some action on global warming in the US
January 8, 2003 3:39 PM   Subscribe

some action on global warming in the US senate
mccain and lieberman introduce some long overdue legislation to curb global warming in the US. where's the major media coverage of this? it was nearly 60 degrees here in minnesota today - in january. global warming? nah.
posted by specialk420 (32 comments total)
 
Green house gasses, bah! I think the real culprit here is hunting and gathering! Look at all those poor wooly mammoths wiped out by our ice age ancestors with such filthy and polluting habits as collecting berries, hunting with spears, and drawing on cave walls!

I mean, all changes in weather just have to be the results of humans, right?
posted by betaray at 4:18 PM on January 8, 2003


I think this has been discussed before.
posted by hama7 at 4:22 PM on January 8, 2003


BetaRay:

We didn't start the fire-- it was always burning, since the world's been turning. No, we didn't start the fire, we didn't light it-- but we try to fight it.
posted by cell divide at 4:34 PM on January 8, 2003


I think this has been discussed before.

Well, while global warming has been discussed here before, this bill hasn't.
posted by bshort at 4:34 PM on January 8, 2003


i hope it works this time around. in minnesota, it was pretty clear that the weather is different than it has been in years past. this isn't el nino, folks.

(on the other hand, without "global warming" and "greenhouse gasses", there wouldn't be that pretty orange, pink, and purple sunset tonight. nor would i have seen people golfing at columbia. that's right, golf. in minnesota. in january.)

but, i'd rather have snow in the winter like we're supposed to. that's why i live here.
posted by bhayes82 at 4:37 PM on January 8, 2003


a 'keannu in wonderland' day here in michigan as well. someone took the blue pill and the snow all turned to mud.
posted by quonsar at 4:53 PM on January 8, 2003


is mccain going to be a bit of a problem for bush over the next two years? and in 2004? good for him getting this into the senate for discussion - for all our sake i hope it goes somewhere. tony blair had some words for gw yesterday on global warming as well.
posted by specialk420 at 5:11 PM on January 8, 2003


I've seen types of this bill before- essentially, it's legislation that allows polluting companies to buy and sell legal limits on how much they can pollute. Reuben Bolling made a great analogy about this in a cartoon a few years back: this is the environmental equivalent of making it legal for a man stopping a burglar in his home with a gun, then letting him go, explaining that he sold his legal right to kill the burglar in self-defense to a mafia boss who now legally bought the right to kill one of his enemies.

Instead of patting themselves on the back about how easy they're making it for companies to buy and pay for how much they can pollute, how about McCain and Lieberman push for the apparently over-strenuous concept of (gasp!) reducing overall emissions limits instead of praising a policy that allows the limits to be "shifted" via an open market?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:15 PM on January 8, 2003


it was nearly 60 degrees here in minnesota today - in january. global warming?

Yeah, heck, in Minneapolis it was 54° which very nearly broke the all-time January record of 58° in 1944. Evidence of global warming...not!
posted by RevGreg at 6:18 PM on January 8, 2003


If you are for global warming legislation, don't use examples of short-term heat waves. The odds that any one meteorological event is in any way affected by greenhouse gases is something incredible to one against.

A similar and just as pointless analogy:
Lemme tell you, in Oregon it's quite colder than normal now. I guess we might as well forget about global warming - it's obviously not happening.
posted by Kevs at 6:59 PM on January 8, 2003


I agree Kevs, in the area of Pennsylvania where I live we had just under three times the normal amount of snowfall in December and much colder temps than the average.
posted by RevGreg at 7:15 PM on January 8, 2003


So let's see -- in Minnesota it was in the fifties and sixties today. On Friday the high will only be in the teens.

Based on that information, one can apparently conclude that we are in the midst of an intense period of global warming, but that we will rapidly enter a new (albeit likely short) ice age on Friday.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:19 PM on January 8, 2003


if you haven't noticed the evidence of global warming around your particular location (my friends in alaska say they are plentiful, as they are here in minnesota) perhaps listening to just few of the many scientists that have been telling us about the threat - might not be a bad idea - while we can still do something about it. mccain and lieberman (not exactly a rabid environmentalists) appear to be trying (however meek) to.
posted by specialk420 at 7:32 PM on January 8, 2003


I've seen types of this bill before- essentially, it's legislation that allows polluting companies to buy and sell legal limits on how much they can pollute.

Try paying more attention to them when you see them. That is not remotely what the story says, or how pollution credits work in the real world.

You're not just allowed to plunk down $X on the barrelhead and emit Y tons of CO2 -- there's a total amount of CO2 allowed under the bill, and companies have to bid (each other) for them. And the total decreases, as the story plainly notes. This is common to every pollution-credit scheme of which I am aware, though there may be others out there with a fixed price per ton (even that serves the purpose of limiting pollution through internalizing the cost, though).

The idea is that within the fixed total amount of pollutant, firms that have an easier time cleaning up will do so and sell their credits to the firms that for whatever reason (usually older production facilities or methods). If you follow the logic down, this ends up being globally more efficient than just lumping down a per-smokestack limit.

The idea is also that if people actually care about the environment or global warming, instead of just going to meetings and protests to meet chicks or feel good about themselves, they can band together and buy these credits from firms that don't need them to ensure that they are never used instead of being sold to other firms. ISTR this happening with the NOX or SO2 credits.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:56 PM on January 8, 2003


Here's the director of Wood's Hole (the world's foremost oceanographic institute) on the latest (disturbing) Global Warming threat.

He's not coming out of left field, folks. There is now a whole new field of scientific research which studies "nonlinear" climate change. And we are now staring it in the face........
posted by troutfishing at 8:52 PM on January 8, 2003


Hint: for hardcore research links, just input "Thermohaline" as a search query into Google.
posted by troutfishing at 8:55 PM on January 8, 2003


Sorry it's so warm for you (snicker).

It been snowing a lot near me lately. So, if I'm going to base my opinions on the local weather, we're in for an Ice Age (as others have said).

So, sorry, no sale. I still believe NASA's satellites and their rocket scientists over the liars that are politicians.

Now, clean air, that I like. But global warming isn't something that's getting me warmed up to the issue. Call it by what it is (an attempt to make the air more breathable), or go home. I don't tolerate "scientists" who base their decisions on "science" that's shaky, at best, and, at worst, do flip-flops faster than the worst of our government's representatives.
posted by shepd at 10:05 PM on January 8, 2003


The truth of it is, the statement "we can still do something about it" is not at all a certainty. Global warming may or may not exist - the evidence seems increasingly weighted that there is a warming trend - and if it does exist, the question of whether or not it has been caused or acclerated by human activity, as opposed to being an entirely natural phenomenon, is completely unsettled, no matter how stridently proponents on either side of the debate scream.

And even if it was us turning up the thermostat, so to speak, that does not mean anything we do now could reverse it.
posted by John Smallberries at 12:04 AM on January 9, 2003


Since we are talking about Global Warming and not just MidWest Warming, I'd like to direct your attention to Scandinavia:

Baltic Sea has most extensive ice cover in decades

Annecdotal evidence will never settle the debate about Global Warming. Just because it was warm in your home towm yesterday doesn't say anything about what is happening to the climate.
posted by alrob at 2:38 AM on January 9, 2003


Global warming sceptics mormally leap to "The Sceptical Enviromentalist" Bjorn Lomborg for evidence, so today's news is well timed:

"Debunker of global warming found guilty of scientific dishonesty"
posted by niceness at 3:38 AM on January 9, 2003


"Debunker of global warming found guilty of scientific dishonesty"

And, in contrast: "Prof Lomborg said: 'My initial response when I read the conclusion was one of surprise and discomfort. The DCSD does not give a single example to demonstrate their claim of a biased choice of data and arguments.'"

So, the question: who's debunking whom?
posted by walrus at 6:17 AM on January 9, 2003


So, the question: who's debunking whom?


Well, I'd suggest that you'd have to be pretty gullible not be sceptical about, at least some of, Lomborg's claims:

We will not lose our forests; we will not run out of energy, raw materials, or water. We have reduced atmospheric pollution in the cities of the developed world and have good reason to believe that this will also be achieved in the developing world. Our oceans have not been defiled, our rivers have become cleaner and support more life. ... Nor is waste a particularly big problem. ... The problem of the ozone layer has been more or less solved. The current outlook on the development of global warming does not indicate a catastrophe. ... And, finally, our chemical worries and fear of pesticides are misplaced and counterproductive.

So if he's right that's fantastic - Governments, business and individuals could not wish for a more optimistic assessment of the situation. I'm so relieved. Pity, the rest of the world's scientific community aren't so upbeat:

Detailed refutations of Lomborg's opinions: On extinction, On climate, On species diversity, On population, On forests, On statistics, On human health, On energy.

As biologist Edward O. Wilson* says:
"My greatest regret about the Lomborg scam is the extraordinary amount of scientific talent that has to be expended to combat it in the media. We will always have contrarians like Lomborg whose sallies are characterized by willful ignorance, selective quotations, disregard for communication with genuine experts, and destructive campaigning to attract the attention of the media rather than scientists. They are the parasite load on scholars who earn success through the slow process of peer review and approval. "

*A Harvard professor for four decades, biologist Edward O. Wilson has written 20 books, won two Pulitzer prizes, and discovered hundreds of new species. Wilson is considered to be one of the world's greatest living scientists.
posted by niceness at 6:54 AM on January 9, 2003


So, sorry, no sale. I still believe NASA's satellites and their rocket scientists over the liars that are politicians

Would that be the same satellites that missed the ozone layer in the first place? (NASA's lames excuses - also in the link- nonwithstanding?

Also, global warming will precipitate an Ice Age, not a tropical age (long story but definitely worth on before looking outside your window for proof).
posted by magullo at 7:43 AM on January 9, 2003


great links from troutfishing and niceness. thanks.
posted by specialk420 at 8:05 AM on January 9, 2003


Thanks niceness. I was just about to read Lomborg's book, so it's helpful to be forearmed.
posted by walrus at 8:38 AM on January 9, 2003


I really wish they'd find another name for Global Warming, one that doesn't include the word "warming." People don't seem to understand global warming and that it can actually lead to lower temperatures in some areas. Global climate is actually much more complex than 'warm today, cold tomorrow.' Changes in one region can have a seemingly unrelated or even opposite effect in another.

Seriously, I'm a little dumbfound at the ignorance demonstrated in this thread. Using "It's colder/warmer today than it was yesterday/last year/two decades ago is proof that global warming is real/bunk!" shows that people either don't understand it, or are simplifying to fit it in with their pre-established ideology.
posted by tolkhan at 8:43 AM on January 9, 2003


>Would that be the same satellites that missed the ozone layer in the first place? (NASA's lames excuses - also in the link- nonwithstanding?

Would that be an article supporting the idea that heavier than air CFCs have managed to destroy the ozone layer?

Goody. Next thing you know people will be telling me that Freon is going to kill me.

Nothing like ecologists hoodwinked by corporate pressure!
posted by shepd at 11:55 AM on January 9, 2003


Shepd - If you want an authoritative source to read about Global Warming, Global Climate Change and Sudden Climate Change, the US National Academy of Science has some superb free online publications. These are the "briefs" (actually a bit longer than briefs) which are written for the US Congress on scientific topics.

I posted links to these books on this Mefi discussion thread

Here is a re-post of my comments. Go to the link above for the actually links to these texts.

"OK, I guess I need to post this for the skeptics. I take the US National Academy of Science as a benchmark which defines the current scientific mainstream and so (link #s 1,2 and 4 are from the NAS or the National Research Council, a branch of the NAS commissioned by Congree to author reports to inform national policy):

"Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions" (2001) by the NAS Commission on Geosciences, Environment and Resource"

"Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises" - Committee on Abrupt Climate Change, National Research Council (2002)

Wood's Hole Oceanagraphics Institute on Abrupt Climate Change (Woods Hole is generally considered to be the world's preeminent Oceanagraphic research institute)

BBC: "Bush Comissioned National Academy of Science report says": "...A panel from the National Academy of Sciences said a leading cause is emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels...Greenhouse gases are accumulating in the earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing temperatures to rise..."

"Temperatures are, in fact, rising," the panel warned. "Greenhouse gases are accumulating in the earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise," the report said. "

Note: you will not find the positions of Global Warming "Skeptics" here. I take this to mean that their positions are not taken especially seriously, except by the public. You can, of course, also invoke conspiracy theories to account for this fact.

posted by troutfishing at 12:33 PM PST on December 14"
posted by troutfishing at 12:45 PM on January 9, 2003


My response, as always, to the idea that if we stop all our CO2 emissions that global temperature changes will stop (I will agree to the temperature changes idea -- overall global warming is simply not measured correctly, since it seems the most major temperature increases are measured from cities, which, as they grow in size, naturally increase in temperature), is that unless you're going to stop all the volcanoes on earth from erupting, and stop all the forest fires on earth from happening (both would be very bad to stop) it's a natural evolution.

Our very best bet is to find a way to tame temperature not through the reduction of "greenhouse gasses" (oh, I so much hate that term too) but instead to continue to work on more technology to solve the problem.

But that's just my two cents.

[ PS - The public feels so skeptical because the public has been lied to by these ecologists/scientists so damn much. Link. Remember the old saying... lie to me once, fool on you. Lie to me twice, fool on me.]
posted by shepd at 1:34 PM on January 9, 2003


Aww... stupid mac. This is the link I wanted. Damn. One would have thought they'd be using X clipboard shortcuts on these "advanced" machines... ugh.
posted by shepd at 1:35 PM on January 9, 2003


Tokhan, you're right. You'll rarely hear a scientists using the term global warming, they use "climate change" for the very reasons you brought up - that increased greenhouse gases could have either impact - warming in various parts of the world or abrupt cooling if ocean circulation is shut down.
posted by humbe at 4:19 PM on January 9, 2003


shepd, that was a nice link to the global climate coalition there. They are not a good source for climate change info and are certainly not scientific. They are a coalition of fossil fuel, auto and energy companies that pushed a misinformation campaign throughout the late 90s to smear legitimate climate science and scientists. Their profits depend on continued and growing use of fossil fuels. Some of their favorite scientists to use (I like to call them "cigarette-company-scientists") include Fred Singer and Richard Lindzen.
posted by humbe at 4:31 PM on January 9, 2003


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