cfalk
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Bush's Announced Anti-Pollution Program

Fri Feb 15, 2002 7:13 am

I'd like to hear what people have to say about Bush's announced alternative to Kyoto.

I listened to the speech, and listened also to the outrage of various "greens" who want nothing less than the shutdown of the economy and the throwing out of work of millions so that they can "commune with nature" by going back to living in caves.

I think the one thing missing is something to stop the excessive size of automobiles in the U.S.. I read recently that the average automobile in 2002 is heavier than the average car in 1972 - the time that everyone thinks was full of huge, heavy cars. I think that there should be a weight tax on all cars and trucks (no exceptions). Maybe no tax up to 1000 kgs, then $1 per kg after that. the following year it would go to $2 per kg., then $3, etc, until all these SUVs and oversize wagons are all but gone.

Charles
The only thing you should feel when shooting a terrorist: Recoil.
 
Scorpio
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RE: Bush's Announced Anti-Pollution Program

Fri Feb 15, 2002 7:33 am

I listened to the speech, and listened also to the outrage of various "greens" who want nothing less than the shutdown of the economy and the throwing out of work of millions so that they can "commune with nature" by going back to living in caves.

*sigh*
 
Hoffa
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RE: Bush's Announced Anti-Pollution Program

Fri Feb 15, 2002 7:38 am

I agree. The terms of Kyoto are not really relective of economic reality IMHO. Its one thing for all the countries in the world to gang up on those cowboy Americans in Marrakesh, but the question of enforcement begs the question of what Canada, Australia, Japan are going to do should they exceed the agreed limits. Pay a ridiculous fine or send the treaty into the recycle bin. Very few countries have yet to ratify the Kyoto agreement.
 
cfalk
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RE: Bush's Announced Anti-Pollution Program

Fri Feb 15, 2002 7:43 am

Are there any developed countries that have ratified Kyoto?

Charles
The only thing you should feel when shooting a terrorist: Recoil.
 
cfalk
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RE: Bush's Announced Anti-Pollution Program

Fri Feb 15, 2002 7:47 am

You have something to say, Scorpio?
The only thing you should feel when shooting a terrorist: Recoil.
 
FlyBoeing
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RE: Bush's Announced Anti-Pollution Program

Fri Feb 15, 2002 8:03 am

I don't think there should be a pollution tax on SUV's. That's a dumb idea - some people like those who live in New Hampshire would get really smacked by that regulation.

I like the "pollution credits" approach, which allocates pollution reduction to places where it's economically feasible by issuing a set number of tons of pollution as an allottment. Companies engaged in polluting activities that are highly profitable could buy pollution credits from companies that engage in polluting activities that aren't profitable.

The government should simply buy the credits and pass the cost on to the people in a "fossil fuel tax".
 
Klaus
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Hoffa

Fri Feb 15, 2002 8:54 am

Hoffa: I agree. The terms of Kyoto are not really relective of economic reality IMHO.

They reflect the environmental reality. Some things just have to be done, whether we like it or not.

Hoffa: Its one thing for all the countries in the world to gang up on those cowboy Americans in Marrakesh,

That´s a good one! Big thumbs up
Throwing tantrums and then sulking in a corner when they´ve not gotten their way has indeed failed to make the USA look good; I´ll give you that!  Wink/being sarcastic

Hoffa: but the question of enforcement begs the question of what Canada, Australia, Japan are going to do should they exceed the agreed limits. Pay a ridiculous fine or send the treaty into the recycle bin.

The EU is already operating on that mode: Stick to your promises or pay up! Tough! Big grin

Breaking any treaty you may find inconvenient is a lot easier, you´re right about that. Some people are just a little sqeamish when it´s about breaking one´s word, but apparently, it gets easier with every time you do it.

Hoffa: Very few countries have yet to ratify the Kyoto agreement.

EU countries are set to pull it through. The process is under way.
And national environmental policies have already been steered on course for years.
 
Matt D
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RE: Bush's Announced Anti-Pollution Program

Fri Feb 15, 2002 9:09 am

I think that an "oversize" tax on excessive weight vehicles is a brilliant idea.

Of course such a levy would be an outrage here in CA, being that trucks and SUV's constitute nearly two thirds of the vehicles driven here. The problem arises not out of spite to large vehicles per se, but rather for those people that want it both ways:

1. They want large gas guzzling vehicles
2. They want cheap gas

3. They want clean air
4. They don't want any new oil drilling

So the priorties need to be set up. And the only way I can see achieving all four objectives simultaneously is to severely penalize the people that place preference on nos. 1 and 2. By doing that, only the wealthiest (or stupidest) people will be able to attempt all 4. Then all the other objectives for the good of everyone else will fall into place, without having to resort to living in caves or breating thick brown air. Since it seems pretty evident that the auto mfrs are not going to bring trucks and SUV's to clean air standards, if we have to, we'll tax them out of existence.

Otherwise, something else has to give.


And as for the good folks in NH:

All I can say is: "Boo hoo".
 
b757300
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RE: Bush's Announced Anti-Pollution Program

Fri Feb 15, 2002 10:03 am

Japan scuttled Kyoto as soon as their economy went down the drain.
"There is no victory at bargain basement prices."
 
Hoffa
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RE: Bush's Announced Anti-Pollution Program

Fri Feb 15, 2002 12:13 pm

They reflect the environmental reality. Some things just have to be done, whether we like it or not

Not really, the science isn't conclusive on whether global warming exists, and if so what causes it. Kyoto (if actually ratified) reduces global production in Carbon gases of 0.01% at an enormous economic cost to economies and jobs. Dumb! Fails the cost-benefit analysis if you ask me. Especially when half of the world is in recession.

Throwing tantrums and then sulking in a corner when they´ve not gotten their way has indeed failed to make the USA look good; I´ll give you that

The US never said it would ratify the agreement; it is the other countries that openly booed the US in the conference hall even as it remains to be seen who will ratify and who won't that gives me a chuckle.

EU countries are set to pull it through. The process is under way.
And national environmental policies have already been steered on course for years.


I think the EU will be the only bloc of countries that actually goes ahead with the agreement in its entirety---regulation, enforcement, the whole thing. It will just be too tempting for the other countries to walk away from the treaty should they be required to pay huge fines for violating their quotas. EU can't do it alone, I'm afraid.

Breaking any treaty you may find inconvenient is a lot easier, you´re right about that. Some people are just a little sqeamish when it´s about breaking one´s word, but apparently, it gets easier with every time you do it.

The US never "broke" its word because Presidents do not have the power to unilaterally sign treaties without legislative consent anywhere in the world (well maybe North Korea). Clinton/Gore signed the treaty in the full knowledge it would never be ratified.
 
Scorpio
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RE: Bush's Announced Anti-Pollution Program

Fri Feb 15, 2002 9:45 pm

Cfalk,

You have something to say, Scorpio?

What else but *sigh* can I say when i read a totally MORONIC statement such as the one I quoted in my first reply? If you don't see that, there's little help for you my friend...
 
Klaus
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Hoffa

Fri Feb 15, 2002 10:34 pm

Klaus: They reflect the environmental reality. Some things just have to be done, whether we like it or not

Hoffa: Not really, the science isn't conclusive on whether global warming exists, and if so what causes it.

It´s already hard to find independent scientists who really contest the reality of global warming. Enron- or Exxon-sponsored "experts" don´t really count here. Wink/being sarcastic

Hoffa Kyoto (if actually ratified) reduces global production in Carbon gases of 0.01% at an enormous economic cost to economies and jobs.

Wow! Somebody must have been quite creative to push the numbers down that far... Big grin
The difference between doing nothing (the US proposal) and the consequences of a successful implementation of Kyoto will be substantial, even if not enough.

Hoffa Dumb! Fails the cost-benefit analysis if you ask me. Especially when half of the world is in recession.

Yeah, doing nothing and waiting for the consequences of your inertia (or leaving them to your kids) is definitely a lot smarter... Wink/being sarcastic

Hoffa: The US never said it would ratify the agreement; it is the other countries that openly booed the US in the conference hall even as it remains to be seen who will ratify and who won't that gives me a chuckle.

Just chuckle away...
More or less openly trying to sabotage an agreement certainly got the US administration Enron´s applause and continued support (as far as it went Wink/being sarcastic); But sometimes Wink/being sarcastic those executives don´t think much farther than the next four quarters...

Hoffa: I think the EU will be the only bloc of countries that actually goes ahead with the agreement in its entirety---regulation, enforcement, the whole thing.

Let´s see about that. Again, that would be a lot better than nothing. Especially since european manufacturers would be able to further extend their lead on efficient products and energy use. US manufacturers are falling behind even now.

Hoffa: It will just be too tempting for the other countries to walk away from the treaty should they be required to pay huge fines for violating their quotas.

Hmmm. Some countries actually stick to treaties once they´ve agreed. Alien concept, I know.

Hoffa: EU can't do it alone, I'm afraid.

Actually, it´s the USA that isolates itself more and more. Many third-world countries know very well what they´re losing if we´re not starting soon.

Hoffa: The US never "broke" its word because Presidents do not have the power to unilaterally sign treaties without legislative consent anywhere in the world (well maybe North Korea). Clinton/Gore signed the treaty in the full knowledge it would never be ratified.

Can you feel your political weight shrinking as we speak??
 
Guest

RE: Bush's Announced Anti-Pollution Program

Fri Feb 15, 2002 10:39 pm

MattD, very well put man! Big grin

I hate freakin SUVs, I wish the major car makers would invest more in making vehicles more efficient and cleaner, than making the Monster Trucks for middle aged women to drive. I hope gas goes up to 8$ a gallon.
 
cfalk
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RE: Bush's Announced Anti-Pollution Program

Sat Feb 16, 2002 2:00 am

Leftseat,

The new generation of cars are far more efficient than their predecessors. Cars of the same weight get as much as twice the mileage and are much more powerful than their cousins of the 70s and 80s.

That's not the problem - the problem is that people like to buy more car than they need. Does anybody really NEED a 3-ton SUV? I think that for most people, the need of such things is rare enough that you can get a smaller car and rent the monster a couple of times a year when you really need it. 99% of the time, there is only 1 person in the car, with a couple of bags of groceries maybe. And most SUV's never even see the mud.

It's the consumers that are the problem, much as I hate to say it. If society wants to correct the problem, it needs to make all cars above a normal utility level and weight more painful to own (i.e. hit the wallet). If my idea had been put in place 10 years ago, gasoline consumption of new cars would be just a fraction of what they are today, and overall fleet consumption would probably be 10-20% lower (taking into account average fleet age and program lag). That equals several billion barrels of oil less per year.

Klaus,

I simply refuse to believe that any of the industrial countries actually planned to implement Kyoto. It was a PR stunt - give the people a big show that they are doing something about global warming, but don't actually do it. Look at Germany - they are actually taking their nuclear reactors off-line over the next 2 decades, and all of that capacity (and more) will have to be replaced by fossil fuel plants.

Bush did these guys a huge political favor - he gave them a scapegoat so that they can say "we won't do it without the U.S. because without them, it is useless." Well the arguement works both ways - one of the problems with Kyoto is that other huge polluters like India and China are exempt. I have spent time in both those places, and the pollution problem there is truely horrific, and is growing at double-digit rates annually. China is currently the number 2 polluter and will become number 1 in the next few years - is it fair to leave them carte-blanche?

You seem to write off Hoffa's arguement about cost-benefit relations. Are you truely willing see your country turn into a third-world nation? A simple mandate of reducing pollution levels would require electricity rationng (you loose your power 6 hours per day, for example). But that doesn't really work either - Go to India, where they do that, and you'll find that everyone that can afford $100 dollars or so will buy themselves a great big power inverter.

Simple government mandates don't work you have to make it interesting for the consumers and producers to do what you want them to do.

Charles
The only thing you should feel when shooting a terrorist: Recoil.
 
Klaus
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Cfalk

Sat Feb 16, 2002 1:07 pm

Cfalk: I simply refuse to believe that any of the industrial countries actually planned to implement Kyoto. It was a PR stunt - give the people a big show that they are doing something about global warming, but don't actually do it.

If that were so, why did the european nations throw their entire weight into the negotiations, when it would have been extremely easy to just let the USA kill the treaty? Just for the fun of it?

Why are our governments and businesses investing billions in improved efficiency of energy use and in development of regenerative energy sources?

Why are governments in Europe risking their re-election chances by making the (ab)use of energy more and more expensive?

Refuse all you want; But please ask yourself how realistic your suspicions really are... Wink/being sarcastic

Cfalk: Look at Germany - they are actually taking their nuclear reactors off-line over the next 2 decades, and all of that capacity (and more) will have to be replaced by fossil fuel plants.

Ah, no, actually. There´s indeed a risk that some of the capacity may have to be covered by fossile power plants for a transitional period.

But we´ve already made several originally projected nuclear plants redundant through increased efficiency and regenerative energy sources. We know from experience that it´s not only a feasible approach, but it´s also an efficient one. Ecologically, politically and economically. Wink/being sarcastic

Cfalk: Bush did these guys a huge political favor - he gave them a scapegoat so that they can say "we won't do it without the U.S. because without them, it is useless."

If that had been the idea, they would have loved to take their chance when it was still time. At this point now, it would be very painful to take that road.

Cfalk: Well the arguement works both ways - one of the problems with Kyoto is that other huge polluters like India and China are exempt. I have spent time in both those places, and the pollution problem there is truely horrific, and is growing at double-digit rates annually. China is currently the number 2 polluter and will become number 1 in the next few years - is it fair to leave them carte-blanche?

They´ve got no summary exemptions. They will have some more leeway in the implementation, but they´re still in. It should be noted that the implementation of the Kyoto protocol is an important first step to install a global mechanism to cope with the future challenges.

Toughening that already existent framework over the following years will be far easier than establishing it in the first place. But many third-world countries will still need considerable financial, technological and political support from Europe, Japan (and hopefully the USA) to reach the common goals.

Cfalk: You seem to write off Hoffa's arguement about cost-benefit relations.

Indeed. Doing nothing would become a lot more expensive in the long run!

Cfalk: Are you truely willing see your country turn into a third-world nation?

Very funny! Big grin If things were as simple as Exxon and others would have you believe, we (Germany) would already be a third-world country by now, since the policies they´re so afraid of are already under way over here. Wink/being sarcastic

Cfalk: A simple mandate of reducing pollution levels would require electricity rationng (you loose your power 6 hours per day, for example).

Nonsense. We´ve got plenty of energy - we´ve just stopped wasting all that much of it!  Big thumbs up

Cfalk: Simple government mandates don't work you have to make it interesting for the consumers and producers to do what you want them to do.

Exactly. In Europe, energy is expensive. And the governments (national and EU) are doing a few other things as well (I´ll use Germany as an example):

  • Driving a gas-guzzler is possible, but it´ll cost ya.


  • Fuel-efficient engines and cars have become fashionable.


  • Improving the efficiency of heating or cooling your new or renovated house with more efficient equipment or by better insulation or by other means is supported by the government.


  • Generating energy from renewable sources is also supported. (Just remember that nuclear energy has been massively subsidized by national governments for decades.)


  • Efficent use of energy has become a topic of public interest. Manufacturers even use it as an argument in advertising.


You see, there´s absolutely no magic required. All it takes is the determination to actually solve the problem, instead of just denying its existenceWink/being sarcastic

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