's impact on the gulf stream.

All of these arguments come off as pretty stupid to me when forced to concede that with or without Global Warming we are bound to run into another ice age soon and that there are drastic up and downs in climate over the short and long terms either way. Greenland was acclaimed for its mild climate and good farming when the Vikings first settled and Isreal once was the land of milk and honey.

All this demands the conclusion that we need to be prepared for Global Climate change one way or another and the smartest thing we can do is increase not only our scientific understandings and technological abilities global wealth.

We should be doing everything possible to grow the global GDP rather than look for ways to stunt it in response to this scare tactic. We talk about rising tides and the dangers they present to costal areas, wealth has a solution to that for instance. Wealthy industrial contries like the Netherlands are able to live under sea level with sophisticated dikes and levie system and should be able to continue to. It is the poorer areas where people lack industry, technological knowhow, and self sufficiency that are at the greatest risk no matter what climate or other disaster occures.
6.12.2007 6:07pm
Chris B (mail):
JA - you're assuming that people urging radical action to combat AGW will measure success relative to the prevention of global warming. A number of comments in this thread make it quite clear that preventing global warm is a secondary objective, if it is even an objective at all.
6.12.2007 6:44pm
Brian K (mail):

A number of comments in this thread make it quite clear that preventing global warm is a secondary objective, if it is even an objective at all.

Apparently you are reading a different thread than us normal folk are.
6.12.2007 7:56pm
abw (www):

I can only guess this post was written to be provokative, because the NRO column gives the answer to this post's title-question and contradicts your statement here that Bush has had "relative inaction on climate change over the past six-and-a-half years."

In this regard the president's plan built upon the preexisting, but little noticed, Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, an agreement among the United States, Australia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea to develop and deploy clean energy technologies among member nations.


I suppose if you mean the Administration has done relatively little in comparisson to winning Oscars, holding big rock concerts and creating gigantic economic swindles ala Kyoto carbon credits, well I suppose you're right.
6.12.2007 8:10pm
Mac (mail):
Once again. CO2 comprises 0.54% of our atmosphere. Of that, only 4% of 0.54% is caused by humans. China, India and Brazil are producing 85% of the
4% of CO2 caused by man.
In addition, ice core samples indicate that CO2 is a lagging, not a preceding indicator of global warming.
We are a carbon based planet. Even plants emit CO2, not to mention humans.
in recent history, we had a midieval warming period, followed by a mini ice age, followed by a warming trend for the last 150 years. For two of those events, we were not driving automobiles nor burning fossil fuels. We have had many climate changes in the history of the world. A good portion of North America was covered by glaciers. They receded i.e. Global Warming.
From 1940 to 1970, we wwere putting a heck of a lot more emissions into the air, yet temperatures were lower, not higher. Ergo, I guess clean air causes global warming.
Just food for thought as to how much hardship we really want to cause to the human race, including denying developement and electricity to the third world.

Doing nothing, as mentioned above, doesn't sound so bad.
I will be more worried about global warming when the weatherman can get tomorrow's weather correct.

PS There is no technology, now or on the horizon, to make those cars more fuel efficient other than to make them lighter. Lighter vehicles equals more serious damage in accidents and more deaths.
6.12.2007 9:03pm
Mac (mail):
abw wrote,

"I suppose if you mean the Administration has done relatively little in comparisson to winning Oscars, holding big rock concerts and creating gigantic economic swindles ala Kyoto carbon credits, well I suppose you're right"

I might add that Bush built his house so that it use 75% LESS energy than the average household as opposed to Gore who used 20 times MORE than the average home.
6.12.2007 9:07pm
whackjobbbb:
Can anyone tell us if the Kyoto accord has had any real effect on the climate? What is the effect? What are the numbers? How are the signatory nations doing? Are they meeting the goals set out by Kyoto? In the laboratory of those countries which signed Koto, has the Kyoto model been shown to be effective?

Elliott, in order, the answers to your questions are: Absolutely unknown, because there are no accurate models describing "climate" on either side of "Kyoto". Abaolutely unknown, for the same reasons. Absolutely unknown, for the same reason. The "signatory nations'" politicians are scrambling trying to get elected or reelected, so we can't be sure right now. No, for the most part. Absolutely unknown, for the first reasons.
6.12.2007 10:03pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
OTOH, I think there's a lot of support for things like [... requirements on automobile manufactuers to make cars with better gas mileage, [...] So just because one solution might get substantial resistance, does not mean that the issue is irrelevant to the American people, a contemptable myth that a portion of the GOP would like to believe that it is.
Yes, Justin. You think there's a lot of support for things like requirements to make cars with better gas mileage. And Pauline Kael didn't know anybody who voted for Nixon.

Guess what? If there were really "a lot of support" for high mileage cars, lots of people would buy high mileage cars. The federal government wouldn't need to "require" anything. (When gas prices rise, people naturally buy higher-mileage cars, without any "requiring" from the federal government.) The federal government only needs to "require" when there isn't support for it.
6.12.2007 10:20pm
Riley Still (mail):
What bothers me about this multi-logue is that almost all contributors seem to accept as facts that humans are causing global warming and that effects are going to be really bad if we don't stop burning oil, gas, and coal.

We can only hope that Bush stalls and stalls until the "powers that be" realize that the current up-tick in global temperatures is not caused by human activity, or by burning fossil fuels, or by increases in CO2 content of the atmosphere from .026% to .037% (See Wikipedia.)

Humans only produce about 2% of all the CO2 produced by all of nature. Long-term changes in global temperature are caused by changes in solar radiation and effects of cosmic rays on (more or less) cloud formation. The up-tick of average global temperatures of about .4 degrees C in the last 65 years is a result of an increase in solar radiation caused by increased sunspot activity. When solar radiation decreases, global temperatures will decrease.



It is not disputed that global temps were higher in Roman times and during the medieval warm period than now or that temps were a lot lower than now during the Little Ice Age, which ended around 1800.

So, before Roman times global temps went up; then after Roman times global temps went down; then before the medieval warm period global temps went up; then before the Little Ice Age temps went down; and since the Little Ice Age until 1940 temps went up. All these changes occurred while CO2 content of the atmosphere was virtually constant at .026% - .028% (i.e. .00026 - .00028) and without any meaningful human influence.

WWII marks the beginning of major increase of humans burning fossil fuel and coincidentally the beginning of the increase in CO2 content of the atmosphere. However, while fossil fuel burning and CO2 content were constantly increasing after 1940, average global temps were going down until 1978!! In 1978 temps began to increase to the present level, however, not yet to the degree of Roman times or the medieval warm period.

It is clear from the above knowledge that global temperatures change climatically, in short cycles, absent any influence by human activity. Yet forecasts of future global warming by incomprehensibly complex computer models (the only sources for such forecasts) assume that CO2 is the only (significant) driving force, then attempt to quantify the extent of the effects of this force, without any empirical testing to validate the parameters in the model that cause the models' results. There are dozens of these models at various universities and governmental research organizations. The modelers all talk to each other and all get big funding dollars to show how badly humans are going to warm the earth.

The effects of forecast levels of CO2 buildup are always reported by researchers in ranges of possibilities (i.e. "... 1.5 degrees C to 5 degrees C by 2100.") The press always reports the worst case of the range (i.e. "...up to 5 Degrees C.")

In the real world the negative effects of global warming are yet to appear. Contrary to news about Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets melting, the mass balance (total amount of ice contained) of both ice sheets has not decreased over the past thirty years. The "massive" glacial melting reported by alarmists occurs at the edges of these ice sheets. This melting ice is replaced each year by snowfall on the interior of the ice sheets. These ice sheets are so large, that even if no snow were to fall on the interior, it would take tens of thousands of years to deplete the ice at the melt rates reported by the alarmists. (These ice sheets are really big.) Scientists using satellite data report that the interior, upland thickness of both ice sheets appears to be increasing.

Glaciers have been retreating, almost consistently, for more than two hundred years. (Not all glaciers are in retreat, by the way.) Almost every month, archeologists and anthropologists discover remains of human activity that was occurring in medieval or Roman times that was covered by the advance of glaciers that occurred during the Little Ice Age. All of this advancing and retreating was going on before humans burned much fossil fuel. None of this advancing and retreating is explained by the complex computer climate models.

Sea levels have been rising for thousands of years, since the Great Ice Age, with occasional minor ebbs from time to time. The present rate of rise, since 1940 to 2005 is about 2.5 mm a year!!! If this disastrous rate of rise continues, by the year 3007 sea levels will be seven feet higher than now. Sea level has risen 8 inches in one hundred years in the Maldives, islands whose maximum elevation is about eight feet! I think we can cope.

Excepting 2005, major hurricane activity in the 1970's 1980's and 1990's has been lower than average for the preceding 200 years.

Given the above truths, it is folly to radically cut off the spigot of fossil fuels to stop the sun from warming our globe.

Stand fast and stall, George Bush.

Riley Still
6.12.2007 10:23pm
whackjobbbb:

PS There is no technology, now or on the horizon, to make those cars more fuel efficient other than to make them lighter. Lighter vehicles equals more serious damage in accidents and more deaths.


Mac's got it about right in his post. And yes, if you want to increase fuel economy as drastically as is being called for in some of the more moronic legislation out there, then you'll have to cut the vehicle weight of the fleet... and you'll be sentencing people to death in the process. Unlike the global warming scam, which is basically unsupported, fatalities vs. vehicle mass curves are readily available, and they are deadly accurate.

I'm not much of a fan of any corporation, but I wonder how the global warming chicken littles feel about destroying the Big 3's competitive advantage in large vehicles, by forcing a complete tear-up and destroying each and every one of those current large vehicle platforms, and thus elevating the competitive position of their competition, who haven't yet reached competitiveness with the Big 3 in those classes of vehicles?

Are you so willing to help destroy the Barzinis in favor of the Corleones, by use of the machinery of government?
6.12.2007 10:34pm
whackjobbbb:
Mr. Adler, I realize that given the crowd you elect to run with, you gotta keep up appearances, and sprinkle your writings with "climate change" and all the rest, lest you fall victim to the PC crowd as did the NASA guy (and unlike the lawyers, this guy knows a thing or two). But remember, this too shall pass. Eventually, as all clever lawyers do, you'll want to begin your transition away from that patter, after this nonsense begins to fall apart, and is seen to do so.

Help Bush and responsible government stall this nonsense? Fine. Help slap down the Cali idiots? Fine. But there's another day after those...
6.12.2007 10:42pm
Mac (mail):
whackjobbbb: and Riley Still,

Very on target. Very true. By the way, Mike "Hockey Stick" Mann's model does not even correlate to the past 50 years. What kind of a model can't explain what has happened and is wrong about what has happened, but we are supposed to believe that it will tell the future?

Doesn't anyone ever wonder why, with 99.5% other stuff in our atmosphere 4% of 0.54% is deemed to be the culprit? Not to memtion that big yellow thing called the sun.
6.12.2007 11:01pm
Syd (mail):
A.C.:
The efficient lightbulbs SHOULD be an easy sell as far as home electricity use, and that's one thing the rich countries could be doing in the short term while we argue over the long term. I tried the bulbs 15 years ago, and they were dreadful at the time. But now they're good -- a third the price they were, with better light (better color and less flicker), and much smaller so they fit in a wider variety of fixtures.

The only doubt I have about them is disposal. You go through fewer bulbs if you use them, but I understand that each bulb is more toxic to dispose of. Does anyone know if this fact is a deal-breaker? Or if there's some other oddity about them, like very high energy use in production?


I've gradually been switching over to them over the last six months and noticed a substantial decrease in my electric bill which has paid for the bulbs several times over. The bulbs I have use mercury vapor as one of the ingredients, which is not benign and they have to be recycled, but since none have burnt out that's not an issue. (Coincidentally, none of my remaining incandescent bulbs has burnt out. I think they're scared.) We have a once-a-year pickup for things like computer monitors and hazardous chemicals, and I'll just dispose of the dead efficient light bulbs at the same time.
6.12.2007 11:08pm
Michael B (mail):
Melanie Phillips calls attention to some commentary by Czech President Vaclav Klaus, most critically the latter mentions "I am convinced, however, that up to now this scientific debate has not been deep and serious enough and has not provided sufficient basis for the policymakers' reaction. What I am really concerned about is the way the environmental topics have been misused by certain political pressure groups to attack fundamental principles underlying free society. It becomes evident that while discussing climate we are not witnessing a clash of views about the environment but a clash of views about human freedom." emphases added

Bingo. If the President crafts something which amounts to a practically driven, rather than an ideologically exaggerated, initiative, well and good, and I wouldn't discount the possibility. But if he fails to take the full slate of genuine scientific considerations into account, in addition to sober minded policy and economic considerations, then it is far more likely to engender - or at least set the stage for - long term and deeply entrenched harm, outstripping any good it might also help forward.

In terms of that "full slate of genuine scientific considerations," one example only, v. Andrew Bolt: er, What Consensus.
6.13.2007 11:37am
Smokey:
I am not a lawyer. I am a retired environmental scientist. My specialties were the proper NIST calibration of instruments measuring temperature, humidity and mass.

Because I operate based on known facts, I dismiss the wild-eyed arm waving over CO2. One indisputable fact is that CO2 levels have absolutely zero correlation with global temperatures. Those in need of a visual aid to verify this may use this link:

http://biocab.org/Geological_Timescale_op_927x695.jpg

Note in the chart above (based on the Vostok ice core data) that there is no correlation whatever between past CO2 levels and Earth's temperature -- which defenestrates the Gorons' bogus AGW/CO2 conjecture. Over the millenia, CO2 has been in excess of 2,000 ppm -- more than six times higher than today -- without affecting the planet's temperature. Today's relatively small CO2 delta can not possibly cause any detectable global warming.

Yet some reporting stations purport to show abnormal warming in certain locations. How can this be?

The explanation is straightforward: the temperature reporting stations are in error due to the urban heat island effect. See this site for an easily understandable deconstruction of this anomaly:

http://www.norcalblogs.com/watts/climate_change/

Finally, notice that the Gorebot himself refuses to debate anyone regarding his disproved claims, nor will he acknowledge the Sun's effect on climate. Why? Because if Solar irradiance were acknowledged, it would explain that the entire (very mild) 0.6 degree C. warming is due to the Sun's fluctuating irradiance, beginning in the 1890's and ramping up for the following century. Furthermore, Solar variability (recall that the Sun is a variable star) also caused the ''Little Ice Age'' in the late 1600's. You can see it all here:

http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/irradiance.gif

The above graphs provide irrefutable proof that CO2 does not cause global warming, and that the Sun does. So, who are you gonna believe, the Gorebot, or your lyin' eyes?
6.13.2007 2:40pm
davod (mail):
I have read that even if we take up the most draconian measures to reduce global warming. The reduction will be point two percent (0.2%). This with a twenty five percent reduction in productivity.
6.13.2007 3:22pm
davod (mail):
Bush has actually been working on this for a number of years. As stated earlier, no fanfare does not mean no work. In fact it quite often means real work is getting done.
6.13.2007 4:56pm
Aleks:
Re: Lighter vehicles equals more serious damage in accidents and more deaths.

Except this did not prove true historically, and it does hold true if we examine highway deaths in Europe. Our car fleet downsized enormously after the energy shocks of the 1970s-- and at the same time highway deaths also fell, and in absolute numbers, despite an increase in the number of cars, drivers and miles driven. Likewise, European cars are smaller than ours, on teh average, but Euroepan highway deaths (even taken as a percent of miles driven) are not significantly higher. Car size/mass is a very minor factor in most collisions (and in some cases of course increases the possibility of death or serious injury since a heavier vehicle is more likely to injure others). More important than anything else is seatbelt use. Followed by (in no particular order) highway design, vehicle design (or smaller cars are actually engineered to protect their occupants better in crashes), and tolerance for drunk driving.
6.13.2007 5:05pm
Randy R. (mail):
From NewScientist: ""It is true that human emissions of CO2 are small compared with natural sources. But the fact that CO2 levels have remained steady until very recently shows that natural emissions are usually balanced by natural absorptions. Now slightly more CO2 must be entering the atmosphere than is being soaked up by carbon "sinks".

The consumption of terrestrial vegetation by animals and by microbes (rotting, in other words) emits about 220 gigatonnes of CO2 every year, while respiration by vegetation emits another 220 Gt. These huge amounts are balanced by the 440 Gt of carbon absorbed from the atmosphere each year as land plants photosynthesise."
6.13.2007 6:15pm
whackjobbbb:

Car size/mass is a very minor factor in most collisions...


This is such a ridiculous statement, and I would have thought even a layman would intuitively understand it to be false.

Obviously, you're more apt to be killed/injured in a lighter vehicle than a heavier one... duh.

Nice post, Smokey.
6.13.2007 7:11pm
e:
whackjobbbbbb - You might want to recheck the comment you were responding to and read the last paragraph of the page you posted (from an apparent GM pensioner) starting with "Unfortunately, complexity precludes a definitive conclusion. . ." and ending ". . . much larger and more clearly established effects due to non-vehicle factors." Also consider the effects of being able to better maneuver to avoid collision. I'll admit there's some fun to the idea of living in a infinitely expensive risk-canceller and engaging in an arms race to the thickest steel armor for your tank, but at some point that momentum can even harm the occupants, even if you don't care about conserving resources.
6.13.2007 7:56pm
e:
I really wanted to replace my GMC Yukon with another GM car a few years ago. Unfortunately they didn't have anything to compete with the Prius. Even if a dynamic climate isn't a consideration, both some respect for conservation and an appreciation of customers changing tastes should have kept Detroit out of trouble. Survival is often related to innovation, and our automakers got lazy. I'm hoping I'll have some domestic options when I'm in the market again...
6.13.2007 8:02pm
whackjobbbb:

...the fact that CO2 levels have remained steady until very recently...


Randy, check Smokey's CO2 link above, to see the marked UNsteadiness of historical CO2 levels (not to mention, the obvious disconnect of CO2 levels from historical global temperatures).

As always, we stand ready to review additional data, should it arise. But right now, it's lookin' pretty bad for the chicken littles (albeit good for the rest of us).
6.13.2007 8:20pm
whackjobbbb:
Sorry, e, but I really don't have to check much on this one. You drive a lighter vehicle, and you're more at risk than if you're driving a heavier one. I can pile up links to demonstrate that, but it don't really sound like you're open to that data, or reality in general, so just go for it I guess.

Hey, drive whatever you want, as will every other consumer (including about 8-9,000,000 or so per year from "Detroit"), assuming the gorebots deign to allow consumers to continue buying the vehicles they want.
6.13.2007 8:25pm
whackjobbbb:
From that same study, btw:

We noted previously that CAFE increased US fatalities by 1,300 to 2,600 in 1993, say about 2,000 per year.


Do the CAFE nazis really want that blood on their hands?
6.13.2007 8:39pm
Aleks:
Re: Obviously, you're more apt to be killed/injured in a lighter vehicle than a heavier one... duh.

Then please explain why highway deaths DROPPED during the 70s and 80s while the mass of the average car was cut in half, and miles driven per capita (as well as the number of drivers) increased. Sorry, but all theories need real world confirmation, and this "More people die when cars are lighter" hypothesis fails the test. It's actually rather odd that people who are urging skepticism about global warming can't see any reason to skeptical on this hypothesis.
And again: the single most important thing anyone can do to decrease their chance of death or serious injury in a collision is to wear their seat belt (properly). Any cop, and any ER staff member, will tell you that.
By the way, I once worked as traffic accident investigator for NHTSA; I saw the seatbelt thing firsthand, while I can think of only one crash in which car size may have saved someone's life (while perhaps contributing to the death of the other driver.)
6.13.2007 11:22pm
whackjobbbb:

Then please explain why highway deaths DROPPED during the 70s and 80s while the mass of the average car was cut in half...


Yes, total deaths dropped and the mass decreased by some small margin, but that of course doesn't preclude that an occupant isn't safer in a heavier vehicle than a lighter vehicle, and of course the statistics bear this out.


, and miles driven per capita (as well as the number of drivers) increased.


Yes, but no matter how many people drive how many miles , each of those people are safer for every one of those driven miles in a larger vehicle than a smaller vehicle, as the statistics show.


Sorry, but all theories need real world confirmation,


Correct, and the real world statistics demonstrate that you're safer in a heavier vehicle than a lighter vehicle. Believe me, you'll have many thousands of automotive crash engineers to get through, if you happen to convince me somehow (and since I pay attention to data, I doubt you will do so)


and this "More people die when cars are lighter" hypothesis fails the test.


No, it doesn't. Check NHTSA, the source for that data.


It's actually rather odd that people who are urging skepticism about global warming can't see any reason to skeptical on this hypothesis.


Well, in both cases, those of us who are data-driven allow the data to take us to our conclusions.



And again: the single most important thing anyone can do to decrease their chance of death or serious injury in a collision is to wear their seat belt (properly).


No doubt, but a seat belt wearer in a heavier car is safer than a seat belt wearer in a lighter car.



By the way, I once worked as traffic accident investigator for NHTSA


Really, what did you do for them?


I saw the seatbelt thing firsthand, while I can think of only one crash in which car size may have saved someone's life (while perhaps contributing to the death of the other driver.)


Can you point me to this bit of research, please? (since you participated in it and all)
6.13.2007 11:51pm
whackjobbbb:
And by the way, with the coming addition of roll stability control (RSC) and tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) across the entire North American fleet, the heavier vehicles in the fleet are about to get even MORE safe than the lighter vehicles... more safe even than they already are.

But being a NHTSA guy, you probably already knew all that.
6.14.2007 12:02am
Aleks:
You ignore the fact that heavier vehicles are more likely to cause death or serious injury to others. Maybe some basic physics would help here? F=ma (the force of a collision is the product of the mass times the acceleration). Now because acceleration is the square of the change in velocity divided by the time in which in occurs, it generally dominates in this equation: the slower the vehicle is traveling the less force it exerts on something it impacts. (Seat belts, by the way, work by changing the time component of the equation-- by stretching put the deceleration period the occupant experiences teh occupant experiences less force.) Anyway, your idea of safety seems to be "I'll drive a tank and I don't care about other people I hit" Doesn't that seem a bit selfish? Turn this around and think, if everyone downsized their vehicles you'd be in less danger because you'd be less likely to be hit by some huge mass. That's how Europe and Asia have kept their death rates low despite having smaller cars.

And no one has explained why death rates went down in the late 70s early 80s when the vehicle fleet downsized-- a downsizing that was not "marginal", but considerable (the average vehicle weight halved, due in part to the wholesale replacement of metal with plastics-- itself a safety feature since softer plastics are less likley to cause injury than are hard, rigid metal parts).
6.14.2007 2:26pm
whackjobbbb:

You ignore the fact that heavier vehicles are more likely to cause death or serious injury to others.


So then, you'd like to ban "heavy" vehicles? WTF?

Are 18-wheelers done for now, in the gorebot world? RV's? The UPS guy all washed up now? How about fire trucks? And should we get rid of bridge viaducts too, since you're just as liable to be involved in a single car accident than a multi car, and heavier vehicles are safer in that case also, as we know statistically?

This is where zealotry meets reality... the real world... and that's always the gorebots' achilles heel.


Now because acceleration is the square of the change in velocity divided by the time in which in occurs


No, actually, acceleration is the velocity measured over time, v = d / t / t , and nothing "dominates" in that relationship, bud, whatever the heck you're inventing here notwithstanding.


the slower the vehicle is traveling the less force it exerts on something it impacts.


A second ago you quoted F = MA, and now you're discussing "velocity"... make up your mind. If you want to involve yourself in a technical discussion, you have to be qualified to do so, and you are clearly not so-equipped.

Stop trying to act smart, and explain those supposed "NHTSA" credentials, as previously requested.


your idea of safety seems to be "I'll drive a tank and I don't care about other people I hit"


Actually, my "idea of safety" is to allow drivers to drive the type of vehicle that they find safest for their purposes, as they choose. If they're interested in the most safety, they'll shy away from lighter vehicles and steer toward heavier.


why death rates went down in the late 70s early 80s when the vehicle fleet downsized


And each of the occupants in those vehicles were safer in a heavier vehicle than a lighter vehicle, as we know statistically.


replacement of metal with plastics-- itself a safety feature since softer plastics are less likley to cause injury than are hard, rigid metal parts


I'm amused with your casual displays of ignorance on these topics! You might want to reference the head impact criteria required of vehicles these days, and the effects of these "soft" plastics. Let me give you a hint, which should be intuitive but in your case apparently isn't, you're going to get a concussion smacking into hard plastic just as severe as one smacking into carbon steel, and there ain't much "soft" plastic involved in automotive body engineering, fyi.

Look, man, give it up. We've long known occupants are safer in heavier vehicles, and I'm amused that you're returning here to push the absurd opposite position.

If the gorebots successfully ram draconian CAFE standards down our throats, they'll sentence some folks to death... this we know statistically.
6.14.2007 5:30pm