Re: Kyoto, Driving our car

Damien R. Sullivan (
Mon, 8 Dec 1997 18:24:43 -0800 (PST)

On Dec 8, 4:13pm, "Warrl kyree Tale'sedrin" wrote:
> Subject: Re: Kyoto, Driving our car
> > From: Arjen Kamphuis <>
> >
> > (the problem in a nutshell - IMHO)
> >
> > We're driving on a misty night at full speed along a road we don't
> > know. Brakingdistance is about 100 meters, visibility about the
> > same. Someone on the backseat claims that there is an obstacle ahead
> > but can't tell whether it's something solid or just a slight
> > thickening of the fog.
> >
> > Now, we're in a hurry to get to a party (Cryo, Far Edge,
> > whatever...) and the driver wants to keep everybody happy so he's
> > not going to slow down because some backseater 'thinks' he sees
> > something. So here we are rushing toward an object that could be
> > anything from a whisp of fog to a solid wall of concrete. After some
> > discussion the still unclear object is now to close for a full stop,
> > the choice is: we just drive on and 'see what happens' or the ask
> > the driver to brake and hit 'whatever it is' at the lowest speed
> > possible. Bumpers and airbags might minimize the damage (if any).
> >
> Really bad analogy.
> A better analogy:
> You're driving along a road through low hills. It's a rather twisty
> road and you can't see all that far ahead, but you're driving at a
> reasonable speed. One of the back seat passengers thinks he sees a
> fog bank up ahead, and says that he vaguely remembers the road
> turning abruptly downhill somewhere along here. Another back seat
> passenger says he saw no fog bank, and remembers the first backseater
> claiming a few days before that the road turns abruptly UPhill. A
> third backseater (it's a big vehicle) says that if we go any higher
> we'll run out of oxygen, and a fourth points at the lambs gamboling
> at the top of a nearby hill and claims the oxygen problem ain't so.
> Meanwhile the first backseater claims we're near sea level and so
> going down could be bad, and the fourth guy notices that off in the
> distance (through a conveniently timed gap) it appears we can see a
> lot further down and there's no sign of an ocean.
> And in response to this confusion, some want us to come to a dead
> halt.
> > An international panel of scientists have some pretty good theories
> > that something will happen to the global climate
> The evidence for an ice age is as good as the evidence for global
> warming.
> > due to the usage of
> > fossile fuels
> Actually, if the ice-age theorists (who were the panick mongering
> government-must-intervene-to-save-us crowd when I was in high school)
> are right, then the usage of fossil fuels might be why we AREN'T
> having problems.
> > (the only countries that don't agree with the
> > IPCC-reports are a few OPEC-members). Increased downward infrared
> > flux trough increased CO2 concentration is a well-accepted fact (and
> > maybe a way to terraform Mars someday). The precise effects on the
> > global climate system cannot be estimated at this point, it may take
> > another 10 to 15 years to find conclusive evidence for (or against)
> > a human-induced climatechange.
> There is no need to wait for this evidence at all. We can state
> categorically that previous eras when the temperature was rather
> higher than it is today were clearly NOT caused by human technology
> (being as they occurred variously before the dawn of man, up to as
> late as about the time humans started trying to domesticate fire).
> We can further say with equal confidence that they were NOT
> environmental disasters in any way that we would recognise. That
> while there have been fluctuation in shorelines all over the place
> all the time, there is no compelling evidence that any particular
> fluctuation was due to temperature variations in the range the
> global-warming-doomsday theorists are predicting. (The
> ice-age-doomsday theorists, score rather differently on this point.)
> We can further state with confidence that human action did not make
> all that much difference in the CO2 content of the atmosphere over
> this century -- and the times it WOULD have made what difference it
> DID make, don't match up with the times of temperature changes or CO2
> level changes.
> > But: if nothing is done before then
> > it may very well be too late do to anything.
> > Given the fact that we have a resonable indication that something is
> > going to happen that _may_ be very damaging to to the only habitable
> > planet we have it does not seem unreasonable to try to do something
> But what? The choices are, with no particular reason to believe one
> over another:
> (a) an ice age is coming, we need to increase the greenhouse effect
> (b) we're increasing the greenhouse effect and threatening to cook
> our planet, we need to reduce the greenhouse effect
> (c) neither of these is happening, there's no big deal
> > (IMHO).
> >
> >
> > Maybe we could somehow include the cost of bonding the CO2 again (by
> > reforrestation) in the price of gasoline or electricity, as an
> > alternative for complex regulation. That way anybody can drive (&
> > fly) as much as he/she want as long as the true global cost of
> > 'closed-cycle' consumption is paid. The funds could be used (by
> > oilcompanies?) to plant trees that will bond atmospheric carbon or
> > put into energy research.
> Even if we assume that you are right about the problem, it may be
> that you are wrong about the solution. The fundamental need is to
> increase the amount of organic matter. If your solution compels poor
> people on marginal land to continue the agricultural practices now
> turning that marginal land into desert, you are being
> counter-productive.
> For that matter, according to some studies, if 1/100 of what Clinton
> proposes US businesses should pay out of their own pockets each year
> to cut their CO2 emissions were applied to dumping dusts of
> metals-rich organic chemicals into the southern oceans, we might
> solve the problem not only for the US, but for the entire world.
> That is, still, assuming for the sake of argument that the
> global-warming doomsayers are right in their predictions. What if
> the ice-age doomsayers are right?
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>-- End of excerpt from "Warrl kyree Tale'sedrin"