Coal power plant in Datteln (Germany) at the D...
Image via Wikipedia

I don’t know why I keep reading these pieces, I am drawn to them.  Watts Up With That? has a piece that tries to rail against Obama’s latest announcement about vehicle emission standards.  Obama’s plan would cause American fleets to be revamped and hence more fuel efficient which woudl then offset the increase in vehicle price.

The wirters there, though, think they have a contracdiction in hand by isolating how Obama’s cap and trade mechanism woudl cause energy prices to rise, cutting against Obama’s planned savings by efficiency.  A few problems though.

1.  Cap and trade is directed at electricity generation and manufacturing.  The price of electricity would rise, not the price of gasoline.  In the US only 1% of electricity is generated by burning petroleum, so cap and trade will only have indirect effects upon the transportation sector.  It is also possible that the rise in electricity prices is a short term spike.  New production technologies would come on line dropping the price (I do believe this is the accurate model although there are some fairly persuasive arguments on the other side.)  There is no link to their supposed contradiction.

2.  Even if the price of petroleum were to be raised the people at Watts have made no attempt to measure the thresholds.  The fuel price rise would cut into efficiency savings, but to say they would swamp efficiency gains is a silly argument.  At odds?  Probably.  Counterproductive?  No.  The swamping claim assumes a static demand, which is the worse example of the elitism they accuse Obama of.

3.  The Watts argument is incomplete becasue it leaves out of the terminal impact Obama is trying to avoid.  Maybe it has already established itself as a place for denying the impact of climate change (I do believe there is anthropogenic climate change even though the apocalyptic impact scenarios are specious.)  But, if one believes in the disastrous predictions then the Obama contradiction still makes sense because decreasing CO2 emissions is still paramount.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Michael Crichton is an idiot. I listened to a podcast this morning of his participation in a debate about global warming. He stood resolved: global warming is not a crisis. Before hearing this debate I would have greed with the resolution, but not because I deny that anthropocentric warming is occurring but because the impact of said warming is not a crisis.

Crichton, however, had a different argument, one that did not prove the resolution. He argued that poverty kills millions of people a year in preventable deaths and that environmentalists were draining funds from preventing these deaths to some future possible crisis. He then reduced environmentalists to be head-in-the-sand deniers of suffering. This is a weak argument and it exposed Crichton for what I had always feared he was: a moron that can write.

His argument does nothing to the resolution. It addresses neither the impact nor the validity of the global warming debate. The true test is if his opponents, those who argued global warming is a crisis, could agree with his argument that environmental resources could be spent instead on poverty prevention. The answer is yes, and therefore is not in competition with the resolution’s negation.

Leave it to a wealthy person that is not charitable enough to stave off his sense of guilt by blaming the philanthropists of callousness. The environmentalists rallying around global warming are anything but callous moralizers. These are people that see deleterious effects, present or future, caused by our way of living. If anyone is oblivious it would be Crichton for failing to see beyond immediate impacts.

I thought Jurassic Park was an excellent book, one which not only entertained but also sparked scientific interest in non-scientific circles. However, maybe there is a time for Crichton to stop talking in scientific circles and return to what he does best: entertaining the masses.