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Can you solve global warming without talking about global warming?

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To expand a bit on a point I made on Rachel Maddow's show, I'm just not sure how you do a response to climate change if you can't really say the words "climate change." And that's where we are right now: The actual problem we're trying to solve is politically, if not scientifically, controversial. And so politicians, rather than continuing to try to convince the American people that we need to do something about it, have started talking about more popular policies that are related to solving climate change. You see this in Lindsey Graham's effort to argue for carbon-pricing from a place of purported climate-change skepticism. You see it in pollster Joel Benenson's memo that tries to persuade legislators to vote for a climate bill without ever using those words. And you saw it in Barack Obama's speech last night, which was all about clean energy and grand challenges.

In response to this, Rachel said that no one wants to hear about climate change. The operative emotion here has to be inspiration, not fear. And she's right about that. The polling certainly backs her up. But that strikes me as depressing evidence of how unlikely we are to succeed. I simply don't believe you could've passed health care if you couldn't have talked about covering the uninsured, and I don't think stimulus would've worked without the spur of the unemployed. It's not that people wanted to hear about either subject all day, but they got both problems on a visceral enough level that the action being taken at least made a sort of sense.

My fear is that if we ever get to the place where the action being taken makes a sort of sense as a way to address the problem, public opinion will collapse because it's built on such a flimsy foundation. Talking about clean energy isn't a lie, of course. But a bill to mitigate climate change isn't a jobs bill, as Nancy Pelosi has argued, and it's more than just a bill to make sure China doesn't capture to much of the renewable-energy business. It's going to be a big bill with some unpopular stuff in it because it's trying to do a hard and important thing. And if Americans have been told that this bill will be all goodies -- all jobs and energy and so forth -- it's hard to imagine them sticking around once they hear that the price of electricity is going to jump up, even if only by a little bit.

All that said, I think the politics of this are rapidly moving toward an efficiency and innovation-investment solution, and that bill does look more like goodies and can be sold on these grounds. That still leaves the question of how to pay for it, but at least it matches where the polling is on this subject. The downside is that it doesn't match the actual problem we're trying to solve.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 16, 2010; 9:57 AM ET
Categories:  Climate Change  
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Comments

"That still leaves the question of how to pay for it, but at least it matches where the polling is on this subject. The downside is that it doesn't match the actual problem we're trying to solve."

Which is why, absent some unforeseen technological miracle, we're not going to solve the problem.

Posted by: tsgauh | June 16, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

A climate change bill is not going to pass until it gets sufficiently hot that either people in this country suffer or there is some extraordinary catastrophe related to the heat in another country that shakes people up. Arguments that if we don't do something now the earth will be too hot in 2100 will not do the trick.

Posted by: ostap666 | June 16, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

There is no possibility that Congress will regulate carbon without substantial cross party support. The issue is too easily demagogued, and Democrats will not do this alone. Trying to force this through in the absence of any public consensus would lack basic societal legitimacy.

The reason why Democrats are deathly afraid of the issue is the same reason why no Republicans will defect from the party line: the public does not really believe that climate change is a problem. Whose fault is this?

*It's politicians', but only in part: one can only ask them to swim against the tide of public opinion so far.

*The fault also lies with the news media, who will not report on the issue without bracketing the whole idea of climate change as "controversial."

*More broadly, it is the fault of our political and economic elites. Our universities teach these scientific realities. But few corporate leaders, trade associations, or churches view the issue with any seriousness.

Posted by: FrancesLee | June 16, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, your grasping at straws at this point. Obama never mentioned Climate Change once, despite all the speculation you and other commentators put forth.

It took a lot of hubris to think man can change the earth's climate, and even more to think we can stop it. Hang up your superman cape Ezra, the world doesn't need you to save it anymore.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 16, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

"I simply don't believe you could've passed health care if you couldn't have talked about covering the uninsured."

But we did! When was the moral argument ever made about it being our responsibility to provide everyone with health care? Health Care was passed talking about insurance companies ripping people off.

It basically seems to me like people wanted a remixed "malaise" speech, and while Carter's message might have been truth, it was not effective. I would much rather Obama get something done using the wishy washy language of Boone Pickens than get nothing done using the strong rhetoric of Al Gore.

Posted by: twcunningham | June 16, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Regardless of language, this is also an issue of a long-term abstract idea that people have a hard time seeing in the immediate.
You use the word "visceral" which I think gets at what politicians are trying to do. Make global warming/climate change something that has an immediate and necessary point of action that people will choose.
Do we fear losing jobs overseas to green energy businesses?
Yes; that is immediate and yet it also affects long-term issue.
The more climate change/global warming becomes a series of these immediate decisions the more action will be taken. Incidently the decisions that get made tend to be based on a fear of losing something. I think politicians should avoid talking about global warming/climate change because it will never inspire large scale action unless it can be broken down into immediate visceral components.

Posted by: tbkuplic | June 16, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Yeah - and he won't say "Islamic terrorism" either ... whats up with this guy?

Posted by: bstahlbe | June 16, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

"The fault also lies with the news media, who will not report on the issue without bracketing the whole idea of climate change as 'controversial.'

The reason being that, like it or not, it is controversial. Simply put, the predictions of climate science (as with predictions regarding any complex system with a panoply of inputs) are not reliable.

You're (not you specifically, I mean it in the royal sense) asking people to believe in something that they can't see, feel, taste or touch in a direct and personal way. To essentially take it as a matter of faith, and there will always be rifts and non-believers in matter of faith. If the entire population saw New York underwater (in reality, not it a movie) or other overwhelming evidence, it would be non-controversial.

The religious quality of the climate change movement inherently makes it controversial. It will remain an uphill battle, because to non-scientists it seems much ado about nothing. Things such as Climategate may be irrelevant to true believers, but to fence sitters it's a clear indicator that all this "man-made climate change" stuff is just a bunch of hokum. Otherwise, why would people have to fudge the numbers and throw out contradictory data and man-handle the climate models to get the desired results, and so on?

If the consensus view is correct and there is indeed global warming occurring with man as the primary and ongoing cause, we are in trouble. Because the nature of the issue means that, like it or not, blame special interests or don't, anthropogenic climate change will be controversial until we're all cooked. Or, ala The Day After Tomorrow, flash-frozen.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | June 16, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

@tbkuplic: What you said. Immediate, visceral experience trumps what might happen in 50 years. I know it's hard to see how you address climate change without talking about change, but it's like how you address issues of crime and punishment without bringing up Moses and the the Burning Bush.

You talk about what is present in peoples lives, not what is, to most people, abstract and unobservable. Jobs, a clean environment locally, asthma, deforestation and the value of protecting forest lands for recreation and a love of nature and country, cheaper energy, safer energy . . . lower electric bills because of insulation and low-wattage appliances. The health benefits of walking and bike riding and intelligent urban planning.

"That hurricane is because of man-made global warming!" may play well with the faithful, but to a lot of people it sounds like saying "this earthquake was caused because God was angry about women wearing revealing clothing".

We're bringing jobs to your community, we're lowering your electric bills, we're cleaning up the coal plants--those things are immediate, and sound a lot better. Smog is coming down. Air is getting cleaner. You're going to have a healthier city for asthmatics. That stuff is immediate and positive, and is something that people can wrap their heads around.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | June 16, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

He did say "an energy and climate bill" so it's not completely true he didn't mention climate change. But climate change is clearly a hard sell these days, and the media doesn't help with its shallowness.

I think that the idea of selling a bill as a combination of jobs and investments AND safety--protecting us from the kinds of immediate disasters that result from deregulated energy production and from more moisture in the air (more extreme storms and flooding, for example) is a good idea. These are things people are seeing before their eyes, not something that may or may not happen 50-100 years from now.

He has to start somewhere, and telling people the era of cheap oil is over is a start. But the real change won't come until people are really ready, and unfortunately it will take somethying like another oil embargo or all the gulf production destroyed in a hurricane. Since Netanyahu seems bent on attacking Iran, we may get that in his first term, after all.

Posted by: Mimikatz | June 16, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Kevin, there are consistently hundreds of peer reviewed studies that establish the reality of human-caused climate change and a strange Senator from Oklahoma convinced that it's a hoax. And that's the way the battlelines are drawn. It's not controversial among scientists: it's controversial among Americans, some of whom still hate Al Gore so much that they can't let it go. Republicans figured there was political gain and political donations to be made out of this, so they followed that path. The rest of us are left with science and a media that refused to point out that Republicans were just making things up that were not consistent with the scientific findings and scientific consensus.

Look, Kevin, I'm really sorry that Al Gore turned out to be right and that jerk you voted for --twice-- turned out to be a screwup of staggering proportions. But that's no reason for you and the republicans to keep riding the climate change denialist train just because you can't admit your previous political mistakes in life. You need to move on and get over it.

Posted by: constans | June 16, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

While some may accept climate change on faith rather than data, it would seem many climate change deniers similarly dismiss the data out of hand. There is a substantial amount of data indicating that man-made greenhouse gases are getting to dangerous levels; we can debate how high the burden of proof should be, but I think it's unreasonable to make that burden so high that it can only be met by some catastrophe. There is at least as much chance that scientists are underestimating the danger as that they are overestimating it.

Posted by: jduptonma | June 16, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Ezra,
Is there any possibility for a Cap and Dividend approach through reconciliation?

Posted by: mschol17 | June 16, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

It is curious that the people who promote catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) keep using the consensus line and blaming everyone but themselves for the lack of public support.

The leading lights of the movement at CRU, NASA/NOAA/GISS and Penn State are the very people who refuse to publicize their data and methods so that independent reviewers could attempt to replicate their results. These same folks refuse to participate in public debates, and won't even show up at conferences where reporters and the skeptical public might ask embarrassing questions.

The problem, if you mean failure to gain public support, isn't with the public or the media or even the skeptics. The problem is that credibility will never be established by the folks who participated in the climate gate email exchanges. Their unethical and illegal behavior showed anyone who bothered to actually read and study the emails that the underlying work was poorly done and that the errors would be exposed if anyone outside the true believer community got hold of the data.

The same true believers have only compounded the trust issue by ginning up white wash review committees. The oil spill provides the perfect tag line: should BP be hired to investigate the reasons for an oil spill? Should people with financial interests in the outcome of the climate gate investigations be hired to do the investigation? Should input from people who actually read and studied the emails be systematically excluded from these so called investigations?

Climate science will continue to be regarded with suspicion because the main actors continue to act suspicious. No amount of PR and commentary by the likes of Al Gore is likely to change these perceptions.

Openly accessible data would help. Addressing quality problems in data collection would help. Honest dialogue with other than true believers would help.

Slandering skeptics with the 'oil company stooge' label will remind people that the the true believers think they can best answer legitimate questions by attacking the questioner. Failing to address the actual questions and failing to admit that the science is far from settled or certain is a large part of why the public won't support the CAGW crowd.

Posted by: AGWsceptic99 | June 16, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Imagine that Obama had spent the bulk of last night's speech laying out an impassioned and detailed case for passing energy legislation, and that he had put a strong emphasis on climate change. What would be the criticism have been this morning?

He would have been chastised for short-changing the needs of Gulf residents in the midst of a catastrophe in order to promote the opportunity for another legislative accomplishment.

It would have seemed to many like a doctor coming to the aid of a heart attack victim and, instead of administering CPR, the doctor first lectures the patient about lifestyle and diet and exercise. Many would be arguing that Obama needs to focus 100% on containing the leak and repairing the damage, and worry about policy and legislation later.

As is so often the case, it was a no-win situation, and it makes a certain amount of sense that he chose not to make this partcular speech all about a climate bill, when there is still so much pain and uncertainty in the Gulf.

Posted by: Patrick_M | June 16, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

"Kevin, there are consistently hundreds of peer reviewed studies that establish the reality of human-caused climate change"

I'm not arguing against anthropogenic climate change, which I've found to be as fruitful as arguing against the intrinsic holiness of the Southern Baptists.

I'm saying that it will remain controversial, in the sense that people will be skeptical and unconvinced, until there is evidence of a visceral nature. At which point it would presumably be far too late to do anything.

So the argument should be about jobs, clean communities, healthy air, etc.

"But that's no reason for you and the republicans to keep riding the climate change denialist train just because you can't admit your previous political mistakes in life. You need to move on and get over it."

Do you even read the comments you reply to, or do you just miss the point and misunderstand them on purpose, to see what kind of reaction you'll get?

I'm taking a strictly agnostic stand on anthropogenic global warming, and I won't argue about that any more than I will about the spiritual purification that comes from handling snakes. There is a consensus, many smart people are convinced that it's the case, there are all those peer-reviewed studies, as you pointed out. I leave it to others to hash it out.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that meaningful climate change won't be advanced by talking about the apocalypse and the original sin of dirty, dirty energy, but rather would be advanced by talking about things that are immediately beneficial and valuable.

Let's say there is no global warming at all (as a thought experiment) or climate change. Would it still be a good idea for pollution from coal plants to be reduced and eliminated? Would solar and wind energy still be good avenues of energy production? Would development of an affordable electric car be valuable?

Or would you rather everybody lose, but you be morally correct and morally superior to all those backwoods Bush voters, corporate shills, and climate change deniers?

I think the Obama approach is closer to correct, in the long run, than the Ezra approach (love you, Ezra!). That's all I'm saying.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | June 16, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Patrick_M, you make a good point, but I think that Ezra was pointing to Obama's silence on climate change as part of an overall pattern of silence from him on this issue. This is the first he's publicly addressed the climate/energy bill and the need to pass it, and he didn't mention one of its most important issues. Were it only silence about it in last night's speech, one could plausibly discuss it as part of not wanting to distract from the main issue of the leak.

*Climate science will continue to be regarded with suspicion...*

because there is a hostile movement of right-wingers who never got over their obsession with Al Gore. You have scientists on one side with a track record of consistent findings over hundreds upon hundreds of studies, and a crazy senator from Oklahoma and petroleum-institute-funded think tanks that don't do any real research on the other. I also hear that a now-deceased science fiction author with an MD found those arguments compelling. I know who I'm going to go to for policy guidance.

*These same folks... won't even show up at conferences *

There are dozens of scientific conferences held all over the world where you can read the proceedings of such conferences. Instead you chose to make stuff up about a "controversy" in order to sell to credulous reports.

The problem is that Obama did not realize that those propaganda efforts were threats and dangers that needed to be countered and assumed they would be dormant as long as they were ignored.

Posted by: constans | June 16, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you. Rarely would a climate advocate have common senses.
I am a Chinese and I know well how the Chinese Solar industry flourished on the generous Spanish and German subsidies. Guess what happened to Spain?
The way Obama and Pelosi wrapped up the climate bill in 'jobs' and 'new Energy' is sick. In a sense it reflects that they are really not the kind of business-savvy Democrats like FDR and Clinton.
When the Industry Revolution took place in England many many moons ago, the entrepreneurs were inventing things to cut down manufacturing cost, not to thrive on government subsidies.

Posted by: songkuan | June 16, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

While I sympathize with Ezra's desire to have an energy bill that explicitly relates to the problem of climate change, I have no problem with an energy bill that doesn't. There are plenty of reasons to support energy reform that don't involve presenting it as a bunch of "goodies" but ask people if they're willing to take some kind of minimal action for goals they say they believe in.

For instance: if people really believe in energy independence, if they believe in creating more leverage over Iran, if they believe in increasing our policy options in the Middle East, if they really believed in doing something for our troops so that they wouldn't have to guard our energy supply lines, if they believed in cleaner air, if they believed in creating jobs, if they believed in avoiding another drilling disaster, then we wouldn't be running from a gas tax; we'd be asking for one. We could take that tax and refund it for lower-income households so that it's not regressive, and offer subsidies for more fuel-efficient cars so people can buy them. If the price of gas goes up 30%, you don't have to pay a penny more to drive around exactly as you do now if your next car is 30% more efficient. And if you believe in those goals, you'll make sure you get that more efficient car (especially if the government makes it easier for you to do so). And you don't need to believe in climate change to have a strong basis for these policies.

Not all of these arguments can be applied to coal and natural gas, but some can (jobs, air quality, drilling and mining environmental effects). If the price of electricity goes up 5%, surely it can't be that hard to conserve 5% through weatherization (again helped with government programs to do so) and more efficient appliances. But someone has to ask whether people are willing to take some minimal steps to act on the issues they say they care about.

And that's a problem not only with energy but practically every major issue we face. If people are unwilling to act, then it doesn't matter whether the issue is fiscal responsibility (which will require spending cuts to programs people like, tax increases or both), big money in politics (which will require public campaign financing), or some other topic. Merely electing different people to Washington and telling them to "fix it" won't solve our problems. But if enough of us are willing to do a little bit, we can accomplish some remarkable things together.

But someone has to ask. Obama came close last night saying that we all have a role to play, but I don't think he was forceful enough in asking us to take responsibility for the things we say we want--and for acting on them.

Posted by: dasimon | June 16, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"This is the first he's publicly addressed the climate/energy bill and the need to pass it, and he didn't mention one of its most important issues. Were it only silence about it in last night's speech, one could plausibly discuss it as part of not wanting to distract from the main issue of the leak."

constans,

I agree that Obama has not talked much about climate and energy, but I also think that is somewhat understandable. Health care dragged on into the Spring, and then the expectation was that the focus would swing back to jobs and the economy for awhile. Suddenly Arizona made immigration a hot topic again, and then Deepwater Horizon came along and pushed our energy policies back to the top of the headlines. The administration has to feel as though they are playing whack-a-mole these past several months; it has been a highly reactive period of time for the President's agenda.

I think last night's brief speech needed to cover the current status of the disaster, the immediate plans for repair and clean-up, and to also briefly mention the long term solution to avoiding such disasters in the future, which is by transitioning away from fossil fuels. I don't think that Obama could have mentioned climate change, without also mentioning the several other reasons why it makes sense to move to domestic sources of sustainable energy generation like the environmental costs and national security impliications. Once you go there at all, you really need to make the full sales pitch, or it falls flat. I think that the Obama administration concluded that last night was not the right moment for the President to effectively sound all of those themes to promote a political goal, but at the same time utter silence about the energy bill would have been wrong as well.

I hope that within the next 2 to 4 weeks we may see a longer speech by Obama in which he will advocate for passing energy legislation in a detailed and comprehensive way. I simply think that a good argument can be made that launching that drive last night might well have politically counterproductive (even if cathartic for those of us who want to see him plead the case).

Posted by: Patrick_M | June 16, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Kevin

Controversy is not the reason conservatives don't support climate change action.

There are two bigger reasons they don't support:

1. conservatives are more concerned with the culture war and feel only the GOP will do anything to address related issues to the culture war. conservatives will thus not confirm the validity of any issue Dems feel important that is not related to the culture war.

2. Big business does not want to risk their energy cash cows, and they funnel vast sums of money to candidates to maintain the status quo.

Posted by: Lomillialor | June 16, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

""I simply don't believe you could've passed health care if you couldn't have talked about covering the uninsured."

But we did! When was the moral argument ever made about it being our responsibility to provide everyone with health care? Health Care was passed talking about insurance companies ripping people off."

Health care was also passed on the basis of it reducing costs for everyone with insurance, and letting everyone who likes their current insurance keep exactly what they have now. The trade-off between expanded coverage and cost containment was presented as a "false choice". Ezra reconciles this by "squeezing providers". The other way this can be accomplished is by denying specific procedures that are not viewed as cost effective.

"My fear is that if we ever get to the place where the action being taken makes a sort of sense as a way to address the problem, public opinion will collapse because it's built on such a flimsy foundation."

I would argue that this already happened with health care, given the post passage poll numbers. We shall see what the results are once more of the legislation is implemented.

Posted by: jnc4p | June 16, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

If C02 was really pollution, why did the EPA have to tailor the rule to make it 250,000 tons of C02, instead of 250 tons like every other gas regulated via the clean air act?

Because that would mean every business in the country would have to pay carbon taxes. Because Congress never intended the Clean Air Act to regulate non-toxic substances like C02.

- C02 is not air pollution! Removing it won't make the air any "cleaner".

- 1 Green Job costs 2.5 real jobs in the larger economy, every european study of it agrees.

- 5% higher gas costs aren't eliminated via 5% effenciency. You'll pay most of that cost in the products shipped to your house. EVERYTHING will go up 5%, insta-inflation, because it all takes energy

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 16, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"Kevin

Controversy is not the reason conservatives don't support climate change action.

There are two bigger reasons they don't support:

1. conservatives are more concerned with the culture war and feel only the GOP will do anything to address related issues to the culture war. conservatives will thus not confirm the validity of any issue Dems feel important that is not related to the culture war.

2. Big business does not want to risk their energy cash cows, and they funnel vast sums of money to candidates to maintain the status quo."

There's another reason that doesn't get mentioned a lot:

The costs of adapting to climate change may be less (especially in developed countries) than preventing it or trying to roll it back.

This is somewhat alluded to in Paul Krugman's piece on environmental economics from the NYT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/magazine/11Economy-t.html?ref=globalwarming

See page 8 of 10 online.

In general, when given the choice to adopt a known cost to deal with mitigating an unknown risk (the total future cost of climate change, not the fact that there is global warming) people have tended to accept the risk rather than pay the cost, especially if the risk is perceived to be remote. This usually does not work out well. See:

1. 2007 - 2009 Financial meltdown
2. Deepwater Horizon
3. The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Posted by: jnc4p | June 16, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin
I think we are in agreement on the need for making this discussion immediate. What I find interesting is how much time in political debates is spent on if/how climate change is real and man-made. That's a science question not a political question, and no amount of evidence/rational argument will change what people do right now.

The political debate/question should all be framed around immediate tangible things that influence global warming.

Marketing has already understood this. Look how proudly we market green products for people want to wear the immediate ego badge that says this purchase right here aligns me with this long-term view.

Posted by: tbkuplic | June 16, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

@Lom: "Kevin, Controversy is not the reason conservatives don't support climate change action."

Um, I don't think I addressed the reason conservatives don't support climate change action. Although I would suspect that controversy plays a role, especially with fence sitters. But the culture wars, and the impact of climate legislation on business, are certainly all part of the picture.

@jnc4p: "people have tended to accept the risk rather than pay the cost, especially if the risk is perceived to be remote. This usually does not work out well"

Actually, it almost always works out well, especially on the individual level. That's the problem.

But if you have 1000 unlikely things you don't plan for, or spend money on preventing, eventually 3 of them will happen.

If remote risks always happened, we would be adequately prepared, and the consequences would be prevented.

Risks that are accepted and addressed successfully are also considered to have been over-exagerated, or entirely fraudulent later on. See the Y2K bug.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | June 16, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

ecocampaigner: "If C02 was really pollution, why did the EPA have to tailor the rule to make it 250,000 tons of C02, instead of 250 tons like every other gas regulated via the clean air act?"

Uh, maybe because different pollutants have different effects? Pound for pound, methane has 25 times the greenhouse effect as CO2, but there is far less of it in the atmosphere. http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20090421_carbon.html

And maybe the EPA is taking feasibility into account and concluded that some regulation is better than none? And where did you get the idea that every other gas under the CAA is regulated in the same amounts? "The Clean Air Act's current thresholds for regulating 'conventional pollutants' like lead, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide are 100 or 250 tons a year. But while those thresholds are appropriate for those pollutants, EPA says, they are not feasible for greenhouse gases, which are emitted in much larger quantities." http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/05/13/13greenwire-epa-issues-final-tailoring-rule-for-greenhouse-32021.html

"5% higher gas costs aren't eliminated via 5% effenciency. You'll pay most of that cost in the products shipped to your house. EVERYTHING will go up 5%, insta-inflation, because it all takes energy"

A 5% increase in operating costs (heating/cooling your home, running your appliances) are eliminated by a 5% increase in efficiency. Any increase in shipping is taken care of if trucks are 5% more efficient. Once you buy the more efficient truck, it's a wash. (And maybe we can ship more by train if we don't need the item immediately; it's a part of doing something about the issues one says one cares about.) And as I wrote above, government can help cushion the expense of the capital costs that achieve those efficiencies; they are a one-time price increase, if indeed they turn out to be more expensive (and sufficiently efficient items may save money and more than cover any price increase).

Really, it's not that difficult.

Posted by: dasimon | June 16, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

hmmmm...

If it only increases electricity prices a little bit, then it's not really gonna work now will it.

There's some serious misunderstanding/misinformation/mistruthfullness about the cost of clean energy.

Posted by: kdk33 | June 16, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

"Let's say there is no global warming at all (as a thought experiment) or climate change. Would it still be a good idea for pollution from coal plants to be reduced and eliminated? Would solar and wind energy still be good avenues of energy production? Would development of an affordable electric car be valuable?"

Well, no because CO2 wouldn't really be a pollutant now would it.

Solar, wind, whatever would only make sense if it was cheaper than petroleum / coal. Ditto the electric car.

Posted by: kdk33 | June 16, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

kdk33,
There are plenty of other pollutants from fossil fuels that aren't CO2. There are numerous studies that estimate how many deaths are caused by air quality problems from coal plants (soot, NOx, SOx, etc). An estimate I've heard is for a common european 1 GW coal power plant with modern cleaning technologies and european population density, 300 deaths are caused per year.

That's per powerplant, and completely unrelated to CO2. Those negative externalities aren't priced into fossil fuel costs. I would support eliminating all subsidies and pricing the negative externalities. Renewables would immediately become more competitive.

Posted by: mschol17 | June 16, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

There is no practical source for renewable energy.

The UK has 2896 operating wind mills for electric power. They have a capacity of 4571 MW.

As I write this, these wind farms are producing less than .1% of the electrical production from all sources of power, which is close to zero. This has been true the past few days. You can not power our economy with a power source this unreliable.

If you really want to know why there is not a need to control CO2 then see this link.

http://isthereglobalwarming.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Copy_of_sjsbishop.105182651.pdf

Posted by: gpp1111 | June 16, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

@dasimon

"And maybe the EPA is taking feasibility into account and concluded that some regulation is better than none? And where did you get the idea that every other gas under the CAA is regulated in the same amounts? "The Clean Air Act's current thresholds for regulating 'conventional pollutants' like lead, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide are 100 or 250 tons a year. But while those thresholds are appropriate for those pollutants, EPA says, they are not feasible for greenhouse gases, which are emitted in much larger quantities."

I was giving the EPA the high end, 250 out of generosity, should I have said 100 it'd be even worse.

Tell me how you define "appropriate". Quantities of 100-250 is appropriate for real toxins, the kind that you shouldn't breathe.

Why shouldn't the EPA use that threshold for C02, if its so bad for us? That would be a much more significant step to fighting global warming, would it not?

The answer is because then it would actually affect americans directly, not indirectly hidden in energy costs, and they wouldn't stand for it.


Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 16, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"Tell me how you define 'appropriate'."

That wasn't my term; I was quoting the NY Times article, which was referring to the EPA.

"Quantities of 100-250 is appropriate for real toxins, the kind that you shouldn't breathe."

Says who? Doesn't it depend on the toxin? And we're not even talking about "toxins"; we're talking about adverse environmental effects.

And the 100-250 tons per year aren't absolute amounts allowed per unit in the atmosphere; it's about the threshold emissions that subject a facility to EPA regulation (if I read the NY Times article correctly).

Again, there is no reason to regulate all pollutants equally when they act differently and exist in the atmosphere in different concentrations to begin with.

"Why shouldn't the EPA use that threshold for C02, if its so bad for us? That would be a much more significant step to fighting global warming, would it not?"

Again, it's not unreasonable to consider feasibility and conclude that some regulation and reduction in CO2 is far better than none.

"The answer is because then it would actually affect americans directly, not indirectly hidden in energy costs, and they wouldn't stand for it."

That goes back to my point about being willing to do something about the issues one says one cares about. If people don't care, then nothing will get done. If people do care some, then something will get done. If they care a lot, we can get a lot done--at a pretty darn low cost per person, too. The Kerry-Lieberman bill would be pretty inexpensive, so let's dispense with the scare tactics even if it's good politics. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/06/epa_evaluates_the_american_pow.html

Posted by: dasimon | June 16, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Your feasibility is just so arbitrary and self-serving. What the EPA calls "tailoring" i call "legislating" and 47 members of the US Senate agreed with me via Murkowski.

How many other gasses regulated by the EPA are generated by human lungs? If they can regulate C02, why not Oxygen too? Maybe the EPA can charge us for air on the way in and out of our lungs?

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 16, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, as you can now plainly see the government can not even plug a small hole on the oceans floor and you really think they can do something about changing the worlds climate?
Get real!

Posted by: rteske | June 16, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, you stopped me dead in the thread. Climate science is as much a question of faith as believing that engineers and construction workers know what they're doing when they're building bridges. I have no idea how bridges work in any specific sense, but I trust that these people know what they're doing at that they know how to do their job. I also trust that scientists as a general group know what they're doing and know how to do their job, so when they come to a consensus as they have with anthropogenic climate change, they know what they're talking about. I also trust that if contrary data emerged sufficient to disprove climate change theories, that that data would be submitted in peer reviewed journals and verified by other scientists. If that data held up over time, the theories would be changed.

The trust in people doing their jobs is not the same as the faith that climate change deniers have that it's all bunk.

Posted by: MosBen | June 16, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

ecocampaigner: "How many other gasses regulated by the EPA are generated by human lungs? If they can regulate C02, why not Oxygen too?"

I've heard this argument repeatedly, and it doesn't make less ridiculous the more it's repeated.

If the argument is that CO2 is natural and therefore OK in any amounts, try locking yourself in a cabinet that has 100% of the stuff for 10 minutes and let me know how it works out (if you can). We emit other kinds of stuff too, but that doesn't mean government has no business determining where it goes or how it should be treated.

It's obvious that some levels of CO2 are OK and that excessive amounts can be harmful, either by consumption by people or by changing the environment. That's why we have scientists working on how various compounds interact with and affect the climate (which people argue about). Arsenic is natural too, but that doesn't mean I want to consume a lot of it. So it's simply not a serious argument about whether there is a need for regulation.

Of course we emit CO2, and we need to do so to live, as do all animals, but is that what may be changing the climate? Or is it the passenger vehicles that emit far more CO2 and get 10 mpg--vehicles that we don't need to live? And power plants that emit lots and lots of CO2?

On the merits, two websites says the CO2 produced by all human respiration amounts to only about 8% of all human-generated CO2, so I don't think we need to regulate breathing to get a handle on the problem. http://atmoz.org/blog/2007/05/01/direct-co2-emissions-by-humans/, http://thinkearth.wordpress.com/2007/03/30/how-much-c02-do-we-each-breathe-out/ The issue isn't having zero CO2 emissions, it's having a sustainable amount of emissions. CO2 produced by breathing is (or was) part of a natural equilibrium, since what we exhale got used by plants for millennia; burning fossil fuels was not a part of that cycle, so we can look for environmental impacts. http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/fq/emissions.html

"What the EPA calls 'tailoring' i call 'legislating' and 47 members of the US Senate agreed with me via Murkowski."

You can call it whatever you want, but the Supreme Court says that the language passed by Congress in the Clean Air Act gave the EPA the authority to regulate carbon(see the Supreme Court's decision in Massachusetts v. EPA). Murkowski's proposal was to take that authority away. 46 members agreed with her proposal--and it lost. I'd be glad to have Congress pass a law, and so would most Democrats, but the real reason for her proposal was not to provide for congressional action but to take away the only real motivation for Congress to do anything at all on the matter. Otherwise she'd have some substantive legislation on the table--which she doesn't.

Posted by: dasimon | June 16, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

@dasimon

"If the argument is that CO2 is natural and therefore OK in any amounts, try locking yourself in a cabinet that has 100% of the stuff for 10 minutes and let me know how it works out (if you can). "

If that gas was 100% anything besides oxygen you'd die, so C02 isn't special is it? We're not talking about "any amount", we're talking about 180 parts per million. In other words, we started at less than 1%, and we're still at less than 1%.

SCOTUS can try legislating from the bench, but Congress is going to snip the EPA's authority on this sooner or later. The reason behind her measure was to stop the unelected EPA and the unelected SCOTUS from imposing the fraudulent Cap N Trade regime on the American Tax Payer.

Thankfully, Climate Change as a movement is spent. Even Obama has ditched it from his energy plans. Only faithful apostles like Ezra are still professing the faith.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 16, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

ecocampaigner: "SCOTUS can try legislating from the bench"

Except that it didn't. It ruled only that the language in the Clean Air Act required the EPA to determine whether CO2 is a pollutant. That was language crafted by Congress. So there's nothing nefarious going on. You may wish Congress had chosen different language. You may have supported Murkowski's attempt to take that language back, which Congress is free to do. But just because you don't like the result doesn't mean the Supreme Court is legislating from the bench. (Funny how both sides decry "judicial activism" only when it leads to results they don't like.)

"we're talking about 180 parts per million. In other words, we started at less than 1%, and we're still at less than 1%."

Fine. Consume "less than 1%" of arsenic and tell me how that turns out. The numbers that matter depend on the science; you can't get around that just by saying "well, it's a small number, so who cares?" Again, I don't consider that a serious argument.

"Only faithful apostles like Ezra are still professing the faith." Again, flatly untrue. There are many people, especially scientists who know more about the issue than you or I, who believe that there's a serious problem here. They could all be wrong, but I wouldn't bet against them. And what's the downside of moving off of carbon and onto cleaner energy anyway? We get cleaner air, less dependence on foreign oil, new jobs that can't be exported, more efficient homes and businesses--efficiencies that could dramatically outweigh any added costs, if we're serious about these issues (which we may not be as a society, but then quit the whining about the environmental disaster in the Gulf).

"Congress is going to snip the EPA's authority on this sooner or later. The reason behind her measure was to stop the unelected EPA and the unelected SCOTUS from imposing the fraudulent Cap N Trade regime on the American Tax Payer."

As I wrote, her measure was not so that Congress could act on the issue (which liberals would probably support), but to end the incentive for Congress to act at all. As to whether that would be wise, I find it hard to trust the scientific evaluation of a group of people most of whom probably don't believe in evolution.

Posted by: dasimon | June 16, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

It's actually a great deal more honest than the ultraobvious global warming scare.

The original point of all this was to lower the western standard of living to the Soviet standard, thus acclimating western people to socialist ideas.

The USSR fell 20 years ago and the environmentalists are now an orphan movement. Still, there is always room for a snake to wiggle.

Posted by: gorak | June 17, 2010 5:15 AM | Report abuse

"Climate science is as much a question of faith as believing that engineers and construction workers know what they're doing when they're building bridges. I have no idea how bridges work in any specific sense, but I trust that these people know what they're doing at that they know how to do their job."

I'm not sure that's apples-to-apples. And although I often see the global warming movement as quasi-religious (and the view of skeptics being treated as a form of apostasy), it's why I don't argue (or even seek clarification) on this issue from people who regard any questions or disagreement as a form of heresy. Which I'm sure isn't you, but is the reaction to a lot of people when they find there's still someone out there who hasn't deferred to the consensus.

Apples-to-apples: bridge building is tangible. Irrespective of understanding how it works, you can watch the car drive over the bridge, drive your own, note that the bridge doesn't wobble or sag as it's used, and there is a visceral certitude of reality of the bridge and validity of the engineering principles involved.

Climate science is more like meteorology, in this sense that much of what it does it prognosticate the future. Unlike meteorology, however, it's forecasting far into the future (a science in and of itself that has almost no precedence historically, and humans rarely get something both new and significant right the first time) and argues for relatively radical transformations of lifestyles, energy-use, regulation, government intrusion, taxes, incomes, and quality-of-life changes with almost no visceral incentive to do so.

Which is my fundamental point: without bringing more immediacy to the argument, dire warnings of long-term climate change aren't going to have much affect, and will be fought against, and not just by shills for oil companies.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | June 17, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

BTW: Climate Science as religion. To clarify a little more what I mean there, I'm not talking specifically about the climate science, or the expertise of climate scientists (understanding that, when medical science was at the same stage climate science is now, we were bleeding people with leeches to help balance their humours). Rather, churches are real, tangible things, and pastors are real people with designations of authority, and are part of complex organizations with hierarchies. None of that requires faith. Additionally, the Bible touches on many historical events that, as far as we can tell, happened in the strictly secular sense. The same can be said of many holy books or traditions.

However, Baptists bring their own faith to the discussion, irrespective of particular historical facts or in addition to the clear existence of churches and Bible colleges and what not, and may (to the secular mind) make it a pointless exercise to debate the historical record. On the other hand, you might have a useful discussion with an Episcopalian or an Anglican.

Or, for another religious war: Warmists vs. Deniers is kind of like PCs vs. Macs. Or, Commodore 64 vs. Apple IIe. Sports Team X vs. Sports Team Y.

At least, in terms of the rationality of the debate.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | June 17, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Anybody claiming there is a "scientific consensus" on global warming would sell you the Brooklyn Bridge as well. Time after time the eco-fraudsters have been asked to name as many as 2 scintists not paid by the state, who claim it is ture (as opposed to the 31,000 who have signed the Oregon Petition saying it is lies). Not once has even 1 of them been able to name any auch independent scientists who support this scam.

Of course if the editor here, who has been asked beforem or Mr Klein, were to name some that would change things ;-) Lats see...

Posted by: NeilCraig | June 17, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

@dasimon

Can you talk about the issue without erroneous analogies?

"Fine. Consume "less than 1%" of arsenic and tell me how that turns out. The numbers that matter depend on the science; you can't get around that just by saying "well, it's a small number, so who cares?" Again, I don't consider that a serious argument."

Arsenic isn't Carbondioxide. Its not cyanide or uranium either. Current levels of Carbon Dioxide (380ppm) are no more toxic to a human being than the original level (247ppm). Carbon Dixoide is not toxic at ANY LEVEL. You can't figure out a way to claim it is toxic without pretending its something else, or putting concentrations so high it removes the oxygen from the room.

You could increase C02 levels 1000 times what they are today, the air would be exactly the same for humans to breathe, woudln't it?

The Global Warming movement is the biggest obstacle to energy independence. The US could be energy independent tomorrow, with enough Nuclear and Coal plants.

Do you think its a coincidence that Big Oil is a huge supporter of Global Warming Cap N Trade legislation? They're the ones paying Greenpeace to demonize Coal and Nuclear.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 17, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

This is a silly article. It is extremely ignorant and elitist (those who don't know they don't know, but believe they know more than anyone else) to believe that the people are the ones who are ignorant.

Those who support the global warming religion are much like the fanatically religious, who can’t understand why others cannot see the “truth.” The only reason must be that the “unbelievers” haven’t heard the message, so the apostles of the global warming religion must find a way to retell it, so that others may be brought into the fold. The idea that the unbelievers might have very good reasons for their skepticism, never enters the consciousness of the faithful.

The people, of course, know that much that is said about global warming is a fraud, not based on actual scientific inquiry but rather on a "scientific consensus" that is economically and politically based. The crime will come when trillions are spent on insufficient data, much of which has been adjusted to meet the current political climate. If an honest analysis is done a few decades from now, it will show, without a doubt, that the money spent had no impact on the climate. That our ability to change the climate, to adjust its rhythm, is non-existent.

Whatever it is called, the people will know that they are being led astray and acceptance of the fraud will not happen. ... As I said this article is silly, written by an elitist who in his fantasy knows more than the people and, therefore, believes that they will "come around" if only the faithful can present global warming (climate change) in a way that the unbelievers will finally see the "truth."

Posted by: brad333 | June 17, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Skeptic99,

You say that the sceptical public might ask embarrassing questions.

In science, there can be no embarrassment, only more questions. While you guys sit around and blast the 2007 IPCC report, 3 years later we have brand new data and brand new questions.

Skeptics are simply little people with little concern for anything other than to continue a practice of raping the planet.

No more free rides on the fast-train to rubbletown.

Posted by: ender3rd | June 17, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

@ender

"Skeptics are simply little people with little concern for anything other than to continue a practice of raping the planet."

Characterization of an opponent in classic political rival stereotypes is a game played by both sides. A conservative who shouts "treehugger" is no better or worse than a liberal who makes insinuations of racism and ignorance.

The climate change movement needs to address the serious, educated skeptics, and stop pretending all opposition is from corrupt oil shills and ignorant hicks and tea party politicians

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 17, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Climate change is here- and as each year passes- we will see more events that Dr. Hansen said we would in 1988- Torrential rains; Floods; Increasingly intense heat waves; droughts; wild fires; sea rise; the rise of invasive species (plants and animals) and migration north of animals and plants- and dislocation of human beings from areas vulnerable to climate change events.

The reality is we are seeing all of the aforementioned now- and these will become worse- when they begin to inhibit human commerce and safety what will happen?

The media itself plays a role in the suffocation of the events now happening.

Do their sponsors hold so much power as to tell the media what and what not to say?

When the problems of record rising CO2 in the atmosphere continues unabated - at 2-3ppm a year (we are now at 393ppm) into the next decade and probably beyond- what will the media companies say then about a climate and planet out of control?

Posted by: vercingetorex | June 17, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

"Can you talk about the issue without erroneous analogies?"

Yes, and I do. My point was that just saying CO2 in the atmosphere is a small number doesn't say anything about the effects of increasing it, even by a small amount. Many compounds are deadly, even in small amounts, or can have an effect on the climate, even in small amounts. Others may have little effect, even in large amounts. That's why one has to look at the science, not just make claims about how big or small the number may be. But you made no such claims, only arguing that the number was small. And that argument proves nothing without the science to back it up.

"You could increase C02 levels 1000 times what they are today, the air would be exactly the same for humans to breathe, woudln't it?"

That's the wrong effect. We're not talking about breathing it; surely we could survive with a smaller portion of oxygen in the atmosphere. We're talking about what effect it may have on climate. As I wrote above, methane has 25 times the greenhouse effect as CO2. Just because there's far less of it in the atmosphere doesn't mean it would be good to allow the same concentrations of it as we have of CO2.

Compounds have to be evaluated on their own effects, just as a teeny tiny amount of arsenic may not be harmful while ten times that amount may be deadly even though it's still teeny tiny.

Posted by: dasimon | June 17, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

@dasimon

Show me one gas the EPA was regulating under the clean air act that isn't harmful for humans to breathe? That was always the intention of the clean air act, to regulate gasses *directly* harmful to humans.

You demand I disprove C02's effect. Disproof is the demand of a religion, proof is the demand of science.

A relation between C02 and temperature is flimsy over the past 100 years and completely non-existant any further back than that.

Anthropogenic Climate Change is unproven as a science, but highly proven as a religion.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 17, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

ecocampaigner: "Show me one gas the EPA was regulating under the clean air act that isn't harmful for humans to breathe? That was always the intention of the clean air act, to regulate gasses *directly* harmful to humans."

Again, the "intention" of the Clean Air Act is not the question, nor is the false issue of whether the compound is harmful to breathe; the CAA language is the issue. The Supreme Court ruled that the language of the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to determine if CO2 is a pollutant. Pollutants can be harmful in ways other than breathing. And one can argue that rising sea levels and storms that wipe out coastal property, plus changes in rainfall that could affect agriculture, are effects that are "harmful to humans." If you don't like that interpretation, you can have Congress clarify it as may are asking it to do, and if you can get a majority (or 60 votes, as the case may be), then you'll get the change you want.

"You demand I disprove C02's effect. Disproof is the demand of a religion, proof is the demand of science."

I'm asking only that you back up your claims with science. Most scientists in the field believe that there is a connection between CO2 levels and climate change. You simply stated that (1) we exhale CO2 and (2) isn't that much of it in the atmosphere, neither of which answer the question (and aren't even really relevant to the question).

You claim that the "scientists" are the ones who have "religion" on climate change. That's simply not the consensus view among people actually working on the question. It's possible that the consensus view is wrong, but it's not based on "religion." It's based on an analysis of the available data. Almost all of the peer-reviewed articles on the matter conclude that there is a relationship. You may think the data is flawed. You may think the analysis is flawed. But that doesn't make it a "religion"; it means you disagree with the data or the analysis. And if so many people think they're right, perhaps it's worth considering the possibility that you may be wrong instead of dismissing the whole enterprise. Religion is belief regardless of the facts, or relying on some non-physical power to explain away inconvenient facts. But that's not what scientists are doing, as much as you may claim that they are.

By the way, your earlier claim that global warming advocates are the biggest impediments to energy independence because they oppose nuclear power is simply incorrect. There are many environmentalists (including Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore) who have come out in favor of nuclear power or think it's worth reconsidering. A simple Google search will turn up some names.

Posted by: dasimon | June 17, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

ecocampaigner:

One more point on burden of proof. Claims should be backed up by evidence. You are not a climate scientist. Neither am I. We are both relying on proxies. But from what I've read, the vast preponderance of those who have worked on the issue believe that there is a connection between CO2 levels and climate change. So yes, I do think that at this point the other side has the burden of disproving those claims.

And it's not asserting a "religious" aspect to ask them to do so. Again, it's possible that the predominant view is wrong. But it's not out of blind belief. Those who believe in a connection have come to that conclusion out of a good-faith evaluation of the science. Provide enough counter-evidence, and people will change their minds; that's the nature of science (and unlike the faith provided by religion). But the scientific debate also requires the objectors to have an equally open mind and consider that maybe the evidence is good after all.

Posted by: dasimon | June 17, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

The post is a wise analysis of both the politics and the scientific reality, but it assumes that the buildup of greenhouse gases has to be tackled as traditional environmental strategists have long proposed -- in "comprehensive" legislation. After two decades of writing on this, I have to agree with Steve Schneider of Stanford on sequencing -- building support for the tougher stuff with ambitious aggressive and positive steps on efficiency, standards, transportation policies, education for innovation and more. Some background: http://j.mp/co2options The global dimension of the problem greatly constrains the climatic merits of a domestic carbon price in any case. I'll be writing more on that shortly.

Posted by: AndyRevkin | June 17, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, you must start with the frank acknowledgment that a severe carbon diet is not only unfeasible to achieve through legislation, but also too little/too late.

Here is what Climate Code Red says:

--Human emissions have so far produced a global average temperature increase of 0.8 degree C.

--There is another 0.6 degree C. to come due to "thermal inertia", or lags in the system, taking the total long-term global warming induced by human emissions so far to 1.4 degree C.

--If human total emissions continue as they are to 2030 (and don't increase 60% as projected) this would likely add more than 0.4 degrees C. to the system in the next two decades, taking the long-term effect by 2030 to at least 1.7 degrees C. (A 0.3 degree C. increase is predicted for the period 2004-2014 alone by Smith, Cusack et al, 2007).

--Then add the 0.3 degree C. albedo flip effect from the now imminent loss of the Arctic sea ice, and the rise in the system by 2030 is at least 2 degree. C, assuming very optimistically that emissions don't increase at all above their present annual rate! When we consider the potential permafrost releases and the effect of carbon sinks losing capacity, we are on the road to a hellish future, not for what we will do, but WHAT WE HAVE ALREADY DONE.

By the way, there is a cheap, simple, and immediate way too cool down the Earth:

"The alternative (to geoengineering) is the acceptance of a massive natural cull of humanity and a return to an Earth that freely regulates itself but in the hot state." --Dr James Lovelock, August 2008

Posted by: dobermantmacleod | June 18, 2010 1:42 AM | Report abuse

"Arguments that if we don't do something now the earth will be too hot in 2100 will not do the trick."

Might that have something to do with the fact that we have heard multiple "arguments" that we would be screwed ten years ago. Or by right now.

Maybe, just maybe, if the populous view of what and when in the global warming movement was actually accurate one time, people would start to listen.

Right now every major prediction has been wrong. You have to at least help people pull the wool over their eyes a little bit guys, sheesh.

Posted by: reign99 | June 19, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

"Ezra, you must start with the frank acknowledgment that a severe carbon diet is not only unfeasible to achieve through legislation, but also too little/too late."

Man I wish more people were in your camp, then I wouldn't have to read stupid crap like the above anymore.

It's too late people, we're screwed no matter what, so just leave people to their lives and find another societally intrusive hobby to pursue. Please.

Posted by: reign99 | June 19, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

"Controversy is not the reason conservatives don't support climate change action.

There are two bigger reasons they don't support:"

There's one reason most don't, and that's that they don't believe a word folks like you are saying. That's it, that's the big reason.

And the reason they don't believe, is because the only thing the "climate change" movement has been good at is being consistently wrong. I'm not sure how anyone above age 30, who was paying attention in high school, can possibly still believe in this garbage.

Posted by: reign99 | June 19, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

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