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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Climate Change Cont.

Here’s an interesting story on climate change treaty negotiations in the NYT.  Now, as you may have guessed, I am skeptical on the issue, which means I have my doubts as to:
1. whether or not any irregular climate change is occurring, 2. whether any change that is occurring is human caused, 3. whether or not any such change, whether it be human caused or not, would be as significant or as harmful as some projections would suggest.

That said, the article begins describing a plan for a joint DOE/ private energy company funded billion dollar emission-free coal fired power plant.  Well, I have to be skeptical about this too, but will acknowledge that if you accept global warming as true, it is a step in the right direction.  

“Environmental advocates at the talks criticized the announcement, saying it was intended to distract from continuing efforts by the American delegation to block discussion of new international commitments to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases that scientists link to global warming.’  

Again, these “advocates” can talk all they want, their record is clear.  Kyoto is a failure, and would be even with U.S. participation.  The costs are significant, the benefits are not, and any attempt to expand its framework or make it workable would exacerbate either problem.  To the U.S., unilateralist bastards that we are, is prepared to sink a billion dollars in a public/private partnership to actually do something, and we’re the obstructers?  
To that end:

“The United States should, at a minimum, refrain from blocking or obstructing such discussions amongst parties to the convention, since that would be inconsistent with its ongoing treaty obligations," said the letter, signed by Senators Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico; Olympia J. Snowe, Republican of Maine; Lincoln Chafee, Republican of Rhode Island; and 21 colleagues.” [emphasis mine]

Oh wait, Olympia Snowe and Lincoln Chafee want us to play nice?  Ok, yes sir, yes ma’am!  Then again, neither the letter or the article cites any actual blocking or obstructing by the U.S.  Our chief negotiator’s statement was:

Mr. Watson said the United States opposed any new negotiations under the 1992 treaty. "We believe that it is best to address this complex issue through a range of programs and technology initiatives," he said.

Well said.  First and foremost, President Bush should remember that we already have a source of clean abundant energy, one that he cited in his campaigns, and one that would be almost guaranteed to give the UCS and the negotiators in Montreal all massive strokes.  Now if he could just learn how to pronounce it.    


If you don't mind, I'd like to propose a thought experiment. Accept for the moment as true the propositions that: (a) climate change is not human caused; (b) climate change is somewhat/quite harmful; (c) changes in human behavior can slow and/or lessen the impact of climate change. Would you support anti-global warming initiatives, or would you take a "we didn't cause it, not our problem" attitude? I'm just asking because it seems irrelevant to me if humans are the cause-in-fact of the climate change if, by our actions, we can lessen its impact, but people bring up human causation anyway.
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Fair enough. Assuming that you mean that we could alter the course of such change by cutting our emissions, my answer remains the same: more nuclear energy. "Alternatives" such as wind may have a place in an overall scheme, but they simply cannot produce enough energy to mean too awful much. Nuclear is much "greener" for a variety of reasons, the CO2 being just one, which is why I support it. Unfortunately, there are nations that at this point simply cannot be trusted with the materials necessary.

Now, beyond that, if by "climate change is not human caused" you mean it to be unrelated to concentrations of greenhouse gasses but rather changes in sunspot activity or something, then all of the nonsense going on in Montreal becomes just that, nonsense. I guess our option then would be to build a giant space mirror, but we all know how well that worked out on Futurama.
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