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Climate Change Cacaphony

Our Readers Who Comment have been energized this morning by an article that says environmentalists are struggling to beat the energy lobby in their goal to enact major legislation that is best known by the shorthand "cap and trade." If anonymous reader comments mean anything, those who oppose the legislation have the upper hand, at least the hour of this writing.

As David A. Fahrenthold writes, environmentalists "are making slow progress adapting a movement built for other goals -- building alarm over climate change, encouraging people to "green" their lives -- into a political hammer, pushing a complex proposal the last mile through a skeptical Senate." The House has passed a bill.

A lot of readers say they do not believe there is a global warming crisis (it's nice and cool right now in the Washington suburbs), that Al Gore is wrong, etc. Environmental voices are certainly heard, but as often happens, they get into arguments over whether nuclear power is a good idea (it's nice and clean as long as you don't have a Three Mile Island event) and lambaste the concept of "clean coal." Were it not for health reform, this would be front and center.

We'll start with fenoy, who wrote, "Anyone with three functioning brain cells long ago came to the conclusion that man-made global warming is a hoax concocted by loony left environmentalists. Total sham!"

But fbutler1 said, "...Fossil fuels are and have always been dirty. There's nothing clean or green about them. Gasification of coal still produces CO2, but hell, you get that from cars with catalytic converters (if they are working properly) and that's part of the problem... This American is tired of it and looks forward to progressive legislation that ACTUALLY weans us off of the old way."

drees1956 wrote, "Idiots pushing for electric cars that have to be charged by coal fired plants. Absolutely zero push for nuclear energy. No one wants a windmill in their backyard. Tons of toxic waste generated for every kw of solar panel manufactured. Green my donkey!"

rmlwj1 said, "Building nuclear power plants would solve much of the emission problems."

To which TheBabeNemo replied, "yes! happy monday. Let's call Russia and Iran. Who's answering the phone today?..."

AmericanInterestsFirstandLast said, "By the way when will these good folk take action to put a lid on the carbon emissions now being released by those recurring California wildfires?... For starters, mandate no more building of new homes in those pristine canyons with the resulting desecration of the environment and increased liklihood of accidental fires or opportunities for arsonists with added roads etc..."

TwoHotel9 wrote, "Cap&trade, the economy killer, will destroy energy production, industry, and agriculture in America. That is its entire purpose, to punish America for being productive and successful."

alivo said, "Cap and trade is a good idea. It is not "Marxism" or "government takeover" as some are claiming. It's government regulation to protect the environment, something we've been doing for a long time. Theodore Roosevelt used government to protect the environment. The House has passed cap and trade. Now it's the Senate's turn. Let's support this bill. It will serve everyone well."

LarryG62 alleged that "The environmentalists are just another bunch of liberal dumbos. About like the nitwits in PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals]. Too much time and money on their hands."

hfaulk01 asked, "Are we stupid enough to sell our environment for a 'free lunch'? And as you chew on that sandwich and drink the beverage you might ask yourself, 'who is paying for this..and more importantly why?' People, there is no such thing as 'clean coal' nor a 'free lunch' PERIOD."

Saladin3 wrote, "Because this isn't science, it's a hoax and burning skeptics with hatred and dismissal doesn't win a debate... When a debate consists of slander instead of argument you know something is wrong. I do hope the hack and slash bill attacking our way of life and standard of living goes down to bitter defeat, but I don't count on it."

Atenora said, "Only the elitist liberals have the extra money to pay for new green taxes. Who cares about the environment when so many people in this country are struggling to put food on the table."

wesevans wrote, "Much has been said about the oil and gas companies funding anti-climate change legislation.However the pro climate change people are also well financed and have a financial motivation every bit as strong. Example Al Gore stands to make 10's of millions of dollars if cap and trade legislation is passed. GE and other companies as well as OPEC hope that the US will restrict it's energy production. China hopes that it can surpass the US in economic ability. Will we screw our selves for the benefit of these people?"

camasca said, "There are no free lunches. No one would directly inhale anything coming out of a car tail pipe or out of a smoke stack. We should tax carbon. It's simple, easy, and will cover the cost caused by carbon polluters."

stryker1 wrote, "Looks like this will be a cool year. Every year that passes, the effect of the Kool-Aid provided by the media, seems to be wearing off. As in Europe, Americans are beginning to realize that anthropogenic global warming is a hoax.
The MSM, including the Post, will continue to slant reality to convince us otherwise but will eventually fail..."

VirginiaIndependent said, "Even those who are convinced that greenhouse gas emissions pose a severe, immediate threat should oppose the climate change legislation. This bill is designed to boost energy costs for most American consumers without reducing the world's temperature. And most impartial analysts conclude it will cost far more jobs than it creates."

iamredwolf wrote, "I read Charles Darwin's "On The Origin of Species" like most good little tykes... I appreciate Darwin's take on Changing Climate: Those who adapt, thrive. Those who fight it, perish. Evolution is very straight forward. The gist is: Don't
squander your last resources and energy trying to re-create the past. Go with the flow and just do what you have to, to roll with any actual Climate Changes that show up..."

moebius22 said, "...The fact is cap and trade will make energy more expensive, and will definitely cost jobs without any guarantee it will replace those same jobs during a recession."

ChrisFord1 wrote, "I think part of the problem is climate change activists have made several promises that have raised considerable doubt. They have failed to see China and India and much of the rest of the world rejecting caps. They have have seen some of their favored eneergy sources prove too expensive to use or too limited by their nature while they stand in mindless opposition to nuclear and any oil or gas drilling and characterizing the people who get the gas or make nuke electricity gen as EVIL..."

charlietuna666 said, "what happened to global warming? is it now climate change? the climate has been changing since before the industrial revolution. Now, it's all man's fault? give me a break. it was in the fifties last night in the DC suburbs in august..."

We'll close with 12thgenamerican, who predicted, "i can't wait for the climate bill town halls,if they have them. you are going to see a backlash that will make the health care town halls look like a sunday social. out with the radical leftists."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  August 31, 2009; 6:33 AM ET
 | Tags: Cap and Trade, Climate Change, Environment, Global Warming  
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Comments

The real focus of attention needs to be placed squarely at the feet of big business, the movers and shakers. The same corporations that killed Bill Clinton's efforts to provide health care for the un-insured, the same corporations that developed Terminator seed to control the human food chain. These are the faceless 'organisations' that could impact he global climate change scene for the better and make a massive impact if only they would. Read more at http://www.carbongoodguys.com

Posted by: DavidGoliath | September 5, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Doug - Please place the date of your post at the top instead of the end. Thanks

James Makepeace - great name, especially for one working on non-weapons nuclear. Fusion is certainly the ultimate but realistically, how far off? In the meantime, Thorium nuclear reactors are proven in concept and await only some metallurgical and fuel fabrication advances. Just the problems for a NASA style tiger team. Thorium resources are all but inexhaustible and we already have enough high grade material left from Manhattan Project era research to meet several years of our national energy needs. Thorium has some useful anti-proliferative properties and thorium reactor can be designed so they are passively safe, e.g., molten salt type. They not only produce much less waste which has orders of magnitude shorter half-life, they also can "burn" nuclear waste from conventional reactors as well as weapons grade uranium and plutonium we need to get rid of. What's not to like? The Indians, Russians and French are already ahead of us in this area.

sh17 - WRI may advertise itself as nonpartisan, but it clearly has a point of view in favor of the AGW alarmist agenda. Any site that favors congress's Cap and Trade bill isn't worth a second visit IMHO.

Posted by: FadingFast | August 31, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

someone needs to let russ walker of grist.org know that there are no "concensus" in science. there is a methodology called the "scientific method" which helps scientists determine wether or not a hypothesis is valid. under this well established control, anthrpogenic global warming has been proven false. i guess they forgot to tell russ.

Posted by: changein2012 | August 31, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I want a windmill in my backyard. Only fools make generalizations.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | August 31, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

There's plenty of room to debate the appropriate response to the scientific fact of global climate change. Should the U.S. have a carbon tax instead of a complicated cap-and-trade program? Should nuclear energy be embraced as a zero-carbon alternative to coal and oil? Should Congress allow more natural gas development in pristine parts of Alaska and the American West?

These are important discussions to have. But debating the science of climate change is like debating weekend chores with the wife: As much as you don't like it, those chores are a fact about which you have no choice.

Scientists, by and large, are not political operatives. And the overwhelming consensus is that climate change is happening, it is caused by humanity's reliance on carbon-based fuels, and if left unchecked it will cause significant problems across the globe, especially for billions of people in the developing world.

By all means, let's debate how best to cut our use of carbon fuels. But let's stop tilting at windmills by denying that there's a real problem.

P.S. I'm a card-carrying green and editor of Grist.org, which I hope you'll check out for more information on climate change.

Posted by: Russ_Walker | August 31, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The readers are absolutely right that "cap & trade" is just so much "hot-air" (or hot exhaust gases), and for the short term we need to return to the cleanest most efficient approaches to nuclear fission, since it's the only mass-production energy technology we have which doesn't produce CO2. We also need to put a lot of effort into maximizing the eficiency of "renewables"... but we must recognise that these technologies will not produce the kind of grid-load that the ever more energy-hungry world demands... and that demand isn't going to reduce anytime soon... in fact the lights will have to start going out before people wake up to the realities.
For the long term there is only one solution, and that is nuclear fusion... natures own way of releasing energy on the grand scale. Fusion is the process which drives the sun and all stars. It burns no fossil fuels, produces no CO2, virtually no radioactive waste (actually something not unlike hospital waste, and with just a 12-year half-life,)and it has a fuel source we humans won't be around long enough on earth to use up. The primary fuel for fusion will come from sea water... just one cubic kilometre of sea water contains the fusion energy equivalent of the entire world's oil reserves.
There are two approaches to fusion... the long-running approach uses electro-magnetism to confine the plasma (but its running a bit behind schedule and a lot over budget) and the "new kid on the block" is fusion driven by very large lasers. This is coming on very fast indeed, and the team at the National Ignition Facility (NIF)in Lawrence Livermore are approaching the point of scientific "Proof of Principle" for this approach.
At that point the world's scientific community is poised to carry forward the knowledge and develop from it a viable demonstration version of a fusion reactor which can use laser-driven fusion to deliver grid-level energy. THAT is going to change the world's energy future almost overnight... but the challenge of mastering controlled fusion on earth is complicated and expensive. The smart thing to do is stop wasting time and money on tinkering with "elastoplast" fixes... get on, spend the research funding and make laser fusion happen as soon as possible. What it takes is the kind of belief which put an American on the moon... the conviction, the tenacity and the daring to get it done ! Isn't that what the United States of America used to be famous for ?

Posted by: jameswmakepeace | August 31, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The environmentalists have invented a powerful weapon by saying that climate change could endanger the security of the country.They should make this more detailed and devastating and scare the hell out of the people to silence the other side till they get what they want from the Congress.

Posted by: krescera | August 31, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I urge readers to consult the non-partisan, objective, World Resources Institute's Myths and Facts piece on climate legislation and climate change: http://www.wri.org/stories/2009/08/climate-change-legislation-myths-and-reality

Posted by: sh17 | August 31, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

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