Anonymous asked in EnvironmentGlobal Warming · 1 decade ago

Will winning the war on global climate change require slaughtering some of environmentalism's sacred cows?

This statement was presented in Wired magazine last month. Also included was the following "10 tenets of the new environmental apostasy."

Take a look and see what you think .... and get back to me?

15 Answers

  • J S
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Some of the points they make are useful, some seem more like simple-minded misinformation.

    1: Live in Cities

    They offer 1% of the population as an example for commuting, then conclude that cities are less impactful. Suburbs are the only option they compare with. It's not mentioned that suburbs might be perfectly acceptible if there where a few billion fewer of us. Manhattan is noted as 30% more efficient than average American lifestyles, but it is not noted that this is still far more impactful than most people on the planet.

    2: A/C Is OK

    In the Northeast, a typical house heated by fuel oil emits 13,000 pounds of CO2 annually. Cooling a similar dwelling in Phoenix produces only 900 pounds of CO2 a year. Air-conditioning wins on a national scale as well.

    An interesting point that could affect planning choices and increasingly come into play in personal choices as energy becomes more expensive. It doesn't scale well to the entire population however. We can't all move to Phoenix. Water supplies there and in similarly hot areas are challenged and will only get worse as the planet warms.

    For today the economics aren't mentioned because air conditioning uses more expensive electric power. Does this point really boil down to an argument to use more electric power?

    3: Organics Are Not The Answer

    What matters is eating food that's locally grown and in season. So skip the prewashed bag of organic greens trucked from two time zones away — the real virtue may come from that conventionally farmed head of lettuce grown in the next county.

    OK, but that's an argument against point #1. Can these points work together, or are they simply a mishmash of things not considered in depth?

    4: Farm the Forests

    Over its lifetime, a tree shifts from being a vacuum cleaner for atmospheric carbon to an emitter. A tree absorbs roughly 1,500 pounds of CO2 in its first 55 years. After that, its growth slows, and it takes in less carbon. Left untouched, it ultimately rots or burns and all that CO2 gets released.

    Seems like creative math to assume that there's 100% decomposition, but even accepting their premise, with 98-99% of old growth forests in America logged in recent decades, the point is what? On a global scale, what percentage of cleared forests are then replanted? A logical, less implistic and more productive argument would be for more replanting, not more logging.

    5: China Is the Solution

    Will renovating the planet spur the first wave of homegrown Chinese tech innovation? Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric, thinks so. "China has as much or more at stake than anyone," he said at a recent corporate summit. "Solar energy, carbon sequestration — we're going to be blown away by China's progress over the next couple of decades."

    True, China is making the investments in innovation that the U.S. has delayed making due to decades of misinformation and foot-dragging. A few well-placed laws holding industries and lobbyists accountable for intentional misconduct would go a long way towards enabling the U.S. to catch up.

    6: Accept Genetic Engineering

    Advocating accepting the extreme risk ignores the reason that we're considering genetic engineering... too many people on this planet to feed, transport, etc.

    7: Carbon Trading Doesn't Work

    A few fun facts: All the so-called clean development mechanisms authorized by the Kyoto Protocol, designed to keep 175 million tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere by 2012, will slow the rise of carbon emissions by ... 6.5 days. (That's according to Roger Pielke at the University of Colorado.) Depressed yet? Kyoto also forces companies in developed countries to pay China for destroying HFC-23 gas, even though Western manufacturers have been scrubbing this industrial byproduct for years without compensation.

    Looks like evidence that China and other developing countries must be included in all treaties, not a convincing argument against cap and trade in general.

    8: Embrace Nuclear Power

    Embracing the atom is key to winning the war on warming: Electric power generates 26 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and 39 percent of the United States' — it's the biggest contributor to global warming.1 One of the Kyoto Protocol's worst features is a sop to greens that denies carbon credits to power-starved developing countries that build nukes — thereby ensuring they'll continue to depend on filthy coal.

    And developing nations would do what with the spent fuel rods? I suspect that a fair number would get dumped off the nearest coastline. How would their solution to the disposal issue scale with the 500+ power plants soon to be built in developing nations, it they were all switched to nuclear?

    Of course the solution can't be as simple as asking them to have slightly fewer then the current 7 they have on average, dramatically increasing the need for more power. Why do we allow their growth in coal power plants to be grossly misrepresented as being for the benefit of the ultra poor, when it's actually simply powering the population boom in their cities? Is it reasonable to allow this growth while it threatens everyone else's survival? The answer may be nukes, but not the kind that produce power.

    9: Used Cars — Not Hybrids

    "Buy a decade-old Toyota Tercel, which gets a respectable 35 mpg, and the Prius will have to drive 100,000 miles to catch up."

    I've often wondered about the tradoff between manufacturing cost and operational efficiency, but this works for one person, but doesn't scale to a whole society.

    10: Prepare for the Worst

    The Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, calculates that even if the US, Europe, and Japan turned off every power plant and mothballed every car today, atmospheric CO2 would still climb from the current 380 parts per million to a perilous 450 ppm by 2070, thanks to contributions from China and India. (Do nothing and we'll get there by 2040.) In short, we're already at least lightly browned toast. It's time to think about adapting to a warmer planet.

    Perhaps it's time to stop supporting the economies in India and China? Of course they're just producing goods that we choose to buy. Wal-Mart and Target could go a long way towards resolving the problem by defining standards for their suppliers, without the involvement of any governments.

    It's certainly time to stop entering into treaties like Kyoto that provide the illusion of favorable change while actually funding economic development in the nations with the worst impact.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Blessings... don't believe it is within mankind's power to reverse climate change. However, I believe that mankind is having an accelerating effect on what is a natural phenomena, so all we can do is to slow down the rate of change. It will take a change in the actual causes of climate change (which are natural) rather than the unnecessarily scaring people with climate disasters. Climate change is a fact of life on this planet. Our influence on this is insignificant. We do not have to power to cause it or stop it......It is time for people to get some perspective. We only contribute about 1.3% of the total carbon dioxide that is present in the atmosphere. The rest is wholly from natural sources. Additionally, carbon dioxide is not even close to being the most important greenhouse gas. Water vapor is many times more important. However, we don't understand all of the interactions between water and the heating of the atmospheres. So, our computer models don't take that factor into account. The whole human cause climate change argument is built on rather flimsy evidence and a great deal of pear pressure to tow the environmentalist line. However, more and more scientist are beginning to speak out against this.

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  • 1 decade ago

    RealClimate took this article to task:

    And I think EcoGeek struck a much better balance.

    My take:

    1) Live in cities - sure, that's a valid point. Suburban sprawl requires goods to be transported further.

    2) A/C is okay - RealClimate took them to task on this one. Totally bogus argument on every level.

    3) Organics aren't the answer - I'm still not sure what they're supposed to be the answer to. There are serious benefits to organic farming. If WIRED is proposing eliminating organic farming, I certainly don't agree. There has to be a balance.

    4) Farm the forests - Dumb argument, I agree with EcoGeek on this one.

    5) China is the solution - that would be great.

    6) Accept Genetic Engineering - on some level, I agree, but it's something we have to be careful about.

    7) Carbon Trading Doesn't Work - BS. EcoGeek won this argument too.

    8) Embrace Nuclear Power - disagree. Nuclear power needs to play a role, but renewable energy is where we need to focus.

    9) Used Cars — Not Hybrids - disagree. The more fuel efficient cars are on the road, the better. There is a fixed number of cars on the road, and the higher their fuel efficiency, the better. Yes it takes slightly more energy to manufacture a new hybrid, but it more than makes up for that extra energy production over its lifetimes of fuel efficiency.

    10) Prepare for the Worst - sure, we have to both prevent as much climate change as we can and adapt to the change which will occur. I don't agree that this is "one of the great green taboos". That's BS.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Unfortunately, life is full of dilemmas and yes we need to compromise to find the best solutions. I also want to say that as serious as global warming might be, fighting it to ANY price is not an option.

    Here's my comments:

    1. Yes, unfortunately this is true. It's better for the environment if humans tried to live more compact.

    2. I don't get the point? They are not used at the same time are they? Why not try to use less of both?

    3. Yes, sometimes.

    4. Yes, sometimes, but most of the time it's the other way around.

    5. Yes, and NO.

    6. Maybe

    7. False. Carbon trading needs to be adjusted, but if we want to keep our free market economies, then it can be a good tool to help.

    8. Until we find a way to deal with the waste in a way that don't leave a growing problem for our future generations I hope not. How much waste would it produce if we started to use nuclear everywhere?

    9. This can definitely be true! Producing new cars demands energy. However, when it's time to produce and buy a new car, make sure it's a climate friendly one.

    10. True! We just need to do what we can to prevent it from getting too bad in the future.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    right on

    let get some style back into the issue

    Sacrificial altar stones in the public squares,

    And every full moon off with their heads

    (the cows of course)

    And a barbecue for the poor after

    This is what you meant ?

    i presume

    I great idea

    killing several birds (cows)

    with one stone (the alter)

    it has religious value

    feeds the needy

    less methane

    less stress on the land

    competes with McDonald's

    sounds better by the minute

    Bush says what he thinks people want to hear ,It has nothing to do with reality,the Corporations and governments that are publicly huge on helping Humanity and the Environment are at the same time,often the biggest offenders.

    Sorry to be flippant but which ever way we look at it ,Humanity is a recipe for disaster ,We are breeding ourselves into conflict.

    Knowing the solutions still does not mean that enough of the globe will comply in time .And the text here is not from a global perspective ,rather American society.

    I now believe we are into a negative momentum ,to far gone into our addictions to what has in essence been the wrong road from the beginning.

    We asked Bill Mollison (a Prophet on sustainability ) How he envisioned saving our civilization ,He said ---I wish it could all just stop.Pull the switch ,stop industry,mono agriculture ,transport,our unsustainable behavior ,Stop everything

    Just for a while to regroup,

    re-plan ,

    redesign society and all of its behavior and how we address our needs

    And that CAN NEVER happen.Money dictates too many.

    And they tend to be the powerful ones.

    To maintain HOPE we have to try and create as many positive concepts as possible ,to buy time ,to improve our quality of life,In the country and suburbs,as individuals or in groups or communities.

    To set the pace for a sustainable human existance ,outposts of sense for what come after.

    Society as a whole is hampered by bureaucracy and cannot agree to changes fast enough.

    Perhaps we need eco Hitlers to make it happen.Which means that somebody is gonna get hurt,

    And Environmentalism will be loved even more than it already is (this is a joke)

    But it will be a slow process ,most of us wont be involved in the climax anyway.

    Being neither prophetical nor negative ,but merely statistical,

    we Perhaps need to come to terms with the fact that All experiments of human society have had their limits.

    why should we be different


    Ingela --compromise is luxury for situations of choice.

    what if there is no alternative????

    Global Warming is not the ONLY snake in the grass.It is merely a component in a list of many.

    Have to agree a lot with what JS says

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  • Ken
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Personally, I don't believe in sacred cows, so I wouldn't write off any approach if there's sufficient evidence it's actually beneficial. My concern, however, is that most people (including journalists) are poor analysts that jump to conclusions before gathering all the proper data and fact-checking with reputable experts in the pertinent fields. And I think this wired article demonstrates that.

    This article makes a few good points, but they also misinform the reader on other points.

    Urban living, assuming the people work and live in the same area, is certainly efficient. Nuclear power is a fine solution for a portion of our energy needs.

    There used car vs. prius point is somewhat misleading. If there were a surplus of efficient used cars sitting around unused, then buying one is certainly a good idea. But cars wear out or get totaled in an accident. So eventually people will need to buy new cars. When that time comes, it's more energy efficient to buy one that gets excellent mileage.

    Here's an analysis of this article that I found well reasoned and researched:

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    That article was full of misinformation! It was definitely prepared by the nuke industry. Some of the "10" sound like something a jellohead would say. Especially the statements that 'climate change' is inevitable, or the 'old growth forests' cause greenhouse gases. Nuke power is not the answer. All energy on the Earth,originally came from the Sun. Even nukes. We need to get our energy from the SOURCE! Solar and bio-fuels will be the answer. Yes,we will have to make some sacrifices in our life styles, but we don't have to give up our ideals!

    Source(s): Bush admin. says AGW is real!
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  • manda
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    To answer the question, yes, I think environmentalists are going to have to accept that GW should be absolutely the number one environmental priority.

    Here's an example. Solar energy developments in California are being slowed due to concerns about certain species of squirrel and turtles. Now I am not saying we shouldn't be concerned about those species, but I believe GW is a much more pressing issue, and we can't afford to waste any time.

    The 10 points made in your link are interesting. I particularly agree with the first one. I am lucky that right now I live in the city where I work, and I am able to ride my bike every day. It is unfortunate that most of us in the U.S. don't have the option to walk, ride a bike, or even use public transportation because our population is so spread out.

    It's too bad they don't provide scientific backing for all of those statements, because they truly are some interesting ideas and I'd like to know more.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Change is great(ie; adaptation)...we just don't have to mislead the public. It's easy to find conflicting testimonials in science along with everything else. It is a common sense approach more so then a "Meta Theory" of demand and encroachment.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I believe point 10 is the only thing note worthy in this "article" aside from the fact the the "greenies" are still using electricity to broadcast their dislike of it.

    "Prepare for the Worst:

    Climate Change Is Inevitable. Get Used to It "

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Nuclear energy is definitely not the answer. This is one of those issues that makes me doubt the true goals of AGW proponets. And I don't think it's "sacred cows," I think it's self-preservation.

    Nice to have the nuclear interests here as usual. :P

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