Sunday, April 15, 2007

Global Warming

This excerpt from Instapundit (see blogroll at left) entirely describes my views on the topic.

Indeed, from my perspective we should be doing the same things -- working hard to reduce the use of fossil fuels -- regardless of what you think about global warming. But the self-righteousness and exaggeration of the global-warming advocates does set my teeth on edge, and encourage mockery. As I wrote here: "I don't know a lot about climatology. But I know a lot about media bulldozing operations, and I see one of those in action at the moment on this subject. . . . However, my own position is that it doesn't matter much in terms of policy. We should be trying to mimimize the burning of fossil fuels regardless of whether it's a cause of global warming or not. The rather patent hucksterism -- and outright bullying -- of some global warming advocates, though, will probably hurt that cause more than help it over the longer term."

And it is positively uncanny how cold weather tends to set in whenever there's a big global-warming event scheduled. They're talking about snow here in Knoxville tonight, on April 15th! You know that if this weekend had been unseasonably warm, all the press accounts would be stressing how this was proof of Al Gore's thesis, instead of meaningless noise, which is what any short-term weather fluctuation is.


Update, 4/20/07: Canada quits Kyoto?

Update #2, 4/24/07: Here's a scientist addressing Gore's movie and the concept of "consensus and settled science".

Update #3, 4/26/07: Tell me you're surprised to hear that companies are making money off of phoney carbon offset scams.

11 comments:

curious said...

I agree with this perspective, I'm not interested in debating global warming, I already believe that we should eliminate pollution and reliance on fossil fuels.

It is quite easy to make a very long list of very practical, cost effective measures that can be taken today, right now, without inventing anything new, without needing a "breakthrough", and without asking everyone to "sacrifice".

The thing I have against the global warming nutjobs is that they never offer any real, practical steps to take, but only speak in very grandiose and most general terms like "conserve", "alternative fuel". Gee, how enlightening.

The funny thing is, the federal and state governments are the organizations that could make the most difference in the short term if they would just start adopting the most basic energy saving measures. This is because anything they chose to do they would need a lot of it and the impact on energy use would be very high in terms of btu saved.

For example, there are 500,000 school buses in this country. There is a company in silicon valley that makes the equipment needed to convert any vehicle into an electric, rechargeable vehicle. They use the same batteries that go in laptops and other electronic devices. They build a sports car using this technology. At this kind of volume, the buses could probably be converted for $50,000 a piece. 500,000 x $50,000 = $25 billion. That seems like a lot of money. But, we have a $3 trillion budget. So, $25 billion is 1% of the federal budget. A school bus gets on average 6 MPG. School buses travel roughly 3,788,427,941 miles year in total. At 6 MPG that is 660,000,000 gallons of diesel, at 3.00 a gallon that is about $2 billion worth of diesel. Converting the buses to run on electricity would pay for itself in 12 years even if you ignore the obvious benefits to the environment.

Another important aspect is the impact on the school districts of being relieved of this $2.5 billion a year diesel fuel bill burden.

This is just one example, there are hundreds more.

You NEVER see a Democrat in Congress or a global warming nutjob talk about specific steps like this. I wonder why?

KauaiMark said...

Here, here! What curious said!

...Mark

Sean said...

We absolutely need to reduce our use of fossil fuels, if only to extend their use and to eliminate our reliance on the countries that have a huge supply of oil. It is unfortunate that people use global warming as the battle cry for this since the science of global warming is not quite ready for prime time as we discuss at http://www.globalwarming-factorfiction.com. The science of reducing our dependency on foreign oil though is rock solid.

Do it for national security reasons not made up alarmism.

Darren said...

Hear hear.

rightwingprof said...

Two words: nuclear energy.

allen said...

curious wrote:

Converting the buses to run on electricity would pay for itself in 12 years even if you ignore the obvious benefits to the environment.

Not to mention the cost of the electricity to feed 500,000 school buses.

Part of that cost would go towards amortizing the infrastructure upgrades necessary to handle the additional load, part of that would be additional generating capacity. Care to offer a suggestion about the source of all that additional generating capacity?

Another important aspect is the impact on the school districts of being relieved of this $2.5 billion a year diesel fuel bill burden.

Of course there's that $50,000 per school bus which will have to come from somewhere. There's also the interest on the bonds - that's where the money'll have to come from - necessary to fund this project. The repayment on the bond is probably going have to be pretty fast since those battery packs have a limited life. You wouldn't want to have to go out and buy a second set of batteries before you've finished paying for the first set, would you?

Sean wrote:

We absolutely need to reduce our use of fossil fuels, if only to extend their use....

Oh yeah, the Malthusianism argument. To quote Sheik Yamani, "the Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil." Given the unignorable rate of technological change I'm pretty confident something will come along that betters petroleum's qualities in every respect and will have additional factors in its favor.

..and to eliminate our reliance on the countries that have a huge supply of oil.

Why? They rely on us for all those nice dollars that can be converted into Rolls Royces and private jets and all that other fun stuff. Somehow I don't see Boeing bartering a 747 for barrels of oil any time soon.

If we need the oil-producing countries to supply us with petroleum, they need us as a market to sell it too.

Do it for national security reasons not made up alarmism.

I've got a better solution to the national security problem. Kill 'em.

If someone thinks the solution to their problems is to be found in killing Americans then the obvious response sure as hell isn't wind power. Not that I'm particularly fond of the idea but some problems are solved by violence. Pretending otherwise is a conceit from which I do not suffer.

Of course, violence is a relatively safe problem-solving strategy for democracies since there's no such thing, in a democracy, as a popular war. There are only necessary and inescapable wars and they aren't popular. All those mommies and daddies who'll be sending their sons (and now daughters) off to die are voters. How likely are they to vote into power those who've unnecessarily sent their child off to die?

As to anthropogenic global warming, it's a crock of shyt. Predictions don't work without an accurate model of the phenomenon and we are far, far from modeling the global climate. There are other substantive objects, lots of 'em, but I've prattled on long enough.

rightwingprof said...

"If someone thinks the solution to their problems is to be found in killing Americans then the obvious response sure as hell isn't wind power."

That is surely the quote of the year, and it's not even May yet.

Scott McCall said...

why dont we just get rid of cars...and go back to horses, cause then we would be bitching about hay prices

Darren said...

And horse farts. Let's not forget the horse farts.

Anonymous said...

Why not get rid of the unnecessary and unsafe school buses? Do any of them have seat belts?
I live in Orlando where the roads are full of school buses jamming up the traffic every weekday morning and afternoon. We also have public buses that run around all day almost empty. Why can't kids ride them or walk a couple miles to school? Walking might help them get in better shape, too.

Darren said...

In my school district, school buses are a "profit center". Since we charge students to ride the bus, the district makes a little dinero on the deal.

Good luck having them get rid of that little cash cow just to clean up the air!