CO2 Treaty Dead On Arrival

Bruce Koerner policebx at
Mon Jun 23 23:44:32 EST 1997

Steve Conover, Sr. wrote:
> On Thu, 19 Jun 1997 07:36:48 -0600, cmcr at wrote:
> >many large scale env. tragedies (e.g. lead in gas, smoking) have been
> >allowed to continue using this brain-dead reasoning.
> If "brain-dead reasoning" means ignoring some of the side effects
> of a given political policy, because it is politically
> counterproductive to include them, you are correct.  Here are
> some examples:
> *  The banning of asbestos helped kill the seven Challenger
> astronauts;
> *  The banning of CFC's is killing third-worlders as we speak, in
> spite of the fact that nobody seems interested in reporting it;
> *  Recycling of newspapers, instead of burning or burying them,
> reduces the number of trees that will be on the planet for future
> generations to enjoy.
> Banning things requires political power, and that's what the
> leaders of the environmental movement are after.  They are
> politicians, not scientists, but it is more politically expedient
> to call it science instead of politics.
> Why won't they just admit that it's a political agenda they're
> pushing?  You gave me the answer I was looking for: they are
> merely politicians using brain-dead reasoning.  Thanks.
> --Steve

Steve, I'm not following YOUR reasoning.  In a sense, anyone who believes in 
something is "pushing a political agenda".

So what?

We've become so cynical that we can't even recognize that the best 
interpretation of a person's motive (an altruistic love of something) and 
the worst interpretation (they want the power to have things their way) are 
usually not mutually exclusive, and often are both present in any 
one person's motives.

That being the case, I don't see why the diatribe.  In any case...

The Challenger tragedy was preventable without asbestos.  So why keep a 
carcinogen that we don't need around.  Like the tobacco companies, the 
Asbestos sellers would not have stopped selling without a legal push.  
Re-tooling costs too much.  However, a lot of innocent people would have 
died early if they hadn't been pushed to stop.  With asbestos it wasn't as 
big a deal, because the companies weren't selling "asbestos", they were 
selling "thermal insulation" and "fire protection devices".  They simply had 
to re-tool to use alternate materials.

How is the banning of CFCs killing third worlders?!  This sounds like an 
inflammatory claim to me!  The only justifications that I can even think of 
are that they have lost jobs (and therefore buying power, and therefore 
MAYBE the ability to buy food), or that they are unable to get or use the 
new refridgerants, therefore their refridgerators are failing, and their 
food is spoiling.  Both of these lines of reasoning sound pretty weak.  
Poverty is a largely intractable problem, which is caused by competition for 
resources.  I shouldn't say that it is truly intractible problem.  If we 
would share our resources, instead of competing for them, poverty would 
disappear.  The problem that balks that idea is finding a way to do this 
that provides an incentive to participate in the sharing, instead of 
leeching off of it.  On the other side, CFCs catalyze the breakdown of 
ozone.  Ozone protects our forests from overexposure to ultraviolet 
radiation.  If CFCs remained unchecked, it is reasonable to believe that we 
would be facing mass deforestation and crippling of agriculture across major 
areas of the planets in fifty years or so.  That would be major starvation, 
the dust bowl years wouldn't hold a candle to it.

Burying newspapers does not allow even one more tree to grow.  Newspapers 
buried twenty years ago are still legible today.  There are archeologists 
that dig them up and read them.  They aren't decaying.  It's actually a good 
thing they aren't.  We'd have severe ground water problems if they were.  
Burning paper would be good, if we were planting trees fast enough to absorb 
the CO2.  We aren't, and that is the part that needs to be fixed.  The rest 
doesn't mean a thing.

I'm glad of the CO2 confrence.  The changes won't be drastic (to much 
economic upheval), but they will be a step in close to the right direction. 
 In another year or two we will be ready for another step.  By then we will 
have an even better idea of what the right direction is.

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