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View Diary: Cowardice in the face of climate change is just bad politics (100 comments)

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  •  Wrong. Free markets lower emissions to 20 year low (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    antirove, 6412093

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/...

    Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the United States from January through March were the lowest of any recorded for the first quarter of the year since 1992, the federal Energy Information Administration reports.

    The agency attributed the decline to a combination of three factors: a mild winter, reduced demand for gasoline and, most significant, a drop in coal-fired electricity generation because of historically low natural gas prices. Whether emissions will continue to drop or begin to rise again, however, remains to be seen, experts said Friday.

    So.. you say tax that natural gas that is producing the lowest emissions in 20 years??
    •  Phantom savings (12+ / 0-)

      Methane leaks which make fracked natural gas as bad as coal.  Only we're not counting those--only power plant emissions.  So absolutely, tax it!

    •  "free markets" as in "crappy economy" (9+ / 0-)

      and "really high oil prices" and "unsustainably cheap natural gas".

      check out the change in Americans' driving habits - concomitant with higher prices and the crash:


      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 07:18:58 AM PST

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    •  We Can't Accept Any New Molecules of Carbon, (7+ / 0-)

      not any. So even though gas is cleaner, it has to be taxed too. We don't have a century to evolve a new energy economy gracefully.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 07:37:23 AM PST

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      •  "Serious people" don't really believe this. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6ZONite

        Or at least they certainly don't believe that planning and acting on this basis is realistic.

        The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

        by Words In Action on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 08:01:46 AM PST

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      •  True, though with Fracking (1+ / 0-)
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        Calamity Jean

        Natural gas isn't necessarily cleaner. The uncontrolled methane releases that all-too-often accompany fracking mean that "natural" gas extracted via that methodology has a greater warming effect than coal.

        We need to get efficient and switch to renewables at blazing speed, or we're going to have a whole different kind of blazing going on.

    •  The other kind of denier. (6+ / 0-)

      The fracking evangelist.

      The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

      by Words In Action on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 07:44:27 AM PST

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    •  Global emissions rose last year (0+ / 0-)

      as they do every year. China brings dozens of new coal fired generators on line every year and Australia wants to start mining vast deposits of tar sands.

      The power of the Occupy movement is that it ....realizes a fundamental truth about American politics… there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs.

      by orson on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 08:12:23 AM PST

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      •  So, punish the United States? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093

        The US emissions fall to 20 year lows, but you want to punish US citizens.

        Fuck. That.

        You tax-us-into-the-stone-age people will never be satisfied.  

        Go tax the Chinese..  Tax Chinese goods.. put tarrifs equal to double their retail prices for all I care.  Just stop thinking it's only Americans who need to be taxed for this.  India, China, all of the dirtiest polluters are never asked to their share.

        Like I said.. Fuck. That.

        •  There's only one planet, you know. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          northcountry21st, BYw, Calamity Jean

          Don't know which part of the US you live in, but no place really escapes the damage, though some places will eventually have to be mostly abandoned.

          When I read the IPCC Report in 2007 it seemed like the US wouldn't be too bad, but looking at the 2009 US Climate Assessment and the new draft one that isn't really true.  It is frightening, actually.  And the changes are coming much, much faster than forecast in 2007 by the IPCC.  In 10-20 years the world will be a very different place, not that good.  

          So every reduction counts.  Whether it is the Chinese or us or the Europeans.  And a great many changes aren't really going to send us to the stone age.

          The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

          by Mimikatz on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:29:03 AM PST

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          •  So let's ruin the US economy even further (0+ / 0-)

            to pay for the irresponsibility of the rest of the world.  I see.

            How much more do you think the US can do to reduce emissions without massive investments in nuclear?  If your predictions of unlivable conditions are ten years away, then it's way too late as it is.  Some windmills and pitiful output of solar so far have proven to be a drop in the bucket compared to our energy needs.

        •  Punish? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          T Maysle, BYw, Calamity Jean

          That's an odd choice of words.

          Taxes that are invested in energy sources that make our country a better place to live, with healthier air and water, while eliminating having to waste billions to trillions of dollars acquiring and security a polluting fuel source are a gift.

          The return on investment will be far larger and more beneficial than any other investment you could make.

          •  Punish.. as in "ruin the economy" (0+ / 0-)

            millions out of work with no prospect for a job.. going hungry.. no place to live.. and a government that can no longer borrow a Trillion per year because it has taxed businesses into bankruptcy, or forced them to move to all the countries you have given a pass on responsibility.

            •  Oh, yes, the right wing talking points (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BYw, Steve Canella, Calamity Jean

              The economy will benefit significantly from the jobs created installing the sustainable technology and improved infrastructure. It will also benefit directly from not being destroyed by natural disasters and mass starvation.

              The costs of inaction so outweigh the costs of action that the economic damage claim is laughable on its face.

              •  You can do it without taxing (0+ / 0-)

                The point you don't seem to grasp here is that on it's own, US emissions dropped to a 20 year low.

                We don't need to tax.  We can get the same results by encouraging alternate forms of energy through tax incentives.

                If we pushed nuclear, for instance, we could be well below Kyoto goals in ten years.  Push solar and wind at the same time.

                But at the same time we do all that, we should be pushing coal plants to convert to natural gas.  There are still emissions, but a lot less than coal.

                •  There were 3 factors, not one (0+ / 0-)

                  According to US Energy Information Agency, we experienced the confluence of three events: an usually mild winter, reduced demand for gasoline, a reduction of burning of coal for electricity.

                  The first is a matter of the local temperatures in the country, which are not in our control. Obscenely warm winters are not something guaranteed to happen every year, even with warming. There is likely a bit of fuel price influence in this reduction, as well, as people kept thermostats lower to avoid having to buy more fuel.

                  The second is due to increased gasoline and diesel fuel prices, which led to less driving. This factor clearly demonstrates that raising the price of gas has the desired effect in terms of reducing transport-related CO2.

                  The third is a result of shifting our electrical production fuel mix. Most of the change was swapping coal for methane, but a small percentage came from adding renewables, as well. Unfortunately, the increase in fracking will moderate or eliminate emissions reduction as we move forward, due to its associated methane releases and their significantly greater warming effect. Switching to renewables is guaranteed to reduce emissions, switching to natural gas from fracking is not.

                  There is only one element among those three factors that is guaranteed to have an impact, and over which we have substantial control: the price of fuel. We cannot control the market's price, entirely, but we can ensure, via taxes, a minimum price - whatever is necessary to incentivize driving less.

                  •  Energy supply is twice that of transportation (0+ / 0-)

                    when it comes to CO2 emissions.

                    They are two separate problems - unless your only solution is tax-the-bejeesus-out-of-it, of course.

                    Transportation fuel is taxed sky-high already.  It is political suicide to even suggest a significant increase in motor fuels.

                    It is much better to stick with increasingly tough CAFE standards that yield more miles per gallon, politically speaking.

                    If you want to decrease our emissions output significantly, you have to go after coal power plants.  Regulate them into bankruptcy like President Obama's EPA is doing - but, at the same time, make conversion to natural gas as easy as you can.  That is quick - really quick.  decades faster than going solar or wind.  And that is your stop-gap measure until renewables can fill the nation's needs.

                    I would also add nuclear.. but the people who seem so concerned about CO2 won't even talk about it... a near zero CO2 footprint power source.

        •  I don't know who you're responding to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bon Temps

          I said nothing about taxes. As for the Chinese,  nuke the bastards.

          The power of the Occupy movement is that it ....realizes a fundamental truth about American politics… there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs.

          by orson on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:28:22 PM PST

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    •  Even with an across-the-board carbon tax (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radical simplicity, T Maysle

      Under a fee-per-ton-emitted tax, natural gas will come out ahead because it emits 1/2 the carbon dioxide per kWh generated vs. coal-fired generation.  So, the tax in dollar terms would be 1/2 that of coal for the same amount of electricity produced.  

      A carbon tax is the best way to use the power of the free market to generate the solutions we need.  But, like any "free market", government must impose boundaries for that market to serve the public interest lest it decay into a small network of predatory trusts and monopolies looking after their own private interests at the expense of everyone else.  

      I say put a long-term, slowly ramping tax on carbon and then lower the barriers to entry for ALL low and zero-carbon energy technologies.  The free-market forces of "incentivized"  innovation and competition will generate the solutions we need as quickly as possible and I'm sure natural gas will have a big role to play in that, but only as a transition because it still emits a lot of CO2.

      Just look at what innovation and competition did in the information technology sector!  The same can be applied to energy and GHG emissions if we generate the free-market conditions that will support entrepreneurs starting new companies to bring new technologies to the fore.  Providing economic incentives to replace carbon by means of a tax would be the first place to start.

      The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

      by mojo workin on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 08:46:28 AM PST

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    •  Totally specious (4+ / 0-)

      that CO2 emissions have dipped for totally coincidental reasons does not suggest one jot that the free market will deal with this.  After all, the free market has has over 115 years to solve this problem and hasn't.  DOn't just cherry pick the last 20.

      By your logic, the best climate protector we have is John BOehner who would crash the world economy by failing to raise the debt ceiling and force a default!  That doesn't make him an environmentalist.

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 08:53:14 AM PST

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