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Old 05-06-2009, 09:18 AM   #41
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Interesting conversation. For many people.... they rate their actions based on their intention.... and not the result. I think that is what is going on here. People that subscribe to the philosophy of "I want to do GOOD so I want to take action here", feel the need to "do something". From their point of view, the "something" is somewhat irrelavant. To them.... the results are not really important, it was the intent that their actions would have a positive outcome that was important. This philosophy is made very clear even in elementary school, where for some events, every child is given a trophy. The message being, "it does not matter if you succeeded... just that you tried".

For myself, and I imagine their are others, I only rate my actions on the results that they produce. If I was a medical scientist that created a new vaccine, I would want to make sure it would cure, and not harm my patients. It was the result and not the intention that would give me the feeling that, "I had done some good". I would really like to see more brain power devoted to attempting to figure out the long term effects of whatever it is people are proposing to do. Just like the medical scientist I would want to be as confident as possible that the "result" would not become more harmfull than expected.
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Old 05-10-2009, 11:55 AM   #42
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I think 5 of the worst polluted cities in the world are in China. Yet, by the provisions of the Kyoto treaty, they don't have to cut emissions. Why does the US have to blow apart its own GDP and the most populous country in the world gets a free pass?
A global problem calls for a global solution . . . no complaint from me there.
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:13 PM   #43
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I'm not willing to defer to the "experts".
Science? We don't need no stinking science.

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the very real possibility that a US reduction in fossil fuel use will result in greater anthropogenic additions of CO2 to the environment overall.
This sounds like poorly reasoned economics. So the argument is that a reduction in US fossil fuel demand reduces the price of fossil fuels (check), and that the reduced price encourages others to burn fossil fuels (check). But then the argument completely ignores that increased foreign demand will increase the price of fossil fuels. It's not possible to have greater demand, and lower prices, just because the U.S. is burning less. This makes no sense at all.

Differences in efficiency won't explain it either, because the less efficient plants simply burn more fuel (i.e. demand more).
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Old 05-10-2009, 06:24 PM   #44
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I'm not willing to defer to the "experts" ("The science clearly shows that concentrations of these gases are at unprecedented levels" Ha!).
samclem
Science? We don't need no stinking science.
Science can have experts. We're not talking about science here, we're talking about policy. And when it comes to the environment, "policy expert" is the semantic equivalent of "partisan politician."

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Originally Posted by . . . Yrs to Go View Post
This sounds like poorly reasoned economics. So the argument is that a reduction in US fossil fuel demand reduces the price of fossil fuels (check), and that the reduced price encourages others to burn fossil fuels (check). But then the argument completely ignores that increased foreign demand will increase the price of fossil fuels. It's not possible to have greater demand, and lower prices, just because the U.S. is burning less. This makes no sense at all.

Differences in efficiency won't explain it either, because the less efficient plants simply burn more fuel (i.e. demand more).
It's not poorly reasoned. If the US is burning the fossil fuels, we do it more efficiently than do the Chinese, the Indians, or the Russians (by whatever measure you want to use: product value per lb of coal burned, BTU produced per lb of carbon released, etc.) So, if the US is burning the fossil fuels, there is more product per lb of carbon released. If the Chinese burn it, the world either has more carbon released to produce the same value of goods, or the world receives fewer goods with the same CO2 release. Neither result is an improvement, in my view. And then there is this: If the US burns the cheap, easy-to-get fossil fuels available now, we get the benefit of the cheaper energy (that's you and me--through lower fuel costs directly and more productive industries=more jobs for Americans, better return on our investments). If the Chinese burn the fuel, they not only pollute more (see above), but they get these benefits. This is still a competitive world, and I am not ashamed to say that we should not deliberately put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage. Green energy is expensive, there is no clearly evident way that any kind of government sponsored alternative fuel program is going to lead to a more productive economy any more than if we suddenly decided that everyone would write and function as a left handed person. We could employ lots of people building new golf clubs and scissors for the "new handedness," and surgeries would take twice as long, so we'd employ more surgeons. There might be a lot of payback in terms of greater societal empathy for challenges faced by left handed people, but all the "new" jobs add zero value to the economy, since we aren't producing anything (goods or services) of greater value than we did before. Same with energy production--doing something differently and less efficiently (i.e. same output but at greater cost) produces no benefit to society from an economic standpoint.

Now, I understand about uncaptured externalized costs and the use of carbon fuel. It only makes sense to address those in a global fashion so as not to reward those players who care least about the problem. When we have a structure like that, then it may make sense to pay the price. But paying the price just to feel good and be worse off for it is ---dumb.
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