Posted by sanityinjection on December 17, 2009
In the wake of what is shaping up to be the spectacular failure of the Copenhagen conference on climate change, it may be that this presents an opportunity for a new look at the issue. I refer you to this piece by Bjorn Lomborg in the WSJ arguing that the current strategy being demanded by the global warming hysteria lobby – stringent worldwide emissions restrictions – fails not only because it is not achievable, but because even if it were achievable it would fail to benefit the people of the world’s underdeveloped countries. Because of poverty and disease, many people in these countries will not live long enough to suffer from rampant global warming. Emissions reductions, Lomborg points out, are incredibly costly and yet relatively ineffective in reducing global temperatures. For a fraction of the cost we could be wiping out malaria, for example, and save many more lives.
The irony of the global warming hysteria industry is that they have actually eroded support for moving away from fossil fuels by blotting out everything else and insisting on making global warming the defining issue. In fact, there are plenty of good reasons to support reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and expanding our use of alternative and renewable energy, while conserving energy through hyper-efficient “green” technology. You don’t have to be a faithful worshipper at the Church of ManBearPig, er, I mean man-made global warming, to support these things. Lomborg points out that even a major increase in funding for these initiatives would be vastly cheaper than what is being discussed in Copenhagen:
“Specifically, we should radically increase spending on R&D for green energy—to 0.2% of global GDP, or $100 billion. That’s 50 times more than the world spends now—but still twice as cheap as Kyoto. Not only would this be both affordable and politically achievable, but it would also have a real chance of working.”
Even the Obama Administration is taking a break from cheerleading for Al Gore to propose tax breaks for clean energy technologies - which in addition to helping the environment, also benefits the economy, unlike Copenhagen-style emissions restrictions which hurt the economy. To use a metaphor that carbon-haters can understand – the difference between promoting clean energy and mandating emissions caps is like the difference between walking and driving. Walking may be slower but it’s reliable, healthy and doesn’t cause collateral damage. Driving will get you where you want to go in a hurry, but at what cost?
Posted in Foreign Affairs, Politics | Tagged: alternative energy, Bjorn Lomborg, clean energy, climate change, Copenhagen, emissions, fossil fuels, global warming, green technology, Obama Administration, renewable energy, restrictions, tax credits | 2 Comments »
Posted by sanityinjection on December 7, 2009
hy-poc-ri-sy /hɪˈpɒkrəsi [hi-pok-ruh-see]
–noun, plural -sies.
1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
2. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness. (Thanks to dictionary.com)
And so we have the theme for the international climate summit taking place this week in the Danish city of Copenhagen. You may recall that this is supposed to be the moment when all the world’s countries agree to abide by severe restrictions on carbon emissions in order to save the world from its complete and imminent destruction at the hands of ManBearPig, er, I mean global warming. Of course, anyone who has been following the news leading up to the conference knows that major nations have already refused to do anything of the kind, so much like its infamous predecessor, the Kyoto treaty, the Copenhagen conference has failed even before it began.
Nevertheless, you might think the event might at least have some propaganda value in showing all the world’s leaders being green and earth-friendly for a week. Right? Wrong. Consider the following:
- “We haven’t got enough limos in the country to fulfil the demand. We’re having to drive them in hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden…We don’t have any hybrids in Denmark, unfortunately, due to the extreme taxes on those cars.” – Majken Friss Jorgensen, managing director of Copenhagen’s biggest limousine company
- “The airport says it is expecting up to 140 extra private jets during the peak period alone, so far over its capacity that the planes will have to fly off to regional airports – or to Sweden – to park, returning to Copenhagen to pick up their VIP passengers…According to the organisers, the eleven-day conference, including the participants’ travel, will create a total of 41,000 tonnes of “carbon dioxide equivalent”, equal to the amount produced over the same period by a city the size of Middlesbrough.” - Andrew Gilligan, The Telegraph
- “That is the amount of carbon dioxide produced by more than 60 of the world’s smaller countries in an entire year — combined.” – Charles Hurt, New York Post
The great irony of Copenhagen is that any agreement (most likely, an “interim statement” full of sound and fury and signifying nothing) could be achieved through the modern technology of teleconferencing, or simply handled through the UN in New York where all nations are already represented. Either way the carbon footprint would be exponentially lower. But surely, the value of having climate activists, world leaders, and self-righteous celebrities all coming together to backslap each other in front of the cameras justifies generating enough carbon to sink an island nation – doesn’t it?
And therein lies the point. While we are being told that everyone is going to have to make changes in order to fight global warming, the truth is that it will only be us normal folk who will actually have to sacrifice anything, while our wealthy celebrity betters continue to jetset around the world drumming up “publicity for the cause”. Their true creed is not that all emissions must be lowered, but rather that they get to decide who is worthy of permission to emit. And by their criteria, celebrity TV appearances are much more worthy than say, jobs for working families or being able to commute to those jobs.
Thus, I return you to the definition at the beginning of this post.
Posted in Current Events, Foreign Affairs, Politics | Tagged: carbon emissions, carbon footprint, climate change, Copenhagen, Denmark, global warming, hypocrisy, ManBearPig | 1 Comment »
Posted by sanityinjection on October 1, 2009
As you surely know if you have been watching Obamavision, I mean television lately, President Obama is traveling to Copenhagen, Denmark to lobby on behalf of his home city of Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics. Chicago is one of four finalists for the games along with Madrid, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro.
The President has received some criticism (especially from the Right, natch) as to whether this is appropriate or represents the best possible use of his time, as both foreign and domestic priorities loom large. The best line was from conservative activist Grover Norquist, who quipped that he has no problem with Obama going to Denmark, but he’s a little concerned that he might try to come back :)
Putting this question aside, I’d like to make my own pitch to the International Olympic Committee, should any of its solons happen to be reading. I urge the IOC to support not Chicago’s bid, but Rio’s. Here’s why:
- Spread the love: Both the US and Japan have hosted multiple Olympic Games. Spain had the Summer Games in Barcelona as recently as 1992. No Olympics have ever been held in South America.
- Local support: Recent polls suggest that about half of Chicagoland residents would prefer not to have the Olympics in their city. Brazilians on the other hand are very excited about the prestige and attention the Olympics would bring to their city and country.
- Atmosphere: Rio is internationally known as a friendly city and a place to party. Chicago, while a great city, isn’t known for either. Plus Rio has better beaches.
- Economics: Chicago is a city with a healthy economic base. Hosting the Olympics will probably cost as much in disruptions and preparations as it will gain in business. Rio, while prosperous in some ways, has areas of shocking poverty and is far more in need of the boost the Olympics would bring, as is Brazil generally. Furthermore, while athletes from Europe, East Asia and North America can afford to attend the Olympics wherever they are held, there may well be athletes in South America for whom having the games on their continent will make the difference as to whether they can compete at all.
It’s not that I am against having the Olympics in the US, or in Chicago if the city truly wants them. However, it’s a virtual guarantee that there will be another Olympic in the US within the next few decades. Brazil has no such guarantees, and the money Rio has spent to prepare its pitch for the games is far dearer to them than to the multiple US cities that apply every single year.
As an American, I would vigorously advocate for something that was important for the future of my country. This is an athletic contest. Fun, yes. Admirable, yes. Critical, no. Let somebody else have a turn.
Posted in Current Events | Tagged: 2016, Brazil, Chicago, Copenhagen, Denmark, IOC, Olympic Games, Olympics, President Obama, Rio, Summer Games | 1 Comment »