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.

Friday, January 28, 2005

More Student's Opinions

We have new arguments from Becky and she is joined in her crusade by one of our German friends, Clemens. He provides a nice European flavour (notice how I add the ‘u’ in flavor for out European friends). To summarize their arguments:

From Clemens

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.

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

From Becky

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.

I think some important points need to be made:

1. I do not believe that industry or people in general want to hurt the environment. If industry can produce and products that cause less pollution without and impacting cost they will. If you believe this argument, then I think you have to support the idea of providing incentive for over the idea of regulating current technology. Innovation moves you forward while regulation (Kyoto Protocol) takes you backwards. Cracking down will make the world poorer and probably cause the Protocol to collapse upon itself without helping the environment.
2. Regulation will also hurt innovation. Resources will be diverted into regulatory agencies whose sole purpose is to make sure the protocol is enforced. There would also have to be a lot of documentation and bureaucracy in order to track compliance. This leads me to believe that the protocol is not the best allocation of resources.
3. There is no solid proof that global warming is going to continue. The models that are being used take in many factors and slight changes in any of the factors could cause significant changes in global weather patterns. I know the weatherman is often wrong about the five day forecast, why should we trust the 100 year forecast.
4. The Kyoto Protocol is just one idea of how to help the environment. I would favor ideas that seem to encourage innovation over cracking down on people. I think if you are going to subsidize something, than Bush’s decision to subsidize hydrogen cell research has merit. Bush’s tax-cuts included a tax break for people who buy hybrid vehicles. Tradable pollution licenses can also have merit.
I think too many environmentalist are unwilling to take a long term approach. They feel that you must totally eliminate pollution in the short term, and if you compromise on that idea you are going to destroy the earth. The reality is that the less you impede the market the better opportunity there is to actually help the environment.


Blogger brittany said...

First, I would like to say that the US' level of CO2 emissions is not a direct result of Bush's presidency. Things that happen are not always the direct result of current administration *cough surplus in the 90's cough*. Now, I am not saying that Bush is going to jump for something that will harm the oil industry, but seriously, he's not some evil ogre or anything, he's a crusader.
Second, just looking at meteorological history, there are HUGE fluctuations in atmospheric temperature. Its like the economy, hot or cold, rich or poor.
Third, in addition to the cost of creating anew department for regulating protocol, there would be law suits, fines, and probably some form of Emissions Insurance that people would have to pay for. Huge hit to the economy? Most likely.
Now, I am not saying that we should sacrifice the earth because of our economy. But shouldn't the money be put towards finding and encouraging alternate energy sources? Don't liberals usually argue for rehabilitation instead of punishment? Or is that just for humans?

10:04 PM  

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