Faced with this crisis

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by Areometer, Jul 12, 2005.

  1. Areometer

    Areometer Silver Business Sponsor

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    Instead of denying climate change is happening, the US now denies that we need proper regulation to stop it

    George Monbiot
    Tuesday July 12, 2005
    The Guardian

    One day we will look back on the effort to deny the effects of climate change as we now look back on the work of Trofim Lysenko, a Soviet agronomist who insisted that the entire canon of genetics was wrong. There was no limit to an organism's ability to adapt to changing environments. Cultivated correctly, crops could do anything the Soviet leadership wanted them to do. Wheat, for example, if grown in the right conditions, could be made to produce rye.

    >> Full Article @ The Guardian (UK)
     
  2. kirbinster

    kirbinster Member

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    Sorry but Bush's arguements are correct - there is no way the US should be penalized while China and India and other countries can continue to pollute at much higher levels. While there may or may not be a real problem - that is still not truly known, all should agree to similar outputs per unit of GDP. If other countries don't like our stance there is nothing stopping them from acting unilaterally - except they know if they do that then their economies will take a hit and they rather have ours take a hit. So, those that claim there is a problem and do nothing until we do are the biggest hypocrits.
     
  3. finman2

    finman2 New Member

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    my feeling is that global climate change is already hitting the pocketbooks of EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE PLANET. We are all in this together, why can't we act that way.

    The few that are polluting more than their fair share seem to ignore what is happening around the globe. By destroying our eco systems, we destroy our way of life. By destroying the air and causing the thousands of asthma related illnesses and deaths, well, that's fewer people to contribute to the "precious economy".

    Without an environment to support human life...you get Mars. That planet certainly has an economy problem...
     
  4. Marlin

    Marlin New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Areometer\";p=\"106518)</div>
    I'm curious. Give me an example of what you would consider "proper regulation".

    And please don't cite the Kyoto Agreement. That is simply an agreement between countries to reduce emmissions, it doesn't define how to do it. What I'm looking for is an example of a regulation that would be used by the US to achieve the Kyoto emission goals.
     
  5. KMO

    KMO Member

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    Pretty pathetic and hypocritical yourself, kirbinster.

    As the biggest polluter by far, don't you feel you have any moral responsibility to set an example? Why should other countries polluting far less than you feel any obligation to do anything when a far worse, and far richer country is too selfish to do anything?

    The next step after Kyoto was always going to be to pull more countries into future agreements, but if you can't even manage that first step...

    And since when did the US start demanding that everyone obey the same rules? Rather out of character, what with their stance on nukes, chemical weapons, international criminal courts...

    You really should be ashamed of your government and corporations. When climate change hits, you can bet it won't be the Bush family or Exxon that suffers the brunt of it.
     
  6. skruse

    skruse Senior Member

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    Amory Lovins' "Factor Four," clearly identifies that if you want to double your profit, you double your efficiency (Rocky Mountain Institute, www.rmi.org). Rather than attempt to regulate or steer inefficiency and "waste," we should be subsidizing and encouraging efficient alternatives. Let the profit incentive help to drive how we function in business, agriculture and our personal lives.

    Example: compact flourescents (CF) vs. incandescent light bulbs. CFs have a higher up front cost, but a 10X greater life (10,000 vs. 800 hr) and use 80% less energy (18 vs. 100 watts). Costs avoided are "profit".

    Bush et al., are driven by ideology, not cost or profit. Nuclear fission is neither a constructive alternative nor profitable, even when subsidized. Using fission to produce electricity is like "using a chainsaw to cut butter." The approach is overkill, produces a messy waste and doesn't easily accomplish the task. Long-term approaches are more cost-effective, don't require massive subsidies and are immediately more profitable.

    Kyoto is short-term thinking and politics. Bush is right to avoid Kyoto, but we must easily set better, more profitable examples by doubling our "profit" through efficiency and constructive alternatives (solar, wind, hydro and conservation).
     
  7. dreichla

    dreichla New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(skruse\";p=\"106601)</div>
    Very well said. I agree!
     
  8. GreenLady

    GreenLady Member

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    Well, speaking as an environmental professional who deals with regulatory compliance on a daily basis, I have to say that incentives and encouragement only go so far. Some people/organizations will never do anything that they perceive as costing them money (even if they are wrong) if they don't have to, and even then, there are still many organizations that are not following the regulations we do have.

    What we really need to do to address this problem is to effectively enforce the regulations we already have. Even still, simply levying a fine does not do the job sometimes. What the EPA and the states need to do is to temporarily shut down business who are out of compliance until they are in compliance. I have shut people down for violations and that is the only thing that will set a fire under them to change their ways.

    I'm not saying incentives are bad, they just don't take care of our worst polluters.
     
  9. kirbinster

    kirbinster Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(KMO\";p=\"106592)</div>
    No need to attack me personally just cause you don't like my views. So what are you doing to help the environment - beside driving a prius as we all here do that. Me, I have a 10,000 watt PV array on my roof which generates about 15,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annual (green power) so please don't talk down to me.

    As far as world economics it would be criminal for the president to do anything that puts us at a significant economic disadvantage. Look at China that illegally pegs its money to ours and then floods the world with cheap products made with the most polution of any country. What you are suggesting will just make more production shifted there and create more net pollution. The world turns on money - don't kid yourself. Anything that does not maximize total return is suboptimal. I again say that any nation that does not like our approach should feel free to cut emissions right away -- why do they have to wait for us???
     
  10. tomdeimos

    tomdeimos New Member

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    It's getting a bit late to fix this now, but it is really simple to do:

    1 Make all cars with speed governers, set to some national speed limit.
    They could easily allow emergency situations to bypass it, but have a fine at the next inspection to provide enforcement. And the cops could stop writing speeding tickets most places and concentrate on more serious problems.
    2 Tax gas guzzlers at high rates and set lower weight limits for private vehicles.
    3 Get hydrogen from solar going for aircraft mainly, and ships.
    4 Bring back electric cars for commuters and remove the tax and insurance disencentives for people to own multiple vehicles.
    5 Get Banks and zoning fixed so everyone that wants one can have a windmill like Holland in their yard.
    6 Start using wave and tide power for electricity along both coasts.
    7 Bring back high speed trains, that are aerodynamic and can carry cars and people in them for long distance rapid transit.
    8 Subsidize new power generation to replace coal and oil plants with cleaner alternatives and convert more buildings to electric heat.
    9 Ban all vehicles from planes to autos that have drag coefficients worse than x, just like we require some minimum efficiency for washing machines and air conditioners today.
    10 Subsidize people moving and trading houses, so those that wish can live closer to work.
    11 Close cities to cars entirely where mass transit is adequate.
    12 Stop pushing our production off shore so other countries can make stuff for us in much dirtier ways environmentally whether tv sets or oil refineries.
     
  11. Marlin

    Marlin New Member

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    Is it?

    OK, this is doable. Shouldn't cost too much either, since many cars now have digital speedometers, and it wouldn't really be that expensive to require them in new cars. The car's ECU could limit the top speed.

    Again this is doable.

    How do you legislate that? Maybe require airlines to buy only hydrogen planes starting in the year 2006? Where will they get the planes from? Maybe you would need to require that Boeing build hydrogen planes starting in 2006? They'll be expensive, since new technology always is, and the airlines won't be able to afford to buy them. Instead, they'll continue to repair their existing planes to stretch things out further, and will have to live with a dwindling fleet. Of course, you've forced Boeing to build expensive planes that no one can or will buy, and they go bankrupt. Now who will build your hydrogen planes? And while you were at it, you had to force a bunch of energy companies, through regulation, to build a bunch of solar hydrogen generating plants at high expense, but there's no one to buy the hydrogen. I guess they'll go bankrupt to. Of course, while you were at it, you triggered a recession. So now the airlines don't have worry about their dwindling fleets, because they can't fill the seats they still have. That's OK though, because they can just scale back and layoff 10,000 or so employees.

    On the bright side, you did manage to reduce emissions from airplanes, because there are fewer of them in the air.

    OK, lets require the car companies to design build and sell electric cars. Maybe make it 20% of their fleet by the end of 2006. Of course, they'll be expensive and few people will be able to afford them, and of those who can afford them, few will want them. Because the current technology allows them to go only 100 miles, and they have to charge up overnight in the owner's garage, after a thousand dollars or so of power upgrades and wiring. Sure there's new technology on the horizon, battery advancements and such, but they won't be ready for production for years. Maybe you can legislate that the battery companies spend more R&D money to accelerate the development so they can be mass produced in the next year or so.

    Of course, there's that whole other problem about the national power grid. You see, it's pretty much at capacity. If you're going to be cranking out electric cars, you'll need to do something about it. And it's not just the generation plants, it's also the transmission network between the generation plants and the consumer. We'll just have to legislate that they upgrade everything in time for the delivery of our new electric cars. But then again, they'll have to pass on the cost to the consumer, which would likely trigger a recession resulting in nobody being able to buy all of those new electric cars. Companies go bankrupt, causing more recession, and round, and round.

    Yeah right, I can see the Sierra Club backing that. Although, I've always felt that we have more birds than we really need anyway.

    And just how are you going to require that through legislation and regulation? Create a state-owned company to do it? Or are you going to force some energy company to build one on your timetable.

    Again, how are you going to legislate this?

    Subsidies I like. It gives the energy companies an incentive and an ability to control the timetable and costs. Unlike regulations, where bureaucrats dictate timetables without regard for ability or cost. Of course, you'll never get that past the Democrats, because corporations are evil, and it would be just unthinkable to subsidize them for anything. But anyways, this wasn't a regulation.


    I assume that when you say "ban" you are talking about new cars, not existing cars. If so, then this is doable.

    An interesting thought. But I suspect that most people with long commutes, do so not because they couldn't afford to live closer to work, but rather because they didn't want to live in area where their work is located.

    We could do this. Singapore did it for smog reasons. You can still drive into the city, but you have to pay heavy tolls.

    I'm not sure how you are going to legislate this. And in fact, things like the Kyoto Agreement actually encourages it. China and India are exempt from the Kyoto Agreement. So if we complied with the Kyoto agreement, our manufacturing costs go up and their's don't. They are already more competitive than us do to labor costs, and we will simply increase the gap. Therefore even more production goes off shore.

    Now, all that you propose could probably be accomplished via incentives and subsidies, allowing these things to be phased in when the time is right for everyone involved. But remember, the call went out for "Proper Regulations" and not for subsidies, incentives, and market forces.

    You see, the problem with regulations is that if you come out with a "Thou shalt reduce your emissions by 50% by next Feburary" kind of regulation, it will ignore the cost of compliance with the regulation. It won't matter if the company trying to comply with the regulation has $3 billion in equipment that hasn't been paid for yet that will have to be scrapped and replaced with $6 billion in new equipment. It won't matter if the regulation requires the company to build something that nobody can or will buy.

    If they can, they'll pass the new cost on to the consumer. If they can't, they'll go bankrupt. Bankrupt enough companies and you trigger a recession. A recession puts even more pressure on the companies that were just managing to squeek by complying with the regulations. Some of them will go bankrupt too. Then lots of really bad stuff starts to happen.

    Now maybe, just maybe, you could design the regulations in cooperation with the companies you will regulate, and therefore build in time tables and targets that can be accomplished. That way the government gets the regulations it wants without putting too much pressure on the economy. But as soon as the Democrats see you talking to corporations, either in public or behind closed doors, be prepared for the backlash.
     
  12. kirbinster

    kirbinster Member

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    As the previus poster showed some interesting ideas, but nothing is ever as simple as it seems. I question the soundness of two of your ideas:

    "6 Start using wave and tide power for electricity along both coasts. "

    No one knows the climatic impact of these things on a large scale. If you slow the winds down and slow the waves down - as generating power from them will do, what impact will that have on the overall ecosystem. Think about it, on a large scale you could have a very bad impact on the planet.


    8 ...... and convert more buildings to electric heat.

    Electric heat is the most ineffective way to heat. To make electricity you burn fosil fuel and then suffer a loss of over 65% of the energy to go to electricity, you then have transmission losses moving this electricity around. Why not just use a high eff gas furnace to heat your house. I have one that converts 96% of the energy to heat.


    A more appropriate way to do things is to make them economically viable. Here in NJ there is a small fee everyone pays on their electric bill (based on how much they use) that the state then uses to encourage people to both conserve and generate green power. The current system encourages photovoltaic solar panels. The state will pay up to 70% of the cost of a system you install on your house. I did this last year. The system has a 100% payback in only 4 years with this subsidy. After that I will have free electricity for the life of the system which is estimated at between 25-30 years. That is how you do things - make it a win-win for everyone.
     
  13. tomdeimos

    tomdeimos New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(kirbinster\";p=\"106683)</div>

    Wave power may have environmental effects, but so does everything. I don't see us getting all energy from windmills. But every bit must come from solar, at least till someone perfects hydrogen fusion. Nuclear is another stop gap solution at best till we run out of places to store the spent fuel.

    Gas furnaces are no help at all because it makes more CO2. Once we fix the problems with vehicles, heating our buildings will be a big remaining problem. We can heat with solar directly some places, and for the rest it pretty much comes down to hydrogen or electric. Electricity should always be cheaper to distribute than hydrogen I should think and be cheaper.

    Tidal power should be great for our coasts, by protecting them from storms much like lakes for water power do today to protect cities along rivers.

    Wave power I can' imagine any major harmful effects unless it was done too many places. If we grow our economies till the planet is engulfed, nothing will work.
     
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