Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Global Warming Culprits

Well, well, well, it seems that we humans ARE NOT the biggest threat to the planet in terms of global warming. A United Nations report says so.

The Snidely Whiplash of the environment is cattle. That's right cows. Emissions from good-ole West Virginia coal is not as bad as they thought. Looks like we may have to stop eating meat...arrrrggggg!

Plus, the UN has revised its estimate of the human impact on global warming. The number went down by 25%!

Better news, the scientist also lower the predicted rise in the ocean level from 34 inches to 17 inches by 2100 (I would love to be around to see the actual numbers, but doubt I will get to see it).

The report say

It also predicts that temperatures will rise by up to 4.5 C during the next 100 years, bringing more frequent heat waves and storms.

Since they missed the 2006 predictions, I'm not too worried about their predictions 100 years from now.


Anonymous said...

Obviously, the key is to eat MORE meat to thin out the methane producers.

While I don't necessarily subscribe to the fear-mongering activist side of the environmental debate, I do think that the status quo on emissions into the air is bad news. If you think otherwise, spend a day standing in the center of the East River Tunnel. At some point in time, most likely "yesterday", we're going to have to find less carbon-based energy sources, not just for air quality but to save our mountains from strip mining. So, would we Appalachians rather have the mountains with a row of 400' wind turbines on top of them or hills reshaped after years of blasting and digging?

Jeremy Peters said...

Well put Mr. Mason, and thanks to Al for posting on this topic.

Coal, cattle; they both present their own respective environmental challenges, all of which are related to the consumption habits of people. Any way you slice it, we are the responsible party.

One solution to the methane problem some farmers are finding involves harnessing methane and other wastes produced by their livestock, using it to power their operations and selling the remainder off for profit. This publication by the RC&D Councils has some good info on methane digesters, as well as other alternative energy such as wind, solar, biomass, and ethanol from agricultural sources:

This type of technology also requires significant investment from farmers. Unfortunately, many operate on razor thin budgets and cannot afford the extra overhead costs. This dilemma is preventing considerable expansion of agriculture in solving our energy/environmental needs.

There exists tremendous opportunity for incentives and tax breaks for farmers to take advantage of available technology, but it is a matter of building a critical mass of public support in order to make it happen. That support is already building as we continue to realize the economic and environmental impacts from traditional fuel sources.

Nathan said...

Protecting the environment is a serious endeavor best left not to the left but to clear thinking leaders.

For instance, in North Carolina, lawmakers such as Sen. Fred Smith believes it's important to pursue solutions for environmental problems such as global warming, but it's also important to protect private property rights.

Unfortunately, there are many such as Al Gore who see the global warming issue as a means to grabbing more power for himself and his ilk.

Tyler said...

Interesting article--though as Mike and Jeremy pointed out, the end blame results with human consumption.

I am a bit confused by the last paragraph of Nathan's comments, however. In what sense has Al Gore grabbed any power from bringing this issue to the forefront of the American psyche? He is not currently seeking any office and is at the nadir of his political power. Disclaimer: I did NOT vote for Clinton/Gore in 1992 or 1996 and I did NOT vote for Gore in 2000. I do not see any point in such ad hominem attacks--its better to focus on the issues.

Eric Drummond Smith said...

I've got to agree with TGK - Gore's perspective on the environment seems pretty well alienated from his personal interests as of now - frankly, I think he seeks legitimate reforms, reminiscent of mega-conservative Richard Nixon's (who created the EPA) goals. The Gore-Nixon perspective is, frankly, that environmental concerns are national security issues, and therefore normal concerns for private property are utterly trumped - which is rational, given the work of Adam Smith, for instance, who asserted that the state had an essential obligation to maintain 1) anything essential to security and the continuance of trade and/or 2) anything that can't be resolved, protected, or improved through capitalistic means, and/or 3) anything that can't be easily divided into property (what we later come to call "commons"). The environment represents all of these - it is a matter of security, it is essential for the continuance of trade, it is incredibly complex (limiting the ability of market forces to operate since rational self-interest only works when humans can regularly understand the cost/benefits/risks in their entirety), and since what one does on one's land with chemicals inevitably effects other people's health and property (as opposed to, for instance, what they do with their body). Anyway, those are my thoughts - just call me a Nixon conservative, I guess. Or a Gore liberal. Or a Machiavellian realist.

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