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Author Topic: Global warming, I need an answer  (Read 11445 times)

Offline Melee

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Re: Global warming, I need an answer
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2007, 10:23:54 PM »
Alright - I can't work out how to quote what's gone a long time before, so please forgive the format of this - it is a response to adamwc's response to my last post (with thanks to a colleague who also looked over this thread)! And I promise this is my last post on the subject - arguing on the internet is never my favourite way to spend time!

Summary data on feedback cycles, temperature changes, CO2 emission factors etc. is available online via the IPCC, a deliberately conservative group put together by the UN to report back on the subject to the policy makers of the world: http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/. I'm not sure why its so hard to find? There's an entire issue of Nature on this too. Nature is the foremost scientific journal in the world, followed closely by Science and PNAS (in which the Hansen et al. article appeared) - none of these journals are difficult to find.

Models are an entirely acceptable scientific method and a perfectly reasonable place from which to draw a scientific conclusion. They are slightly more sophisticated than The Sims. In this case, the models are being created by running them with past data to see if they can predict past history (ie: with the data from 1990, can you predict 1995?). They're (there are many research groups, working on a variety of models that tend to say essentially the same thing) very very good at this now. To go back to a previous metaphor, evolutionary models include artificial selection, from agricultural breeding to breeds of dogs and fruit-fly mutation experiments every undergraduate biology student has performed at some point - none of these have technically created new species, but they model the process of evolution very effectively. In a computerised setting, genetic design algorithims provide evidence for evolution - or would you not consider this suitably scientific either?

The theory of evolution is better supported than global warming at this point - it has had 150 years to accumulate data. At this point, we have 50 or so years on GW - years in which all available evidence has been gathered and nothing yet has contradicted it. Much the same as evolution at its starting point. Its true that the ultimate test of this theory will be in the future, but we are seeing plenty of supporting evidence right now - in much the same way as selection experiments corroborate evolution. This theory explains all the available evidence and is not contradicted by any of it. That's called a good scientific theory (for theory/fact distinctions and scientific philosophy, may I suggest the talk.origins FAQ?).

Scientific funding and success is rated by a number of measures that do a pretty good job of ensuring against fraud. Grant applications are anonymously peer reviewed, as are any manuscripts submitted for publication. This means other experts in your field are asked to review your work to determine its importance and accuracy. Remember that the important thing about science is that your results are replicable. Reviewers and other people working in your field will routinely be checking this. Frauds do get through occasionally - usually they are individuals and caught when someone tries to replicate the work. The idea that entire fields of science (and this theory covers a number of them - I, for instance, am a trained Zoologist and Geologist, but Physicists, Botanists, Astronomers, etc. etc. are involved in this) are combined in fraud is absolute nonsense - on a par with "HIV doesn't cause AIDS".

Finally to your politcal/policy points - as much as they continually shift, I'll try to address what was originally said in response to me. I wasn't aware we were discussing third world aid, but there are ways to combine the two interests. Say for example US foreign aid was used partially to create cleaner-burning fuels or power plants in a country like China, who are the second-biggest producer of greenhouse gases. European and US coal burning power plants operate on 33% efficiency. China's operate on 18%. By bringing them up to our standard, we would improve quality of life (these plants are also responsible for sulfurous air pollution and acid rain), china's poor get cheaper power AND we've cut greenhouse gases.

Other policy concerns of the right can also be addressed here - something that the Bush administration appears to have just cottoned on to. His South America tour is creating a new fuel line for the US via Brazil and other agreeable countries. Alternative energy generation, the ethanol that he's pushing, takes the bottom out of the economy of 'enemies' of the US such as Chavez, not to mention the Arab oil nations who have the disturbing habit of producing so many terrorists and weighing US money down in costly wars.

This shouldn't be a political issue - I'm not really sure why it is, and I don't think this thread explained anything to me on that, except that people like to take sides, and bipartisan politics in this country is insane. Here: http://www.natcap.org/ is a book on how capitalism can profit, creating the 'next industrial revolution' from this opportunity.

None of us are saying we can control the climate. What we are saying is that things are getting warmer. A good deal of that is due to human activities - we are warming faster than at any other time in the world's history. We can slow it down at least, by changing our habits and avert a significant amount of human misery. Why is that such a disgusting idea?


 


Offline Alexa

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Re: Global warming, I need an answer
« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2007, 11:37:19 PM »
I am less savvy about this topic than just about everyone else that has posted, but what I have gleaned as the bottom line battle, and from what Adam has said, is, in the name of global warming, people (right or left, i don't care) are advocating funding to prevent something that they really have no evidence if it will work. The hypothesis is that it will work and that we can salvage some of the damage that has been done, and prevent more, but it IS something that only time will tell. It isn't like we have some evidence to the contrary.

I get from what Adam is saying, why spend funds on something you aren't sure is going to work, when you know those same funds will definitely feed someone, provide medical care, and diminish pain and suffering, something we DO know will happen. I don't really see how this garners negativity. It is a very logical argument.

The counter argument, that "in the long term" it will be worth it, has a couple of issues. We really don't know. We just don't. We HAVE to do it, spend the money to find out. The other issue is that we are making a judgement, that sacrificing funds (possibly lives) that could be used to provide aid now, is worth it. This is making a major judgement on the worth of life, and the sacrifice of life.

This is what I took from the debate (in my un-educated regarding global warming opinion). I see the argument on both sides.
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Offline essen

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Re: Global warming, I need an answer
« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2007, 02:28:27 AM »
I get from what Adam is saying, why spend funds on something you aren't sure is going to work, when you know those same funds will definitely feed someone, provide medical care, and diminish pain and suffering, something we DO know will happen. I don't really see how this garners negativity. It is a very logical argument.

It's not the idea of helping other people that garners negativity; it's the idea that we shouldn't bother putting any effort into dealing with global warming as long as people are starving in Africa. Again, there is (or at least should be) enough money in this country that we can spend it on various causes. It's also important to keep in mind that not all the world's problems can be solved by throwing money at them. We could throw hundreds of billions of dollars into trying to help Africa and see most of it go to waste; we don't know what would work there. Dealing with health care and education isn't as simple as building more hospitals and schools. There are a lot of human-based issues that we have about as little idea of how to deal with as we do with the environment. Again why I don't buy that argument.

As for not knowing whether or not any of our efforts to help the environment will pay off, I'm not sure how anyone would disagree with that idea. Even if it turns out humanity has no effect on global climate and we just happen to be living in the middle of a natural climate shift, does anyone really believe that all the chemicals we put into the air (and the water and the ground, for that matter) don't negatively affect the planet in some ways, and therefore negatively affects us? I guess it's only the idea of impending, apocalyptic doom that gets most people into action, but I don't know why people need to imagine entire countries engulfed by higher sea levels to want to do anything about it.

Offline Frappe

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Re: Global warming, I need an answer
« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2007, 09:43:44 AM »
Quote
I guess it's only the idea of impending, apocalyptic doom that gets most people into action

Even that might not be enough.  We teetered at the brink for 40 years during the cold war with a by product of apathetic stride. :-(

Adamwc is correct in saying that it is an enormous investment and such an enormous amount, prudence, rather than public fad, must be the watchword.  However, there is no investment which is ever a sure thing.  A cost/benefit analysis must be made.  While I am not an expert on the matter, it seems to me that that given our understanding of science, the scientific studies over the past two decades, the climate change over the past two decades and the resources which are at stake, the best CBA would be to aggressive address this issue and make the investment.  There is no guarentee that it shall be a prudent investment, but the smart money likes it better than doing nothing.

Quote
Are you, Harlan, going to actually prevent people in India and Africa and China from burning fossil fuels to meet their growing needs? How is this global initiative going to work? What will be the consequences for countries that refuse to reduce their emissions? Will they be labeled evil and invaded? Will there be wars of necessity in the hopes of averting wars? Might that lead to famine? Disease? I know envirofanatics have prevented dams from coming online in India, consigning hundreds of thousands of people to burning dung in huts for heat and to cook, denying millions access to electricity. Is human misery the cost of saving the world?

That's spurious with regards to the discussion.  Developed countries developed by being extremely eco-unfriendly and any intiative would have to take that into account (with regards to developing nations).  Developed countries would take the brunt of it, partially because we create most of the gunk.  The world can still exist on fossil fuels, just not in the way we are burining them now (or even worse, the way we are projected to burn them).  But aid must be tied to sustainaiblity.  And yes, it shall lead to some human misery, but we've been creating that all along by pushing food on areas, artificially pushing up the population levels beyond the area's ability to sustain such, thereby leading to a scarcity of resources, which is the most common cause of war.

Here is what an uneducated person would recommend:
1.  The perponderence of our humanitarian aid must be for sustainable living, rather than growth (e.g. Melee's example).  We help no one by feeding the regularly starving children of the world.  If the society/geography cannot support such, then it is a poor investment (if you think I'm an SOB on this one, talk to a peace corps volunteer).

2.  Emission levels must be aggressively set.  Developed countries can afford it.  True, such levels shall lower prodiction efficiencies and therefore production.  However, if all developed countries get in on this, the "unfairness" level shall be minimized.  Developed countries that do not abide by such do not need to be invaded.  Dollars are more powerful then bombs.  If your inflatable doll factory does not meet the levels set, then they are not able to be imported.  Developing countries will have looser standards to help them modernize.

3.  Research and development and enough so that its not just envirofanatics want to use it.  Make it economical enough that Joe and Jose six-pack want to use it, because it's cheaper.

4.  Population control!  Deny Cinemax to developing countries :-)  China did it.

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Offline TRX

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Re: Global warming, I need an answer
« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2007, 12:24:14 PM »
Even that might not be enough.  We teetered at the brink for 40 years during the cold war with a by product of apathetic stride. :-(

...

Here is what an uneducated person would recommend:
1.  The perponderence of our humanitarian aid must be for sustainable living, rather than growth (e.g. Melee's example).  We help no one by feeding the regularly starving children of the world.  If the society/geography cannot support such, then it is a poor investment (if you think I'm an SOB on this one, talk to a peace corps volunteer).

2.  Emission levels must be aggressively set.  Developed countries can afford it.  True, such levels shall lower prodiction efficiencies and therefore production.  However, if all developed countries get in on this, the "unfairness" level shall be minimized.  Developed countries that do not abide by such do not need to be invaded.  Dollars are more powerful then bombs.  If your inflatable doll factory does not meet the levels set, then they are not able to be imported.  Developing countries will have looser standards to help them modernize.

3.  Research and development and enough so that its not just envirofanatics want to use it.  Make it economical enough that Joe and Jose six-pack want to use it, because it's cheaper.

4.  Population control!  Deny Cinemax to developing countries :-)  China did it.

:evil:

the Wiki has a very interesting country chart comparison

Results to date
Below is a list of the change in GHG emissions from 1990 to 2004 for some countries that are part of the Climate Change Convention as reported by the United Nations.

Country
Change in GHG
  Emissions (1990-2004)
EU Assigned Objective
  for 2012
Treaty Obligation 2008-2012

Germany   -17%   -21%        -8%
Canada    +27%   N/A           -6%
Spain       +49%    +15%       -8%
United States +16%  N/A       N/A
France   -0.8%        0%         -8%
Greece   +27%     +25%         -8%
Ireland   +23%     +13%         -8%
Japan   +6.5%        N/A         -6%
United Kingdom -14%   -12.5%   -8%
Portugal +41% +27% -8%
EU-15 -0.8% N/A -8%

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyoto_Protocol
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Offline TRX

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Re: Global warming, I need an answer
« Reply #35 on: March 15, 2007, 12:37:11 PM »
Check this out to see your global footprint:

http://www.earthday.net/footprint/index.asp#

I don't even drive and I got a 21.  Right/Left doesn't make a difference.
:mrgreen:

That is amazing.
Even a lower footprint still calculates that we would need another 2 planets.

Did you catch how they arrive at availability for each person?
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Offline TRX

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Re: Global warming, I need an answer
« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2007, 12:49:33 PM »

http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/current/lectures/samson/climate_patterns/

What is believed to have caused the ice ages?
Are we looking for a global thermo control, where we could influence up and down?

Will the Con Edison price increases help inspire to reduce energy use?
 :|


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Offline Jonathan

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Re: Global warming, I need an answer
« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2007, 03:12:16 PM »
So what would an educated person suggest?

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Re: Global warming, I need an answer
« Reply #38 on: March 15, 2007, 11:32:43 PM »
But aid must be tied to sustainaiblity.  And yes, it shall lead to some human misery, but we've been creating that all along by pushing food on areas, artificially pushing up the population levels beyond the area's ability to sustain such, thereby leading to a scarcity of resources, which is the most common cause of war.

Here is what an uneducated person would recommend:
1.  The perponderence of our humanitarian aid must be for sustainable living, rather than growth (e.g. Melee's example).  We help no one by feeding the regularly starving children of the world.  If the society/geography cannot support such, then it is a poor investment (if you think I'm an SOB on this one, talk to a peace corps volunteer).

There is not a single human on this planet who shouldn't be helped to stay alive because of the idea that only a lesser number of humans is sustainable. I wouldn't say you're an SOB, but you are mistaken. That idea is absolutely, positively wrong, in theory, in practice, on principle. It's the kind of statement that people make based on the erroneous premise that there is only so much wealth to go around.

Maybe there are people who shouldn't be helped to stay alive because they're butchering and raping people, entrenching poverty, denying people access to health care or the freedom to move away from horrible conditions....people who treat other people as means to ends without their consent... cruel people. When AID is given to such people, of course the outcome is disastrous. Which is why no aid should be given to such regimes, though maybe somebody could make the case for essentially bribing the cruel people to turn over control of the country to their people... ugh, what a mess.

There are people on this Earth living in conditions representative of the world 150 years ago and that's not because we've simply got too many of them.

The only.... and I say this a person with a background in and firm grasp of evidence-based and empirically driven theories of political economy.... the one and only reason that there are people on this planet who don't have access to capital and to food and to medicine and to  the wide assortment of goods and services we take for granted in Astoria is that men with guns under the orders of thugs with money and power make the necessary preconditions of wealth creation impossible. What preconditions?

If people's private property rights are not recognized where they live, then they do not own their bodies, their homes and land, let alone the value of their work. So their bodies, the land they live on, the money they earn, all of that is taken from them, used without their consent, abused. If they have no rule of law in their society-- this is the idea that govt. is instituted and bound to protect its citizens'  liberty rights by upholding laws consistent with them-- then once they are deprived of liberty or land or wealth or life, they have no means of attaining justice. Private property rights, without a government to enforce them (the rule of law), remain the moral expectation of all people everywhere. 

How is this related to our general discussion? See my response to Jonathan.

adamwc

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Re: Global warming, I need an answer
« Reply #39 on: March 16, 2007, 12:07:11 AM »
We live in the natural world. A significant aspect of our life experience is based on climate conditions, surely, not just where we live but all over the Earth. 

I have expressed my skepticism about the proposition that a catastrophist interpretation of anthropogenic global warming data is justified.  However, I won't dispute the veracity of the greenhouse effect itself and I agree that, for a variety of reasons, a decreased reliance on fossil fuels makes good sense. We care about the climate because we have to adapt to the challenges and opportunities it presents in order to survive and thrive. This is a brute fact of our existence.

We also live in a world of our own creation: human civilization. Our quality of life, even whether we live or die, is in large part dictated by an artificial context of rule structures, customs, social values, politicians, bureaucrats, markets.... basically, societies. Societies vary from place to place, obviously, but people, essentially, don't. We're all human beings, and though our particular cultures will and have varied over time, we are each of us entitled to respect for our private property rights via the rule of law (see previous post).

What societies do human beings prefer? Leaving aside ideology, philosophy, -isms, and just considering flows of people (where people are leaving/where populations are falling/where people are going/where populations are increasing), there is a clearly expressed inclination in human history. People vote with their feet and most people want to live in societies based on private property and the rule of law. The only people with incentives to live in unfree societies are those with enough guns and power to monopolize wealth. Taken as a whole, all of the benefits of living in a place where the law primarily protects people from being coerced and defrauded and otherwise facilitates freely chosen peaceful behavior/activities constitute the reasons why people prefer free societies. They want the longer, healthier, and more prosperous lives that freer societies afford them better than less free societies. 

So, Jonathan, to address one key aspect of your question... 

So what would an educated person suggest?

...all of the benefits of living in a free society flow from a phenomenon known to economists as "spontaneous order." This is a way of describing the "ordered" harmony of interests that arises when people are free to produce and exchange values with one another in a way regulated only by absolute prohibitions against coercion and fraud. Spontaneous order... a theory based on the observation that out of self-interested behavior emerges a variety of coordinated enterprises that simply never could have been planned.

Educated people are capable of developing appealing theories about how everything should be, but such theories have always become messy/catastrophic in practice because of something known as "the knowledge problem." Which is this: you and I have a knowledge of our specific situation, abilities, opportunities, priorities, limits (etc) that make us far more qualified than a central planner to account for uncertainty in our lives and to make use of our resources (time, energy, talent, wealth) in a way that suits us. Central planning must work against yours and my knowledge in such a way as to produce conflicts and inefficiencies that manifest as price distortions, leading to distortions in supply and demand, gross misuses of resources.... leading to inconvenience, wasted time and money, poverty, starvation, misery, death....

Decentralized responses to specifics of time, place, individuality, cultural preferences, access to materials and distribution, production capabilities, risk-taking, trial and error experimentation make it possible for you and I to choose among varieties of different products, solutions to problems, aesthetic experiences, opportunities, and the net result of this is not just vibrant markets but also the creation of value.

After years of conversations with a variety of environmentalists who have arrived at the 'certain' conclusion that addressing their issues must be a function of government intervention, regulation... government subsidies of one sort or another... regardless of their costs, their impact on people's lives, liberties, on entrepreneurs, on the system upon which we rely for discovery and innovation, I've begun to wonder how a group that claims to base its advocacy on the scientific method musters so little interest in empirical questions about the basis for and costs of its proposals.  :-o

Economics won't tell us what we "should" value, but it tells us about the costs associated with various approaches to reaching a goal. Economics is an empirical study of human behavior, particularly how people respond to incentives, how different legal structures influence wealth creation and innovation.

Empirical examples of dynamic societies where radical government intervention in the economy results in a greater diversity of competing options, leading to refinements and incentivizing new breakthroughs, greater efficiencies, increases in overall wealth, longer, healthier lives do not exist. 

I do not believe that individual liberty and adapting to changes in our climate are mutually exclusive. I think they are inextricably linked, and it will be precisely the trial and error process of entrepreneurs that will continue to improve the length and quality of our lives even as our climate conditions fluctuate, as they inevitably will, regardless of what we do.

To whichever degree a society's government is permitted to inhibit individual freedom, the impact is felt as the opportunity cost of what people might have created, innovated, invested money or effort in... as art or products or services or ideas... and now never will. The incentive structures of government regulation and subsidies have an adverse effect on us every day, in the form of resources spent by big business to lobby instead of produce, to bargain for loopholes and protections instead of innovate, to acquire success not by making products you and I would value but at our involuntary expense by virtue of political pull.

So, my "educated" suggestion is to do everything you can to create market conditions favorable to your desired goals. Tonight alone I saw a Re/Max ad for finding real estate that offers eco-friendly energy alternatives, a GE ad for wind power and rendering ocean water drinkable. Start or join a group that actively promotes awareness of minimizing one's carbon foot print. Start a business building affordable eco-friendly homes. Pressure major party politicians to pass laws making it illegal for businesses to receive special advantages or loopholes or a la carte tax breaks. Pressure politicians to let us keep more of our tax dollars so that we have more wealth with which to invest in experimental new products and services. Invest in mutual funds that invest only in eco-friendly companies. Publicly shame companies and local politicians who collude to permit pollution without consequences.

You want a better world, make a better world. Better worlds don't come from master plans, they come from dynamic, peaceful human action bounded by laws enforcing the golden rule. Let's do it!  :mrgreen:

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I've appreciated reading what others have written here. Plenty of food for thought. Unfortunately, I have a massive project to which I absolutely must turn all of my attention, post haste.

Offline Frappe

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Re: Global warming, I need an answer
« Reply #40 on: March 16, 2007, 11:39:34 AM »
Quote
There is not a single human on this planet who shouldn't be helped to stay alive because of the idea that only a lesser number of humans is sustainable. I wouldn't say you're an SOB, but you are mistaken. That idea is absolutely, positively wrong, in theory, in practice, on principle. It's the kind of statement that people make based on the erroneous premise that there is only so much wealth to go around.


I appreciate not being an SOB.  I didn't buy into the idea that you are evil either :-)

So you are saying is that we should provide aid to support populations in areas which cannot sustain such?  Support abnormally high population growths so that the benefits of absolute economic growth of third world economy are run asunder and kept in a perpetual state of poverty?  Over-populate the planet?
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adamwc

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Re: Global warming, I need an answer
« Reply #41 on: March 16, 2007, 01:28:25 PM »
So you are saying is that we should provide aid to support populations in areas which cannot sustain such?
 

... areas which cannot sustain...

The population of NYC is over 8 million. The population is unsustainable using only the local area as a source of food, building materials, clothing, energy. Yet somehow, without receiving any foreign aid, and not as the result of one ingenious scheme, we're not only a sustained population, we have wealth here beyond the contemplations of heaven of most of the people who have ever lived.

Wealth in the form of restaurants, job opportunities, access to art and diverse cultures, wealth in the form of each other. It's breathtakingly great. And it's reproducible all the world over.

Support abnormally high population growths so that the benefits of absolute economic growth of third world economy are run asunder and kept in a perpetual state of poverty?  Over-populate the planet?

Places in the world where there are actually a greater number of people relative to available space are actually thriving. NYC vs. Niger: close to the same number of people; the main difference is that the rules in Niger are set to the advantage of those with comparative advantages in being brutal and corrupt (though this is changing!).

Take away those bad rules, replace them with private property based rules and a system that enforces them. Then watch what happens: when populations increase in an area that has scarce resources, prices for those resources go up initially. Certainly there would be a role for some amount of charitable activity...but the higher prices have a positive effect: they attract entrepreneurs, inventors, innovators. They compete with one another to offer those resources, and many of them fail. Markets, after all, are not only places where people make profits. Most business attempts fail, but eventually some succeed, ultimately driving prices down. Success and failure is a trial and error process known to some economists as "creative destruction", replacing costlier processes and products with simultaneously less costly and more productive approaches.

This is the counterintuitive but real way in which it becomes possible for scarce resources to become increasingly available and less expensive over time.

Unexamined intuition often rises to the level of uncontestable common sense or belief. Is the theory of evaporation more intuitive than the theory of thirsty spirits to a person who has never known about science or who has been taught to believe science is evil? Intuition has its uses, and clearly it has its limits.
 
Consider the Hybrid Prius and gasoline. The Prius's gas mileage saves consumers at the pump and has a conservation effect on gasoline in general (less is being used). Hybrid cars are just one more step.

Offline Frappe

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Re: Global warming, I need an answer
« Reply #42 on: March 16, 2007, 01:38:31 PM »
You haven't answered my question.
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adamwc

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Re: Global warming, I need an answer
« Reply #43 on: March 16, 2007, 03:14:06 PM »
You haven't answered my question.

I think I've given a thoughtful response to your post.  I'll try one more time. Your questions...

So you are saying is that we should provide aid to support populations in areas which cannot sustain such?

I've already addressed the specious notion of "areas which cannot sustain."

Who is "we"? What kind of "aid"?

The U.S. government should no longer give our tax dollars away to foreign governments or NGOs (nongovernmental organizations). It's a disastrous policy. I've heard directly from the sources about where the aid goes and I've seen firsthand the consequences. What the developing world needs is to set up rules that encourage flows of capital (people, tools, and investments), goods, and services. They need markets where people can shop for goods from all over the world, just like you and I have. 

You and I and anybody else who wants to help people living under tyranny or oppression to escape, by donating money or time or expertise, that's up to each of us as individuals. In countries that aren't totalitarian but where roaming thugs arbitrarily destroy people's lives, what form does "aid" take? Donating guns? Paying to help people escape?  Paying mercenaries to protect people and ensure that they receive food and medicine that can't (easily) be taken by the thugs?

In less extreme situations, you and I have the option of helping groups that export know-how in the form of legal and economic scholars who can help people in other countries to set up positive systems of governance. Start or invest in a business that sells* products that can help people engaged in subsistence farming become more efficient at farming. Double a farmer's efficiency, he's more likely to let his children go to school.

Support abnormally high population growths so that the benefits of absolute economic growth of third world economy are run asunder and kept in a perpetual state of poverty?

Tough to figure this one out. You're saying IF there's an abnormally high population, THEN benefits of economic growth are over-consumed, which in turn perpetuates poverty.

Well, that's wrong. Perpetual state of poverty because of too many people? Case in point,  the population of North Korea is shrinking, the people themselves are shrinking from malnutrition. Same in Myanmar. That's the consequence of the opposite of economic growth. There's pretty grotesque environmental degradation in those countries as well.

Economic growth is not static. It doesn't create a pie of a certain fixed size which is then consumed leaving nothing for whoever missed a piece. Resources are constantly being converted into goods and services in a market, and information about the availability of a resource is conveyed via pricing which leads to increases and decreases in demand for it, and also leads to new market opportunities.

A brief aside here: We all realize that the high price of a scarce resource like gasoline is actually what makes it possible for alternative energy producers to compete, because now they can get the higher prices they need to get to cover their businesses' costs. Artificially lowering gas prices, via subsidies from the govt. is what leads to squandering a scarce resource and keeps innovative competitors out of the competition. 

Anyway, the empirical/historical record is that population growth has increased at different rates at different times for different reasons, and that simultaneously, successive generations of humans have enjoyed greater and greater per capita health, wealth, and longevity. Except, of course, in places like North Korea.

What is "abnormal" population growth? The Baby Boom was abnormal, but that was a good thing, right? America isn't actually having enough babies to replace its population. Without a relatively liberal immigration policy, we wouldn't continue to thrive as we have. I wish it were more liberal.

  Over-populate the planet?

I am not concerned about overpopulating the Earth. I'm concerned about there possibly not being enough people, over time, for human civilization to continue to thrive.

Generally speaking, human beings are wonderful. The more, the merrier, the richer, the more innovative, the greater our advances. More people pursuing their own unique interests, peacefully, benefits us all when their new knowledge, insights, expressions, skills, innovations become available to all of us via mutually beneficial trade. 

An amazing shmuck by the name of Paul Erlich wrote in 1968 (The Population Bomb):
"The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. Population control is the only answer."

I mean, really, what a dick.

The real source of tragedy in the course of human history:
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM

Offline TRX

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Re: Global warming, I need an answer
« Reply #44 on: March 16, 2007, 03:51:46 PM »

Economic growth is not static. It doesn't create a pie of a certain fixed size which is then consumed leaving nothing for whoever missed a piece. Resources are constantly being converted into goods and services in a market, and information about the availability of a resource is conveyed via pricing which leads to increases and decreases in demand for it, and also leads to new market opportunities.

A brief aside here: We all realize that the high price of a scarce resource like gasoline is actually what makes it possible for alternative energy producers to compete, because now they can get the higher prices they need to get to cover their businesses' costs. Artificially lowering gas prices, via subsidies from the govt. is what leads to squandering a scarce resource and keeps innovative competitors out of the competition. 
Anyway, the empirical/historical record is that population growth has increased at different rates at different times for different reasons, and that simultaneously, successive generations of humans have enjoyed greater and greater per capita health, wealth, and longevity. Except, of course, in places like North Korea.

What is "abnormal" population growth? The Baby Boom was abnormal, but that was a good thing, right? America isn't actually having enough babies to replace its population. Without a relatively liberal immigration policy, we wouldn't continue to thrive as we have. I wish it were more liberal.
I am not concerned about overpopulating the Earth. I'm concerned about there possibly not being enough people, over time, for human civilization to continue to thrive.

Generally speaking, human beings are wonderful. The more, the merrier, the richer, the more innovative, the greater our advances. More people pursuing their own unique interests, peacefully, benefits us all when their new knowledge, insights, expressions, skills, innovations become available to all of us via mutually beneficial trade. 

An amazing shmuck by the name of Paul Erlich wrote in 1968 (The Population Bomb):
"The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. Population control is the only answer."

I mean, really, what a dick.

The real source of tragedy in the course of human history:
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM
:evil:

I agree that alarms should be taken with a grain of salt.
But coming from a large family, the more the merrier only goes so far.

Humans are wonderful and can incrediby maximize resources.
There is still a physical limit of what can be sustained, though we may be far from there.

And, we may be trading our viability for other animal environments.
I dont miss the dodo birds. And I may not miss polar bears.
We could still do a better job of balancing our civilization with a rich variety of animal forms.
Life, Liberty, Happiness (pursuit of) and pasta


 

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