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Author Topic: THE global climate change discourse  (Read 513 times)

bettingonchina

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THE global climate change discourse
« on: March 07, 2006, 02:32:45 PM »
Alright, you prestigi you, we are going to law school, and thus have carried ourselves this far down the path towards achievement.  I have a few questions, though.  Feel free to answer just one if you want to, or, you know, none at all if you can't be bothered.

1.  To what extent will global climate change affect your personal future?  (1 - not at all, 10 - see myself at a working lunch joining Costner in a tall cup of my own pee)

2.  Do you believe in carbon-emission-induced global warming?  If you do have faith in climate change science, what do you think the solution is?  Technological?  Policy? Taxation?  Age-of-aquarius like mass enlightenment?

3.  Do you think that climate change is being talked about too much?  Not enough?  Don't care?

4.  How far would you be willing to sacrifice standard of living to share responsiblity for pollution?  driving? consumption?

5.  Do you think America will continue to lag behind other countries in taking responsibility for climate change?  Which country (ies) do you think will lead the climate change mitigation discourse in the future?

As for my answers:
1.  I think that climate change will greatly impact my future, not so much physically, however, but socially.  I believe this because I know that economic losses are accruing from continued environmental degredation (mind you, not only due to climate change), and that these changes are right now taking money and future opportunities away from me by depreciating my health, investments, etc.  These economic losses will only become greater without better international cooperation.  I think that this cooperation, however, won't happen until short term economic losses are more substantially incorperated into GDP calculations, and that these Green GDP calculations show losses bad enough to induce countries to start aiming missiles at other countries and threatening economic sanction or even war in order to attain emission mitigation treaty compliance.

2.  I believe in global climate change.  I think that it can be fixed through national government manipulation of social policies such as taxation, but that these social policies will take on very different forms in different political and cultural contexts.

3.  I dont think enough people are talking about climate change, including people of our generation.  I think that many don't realize how important the coming period in human life is going to be.  However, I also believe that climate change can only induce the realization of a better future; although difficult in the short term, the necessity of dealing with climate change will induce economic incentives for a rapid explosion in renewable resource technology development, which once implemented, will change human life forever. 

4.  I have to say that here is where I diverge from pure hippie.  I am not willing to go and live on an organic commune in order to make my stand against climate change.  I believe that in order to induce real change, I will need to work from within the dominant wasteful system.  Unfortunately, this means for me a modern catholic guilt every time I turn on a light, knowing that by doing so I am supporting the creation of hazardous waste matter which could be around for thousands of years.  I don't think rejecting the system outright is the right way, though; rather we have to work from within, and hopefully, at the top of the system in order to achieve greatness.

5. Yes, I think America will continue to lag behind other countries in changing resource use practices.  However, I don't think this because I believe that the majority of Americans are selfish or morally inferior or whatnot.  Rather, I believe that the path dependency of this American system, built on cheap energy, physically prevents America from making great strides in the development of renewable energy production technology.  I believe that China, as the new economic superpower which has, for the most part, avoided developing an oil-fueled infrastructure, will be able to leap-frog over America by using systemic contexts of the Chinese political economy to develop more sustainable use habits.   

These are my ideas.  Flame them if you feel the need to do so, but better than just attacking my ideas, please tell me what you think about climate change.  Please.  I really think everyday people need to start talking about this as if it were inevitable.  Make like its your responsibility, even if its just on an internet post board.  Who knows?  It might help.
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OingoBoingo

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Re: THE global climate change discourse
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2006, 11:49:44 AM »
Breadboy,

I didn't have the time to read all that :)

I do agree that the environmental movement, religion or whatever you want to call it is somewhat misguided in its efforts. My wife and I "discuss" this all the time (she would support the Sierra club if finances weren't so tight right now).

I still beleive, based on everything that I have read, that "Global Warming" is much more theory than actual fact. There I said it. I think economic, rather than environmental, factors will push America away from oil. Oil will have to get MUCH more expensive for this to happen. Even our little "Post Katrina" bump did little (if anything) to change habits. What environmentalist lack is a compelling case for "global warming." Too many, in the past, have made dire predictions of the future only to have those predictions proven false. 

I refuse to buy the notion that the American public is simply stupid or uncaring about the environment. Give people the economic means to effect environmental change and they will do it. Hybrid cars are a good start but they need to be much more affordable to make sense to middle class america. For instance, I really like the Honda Accord Hybrid. It is fast AND good on gas but the premium over the V6 with slightly less fuel ecomony is about $5000 - not worth it to me and many others.

Oingo.

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Organic

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Re: THE global climate change discourse
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2006, 12:00:32 PM »
>>>Soil releases more carbon than mankind can ever hope to. Likewise, forests have now been found to be sources of methane (a greenhouse gas), and letís not forget that Global warming as a theory is only 30 years old, before which Global Cooling was the popular idea.<<<

Global warming is about upsetting a balance.  Carbon is released naturally, but in the past there were enough carbon sinks (trees, plants, etc) to balance out the carbon released.  Humans have upset the balance not only by burning fossil fuels but by cutting down forests.

Global warming is a theory in the sense that atomic theory is a theory.  No reasonably intelligent scientist believes it isn't true.  (Unless they are paid by fuel producers)

Now, on Environmentalism as Religion.  I am an environmentalist.  My full time job right now is in water quality.  I can tell you that environmentalism is much more about health,  happiness and the economy than Nature as God.  Right now, today, my drinking water doesn't meet EPA standards for healthy water.  In another area 45 minutes from me, there is a recent study of drinking water that shows the drinking water was polluted by Dupont, increasing the cancer rate for those residents.  Who would like a nice full glass of carcinogens?
That is just the health aspects.  In the streams around here, there are no fish because the water is acidic from mining.  If you find an area that isn't acidic, then you still wouldn't want to touch the water because it is contaminated with waste water.  Yep, someone's crap is contaminating the water. 

Eating organic food is not about Holy Wafers.  It is about not getting cancer from pesticides.  Sustainability is not about the world coming to an end.  It is about seven generations later, people still having all of the luxuries I have.     
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snowbird

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Re: THE global climate change discourse
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2006, 04:12:11 PM »
read Collapse by Jared Diamond, he's the real expert on global climate change. Michael Crichton is a sellout.
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snowbird

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Re: THE global climate change discourse
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2006, 07:17:44 PM »
I just called him a sellout because instead of using his MD to help people, he makes a career out of writing science fiction novels, but then goes and testifies before Congress as an expert on global warming. He's never practiced as a physician or scientist before, yet has authority to shape US policy because he wrote a best-seller about dinosaurs.
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bettingonchina

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Re: THE global climate change discourse
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2006, 12:48:11 AM »


Well, we haven't been looking for any solutions.  The domestic fusion project, though promising, is almost entirely sidelined for political reasons.  Thankfully there is still ITER, which has decided to place the generator in France.  Way to go US.
[/quote]

Have you heard about the EAST Tokamak?  Bigger than ITER, and guess where it is?  You'd think the US would be afraid or something...sheesh...

Thanks for the replies to my meddling,
Chris
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corky

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Re: THE global climate change discourse
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2006, 01:57:52 AM »
I just called him a sellout because instead of using his MD to help people, he makes a career out of writing science fiction novels, but then goes and testifies before Congress as an expert on global warming. He's never practiced as a physician or scientist before, yet has authority to shape US policy because he wrote a best-seller about dinosaurs.

1. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Harvard University with a degree in Anthropology.
2. He taught Physical Anthropology at Cambridge.
3. He recieved his M.D. from Harvard Medical School.

Jurassic Park is one book, he's written (and directed and produced) in many different disiplines (including some excellent non-fiction books, and if you've ever read through one of his bibliographies it's obvious he's more than well-read. I'd say that making very difficult science and medicial concepts pallatable to the pedestrian mind is quite an accomplishment. He deserves more than the flak he's now recieving over global warming.

The reason he's getting flak is not because he's making the science palatable and people don't want to hear it, but because people are accusing him of being very selective about what studies and data he included. One piece of proof in the book is a graph of the temperature of one small city showing how it's been cooling over time - ignoring that global warming is a global average, not something that uniformly applies to every spot on earth.

It doesn't matter how well read he is, that doesn't make him an expert on global warming. The people who have spent thirty years of their lives researching and studying the field are the ones that have the right to call themselves experts.  I don't buy all the arguments about global warming, but I don't feel that he's the right representative for this viewpoint.
HLS '09

snowbird

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Re: THE global climate change discourse
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2006, 12:16:37 PM »
Congressman Jay Inslee's (D-WA) New Apollo Energy Project seems to have a lot of potential.
 
http://www.apolloalliance.org

http://www.house.gov/inslee/issues/energy/apollo_new.html

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