Location: Halstead, Kansas, United States

This is my seventh year at Halstead which is also where I live with my wife and my soon to be two year old daughter.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Becky Becky Becky . . .

First of all, I applaud my former student for her rational and insightful method in putting forth her argument. She has made me think about the issues and the short term and long-term costs/benefits of global warming. I would say that this is an excellent way that Blogs can be used in the classroom. I also, from Beeks Place, I have learned that Becky like cake. Now to the latest installment of the global warming debate. Here are highlights of Becky's rant:

Yet only in the past 50 years have temperatures increased considerably for the given time frame. So yes, there is a natural cycle of the Earth, but global warming has aggravated it IMMENSELY, which can take quite a toll on nature.

the US would have to help pay for emission costs in developing countries and help pay for technology to reduce emissions. I wish this wasn't a problem, but this is a world issue

This is a great opportunity to be a leader--other developing countries have signed, why don't we take some hints from them? And like I said before, most of the emissions are from westernized nations, spilling out into EVERYONE'S air

Bush said that he would help reduce emissions, which I have failed to see any action since. Some major businesses--Boeing, Toyota, IBM, and Intel--have been going on their own ventures to reduce emissions and have had economic benefits. Cutting down emissions is energy efficient and saves lots of money for these companies

Very rational points but she still fails to convince. I maintain that developed nations are not all on board with this issue. China and India are both massive polluters and they are not part of the agreement (neither is Brazil or Australia and many other countries that have signed the protocol have failed to ratify it at home).

I would also point out that using the 1990 levels put the US at a disadvantage. The unified Germany had closed many massive polluting East German factories which pollution was counted on the pre-1990 levels. This makes the goal easily reached for our German friends but we do not get this benefit. Also, Great Britain had just found natural gas in the North Sea leading them to phase out coal as a chief energy source. The US would enter the agreement at a comparitive disadvantage.

Some experts also say that the protocols incentives for growing forces could cause a de facto destruction of wetlands which would hurt the CO2 levels.

The protocol also calls for quick fixes. This means massive regulations and stagnant economies. I would prefer a plan that called for innovation and invention. I would refer you to the decision of the US not to impose tariffs on Japanese cars in the early 1980s, which led to innovations in the US car plants. The economic ramifications are just too dangerous and brutal in the long run.

Let me give you this historical example: the improvements made in the US labor through the years. In the late 1800s, industrialization lowered labor standards in the US. But, through some internal government regulations and the demands of the people things changed for the better. I see the same for the future of the world environment. Innovations will cause less pollution and the dangers of global warming will be eliminated through the markets.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is Clemens!
Well, I think global warming is a very interesting topic to talk about. Like it is said there are some westernized nations that have signed the Kyoto protocol to decrease emission, and, especially in Europe, those countries try to put those new standards into reality.
For example, there are new standards in the European Union set for car or industry emission. And some countries even set further restrictions. Germany, for example is one of those; one major factor is that the Green party and the socialists party govern the country together. And I also think Germany has gone too far by abondoning nuclear power plants until 2040...
However, I think it is rather sad, that the US, the country with the highest CO2 emission, does not see a need in reducing their emission. I certainly agree that the US economy would suffer from some sort of temporary deprivation, but one can be sure that neither China nor India will start to lessen CO2 emission if the world's biggest polluter is not willing to join.
Furthermore, I think that there won't be any major improvement as long as President Bush is still in office, as he and parts of his administration originate from an industry that would fear major expenses, if they had to reduce CO2 emission.
Germany, for example, has invested into alternative Energy resources. I think that the US could also use their environmental resources more effectively. And, if the government is willing to spent another $80,000,000,000.00 for the war in Iraq, there should also be some money available for new investments as well as innovations. A war does not help a nation's economy to become stronger, either, new inventions and increased efficiency does!

3:42 PM  
Blogger Becky Mueller said...

CLEMENS, you hit my thoughts on the nosey! I've been doing lots of thinking lately. Sometimes I go back and forth between the Kyoto Protocol solution because I think about what Mr. Warsnak says. I've tried to think of some other logical solutions, so I visited some sites. Basically, we really just need to crack down! Many scientists say that the Artic summer ice could be almost non-exsistent by the end of the century!!So, I really think the Kyoto Protocol is a good global solution. In the past couple of years, we've really done well to make alternative energy sources more popular and accessible, and that will continue to grow. Like I said before, buisnesses that are reducing emissions are saving money already! Anyway. This makes me think of times "The Jungle"--when people worked in factories with dangerous conditions and little pay. Was it going to cost money and infringe on some "freedoms" (the freedom of the boss to not pay his workers enough!)? Of course! But if people were going to work safely and have their share of life, liberty, and happiness, something needed to be done. I think we can think along the same terms with the Kyoto Protocol and global warming. There's consequences to everything, and putting in the technology to reduce emissions isn't going to be free. But we're the ones contributing, and we've got money. I've taken action already by sending a letter to the president, and of course there's lots of things to do at home. Typing in "global warming" in Google gives you lots of resources and options to take action. So I think we should start doing SOMETHING!

12:32 AM  

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