Sunday, August 5, 2007

Random Thoughts (8/5)

There seems to be the trend of blaming Bush for transportation issues. Madison Mayor Dave implied back in 2005 that since the government billions on wars (ie Bush), a financially poor investment in the Madison trolley car should be funded. Now, lefties are bashing Bush for the I35W bridge implosion because funding the Iraq War is taking away from funding domestic transportation needs. Poor logic anyone?

Are the hard questions being asked in terms of the possible costs and benefits of climate change rather than just the rhetoric of "renewable energy", "junk science", "global warming", etc. Has anyone thought about the costs of reducing carbon emissions by 80% in the US as some groups are suggesting or what are the costs to low-lying Pacific islands if sea levels do rise by 5-10 feet?

Equating a church's core beliefs to a church member's political beliefs makes absolutely no sense. It would be like saying the Missouri Synod Church believes in helping the poor so I (Tim Schulz) should believe that the US National Government should be helping the poor...this is absolutely what conservative commentator Jan Mickelson suggests in his interview with Mitt Romney on abortion. Pathetic.

When I've asked two completely unrelated self described "very liberal" friends, what issue they are the most conservative (or least liberal) on, they say answered both "abortion". Not that I disagree with them on this issue but this adds to the data of how completely statist our generation is.

Don't underestimate the peaceful and unconstrained effects of a morning walking commute. Pure bliss.


Ben said...

I walk to work every day, and it is great, I agree.

I'll only address one of your comments, simply because I don't have much to say about the others. One of the big issues with climate change is the fact that we don't know what the current trends in global warming will do to the earth. While it is possible that the oceans will rise 5-10 ft as you mention, its also possible that it will instigate another global ice age, leading to over crowding around the equator and most likely a serious loss of arable land. Despite the hundreds of years spent studying meteorology, weather forecasters can only predict percentage odds of rain, let alone predict what global warming will do.

Long term changes are easy to deal with, short term, 'critical mass' changes that could very well happen due to global warming are much more difficult to handle. This, combined with the fact that non-renewable natural resources such as oil WILL run out eventually, lead to my strong support for renewable energy solutions. Its true that renewables are expensive, but just like any technology, investment leads to lower costs and shorter downtime in implementation. If renewables are supported now, while implementation is spread over the next few decades, hopefully enough change can be wrought to avoid major catastrophe, while spreading the cost over a viable time frame (building the entire interstate infrastructure in 10 years would be astronomically expensive, thankfully its been continually built up for 60 years or so).

In my opinion, it would take a majority of the public to bear the burden of implementing renewables. Small scale, consumer based renewable technologies, such as solar water heaters, geothermal central heating, proper energy saving construction techniques, etc, would make the biggest impact (although the industrial expansion taking place in countries such as China and India basically wipe out any gains made by smaller countries). The strong support the current government is giving to oil based industry, and largely inconsequential support it claims to be giving to renewables, is not helping matters.

I wanted to put up more concrete numbers, maybe some other time.


Tim said...

Walking is the way to go, difficult for most Americans but if it is affordable to live close to work, it makes the most sense in terms of energy, time, etc....I don't understand why many people choose to waste 1.5-2 hours of their day driving and paying $$$ for gas.

I don't think the ocean will rise 5-10 or even upwards of 20 feet according to Inconvenient Truth...the IPCC believes it will be far lower (in the range of 6 inches to possibly 2 feet).

I don't really know the science about a possible global ice age but I am guessing that given positive and negative feedback loop effects, anything can happen.

"Despite the hundreds of years spent studying meteorology, weather forecasters can only predict percentage odds of rain, let alone predict what global warming will do."--I agree, this is why we need to be careful with what we claim to think to the science is showing.

With non-renewable natural resources, you are right that we will eventually run the world out of oil. In fact demand pressures from developing countries (India, China), are one of the reasons oil prices have significantly rose the last 3-4 years (along with refinery issues, others). Oil will continue to get more expensive and I still belive there's quite a bit if it out there (even after reading The End of Oil) yet it's going to get more expensive and harder to get (think trying to get oil shale in Colorado). I think higher prices will push us towards private intervention and innovation with electric cars, wind, solar, etc. Though, one easily argue that the growing pains will be too harsh without govt intervention and that private companies aren't looking long term.