Trouble ahead, lady in red,
Take my advice youd be better off dead.
Switchmans sleeping, train hundred and two is
On the wrong track and headed for you.
Driving that train, high on cocaine,
Casey Jones is ready, watch your speed.
Trouble ahead, trouble behind,
And you know that notion just crossed my mind.
Trouble with you is the trouble with me,
Got two good eyes but you still don't see.
Come round the bend, you know its the end,
The fireman screams and the engine just gleams...
Casey Jones - The Grateful Dead
Although the Grateful Dead song does an injustice to the memory of Casey Jones, a story in the New York Times from Tuesday suggests that the Obama administration plans on going full speed ahead into a major disaster for the economy. According to the Times, Barack Obama fully intends to save the Earth from global warming:
President-elect Barack Obama, in strongly-worded remarks to a gathering of governors and foreign officials on Tuesday, said he had no intention of softening or delaying his aggressive targets for reducing emissions that cause the warming of the planet.
Even if you believe in Anthropogenic Global Warming, a theory based on computer models that has a significant dearth of actual data to support it, there is little reason to believe it is a disaster of planet threatening proportions. The Earth has had long periods of time with much higher temperaturesand much higher levels of CO2 and has not only survivedbut has thrived. Michael Anissimov notes the foolishness of attempting to force the environment into stasis:
The biosphere contains just two trillion tonnes of carbon, but the oceans contain about 36 trillion tonnes of carbon (mostly as bicarbonate ion), and several trillion tonnes of additional carbon exist as fossil matter, including the leftovers from the catastrophic Azolla event 49 million years ago. Retrieving oceanic carbon and reintroducing it to the organic biosphere could allow us to reestablish beautiful forests over much of the surface of the planet. Historically, tropical forests extended to within 40 degrees of the equator, subtropical forests to 60, and other forests to the poles. Palm trees and turtles thrived at the North Pole. Our current ice, grass, and desert-covered Earth is a geophysical abnormality caused by an Ice Age that began 23 million years ago when Antarctica split from South America, permitting the creation of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and leading to an “Icebox Earth” with glaciated poles. We have had greener ages, and we can bring them back with technology, particularly organic and inorganic self-replicating agents.
Though most environmentalists center their efforts around preserving currently existing biodiversity, forward-looking environmentalists should look towards not just preserving the already existing biodiversity, by setting environmental conditions conducive to the development of millions of new species and a planet covered in luxuriant foliage. ...
Some, like environmentalist Bill McKibben — have said “Enough”, enough technology, enough life, enough progress. Unsurprisingly, I disagree. Looking back from the perspective of a world more than 20 times lusher and Nature-filled than today, with more than 20 times more people distributed evenly across huge tracts of land now practically empty, it will be hard to say, “we should have stopped when we were just at 5% of this potential”. There have been other times in history with just 5% of the biomass and life of today — immediately after major mass extinctions. If today’s world is “enough”, then why stop there? Why not revert back to a world with even less biodiversity and biomass? It would be a surprising coincidence if the current biomass is just right, rather than too little or too much. Those arguing otherwise are just products of their environment — the glacier, desert, and steppe-covered poverty of the Late Cenozoic.
The only thing that will crash if Barack Obama and the radical environmentalistshave their way is the economy. M_O_M provides some details:
Economically speaking, this is total lunacy. But he believes.Nor does he need Congress to act, since the EPA is already dealing with petitions to regulate CO2 as a pollutant. He simply does what he said he would do before the election, which is to regulate CO2 as a HAP. Even farms would have to go through permitting, as would large stores, etc. [Emphasis mine-SW]
Last week an EPA appeals board dumped another coal plant, and said the EPA should develop national rules for CO2 emissions. That ruling is widely believed to have placed about one hundred coal plants in jeopardy, at a time when the US is rapidly running out of electricity. Plants in Utah, New Mexico, Kansas and Georgia have all recently been stopped by legal action.
That leaves the US with no new drilling, no new nuclear plants, no new hydro plants and no new coal plants. In short, it leaves us with no real substantial new energy sources except perhaps plants that burn natural gas. Wind and solar will not do it, nor will biodiesel. Utility prices for electricity are expected to keep rising next year.
AGW has always been about belief. People who can not add two and two blithely inform us that by devoting some billions of dollars to alternative energy sources we will almost overnight be able to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions without a significant hit to the economy; in fact, our economy will thrive with all the new green energy jobs that will b e created. This ignores all sorts of problems, not least of scale, and is a sure fire prescription to causing immense damage to our infrastructure. We do indeed need to find our way to more efficient and sustainable energy resources, but in the meantime, ie the next 20-30 years, carbon based fuels is the only game in town that can support an expanding global economy. To the true believer, no facts can have an impact.
To the true believer, no price is too high to pay to save the planet. If Barack Obama goes ahead with these plans, it suggest that while we may not know much of what he believes, on AGW he is a true believer. This is not comforting since, unfortunately, the only way to "save the planet" is to shut down the economy. Even as the Europeans are turning their backs on Kyoto as impractical and too much of a burden for their economies at a time of globalrecession, Barack Obama signals his intent to assault our economy in unimaginable ways. For the last word, M_O_M:
When they start turning off your lights all the time, you're not going to be so pleased.