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Problem number 1: When you say "Democrats" you have to include guys like John Dingell, who represents Detroit union labor. He's worse than some Republicans when it comes to the environment.

Problem number 2: Politicians ALWAYS operate in reactive mode. The question is whether, in 2020, it will be too late to apply massive amounts of money to reverse a problem that could have been reversed a lot more cheaply in 2008.

Problem number 3: The "solution" to climate change involves consideration of some global issues that the West hasn't seen fit to consider up until now. For example, plenty of people live in poverty in South Asia. Why is it more of a problem for them to be living in poverty as a result of climate change in the future than it is for them to be living in poverty right now?

Summary: There's lots of coal. If the sea level rises we'll build dikes. If it gets hot, we'll install air conditioning. If the Colorado River dries up, we'll build electric desalination plants.

by asdf on Thu Dec 6th, 2007 at 11:08:20 PM EST
He now supports the Senate version, but wants them to reinstate the "distinction between cars and light trucks". The unfortunate translation is that his main support blocs want to keep making SUVs without too much reengineering.

This is also the UAW position. OTOH the manufacturers are still solidly lined up with the Heritage Foundation et al, who reject the underlying idea of problems associated with hydrocarbon fuels, let alone the CAFE standards in question.

It is a slight exaggeration to say that Dingell "represents Detroit union labor" without mentioning Detroit's automobile manufacturing establishment. In this case, though, it may be true - which is 'to the good', even if insufficient.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2007 at 08:02:16 PM EST
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Regarding #2: How would we reverse the problem in 2008?

If carbon emissions were capped (good luck!), CO2 levels would continue to rise. If If carbon emissions were stopped (dreaming, here...), CO2 levels would take a long time to fall. Global temperatures would continue to rise because the oceans, which moderate climate, will take a decade or more to warm to equilibrium with the present atmosphere. Moreover, Arctic ice would continue to melt, light-colored tundra would continue to darken, etc.

A barely credible hope for 2008 would be slow the rate of increase of emissions, slowing the acceleration of the rise in CO2.

There are ways to stop or reverse warming, but fighting CO2 emissions, even with great success, won't do it in this generation.
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Does anyone know of facts that invalidate the above?
If not, then they need to be in our reality base.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Wed Dec 12th, 2007 at 02:29:54 AM EST
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The IPCC suggested that total global CO2 emissions be capped within 7 years, in order to prevent severe and irreversable effects. To accomplish this, the West would have to offer LARGE reductions, to counterbalance the inevitable continuing rise of emissions in the third world.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2007/11/18/ST2007111800216.html

Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats nor the various parties in Europe--except the Greens--propose such drastic action. That is, they are arguing amongst themselves about how the deck chairs should be arranged. I suppose that having the chairs piled up in a sort of pyramid or tower so that a few of us will last a few minutes longer would be better; at least, that's the position of the so-called Left in the West.

by asdf on Wed Dec 12th, 2007 at 09:33:03 AM EST
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