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12.13.2005

America's Shame in Montreal - New York Times

The best that can be said of the recently concluded meeting on climate change in Montreal is that the countries that care about global warming did not allow the United States delegation to blow the whole conference to smithereens. Washington was intent on making sure that the conferees required no more of the United States than what it is already doing to restrain greenhouse gas emissions, which amounts to virtually nothing.
I suppose that means the EU has done less than virtually nothing, as the US is doing better on GHGs despite consistently higher growth rates.

Alternatively, it might mean that the entire world has fulfilled 100% of their Kyoto commitments, and the result is virtually nothing, as predicted and planned. Here's to 0.7 degrees different in 100 years!

Further, what do the NYT and others have to say about the exploding market for hybrid cars, and distributed efforts of volunteers to turn them into 250+mpg vehicles? How about the mass of progress by researchers on efficient solar?

‘Ohh, that doesn’t count, because it isn’t controlled from the top down!’

Fuckin socialists.

5 Comments:

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Ivan said...

"To believe that companies will spend heavily to reduce emissions while their competitors are not doing the same is to believe in the tooth fairy."

ARRGGGHH!

It's like they've never even HEARD of a market.

 
At 12:57 PM, Blogger oded said...

Ivan, Maybe the NYtime thinks that all of this is too little too late, and that the market forces to reduce immissions are less than the market forces to drive big fucking SUVs which haven't really gone anywhere. For evidence go anywhere in the south.

 
At 1:16 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

"less than the market forces to drive big fucking SUVs which haven't really gone anywhere."

Actually, GM, which you might have heard is doing poorly, is blaming a lot on the shrinking SUV market. The whole SUV trend is on the way out. It's too easy, and quite wrong, to blame it all on those SUV drivers.

Anyway, they aren't saying it's "too little, too late", they are saying "do this now, before it's too late".

So they think that:
1) Some government program is actually going to change rates of GHG production. Look to the EU for evidence against it.
2) Market forces (including the markets tailoring to the growing number of environmentalists!) will not do nearly enough.

The proper strategy for environmentalism is to embrace the market. It isn't as easy as passing legislation, but it will get things done better.

The disconnect between environmentalists and free-marketers is caused by the statist approach embodied in the former.

Rather than giving money to candidates that will force some sausage-making, they should advertise to the millions who could actually make a difference.

 
At 1:53 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

There are many market-oriented environmentalists; the last Economist had a cover story about how the environmental movement is in fact being coopted by GE and HP executives who want to arrange for legislation to help their new greener products and services.

But in addition there needs to be a framework to deal with pollutants as externalities, and this requires collective action. It won't ever be perfect, but it will be helpful to have a framework for this type of action as science aquires more information abuot climate change or other global threats.

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

For something direct, like smog or toxic waste, I think government regulation can make a positive difference. It changes a single aspect and can be easily controlled.

It seems for carbon-limits pushed, the regulation affects a great deal of things, and it has proven to be ineffective.

The government can make a far greater change, without risking the economy, by pushing for research. That is a lot closer to regulating individual industries. It is very technical and affordable. A moon-launch style program.

So as much as I could cast off the assertions that
1) Global warming is something to worry about.
2) Global warming is caused by humans.
3) Small reductions in GHGs will affect our current course

... let me rather state that the type of collective action advocated, like Kyoto, will be ineffective. Why even both continuing at Montreal, if Kyoto is a bust?

Some kind of experimentation, with different governments offering different incentives to push the market in the right direction would be a more active step.

Ohh, wait, that exists: federalism and both state and local tax breaks for hybrids and clean businesses.

"GE and HP executives who want to arrange for legislation to help their new greener products and services."

That's pretty annoying. Green products should compete either directly on price, or a low enough "green premium". I know I just mentioned tax breaks, but I don't really agree with them. That money could be far better utilized in researching new batteries, efficient solar, and fusion.

I am just supremely annoyed that the NYT would view new research breakthroughs with such disdain, considering changes in energy usage throughout history have ALWAYS followed the discovery of technologies that allow newer, better form of energy.

The push to get GHG levels to some arbitrary lower point seems like a very half-ass way about it. We should solve the problem altogether by making coal, natural gas, and petroleum seem too damn expensive to use in energy generation.

So much doom and gloom to advocate disproven half-ass solutions…

 

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