Comments: Blogging Around

Ummm, perhaps I'm just uninformed, but I don't know what Kyoto has to do with clean air or clean water. And since the U.S. has done pretty well in those areas (although, living not far from Denver, I have no doubt that we have more work to do in air quality in particular), I have more faith in our ability to resolve the issues independently than through a treaty that delays the effects of warming by six years. I'd love for you, or anyone, to explain to me why we should self-inflict economic damage on ourselves (damage, btw, that will be visited almost entirely on the poor) when the treaty doesn't really help anything.

And that's all predicated on the belief greenhouse gases are actually a factor in global warming, a premise that has yet to be validated scientifically. The rise in temperatures over the past century doesn't correlate with the rise in greenhouse gases, for example, which certainly suggests that the warming isn't being caused by industrialization. So you're advocating harming ourselves (and make no mistake, cutting emissions by the levels required by the treaty would result in massive disruptions to the economy, your blithe assumptions notwithstanding) when there's insufficient evidence that we're even attacking the right symptom.

Let's look at the question of economic harm. You claim that it won't do any damage to our economy, or that we'll adjust. I'd love to hear you explain how we can so completely retool our economy to avoid emissions of greenhouse gases without causing a massive disruption of the economy. Granted, I'm no economist, but it seems only logical to me that if companies are required to pour massive amounts of money into utilizing new technologies in order to reduce emissions, that money has to come from somewhere. And that means higher prices for everyone, or reduced wages, or both. And if prices go up and wages go down or stay the same, people buy fewer things, which further damages the economy. Please feel free to explain to me how I'm wrong here, but I don't think you will be able to do so. Kyoto requires us to cut back our emissions to 1990 levels. Since there aren't any magic ways to simply wave a wand and cut emissions, that means we have to either shut plants down or retool them to use new technologies that, to my knowledge, haven't been invented yet. I suppose we could build large numbers of nuclear plants, but the costs of building those are exorbitant, thanks to the Greens and their nuisance suits, so that's not really economically feasible. So once again, we're looking at companies either going out of business or having to invest their money in greenhouse-emission free technologies. I'm sure you understand that either of those is more than just a minor bump in our economy.

Oh, and by the way, Kyoto doesn't do anything about nations like China and India, which will account for a growing fraction of the greenhouse emissions over the next century. But they certainly weren't going to sign the treaty if they would be required to cut emissions, because they know damn well that would harm their economies. So the west will 'take one for the team' and let the third world continue to emit these so-called pollutants? That may make sense to you, but I'm afraid I can't see the logic to it.

So to sum up: Kyoto won't solve the problem of global warming, it will just forestall symptoms by six years. Global warming may not even be caused by greenhouse emissions, in which case Kyoto will have no effect on it. Kyoto will cause significant economic disruptions for the west. Look at it as a simple question of costs: does the beneficial impact of Kyoto outweigh its costs? Right now, that answer is a huge no.

And as an aside, if you're going to take me to task for something, a short email letting me know would be appreciated, else how can I defend myself?

And as yet another aside (look at me go), if you can provide a link to the scientists qualifying their results, I'll be happy to update my post. The article I read had nothing but positive things to say about the study, including someone who insisted that the study was a best case, and another who said it was ironclad. Science, as you know, is never ironclad. A true scientific hypothesis is falsifiable, and a true scientific experiment can is reproduceable. This study is neither, and I feel justified in therefore calling it advocacy rather than science. Or do you think it's a coincidence this has been released just as it appears Kyoto is going to fail because Russia isn't going to sign it?

Posted by Andrew at January 8, 2004 04:35 PM

On another note, perhaps you should actually read the Noonan column before dismissing it. She dismisses the flag-burning amendment as trivial, she doesn't propose championing it.

Posted by Andrew at January 8, 2004 05:46 PM

Andrew - I'll get to your longer comment when I have a sec today, but in response to your second one, I'm willing to admit that Noonan's writing gives me hives. It's precious sometimes.

I really find her unreadable. Let's hope I'll have the honesty to just ignore her in the future. :)

Posted by Anne at January 9, 2004 09:18 AM