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Friday, November 14, 2008

Global Warming Update

Just remember, it's all a hoax perpetrated by stupid treehuggers, nefarious lying scientists and Al Gore:

Japan CO2 hits record

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's greenhouse gas emissions rose to a record high in the year to March, putting the world's fifth-largest carbon dioxide producer at risk of an embarrassing failure to achieve its Kyoto target over the next four years.

The increase of 2.3 percent last year, largely due to the closure of Japan's biggest nuclear power plant after an earthquake, will ratchet up the pressure for it to give up its efforts to control emissions through voluntary measures and adopt tougher limits on industry like the European Union and Australia.

Just one big lie that no credible, legitimate organization would swallow:

LONDON (Reuters) - The world will have to bet on extreme measures to avoid serious global warming, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday, adding to growing worries that governments have under-estimated the problem.

The world will have to suck greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere because it was too late to rely on gradual curbs in heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, it said.

The energy adviser to 28 rich countries detailed two paths for limiting warming to 2 and 3 degrees Celsius respectively, which would both require huge annual investments to deploy fossil fuels alternatives. [...]

That could involve the deployment of an untested technique to pump underground carbon dioxide produced from burning vegetation, using carbon capture and storage, and by planting more forests, the report added.

If the world carried on as normal without taking new steps to fight climate change temperature would rise in the long-term by up to 6 degrees.

Above 2 degrees warming, "hundreds of millions of people would face reduced water supplies," and above 3 degrees food production worldwide would be "very likely to decrease," a U.N. panel of climate scientists said last year.

Limiting warming to no more than 2 degrees would be especially expensive because it would involve scrapping and replacing dirty power plants at a cost of about $3.6 trillion from 2010-2030, the IEA report said.

That compares with global efforts in recent weeks to shore up the world economy at a cost of about $4 trillion.

Yes, that would be too expensive. Bailout the world financial system (Four Trillion Dollars over the last 6 months and counting) versus saving the earth from a global catastrophe (mass extinction, starvation, disease, tremendous loss of human life) at a cost of $3.6 Trillion over twenty years (i.e., 180 Billion Dollars per year). Best to just let nature take its course. God will no doubt provide an escape hatch for humanity (at least if you really, really believe in the right God). Or the invisible hand of the Free Market will come to our rescue -- just like with the current financial crisis!

But really, just keep repeating this mantra: It's Not Real! It's Not Real! and you'll feel much better about life on Earth. Because if it was real wouldn't President Bush have told us so?

The Bush Administration today released a court-ordered assessment on climate. The report — titled "Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United States" — says human-driven climate change will damage ecosystems and pose challenges to key sectors of the U.S. economy including agriculture and energy. [...]

"[M]ost of the recent global warming is very likely due to human generated increases in greenhouse gas concentrations," the report states. "[E]missions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use and from the effects of land use change are the primary sources of this increase."

Ooops. I hate it when facts demonstrate such a liberal bias.

But all sarcasm aside, the existence of global warming should not be a political issue. It shouldn't be a question. But, it has been turned into a political football by the deceitful propaganda campaign waged by right wing think tanks who receive their funding from the Oil Industry.

A review of environmental skepticism literature from the past 30 years has found that the vast majority of skeptics, often identified as independent, are directly linked to politically oriented, conservative think tanks.

... The researchers found that more than 92 percent of the skeptical authors were in some way affiliated to conservative think tanks - non-profit research and advocacy organizations that promote core conservative ideals.

"A lot of skeptics might say they are independent voices, but it's clear there is an organization behind the skeptical discourse," Jacques said. "If not for conservative think tanks, we wouldn't be having this same discussion; we wouldn't be hung up on whether climate change is real." [...]

The U.S. conservative movement has lead opposition to international environmental regulation since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. In the years since, the movement has succeeded in undermining the credibility of many environmental issues, said Riley Dunlap, a sociology professor at Oklahoma State University, who co-authored the study. "From the [political] right, there's no longer a sense of neutral, objective science - only liberal or conservative - and that's an unfortunate trend," Dunlap said.

Of course, ideologically, one can see why denying global warming and climate change fits with the conservative agenda. For one thing, it truly is a problem of world wide scope, one that will require the cooperation of all the nations of the earth. Second, it's a problem that will require government action, and conservatives, particularly of the libertarian stripe, simply abhor government action of any kind.

Yet, the so called free market isn't able or willing to address this problem. Certainly not the Oil and Coal companies who have a vested interest in continued use of fossil fuels. Or the automakers who have been reluctant to produce fuel efficient cars, or, god forbid, alternative energy vehicles, because the big profits were in the big trucks and SUVs they made. It was only when it became apparent that oil prices were destroying their revenue base that they even contemplated (with few exceptions) production of vehicles that didn't require gasoline to operate. No, the market has no natural inclination to respond to an environmental crisis in a timely fashion.

We are at a crossroads. Most people have accepted that global warming is occurring, but many still don't understand the urgency of the problem. And a sizable minority, at least in the United States, continue to cling to the belief that it is just one big liberal scam to grow government larger and steal their tax dollars. In part, it's simply human nature to deny problems.

No one wants to accept that a crisis is occurring, one which demands immediate attention if we are to preserve this world for our children and grandchildren. And while there is an extensive media campaign underway by the right to undermine the credibility of those who point out that the crisis is real and demands attention, they will accept that propaganda at face value, because it perpetrates the status quo, i.e., it let's them continue doing nothing. They feel no need to change their own lifestyles and behaviors in response to this crisis.

America could be leading the world in developing green technologies to revitalize our economy. Sadly, instead, we are mired in the muck, as our media willingly plays the "it's a controversy' game by giving valuable airtime and newspaper space to the well funded minority view who have everything to gain from denying the truth of anthropogenic climate change. One of the biggest challenges President Obama faces is building up the "green sector" of our economy so that it is at least the political equivalent of the fossil fuel sector. Until that occurs, nothing much will change, and we will edge ever closer to an ecological Armageddon.

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