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.

Monday, January 24, 2005

The Earth Isn't Green Enough

One of my former students has made some interesting claims that I believe are worthy of discussion. Becky M. claims that it is wise to for the government to highly involved in the trying to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses in the world. She says:

Global Warming is a global threat! I compare that to saftey regulations in
buildings and cars--when designing, you don't really have a choice to leave out
things like airbags or fire alarms. That wouldn't really be fair to the safety
of others. I think it's the same with global warming! It is something that
affects the whole world! Weird weather patterns and melting of ice due to
drastic changes in temperature (a few degrees in a decade or so is drastic!)
could cause mudslides and flooding--and lots could occur in places where they
don't really have the money to make a good comeback from the devastation. So, in
this case, science is warning us of this threat and I really don't think that
private ventures are enough. The United States is a leading contributer of
greenhouse gases, so I think it's fair that we should really be a leader in this
issue. Just look at the Kyoto Protocol! Hundreds of countries have signed
because they're aware and want to fix things, but we haven't. I think that if we
can put a man on the moon, we can definitely find an effective way to cut way
down on greenhouse gases!

I will refrain from mentioning that most cars do not come equipped with fire alarms and focus on her main concerns about the environment. First, there is some argument about the direct cause of increasing temperatures. While some scientists put they blame solely on the increased amount of green house gasses others point out that the earth warms and cools on constant cycles that should not be interfered with. This is a kin to letting naturally ignited forest fires burn their course. But even if greenhouse gasses are to blame the ideas of the Kyoto Protocol are not the answer.

First of all, the fact that hundreds of nations have signed the protocol means very little to me. Of course nations with the least burden are going to support the protocol. This would be like me supporting a tougher grading scale and higher graduation requirements at Bethel College. It is OK with me since I don’t go to Bethel. It is easy for undeveloped nations with few greenhouse gasses to insist for huge reductions; but this would be a huge cost for the US.

My problem with Becky is that she is looking at a solution for the short run and not the long run. Straight forward regulation is only going to lead to a stifled economy and lead us back to the stagflation of the 1970s. Becky, is this the tradeoff you are seeking?

Instead of tying the US to a global pact that does not hold India and China to the same penalizing standards it holds the US to, I would suggest the current administrations push toward rewarding businesses that reduce pollution. Of course, this type of policy gets blasted by the left as “Bush helping Big business and his oil cronies.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go to Becky M.'s xanga site ( to read her rebuttal and clear any confusion about fire alarms in cars :)

1:15 AM  

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