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  • Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on November 2nd, 2007 (All posts by )

    California and some Northeastern states have decided to force their residents to buy cars that average 43 miles-per-gallon within the next decade. Even if you applied this law to the entire world, the net effect would reduce projected warming by about 0.05 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, an amount so minuscule as to be undetectable. Global temperatures vary more than that from day to day.
     
    Suppose you are very serious about making a dent in carbon emissions and could replace about 10% of the world’s energy sources with non-CO2-emitting nuclear power by 2020 — roughly equivalent to halving U.S. emissions. Based on IPCC-like projections, the required 1,000 new nuclear power plants would slow the warming by about 0.2 ?176 degrees Fahrenheit per century. It’s a dent.
     
    But what is the economic and human price, and what is it worth given the scientific uncertainty?
     
    My experience as a missionary teacher in Africa opened my eyes to this simple fact: Without access to energy, life is brutal and short. The uncertain impacts of global warming far in the future must be weighed against disasters at our doorsteps today. Bjorn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus 2004, a cost-benefit analysis of health issues by leading economists (including three Nobelists), calculated that spending on health issues such as micronutrients for children, HIV/AIDS and water purification has benefits 50 to 200 times those of attempting to marginally limit “global warming.”
     
    Given the scientific uncertainty and our relative impotence regarding climate change, the moral imperative here seems clear to me.

     
    John R. Christy
     

     

    4 Responses to “Quote of the Day”

    1. joseph hill Says:

      emissions change for the better might indeed be very small. Now lets talk gas. As India and China continue to develop and expand, more and more of their citizens will be able to buy cars. It is happening now and is going to proceed rapidly. Take China. With zillions of cars using zillions of gallons of gas, you can ignore emmissions and ask where the fuel is going to come from. But people that seem anti-environmentalist are ut to dismiss concerns but in so doing seem too often to dismiss the larger picture.

    2. Jonathan Says:

      I think that in the larger picture people in developing countries will prefer not to squander life-giving investment capital on bullshit environmental schemes whose main purpose is to make western elitists feel good.

    3. JoseAngel Says:

      People in developed nations take for granted electricity, telephone, internet, cars and gasoline and a good job and a nice retirement plan. Since they don´t need to worry about that, they worry about their environment and the future of the planet.
      People in developing nations worry about having a job, any job, so they can at the very least pay the electricity, telephone and survive for the following month. Having a little four cylinder car is luxurious enough already. Worrying about the environment is elitist.

    4. Robert Schwartz Says:

      I think a 1000 new nuclear power plants is an estimable goal. One that the US should pursue chop-chop.