On PointVincent Carroll, editor of the editorial pages, writes his On Point column most weekdays. He is also an author and freelance writer. Reach Vincent Carroll at carrollv@RockyMountainNews.com.
Carroll: Green, as in money
The press release trumpeting 70 recommendations (these guys don’t stint!) by the Colorado Climate Action Panel cheerfully informs us that we can “Cut Emissions, Save Money.” It proceeds to explain that the “30 measures analyzed in terms of their cost-effectiveness were estimated to have a total net savings approaching $3 billion between now and 2020, according to preliminary analyses.”
Hmmm. The panel’s goal is to reduce the state’s emissions of greenhouse gases in 2020 by 20 percent from a 2005 baseline — or 37 percent from what’s now projected for that year. And yet we’re told that this dramatic reduction (or at least the majority of it that this plan would account for) will net us billions?
No reputable economic analyis suggests that the Kyoto Protocol, which is arguably somewhat less ambitious in its emissions-cutting goals, is cost-free to the nations involved. The only question is whether the burden is worth the supposed benefit. Surely Colorado will pay the piper, too, in any major plan to reduce emissions.
At a more fundamental level, you have to wonder why consumers, whether individuals or businesses, would need to be forced to reduce energy use, or wheedled with subsidies to do so, if it were such a good deal for their wallets. In every other endeavor, we tend to choose the more efficient or inexpensive option — all other things being equal — without a panel of well-meaning citizens first identifying ways that we can be made to do so.
Why would we behave differently if potential savings from reducing greenhouse gases were as real as we’ve been told?
One of the recommendations you’ll particularly love: “demand side management” of electricity use, meaning dumping flat rates in favor of a tiered price structure. As your electricity use rose from tier to tier, your rate would jump.
True, demand-side pricing of water often makes sense because so much of it is used on lawns. But electricity use, for most of us, plays out differently. I don’t run appliances or leave lights on just for the heck of it. My family’s computers go to sleep automatically if we walk away from them; our outside lights turn on only when triggered by movement.
We could eat by candlelight, I suppose, or breakfast on cereal instead of plugging in the waffle iron, but somehow I doubt that would make much difference. If steeply tiered pricing is ever adopted, I’ll just brace myself for a fleecing.
One figure you won’t find in the climate panel’s press release is how much Colorado would slow the world’s warming if it were to adopt this plan. The reason, no doubt, is that the gain is so slight that it can’t be credibly calculated.
Let’s return to Kyoto to see why. As Danish professor Bjorn Lomborg explains in his new book, Cool It, “Even if all countries had ratified it (the United States and Australia did not), and all countries live up to their commitments (which many will have a hard time doing) and stuck to them throughout the 21st century (which would get even harder) the change would have been minuscule. The temperature would be an immeasurable 0.1 degree (Fahrenheit) lower and even by 2100 only 0.3 degrees (Fahrenheit) lower. This means that the expected temperature increase of 4.7 degrees would be postponed just five years, from 2100 to 2105.”
When Lomborg says “the expected temperature increase of 4.7 degrees,” he means according to the “standard” future scenario predicted by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Some might respond that this only goes to show how badly much more drastic measures are needed to rein in emissions. If that’s their view, fine. But let’s be honest about the implications: The more drastic the measure, the greater its likely economic fallout. Only your mom still gives you free lunches.
Vincent Carroll is editor of the editorial pages. Reach him at carrollv@RockyMountainNews.com.
Here's something very easy to understand. The world is rapidly running out of fossil fuels. At some point in time we will have to transition to renewables whether we want to or not, because you can't fool Mother Nature. The sooner we start, the easier and less chaotic the transition will be, and the more of our natural environment we will be able to save. Even if you disbelieve the mountain of scientific evidence in favor of global warming, you should still be able to understand that we must end our addiction to fossil fuels, and we have to start somewhere.Posted by Romulus on September 21, 2007 08:15 AM
thanks Vince, check is in the mailPosted by Oil Lobby on September 21, 2007 08:19 AM
Here's what our governor told the House Select Committee on Renewable Energy and Global Warming yesterday: that Colorado's investment in alternative energy "creates new jobs, spurs economic development and increases the tax base all while saving consumers and businesses money and protecting our environment." Please tell me how replacing coal generation with solar will save Colorado consumers money. Almost all reputable "peer-reviewed" economists would disagree with Gov. Ritter. Folks, this is the quintessential "bill of goods" to make greens feel good about themselves and we will be paying for years and years to come for it.Posted by ThelastremainingconservativeinBoulder on September 21, 2007 08:20 AM
Romulus wrote: "Here's something very easy to understand. The world is rapidly running out of fossil fuels. At some point in time we will have to transition to renewables whether we want to or not ...."
Lemme see, at current rates of consumption, the USA has 230 years of coal reserves known to date (many more years can be tacked on as we discover more coal). http://www.sunflower.net/coal_supply.htm The US DOE estimates 285 years of coal reserves to date. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal#Production_trends (I included wikipedia as I'm sure it is your #1 source for information)
Romulus, we are rapidly running out of the #1 generating source of electricity - coal? Please reconcile your opinion with reality. Or did all of that suckling from a she-wolf make you impervious to empirical evidence?
Keeping in mind Gov. Ritter's earnest promise that Colorado consumers will actually save money with renewables (the base purpose which is to "combat" global warming), here's what environmental policy anlayst Paul Georgis wrote way back in 2002:
August 2, 2002, 8:45 Global-Warming Nonsense An economics journal publishes junk. By Paul Georgia
Stephen Schneider, the Stanford biologist turned climate scientist, has apparently become an economist too. According to his calculations, saving the planet from global warming will cost virtually nothing. The Bush administration's statements to the contrary are "fallacious" and nothing more than "wild rhetoric."
Schneider, a veteran of the climate-change wars (he predicted in the 1970s that industrial emissions would usher in the next ice age), claims in an analysis that appears in the August issue of Ecological Economics, that in a hundred years the world will be ten times richer than it is now and that people on average will be five times richer. Putting the estimated costs of global warming policies in "proper context," says Schneider, leads to a stunning conclusion: the trillions of dollars that would be spent to stop global warming would only delay such a wonderful state of affairs by a mere two years.
Schneider's argument leaves one gasping at its sheer audacity. Not only does it miss the point entirely, its callousness exceeds even the coldest cost-benefit analysis. It isn't the vastly wealthier generations of people living 100 years from now that opponents of energy suppression policies are concerned about, but those who are living now and especially the poor.
As noted by Oxford Economist Wilfred Beckerman in 1997, just after the Kyoto Protocol was born, "it makes no sense to impose heavy burdens on today's generation in order to raise the welfare of people alive in 100 years" who will be significantly wealthier, and far less likely to be affected by the vicissitudes of climate than we are today. Indeed, it is downright immoral to ask today's poor to distribute wealth to the relatively more well-off people of the future.
Not only is the argument morally bankrupt, but the underlying economic analysis is completely invalid. What distinguishes good economic analysis from junk is the comparison of marginal costs to marginal benefits — the cost of reducing one more unit of greenhouse gas versus the benefits — rather than total costs to benefits. As noted by Ross McKitrick, an economist at the University of Guelph in Ontario, "The problem with Kyoto-type emission reduction plans is that the marginal costs rise exponentially and the benefits, if there even are any, rise linearly. So no matter which angle you look at it carbon dioxide restrictions on even a modest scale use up more social resources than any benefits they generate."
Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, makes the same argument in simpler terms. He notes that the worldwide cost of implementing the Kyoto Protocol would be about $350 billion per year beginning in 2010. Beginning in 2050, the cost rises to $900 billion per year. The cost of predicted global warming, if climate models are to be believed, would be about $900 billion in 2100. But even if fully implemented, Kyoto would only delay the predicted amount of warming by a mere six years.
So what does this mean? It means that the world will spend thousands of billions of dollars over the next 100 years to prevent global warming, at the end of which it would have to pay the costs of global warming anyway, if it materializes. Kyoto is like trading dollars for pennies and would have about as much affect on the climate.
An economic analysis by the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration makes this calculus even starker. It estimates that the cost of Kyoto to the U.S. alone would be about $300 billion per year. The resulting loss of GDP over the next ten years, about 28 percent, would be nearly triple the loss to GDP experienced during the Great Depression, which saw a drop in GDP of about 10 percent. There is little doubt that the Kyoto Protocol, or the domestic equivalents being considered in Congress, would cause deep and broad based economic harm in the U.S. and the world as a whole.
One has to wonder how such dreadful economic reasoning as Schneider's made its way into a so-called economics journal. It turns out that Schneider's co-author, Christian Azar, professor of sustainable industrial metabolism at Goteberg University, is on the editorial board of Ecological Economics, a bottom-rung economics journal. If Schneider and Azar had tried to publish this paper in a real journal, it would have never seen the light of day. Instead, it will become yet another weapon in the environmentalist arsenal to hoodwink Americans into thinking that energy rationing is good for them. But like most of their claims, this one is also based on smoke and mirrors.Posted by Pete on September 21, 2007 08:48 AM
But as Jay will point out, Schneider is a "peer-reviewed" academic and, thus, must not be questioned. If you do, they will cry DENIER!Posted by SlouchingtowardBoulder on September 21, 2007 08:53 AM
Yes, let's wait until the last lump of coal has burned to ash before we invest in alternatives.
How stupid.Posted by Tree Hugger on September 21, 2007 08:59 AM
Yes, let's ram through solar power at almost 10 times the cost - and not wait for technology to improve - when we have almost 300 years of proven coal reserves. How unbelievably stupid but how so typical of Women Studies' majors.Posted by TheNevilleChamberlainBrigade on September 21, 2007 09:10 AM
In the Wall Street Journal in its Saturday book review: “On energy, (Greenspan) recommends more use of nuclear power, and he predicts efforts to reduce global warming with carbon caps or taxes will fail.”
As for “the greatest threat to mankind” the Journal reports that Greenspan is clearly more fearful of inflation than climate change.
Man, the deniers are out and about today. These f++++++ fascists don't give a s+++ about the planet as long as they get cheap s+++ from China to play with in Highlands Ranch or some other s+++hole Republican hell hole. By the way, solar will be just as cost effective as your CO2-spewing coal plants when we get carbon taxes through after this f+++++++ Nazi Bush leaves.Posted by AnotherTreeHugger on September 21, 2007 09:22 AM
Hahaha. So it will be cheaper once we pay for it through our taxes rather than up front?!? That's the epitome of layman's economics.
BTW, fascism is the opposite of freedom, you know, like what the greenies are trying to do.
Nuclear power is the only viable alternative, but those future problems aren't worth that kind of risk for environmentalists. They'd rather risk someone else's money. And why not, it's free to them.Posted by Chris on September 21, 2007 09:58 AM
The only effective way to save energy is to stop moving so much. Don't go to work; telecommute. Don't get out of bed to shower. Stop jogging for breast cancer.Posted by David Hakala on September 21, 2007 10:01 AM
Global warming as presently packaged by the socialist politicos and carbon credits are a HOAX. Climate change (with both rising an falling temperatures) has been going on for 4.6 billion years--long before anyone invented the term "greenhouse emissions" and long before the Industrial Age or invention of the internal combustion engine. And its being recyled to us by the very same tin-foil-hat wearing moonbates who gave us "The Coming Ice Age" only 30 years ago. A good primer on this phony fandango can be found at www.ncpa.org/global warming/. A quick summary can be found in yesterday's WSJ editorial, Chill Pill.
Yep, everybody's has a "model" that tells them what they want to know and gives them their "amo" that they need to peddle their snake oil. It reminds me of the economic and financial models conjured up by two Nobel Laureates at Long-Term Capital nearly a decade ago. Their models were great, but LTC went bankrupt. These financial rocket scientists bought into their own BS hook, line and sinker and then later choked on it.
Global warming is the same choking BS that won't be limited only to a few willing shareholders. All of us will be asked to underwrite a fight against it, and we will all share in the failed results. So Ritter can tilt at windmills all he wants and Hick can stay busy planting trees. BS is BS today and it will remain the very same BS some 4.6 billion years from now.
I'm trading in my 4Runner for a Peterbilt in order to run local errands and take the kids to soccer practice. Choke on that you environuts.Posted by Hank on September 21, 2007 10:03 AM
You are a denier just like those who would deny the Holocaust. You and your ilk will ruin this world for future generations. Haven't you seen Gore's movie? Step out of your Republican "profit is good" mindset and expand it.Posted by TreeHuggerII on September 21, 2007 10:10 AM
By the way, why does Vince need to include a picture of good-looking denier Bjorn Lomborg? Is it because he wants to do a little Danish restroom foot-tapping?Posted by TreeHuggerII on September 21, 2007 10:14 AM
I have seen Gore's movies, but his enourmously wasteful lifestyle tells me that he is the ultimate hypocrite, but as we already know, hypocrisy is a label the media will only apply to conservatives. We didn't believe the academic frauds in the 70s when they cried Global Cooling, and we don't believe the same liars when they change their rant to Global Whining.Posted by Hogar De Vuelta (العودة) on September 21, 2007 10:22 AM
By the way, solar is NOT, decidedly so, cheaper than coal for electricity generation despite what the Governor says and despite the imposition of future carbon taxes. Per the International Energy Agency (Jay, I checked and this is a peer-reviewed agency, thus, according to your own posit - it is an indisputable source) it costs 35 to 45 cents per kilowatt hour to generate electricity from solar panels versus 3 to 5 cents from coal.
Again, how exactly does Gov. Ritter come up with a "cost savings" for Colorado residential and business consumers? Somebody really needs to call Ritter out on this.Posted by SlouchingtowardBoulder on September 21, 2007 10:24 AM
The next time I drive my Peterbilt to an all-day antalope or elk B-B-Q down the road, I'll think about moonbats like you.
I hope you enjoy your organic, all natural, range-fed, no MSG, no artificial coloring, no preservatives added, bean sprouts and granola bars. They go well with your Birkenstocks and tongue ring. Do you have any current plans to save a drowning polar bear. I hear Havana is nice in October.
P.S. A tree is only a chair in progress. Otherwise it has little to absolutely no pratical value.
Posted by Hank on September 21, 2007 10:38 AM
Awesome....I see the Deniers are in the house.
Let's make this simple....does anyone want to tell me...in their own words...why they don't believe global warming is occuring and why they don't believe that humans are contributing to said warming?Posted by jay on September 21, 2007 10:51 AM
Yes, these f+++++s are all over the place. These a++holes will have us up to our necks in saltwater in a few years just so they can send more CO2 up their f++++ing stacks.Posted by AnotherTreeHugger on September 21, 2007 12:05 PM
Ok, the overwhelming majority of climate scientists believe global warming is happening and human emissions are a big cause. Vitrually all the peer reviewed published in the last 5 years confirm this, the computer models confirm this, the physical evidence confirms this. The correlations between human greenhouse house gas emissions and global warming are at least as strong than as those linking smoking to cancer.
So, the reasonable thing to do is take out an insurance policy to avoid the chance of catastrophe and in the process make our energy economy more resiliant. The Stern Report - the most comprehensive and authoritive and comprehensive report on the costs of global warming and costs of taking action http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/stern_review_economics_climate_change/stern_review_report.cfm makes the case that mitigating climate change is far less expensive dealing with the results.
So silly questions like is coal less expensive than renewables (they're not but in some ways coal is more reliable) are besides the point. Taking action now is far far less expensive than taking action later.
Happily it is also the case that some of the most effective strategies DO save money. The money saving potential of energy efficiency technologies is well documented. The fact is most of the people who sell you stuff - be it manufacturers, utilities or builders - have zero incentive to promote energy efficiency. this is a classic market failure - even Vince would not argue the market is perfect - so it ok to be pro market AND support energy efficiency.Posted by Matt on September 21, 2007 12:18 PM
TreeHugger talks big
little greenie socialist
from behind keyboard.
Matt says: "So silly questions like is coal less expensive than renewables (they're not but in some ways coal is more reliable) are besides the point."
Well, Matt, you are simply wrong. That is precisely the point. To say that renewables are less expensive than coal simply flies in the face of reality (but I'm sure you don't want your emotional opinion clouded by facts). Your statement that "in some ways coal is more reliable" had me laughing. Even most enviros (Western Resource Advocates, for example) concede that coal is 100% dispatchable whereas the wind and the sun are intermittent and wind often produces electricity when we least need it (i.e., at night).
Matt, go back to the minor leagues and come back when you're ready to competently join in the debate. In the mean time, just hand out at squarestate where your irrational types reside.Posted by SlouchingtowardBoulder on September 21, 2007 01:21 PM
Regarding costs of renewables, even the current Chair of the PUC, Ron Binz, has backtracked. In 2004, to support Amendment 37, he wrote: "We see that the aggregate state-wide effect of the RES will be to lower collective utility costs by $14.0 million over the period 2005-2024."
In light of monthly surcharges to all customers, month after month and year after year, Chmn. Binz now admits that renewables will raise costs of energy to the people.Posted by SlouchingtowardBoulder on September 21, 2007 01:25 PM
Regarding Matt's comments that "So, the reasonable thing to do is take out an insurance policy to avoid the chance of catastrophe and in the process make our energy economy more resiliant." Matt seems like a competent guy and will probably agree that a policy that costs less is better than one that costs (a LOT) more. Thus, rather than costs to comply with Kyoto, or a carbon tax, or cap and trade, we should look to "focused adaptation" which means taking steps now to adapt to warmer conditions —
such as using pesticides to kill malaria-bearing mosquitoes, improving farming
practices and ending subsidies to coastal development. Th ese measures could
virtually eliminate the threat of coastal fl ooding and cut in half the number of people projected to be at risk from malaria and hunger.
By the way, regarding Matt's suggestion for more energy efficiency, I am in agreement. However, if such is mandated to utilities by the government - as it was by the Colorado legislature last session - the utilities are allowed to make up for that lost revenue through a mechanism known as a decoupling rider. In essence, the consumer still pays the utility the same but gets less. Thus, I favor a push for voluntary energy efficiency so that the utility won't be made whole for dispensing less electricity.Posted by Pete on September 21, 2007 01:34 PM
Pete is correct that any sensible approach to global warming needs to focus on adaptation. In Colorado, we need to look at the impact higher temps have on snowpack and evaporation and how that impacts our water supplies. But given the temperature ranges predicted, it is also prudent to mitigate the risk by reducing GHG levels in the atmosphere to a safe level. This is the view of Richard Posner, Milton Firedman, and most recently - Newt Gingrinch.
One last thing, Pete: if market failure exists, what corrections have to take place before "voluntary" means can work AND if there is no market signal that wasting electricity has a cost that IS socialized to rest of us through more expensive newer sources of electricity - why would any rational being chose to be more efficient?
With regards to "slouching" a recent study from the Brattle Group for the Edison Foundation - hardly greenies - says: "Between January 2004 and January 2007, the costs of steam-generation plant, transmission projects and distribution equipment rose by 25 percent to 35 percent (compared to an 8 percent increase in the GDP deflator). For example, the cost of gas turbines, which was fairly steady in the early part of the decade, increased by 17 percent during the year 2006 alone. As a result of these cost increases, the levelized capital cost component of baseload coal and nuclear plants has risen by $20/MWh or more—substantially narrowing coal’s
overall cost advantages over natural gas-fired combined-cycle plants—and thus limiting some of the cost-reduction benefits expected from expanding the solid-fuel fleet."
Wiind turbines have also experienced price increase but not as fast and they have no fuel costs. Note: fuel costs for coal have increased pretty dramatically. Ron Binz is still predicting savings from the wind portions of Amendment 37.
But the big question is: what will the grid look like in 20 years? Big coal burners, more wires, long coal trains with NG peakers or something more diverse (IGCC, wind, CSP, NG), a little more decentralized (roof top PV) connected with a smart grid serving that can match intermittent supply with intermittent demand serving low energy buildings, equiped with the most efficient appliances. I like the second option and that's what public policy should incentivize.
While wind-generated electricity has no fuel costs directly, the back-up power load (NG) certainly does and with the current climate (pun intended) to curtail new drilling for NG in the Rocky Mtn states (really, the only domestic area still to be tapped for new reserves), everyone expects NG to only go north.
The one factor not mentioned by Matt or anyone above is the exorbitant cost of transmission lines for all of these new renewable projects. that must be factored in for any comparative analysis. Also, the political will regarding line siting is also going to be difficult. While it is one thing to have a solar generator in the San Luis valley, there is substantially less support for building transmission lines over La Veta pass regardless of the cost.Posted by SlouchingtowardBoulder on September 21, 2007 03:20 PM
Binz is still predicting savings from the wind portion of 37? I honestly haven't seen that. Regarding the PUC Chmn, he is now on record as saying that "Colorado is a coal state". This is tantamount to saying to the fringe enviros "Get over it" regarding their insistence of going carbon-free in an unrealistic time frame and in an unrealistic political cocoon. The fact of the matter is that 70% of Colorado's electricity is generated from coal (well above the national average) and 25% is generated from NG. With existing hydroelectric (some legacy plants dating back to the first decade of the last century) accounting for around 3%, ALL renewables make up about 2% and there is simply no way that fossil fuel generation (at 95% cumulative) is going to be replaced significantly in the short term (say 15 years).
Slouch, what are you talking about? At the penetration levels we are talking about Wind conserves gas. NG is running 24/7 on the system. when the wind blows, Xcel shuts NG off.
Transmission is a problem but it is a bigger problem for coal than wind Most coal mines are pretty far from load centers and people are even more reluctant to have a 2 mile long coal trains running through their yards than transmission lines.
There is simple way to get all the transmission we need for the 20% Renewable energy standard - create one control area for the state, now we have 2-4 depending on how you count them. Then we would only minor upgrades to the transmission system to accomdate 1000 more MW of wind.
Transmission issue scream for solar pv . Right now it is 8-9$/watt, still too expensive for large scale adoption. New coal/gas/wind is about 2-4$/watt. Recent advances indicate PV could be in range of 1-2$/watt in the next five years. BUT rooftop pv requires no transmission and it effectively a peaker which commands much higher prices. Some of Xcels old gas peakers - like Zuni - can cost as much as 30 cents/kwhour, competitive with solar today.Posted by Matt on September 21, 2007 03:40 PM
Nobody is saying anything more 20% of our electricity is renewable by 2020.Posted by Matt on September 21, 2007 03:42 PM
Baseload power today can only be met with coal, hydro, nukes or gas. That will not be the case in the future. IGCC with carbon capture and storage, concentrated solar with thermal storage (the spanish and australians are doing it), deep geothermal, wind with compressed air stored in deep aquifers - thats the baseload future, note coal is there but i think it will be too valuable as a transportation fuel, mixed with biomass using CCS to play the dominant role it plays now - but the market can decide that.Posted by Matt on September 21, 2007 03:51 PM
Hello, this is a very long post. I found it while searching of r great information about Denver.Posted by cheap flights denver on September 21, 2007 07:49 PM
We have a national energy emergency, not a climate emergency. We import 70% of our energy from many countries that hate our guts and want to kill us. Man caused GHG from the USA is only 00.04% of the total world GHG (including water vapor and natural sources of other gases!). That's like 4 cents in a $100.00 dollar bill. We should ruin our economy for this? Renewables won't work cause they work only less than 33% of the time and have to be backed up by gas. We are now importing LNG from countries that hate us cause we do not have enough gas! The enviros are not going to be willing to shut off their plasma TV's when the wind mills quit turning! China brings online one new coal fired powerplant every 3 weeks. China put online new pulverized coal fired power in 2006 equivalent to twice California's entire electric production. Efforts in the USA to ruin our economy to get rid of coal will do absolutely nothing but exacerbate our energy emergency. The solution is nuclear, coal to liquids, coal gasification and a few wind mills to make people feel good. Of course, during the hottest part of summer, when the wind mills quit turning cause the wind stops, hopefully we will have the coal fired baseload power and gas peaking power available to keep the lights on. Think National energy emergency, not climate emergency!!!Posted by PAK on September 23, 2007 02:30 PM
I think the folks opposed to curbing human activity that is contributing to global warming believe the oft-offered lobbyist myth that the change is going to "ruin the economy".
While this myth sounds fantastically fatalistic enough to earn some time on right wing stages ran by the likes of Rosen and Rush, let's not give it more credence that it's worth....considering the company it keeps.
Now keeping in mind that we're dismissing such fairy tales as such, can these folks really say that their oppositiion sits upon a foundation of logic and reason?Posted by jay on September 23, 2007 08:56 PM
Noone should ever "believe" in science. It is not a dogma, religion, cult, or anything else you would wrap your life around. Future prediction of anything is hit or miss, even with a historical data set thousands of times larger than the prediction period. We have world wide climate data in one measured form (direct temperature measurement, not implicated from snow or tree rings) of around 100 years for the majority of the world. During that time, the temperature stayed steady, decreased, and increased. Yet noone has yet discovered what caused the global cooling earlier this century. How about you prove your models by discovering what caused past changes before you use it to predict future doom? Causality takes a much bigger knowledge base than we currently have to prove, and until proof is offered, all scientists should keep their mouths shut. Offering opinion in the guise of scientific theory or law is no less a crime against humanity than declaring the world is flat and jailing those who disagree.Posted by Chris on September 24, 2007 06:47 AM
You're wrong. The earth has only been here 6,000 years and sits at the center of the universe. I love you Hank, I look forward to our secret tryst next week at the 'elk BBQ.' Please bring your chaps.
OliverPosted by Larry C on September 24, 2007 08:00 AM
It's unfortunate that our greatest incentive for change is money. I don't believe that any scientific analysis could prove that human activities do not have far-reaching effects on the environment - whether those are positive or negative. Beyond energy and climate crises, there is something greater at stake here. If we continue our current lifestyles unchanged, we will most likely find ourselves in a true crisis in years to come. It may not be for 100 or even 500 years, but there are simply not enough resources to support billions of people all striving to live the "modern" lifestyle. It is short-sighted and selfish not to consider the effects your actions cause. I suppose this has been the human way throughout our history, so there's probably not much chance of changing it now. And since those of us arguing this point today will be dead when the crisis hits, then why bother changing, right? Yeah - screw it.Posted by Mary on September 24, 2007 09:35 AM
Jay writes: "I think the folks opposed to curbing human activity that is contributing to global warming believe the oft-offered lobbyist myth that the change is going to "ruin the economy". While this myth sounds fantastically fatalistic enough to earn some time on right wing stages ran by the likes of Rosen and Rush, let's not give it more credence that it's worth....considering the company it keeps."
Hey, Jay, look at what those noted right-wing Rush-listening people from India have had to say on the subject of climate change and money:
"The Indian government is finding out something that most of us have known for a long time: that measures aimed at dealing with global warming are expensive. This has led a senior official to question the validity of Sir Nicholas Stern’s conclusion that global warming can be successfully mitigated at a cost of a mere 1 percent of global GDP:
Mauskar said, “In 2000-01, India was spending 0.63% of its GDP on climate change adaptation and mitigation which has now risen to 2.17%. So we can say that Nicholas Stern’s argument (that climate change action does not hurt economy much) is perhaps not true.”
Observers should note that the cost relates purely to adaptation and resiliency projects, such as poverty alleviation which will enable poor Indians to better cope with any environmental changes. This cost does not include the far more onerous burden of emissions caps, carbon taxes, renewable fuels mandates or all of the other smorgasborg of policies designed to reduce emissions. Under the Kyoto Protocol, India and other developing nations do not face binding emissions reduction targets.
This is another indication of why leading climate economists such as Yale’s William Nordhaus find that the drastic policies proposed by Stern would carry a net cost of one-and-a-half times as much as global warming.
Posted by SlouchingtowardBoulder on September 24, 2007 10:41 AM
Good one on Jay. Although it is wasted on a progressive like him who believes that he is intellectually superior to all and simply could NEVER be wrong.Posted by BooBoo on September 24, 2007 10:49 AM
Great editorial from the Gazette-Telegraph:
Governor confuses words with deeds
SEAN PAIGE Editorial page editor
“If Colorado can do it, so can the rest of the country,” Gov. Bill Ritter told members of Congress on Thursday. But Colorado hasn’t done it, at least not yet, so Ritter was talking through his hat.
The “it” in question are the renewable energy production mandates we in Colorado have imposed on our utilities, which some members of Congress want to impose on the national level, as part of a pending energy package. Ritter traveled to the Capitol to explain just how easy it is, and to trumpet his leadership on the issue. But there are several problems with Ritter’s presentation.
First, imposing such mandates shouldn’t be confused with achieving them. And we aren’t even close to achieving them in Colorado. These requirements are to be phased in between now and 2020, and won’t really begin to bite for years. Ritter is confusing words with deeds.
Thus, it’s dishonest to say Colorado is doing “it” — unless “it” means imposing a bunch of arbitrary, pie-in-the-sky mandates, without the slightest idea of whether they are achievable, affordable or will deliver the promised benefits. Pointing to the number of other states that have gone this route proves nothing: they, too, are years away from meeting these benchmarks. If Colorado’s regulatory crap shoot comes up a winner, in the year 2020, Ritter and others can brag that they did it. But they haven’t done anything yet.
Second, the state’s initial lurch in this direction took place in the fall of 2004, with voter approval of Amendment 37. Few Coloradans outside Denver’s city limits even knew who Ritter was back then. The voters deserve credit (or condemnation, in my view) for taking the state in this direction. Ritter’s vaunted “leadership” had nothing to do with it.
He can take credit for endorsing and signing a bill passed by the Legislature earlier this year, which added to the Amendment 37 mandates, in another fit of irrational exuberance. This amounted to doubling down on a long-shot bet.
Whether these even-more Draconian standards are achievable, and what they will eventually cost utility ratepayers, won’t become known for years. So Ritter’s statements to Congress were empty boasts.
“This has to be a national effort,” Ritter said, in support of a federal mandate. But he’s wrong again, on several counts.
The U.S. Constitution vests states and the people with all powers and responsibilities not specifically delegated to the feds — and there’s absolutely nothing in there about federal renewable energy standards. If some states choose not to walk this welltrodden path, that’s their prerogative. And it’s arrogant and unseemly for the governor of one state to be pushing for a national standard that would drag other states along unwillingly.
According to the federal system established by the founders, the governor of Colorado has no more business lobbying Congress for a federal renewable energy standard than the federal government has dictating to states or utility companies what energy technologies they can use. But Ritter must have skipped that class in law school.
“States are begging for the national government to establish a consistent national policy that speaks to conservation, efficiencies, renewables and clean coal,” he said. But that’s not true. He, as a statist, might require hand-holding from Uncle Sam on every possible policy front. But there are probably a few states that still want to think and act for themselves, when they have occasion to do so. Under the system designed by the founders, they should be permitted to go their own ways. And he has no business speaking on their behalf.
Ritter shouldn’t be encouraging policies that tread on other state’s rights and prerogatives, unless he’s willing to allow governors from other states to impose their dictates on Colorado. But he, like most Democrats, recognizes no limit to government power, if it’s used to achieve what he deems a laudable goal. He’s not really concerned, therefore, with old-fashioned constructs such as federalism. For statists, allegedly noble ends justify any means.
Ritter’s appearance won’t even slightly influence what Congress does on renewables, of course. It was designed to elevate his national profile and provide a little warm-and fuzzy PR for the state. It was a waste of taxpayer money, in my opinion.
Stay closer to home, Governor. Focus on your legitimate responsibilities here. The forests are dying, there’s a drilling boom to derail and taxes need raising, to pay for all the blue ribbon commissions you’ve got going.
Your job isn’t to invite more federal meddling in Colorado, but to minimize Washington’s claim on our lives, our paychecks and, now, even our utility bills.
Write to Paige c/o The Gazette, P.O. Box 1779, Colorado
Springs, 80901, by fax at 636-0202, or by e-mail at
Slouch you proved my point for me....thank you.
Again...no policies are on the books, nor will be on the books that will "ruin the economy" for sake of fighting global warming.
thanks for the assist.Posted by jay on September 24, 2007 12:41 PM
Given Jay's pithy commentaries he should change his handle to "The Green Sophist".Posted by Pete on September 24, 2007 03:41 PM
Good one! Jay indeed is the quintessential intellectually superior, peer-reviewed, how dare you challenge me, greenie.Posted by SlouchingtowardBoulder on September 24, 2007 07:52 PM
hey...don't blame me because your "sources" aren't credible fellas....
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/7010522.stmPosted by jay on September 25, 2007 11:39 AM
I think the Green Sophist needs to read Crichton's Sum of All Fears.Posted by Pete on September 25, 2007 02:04 PM
LOL...yes...I forgot the far right now sees Crichton as a peer-reviewed, credible source of information on climatology.
How ironic you guys brought that to my attention.Posted by jay on September 25, 2007 04:55 PM