Monday, July 10, 2006

Bush on Global Warming

I know this is old news but what the hell, posting has been pretty light around here.

Bush a few weeks ago -

I have said consistently that global warming is a serious problem. There's a debate over where it's man-made or naturally caused. We ought to get beyond that debate and start implementing that -- the technologies necessary to -- to enable us to achieve a couple of big objectives: one, be good stewards of the environment; two, become less dependent on foreign sources of oil, for economic reasons and for national security reasons.

He just keeps on stoking the non-existent controversy about the roots of global warming, but nevertheless, the rest of his quote actually makes sense. Politically we ought to stop arguing about the causes of global warming. Even if the current warming trend were just some naturally occurring spike, the steps we need to take to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere are things that we should be doing anyway.

Why would we not want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, release less pollutants into the air, develop cleaner, renewable energy sources, and use the energy we have more efficiently? Of course, it would help if Bush actually believed what he was saying. He clearly doesn't really care about environmental issues, and we're not taking any substantial steps toward energy independence.

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Storm said...

Ok let's pretend I agree with you for a minute.

What are your suggestions?

It is easy to say we should reduce dependence on foreign oil but how would you suggest we proceed?

Drill in Anwar? But then we might damage the environment there.

Windmills in the NE? But then the Kennedy's do not like the view.

Ethanol/hybrid corn (crap)? Unfortunately we still need oil to power the trucks to get the seed to the field and then to get the organics harvested and to a production location etc

lightrail same problem as hybrid, the only way it is energy efficient is if you leave of the cost of construction

John Howard said...

Storm, there's no easy answer, and it will probably need to be a combination of a lot of different things. But just because it's hard doesn't mean we should just ignore the problem and hope it goes away.

Chris Howard said...

It's a fair question. I think part of the problem is a lot of people have been looking for a silver bullet - let's run all cars on E85, or let's go all hydrogen, or let's cover the Mojave with Solar panels. Anwar is more short-term thinking. Tearing up wilderness to get at 10 billion barrels isn't going to get us any closer to energy independence.

Windmills are good. I think the uproar in Nantucket is typical nimby thinking. Better to have wind towers than pumping in pollution.

Right now, most alternative energy costs too much to produce, as you say. Nothing beats coal and oil for unit cost. Of course, those calculations you allude to don't include the costs of dealing with the aftermath of using dirty power sources e.g. cleaning air and water and dealing with health impacts. That's why we need the government to actively and strongly push r&d into making renewable energy cheaper. Like John says, the solution's going to be a combination of a lot of different sources.

So what's your solution- continue to burn coal and oil until we run out, dump $6 billion in nuclear development like Bush?

I can't imagine that anyone would seriously oppose funding research into renewable energy.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what you mean by "non-existent controversy". The US withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol (the international agreement to reduce emissions of CO and other pollutants). Other nations are still proceeding with their greenhouse gas reduction plans. It's a big issue outside of the US. It's also a big issue in the environmental community. Al Gore is bringing it to the mainstream in a relate-able way.

On the other hand, Rush Limbaugh said he refuses to see the Gore movie because Gore doesn't mention that the sun is getting hotter.

Last time I checked, a controversy was a dispute, especially a public one, between sides holding opposing views (American Heritage Dictionary).

Chris Howard said...

I should have been more clear. When I said non-existent controversy, I was referring to his statement "There's a debate over where it's man-made or naturally caused." I know there's a very big political controversy. But there's no serious scientific controversy about whether global warming is "naturally occurring" or anthropogenic. There is nearly complete agreement that human activity plays a significant role in the current rising global temperature. The thrust of my post was to point out that politicaly, it really shouldn't matter what the causes are of global warming. The big things we should do to combat global warming are things we should be doing anyway for other reasons e.g. reduction of pollution, energy independence etc...

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