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View Diary: Not Nuclear, Again (142 comments)

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  •  Europe was the first to institute a cap&trade (1+ / 0-)
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    system.  As a consequence, it was rather poorly designed.  Any US system would be based on learning the lessons of the European system.  In particular, Europe's big problems were the grandfathering in of existing industry, which generally meant that those companies with the best political connections benefited.

    As for prices, you may remember that energy prices spiked worldwide during the same timeframe.  So crediting that to cap & trade is more than a little dishonest.  The largest price increase occurred from March to December of 2007, when the credits were available for nearly free.

    As for emissions levels, 2005 levels were 3-4% below projected without the cap.  The article then gives numbers for 2006 and 2007, but they don't list others.  Emissions dropped 3% in 2008.  This was largely due to an increasing shift in use of natural gas for power due to the cost of credits for coal power.  If that's not results, what is?

    You ever heard of the cure being worse than the disease?

    I'm not really sure you understand what the disease we're speaking of is like.  Let's use a few examples.

    1. The goal of the Copenhagen conference was to limit the world to a 2C temperature rise.  Judging from the past glacials, a mere 2C temperature rise corresponds to an equilibrium sea level rise of 6-9 meters.  That takes hundreds of years to reach equilibrium, and we're only looking at ~1 meter over the course of the next century if we limit the rise (rates of sea level rise increase over time).  But a few hundred years from now, you're looking at 6-9 meters.  That's enough to put a third of Florida underwater.  Even 1 meter sea level rise is like adding a meter to the storm surge of every hurricane that hits.
    1. Nature has done this experiment before.  It was known as the PETM -- the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.  For reasons still debated, the planet emitted large quantities of carbon dioxide and methane in a relatively short period of time, of a scale similar to what humans are doing today.  This caused a rapid spike in temperatures, sea level rise, and ocean acidification.  The effects on the planet were profound, almost impossible to overstate; it left the world such a different place that we give the era a new name (the Eocene).  
    1. Like corals?  What would you feel about the destruction of 97% of the planet's corals?  That's what a 3.7 degree average temperature rise in the Earth's oceans would do; corals are extremely sensitive to temperature.  What used to be the two most common corals in the Gulf of Mexico (the Staghorn and Elkhorn corals) are now threatened species after a massive dieoff during the super-hot waters of 2005.  The twin threats of warming and pollution have practically nuked Gulf coral reefs; it's tragic to compare before and after shots of what are now huge coral graveyards.

    AGW affects so many different things it's almost impossible to overstate it's long-term effects if we don't act.  "Acting" doesn't necessarily mean nuclear.  There are lots of options.  But sitting around and doing nothing isn't one of them.

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