CO2 Treaty Dead On Arrival

Bruce Koerner policebx at win.bright.net
Sat Jun 28 11:08:51 EST 1997


John Alway wrote:
> [...] 
>           When you catalogue all of the outrageous and debunked claims
>         made by environmentalists there has to be a point where the
>         rational among us say "hmmm, perhaps we're being led down
>         the prim rose path.  Perhaps the problem isn't the environment,
>         but the thinking of environmentalists!"
> 
>           I mean, if you stick around these environmentalists groups
>         long enough you wouldn't believe the sheer number of new
>         monumental problems people claim to have discovered.
> 
> 
>         ...John


You know, I've been watching this thread for a while, and all I've seen 
is flames against the environmentalists, not facts.  I have often heard 
the same kind of attacks coming from Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh.  In 
a controversial subject, you often hear each side giving facts to support 
their side, and flames against the other side.  If you look below the 
surface, it is usually because the facts given in argument pro, are true 
and cannot be directly countered by fact.  Therefore, the response is to 
undermine the source.

As effective as this is in court and public debate (witness the O. J. 
Simpson trial, there were NO facts supporting O. J., and quite a few 
against him), it ignores the underlying truthes.  So here are a few.

The Challenger Disaster could have been prevented without asbestos with 
information available to the launch crew at the time. In fact, the 
major change that was made by NASA to prevent future incidents was to 
take the launch decision away from administrators, and give it to an 
astronaut.  It therefore is not an argument for the use of asbestos.  The 
only reason I have ever heard for eliminating the ban against asbestos is 
the philosophical opposition to regulation.  If there are people who will 
fatten their wallets or take their pleasure without consideration for 
others (and we ALL know that such people exist), regulation will have to 
exist.  Live with it!  The questions are: What is the purpose of this 
regulation? Does it improve the situation it was intended to address? Is 
there a regulation that would address the problem more effectively?  Is 
there a regulation that would address the problem as effectively and more 
economically?

Remember, economic interests (such as corporations) will not address ANY 
problem, no matter how severe, until it impacts the bottom line.  And 
they will often opt to pay off the injured parties instead of fixing the 
problem (because its cheaper).  In environmental cases, irreparable 
damage has often occurred before anyone's bottom line was effected.  We 
seem to have developed a case of collective amnesia about this.  Doesn't 
anyone remember the choking brown haze over LA or the sooty black skies 
over Pittsburg.  These problems were releived by air quality standards, 
not lawsuits or economics.

Environmentalists often put the worst case scenario first.  "Silent 
Spring" is, of course, the logical extreme of what would happen if 
chemical manipulation of the environment is not regulated.  The truth is, 
as it often is, they painted the END RESULT of this process, not the NEXT 
STEP.  Malthus made the same mistake when he raised the spectre of 
overpopulation.  He projected the growth of population at it's then 
current rate (it is down significantly), and predicted when each person 
would have a square yard of ground to stand on.  This raised our 
awareness, there were books and sculptures and television shows ("Star 
Trek: Mark of Gideon" for one) about it.  But the immediate overcrowding 
didn't materialize.  We are just now beginning to realize that the core 
of our environmental problems (deforestation, loss of habitat, extinction 
of species, pollution, greenhouse emmissions, lack of landfill, etc.) is 
that the growing needs of a growing population are taking this away.  The 
key in this matter is the amount of farmland needed to support a given 
population.  This has diminished over the last twenty years, but that 
trend is showing signs of reaching it's limits.

It's true that the environmentalists have "cried wolf" quite a bit.  The 
flip side is that most of the problems that they have cried about have 
been real.  They have simply cried "Wolf Pack" when "Lone Wolf" would 
have been more appropriate.  A smaller or less immediate problem, is 
still a problem, and it should be prioritized and addressed.

As to global warming.  The data of temperature change and CO2 change in 
the real world match the model.  As with any scientific study, it does so 
with a limited precision.  In this case, the precision is poor enough 
that we can't be sure that this model of warming has more merit than 
others.  It has only been recently that enough data has existed that we 
can even be sure that the warming is happening.  Whether or not this is a 
cyclical, natural, or man-made problem.  If it continues, it will be a 
problem.

I think it is wonderful that, for once, we are saying, "We MAY have a 
problem here.  What can we reasonably do to head it off?"  Instead of 
waiting for the crisis to hit.

Finally, remember loss of habitat and deforestation are primarily 
population problems.  This is in everyone's hands.  Limit yourself to two 
or fewer children.  If you want a tribe, adopt them.  Your grandchildren 
will thank you.



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