Robbing Earth To Pay Mars, Redux

From the online news service of the journal Nature:

‘The vision’, as it is often referred to within the agency, was first outlined by President George W. Bush on 14 January 2004. It marks a radical new direction for America’s human spaceflight programme. For the past two decades, NASA has been preoccupied with shuttling people to and from a low Earth orbit, mostly to visit the International Space Station. But the vision “is fundamentally different”, says Shana Dale, second in command at NASA. “It’s about extending human presence on another world.”

This extension, however, can’t be built on the cheap; NASA’s early estimates put the cost of the programme through to 2018 at around $104 billion. To meet this bill, the agency is committed to grounding the space shuttle fleet in 2010 and cutting back its spending on the space station, which should be completed by then (see chart). It is also delaying and cancelling space-based science missions in astronomy, planetary science and Earth observation, as well as aeronautics programmes. Louis Friedman, executive director of the Planetary Society, a Pasadena-based educational organization in California that regularly criticizes this reallocation of resources, complains: “This is attacking exploration to supposedly pay for exploration.”

Noted without comment.

***Update***

Might want to divest your coastal property.

Climate factors such as sea-level rise may be changing more rapidly than predicted, according to a new survey of global trends since 1990. The figures suggest that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which publishes a fresh assessment of climate change tomorrow, may have previously underestimated the changes that lie ahead.

Researchers led by Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany studied the most recent data for atmospheric carbon dioxide, global temperatures and sea level. They calculate that carbon dioxide levels are rising in line with predictions, but that temperatures are rising in line with the upper limit predicted by the IPCC, and that sea-level rises are on the very edge of the worst-case predictions of climate models.

Look for a very gloomy news day when the IPCC releases its final report.

At one point in my life I felt a sense of urgency about this. Back in my personal environmental heyday, roughly the 1990’s, I had the feeling that we could still stop short of the invisible threshold, and I had a sense that we might soon have leaders who knew the right thing to do. Amory Lovins was my hero.

Then America elected profoundly stupid people, the kind who had powerful ideological and mercenary reasons to ignore the obvious. Disturbingly, during the period when I patiently waited for normal people to take charge “interesting” things started happening very fast. Polar ice started disappearing, permafrost defrosted, glacier melt accelerated, the sea began acidifying and now, right on cue, sea level has proved the most pessimistic models right.

At this point I don’t have anything particular to offer. In the unlikely event that we stopped greenhouse emissions today the lag effect would go on driving Earth in the direction of “interesting” for some years to come. Climate often has a funny threshold effect where the feedback balance (natural forces which either resist or encourage change) switches from positive to negative to positive (dyslexic me). Ice at the poles reflects sunlight while open water absorbs it, so the more water we have at the poles the more heat energy the Earth will absorb. Thawed permafrost will burp huge amounts of methane, a far more effective greenhouse gas than CO2. At some point what we do with our emissions won’t really matter anymore.

Better men than myself – Al Gore, Hunter Lovins – have fought this fight for thirty years or more, back when a relatively painless transition to sensible policies might have done real good. After some years of thinking about it I finally decided that the pain has to come first, the frog has to find itself in a good rolling boil, before the confidence artists and paid hacks are shamed into silence. Of course by then the only possible solutions will be so insanely draconian that we will probably just learn to live with a new quality of life, and a new climate regime, a new coastline.

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95 replies
  1. 1
    ThymeZone says:

    For people who think the earth is 6000 years old, these folks sure have an interesting “vision.”

    This looks to me like the old resources shell game. Kill off one thing by pimping another that is basically a jackalope, and then bury the jackalope.

    It’s “Social Security Reform” with a Spacely twist, isn’t it, or did I miss something?

    What next, private “Mars Timeshare” accounts?

  2. 2
    Zifnab says:

    To meet this bill, the agency is committed to grounding the space shuttle fleet in 2010 and cutting back its spending on the space station, which should be completed by then (see chart). It is also delaying and cancelling space-based science missions in astronomy, planetary science and Earth observation, as well as aeronautics programmes.

    Shorter Bush White House: “We’ve decided that NASA was just too useful for the United States and mankind in general. So we decided to fuck with it. Happy Birthday.”

  3. 3
    TenguPhule says:

    What next, private “Mars Timeshare” accounts?

    Bush is convinced the Alien Atmospheric Generators can be unlocked by Arnold’s hand.

  4. 4
    TenguPhule says:

    Even Shorter Bush White House: Global Warm this!

  5. 5
    RSA says:

    Stage two of Bush’s long-term space exploration plan is to launch a manned mission to the sun, so that astronauts can turn down its thermostat.

  6. 6
    Darrell says:

    Isn’t the main criticism of Bush’s vision for NASA that he’s too ambitious in his plans and extravagent in his spending?

  7. 7
    Andrew says:

    Look, the Christians need to get to Mars first so they can erase all signs of life.

  8. 8
    Tim F. says:

    Isn’t the main criticism of Bush’s vision for NASA that he’s too ambitious in his plans and extravagent in his spending?

    Whose main criticism? Be specific.

  9. 9
    Zifnab says:

    Isn’t the main criticism of Bush’s vision for NASA that he’s too ambitious in his plans and extravagent in his spending?

    I think the main criticism of any Bush vision needs to reference at least the last half-dozen previous Bush visions.

    His record kinda speaks for itself.

  10. 10
    dreggas says:

    Regarding the rise in sea levels.

    It’s bad, very bad but I also look at it this way. The majority of beach front property is owned by very rich people who also tend to vote very republican. Honestly it would be with some amount of grim satisfaction that I watched some of the beach front in So-Cal (along with the obscene houses) be washed away by rising sea levels. Who knows it may leave me with beach front property myself.

    I also have to take some grim satisfaction in knowing that it will be the southern states and florida most notably that get inundated. Let’s face it that’s republican stronghold territory and the end result is that they are going to drown. Sorry but I am a prick.

    Then there are the larger portions of the world, namely India and China which stand to fair really horribly should sea levels rise, indeed it will be a human catastrophe. Now the total dick inside of me says, too f’ing bad it’s time the planet lost some of the population. Also it is worth noting that India and China are bitching about us not being involved in Kyoto but want to exclude themselves from being affected by it to protect their rising economies. Further Europe has allowed less well off countries a pass on Kyoto as has the UN.

    Now I know we need to be leaders here but when I read studies of pollution in China being carried from China into the U.S. on wind currents and see what has been going on with the loss of species and habitat there as well as large scale environmental pollution on the scale of the early industrial revolution I have to look at it as here’s a country that claims to be so concerned about the environment yet is destroying its own.

  11. 11
    TenguPhule says:

    Isn’t the main criticism of Bush’s vision for NASA that he’s too ambitious in his plans and extravagent in his spending?

    If by ambitious you mean totally out of this world unrealistic and by extravagent you mean he thinks cutting revenues and raising spending somehow make more money magically available to fund pie in the sky, yes.

  12. 12
    TenguPhule says:

    I also have to take some grim satisfaction in knowing that it will be the southern states and florida most notably that get inundated. Let’s face it that’s republican stronghold territory and the end result is that they are going to drown. Sorry but I am a prick.

    Yes, never mind that taxpayers have to bail them out…again.

  13. 13
    Faux News says:

    Shorter Darrell:

    “Mars bitches!”

    (nod to Dave Chappell of course)

  14. 14
    dreggas says:

    TenguPhule Says:

    Yes, never mind that taxpayers have to bail them out…again.

    Like I said there is a part of me that takes grim satisfaction in it but for the most part I wouldn’t want it to happen for this or several other reasons. Either way we’ll still be bailing them out with our tax dollars as most federal aid goes to these areas since they are usually the poorest to begin with (ie southern states but not necessarily florida).

  15. 15
    Zifnab says:

    Did you ever watch the movie “Titanic”, dreggas? How many rich people died in Titanic? How many rich people died in New Orleans?

    Don’t think for half a second that the ones who pooh-poohed Global Warming are going to suffer in any more than the most minimal fashion. If half the United States went under water in the next five years, show me an Exxon executive who wouldn’t just pick up and build his billion dollar palace in the other half?

    Who suffered worse in the Great Depression? Rich or Poor? Who suffered worse in the Enron collapse? Lay, or the little old ladies he bulked money out of?

    Don’t pray for divine justice. It doesn’t exist.

  16. 16
    dreggas says:

    Zifnab Says:

    Did you ever watch the movie “Titanic”, dreggas? How many rich people died in Titanic? How many rich people died in New Orleans?

    Don’t think for half a second that the ones who pooh-poohed Global Warming are going to suffer in any more than the most minimal fashion. If half the United States went under water in the next five years, show me an Exxon executive who wouldn’t just pick up and build his billion dollar palace in the other half?

    Who suffered worse in the Great Depression? Rich or Poor? Who suffered worse in the Enron collapse? Lay, or the little old ladies he bulked money out of?

    Don’t pray for divine justice. It doesn’t exist.

    Like I said part of me would take grim satisfaction in seeing them lose their homes. Am I saying I want this to happen? Hell no because of the simple fact I have to live on this planet too and care about it. But there is the alternative universe part of me that would take some joy in seeing that happen.

    Just like I do take joy in watching idiots build their houses into the sides of mountains using stilts to prop the house up then remove any and all vegatation for a better “view” of course they do so and then a good rainstorm comes along and suddenly “poof” their house is now down said hill and wrecked. It’s a mere case of certain types of stupidity can be painful.

    That being said I know full well just who died in New Orleans, I know full well who most would die in the event of massive sea level rises and because of globabl warming. I know that the problem is real and needs to be dealt with.

    However I can allow myself to momentarily think about a halcyon dream of the assholes who enabled it, paying for it, by losing their homes to it. Of course they would rebuild.

    As for praying for divine justice. I woke up and stopped praying a long time ago. When reality kicked in and I stopped seeing myself as the victim in need of some divine assistance and realized my life was what I made of it. Not to say I am not spiritual, but I gave up on prayer being answered a long time ago.

  17. 17
    TenguPhule says:

    Don’t think for half a second that the ones who pooh-poohed Global Warming are going to suffer in any more than the most minimal fashion.

    Until they are eaten by their fellows during the ensuing cannibalism from the food shortages.

  18. 18
    Zifnab says:

    Until they are eaten by their fellows during the ensuing cannibalism from the food shortages.

    :-p There’s always that to look forward to.

    “Always look on the bright side of death. Dum-dum. Dum-dumbity-dum dum-dum.”

  19. 19
    dreggas says:

    TenguPhule Says:

    Until they are eaten by their fellows during the ensuing cannibalism from the food shortages.

    Eat the rich.

    Of course many that will lose their homes and perish in this country due to global warming will be the ones who voted against their best interests and put people like bush and inhoffe and the rest in power and will sit there wondering just why it is they have no home and no help. Of course in their perpetual need to blame anyone else but themselves they will probably say it was an act of god meant to punish gays, liberals and pagans.

  20. 20
    Pb says:

    Isn’t the main criticism of Bush’s vision for NASA that he’s too ambitious in his plans and extravagent in his spending?

    Yes. And the mission to Mars is way cheaper than the mission in Iraq.

  21. 21

    Isn’t the main criticism of Bush’s vision for NASA that he’s too ambitious in his plans and extravagent in his spending?

    Every Bush vision follows the same pattern.

    He gives a speech pandering about some issue.

    Then he doesn’t do anything.

    In this case, he’s told NASA they have to do something, but he’s not going to help.

  22. 22

    I’m planning to turn my snow shovel into a beach chair.

  23. 23
    Punchy says:

    Climate often has a funny threshold effect where the feedback balance (natural forces which either resist or encourage change) switches from positive to negative.

    Tim, you need to reverse/switch “positive” and “negative” here. What your describing vis-a-vis reflective glacial melt w/r/t temperatures would define a positive feedback loop…

    The “accelerator’s stuck!” scenerio that we’ll be helpless to control.

  24. 24
    Andrei says:

    Isn’t the main criticism of Bush’s vision for NASA that he’s too ambitious in his plans and extravagent in his spending?

    Not sure what the point behind that quip is besides being argumentative, a typical Darrell trait. Personally, I think one of my main criticisms of Bush is that he’ll say anything to pander to any group based on what I presume Karl Rove tells him to say. It’s cynical politicking to the Nth degree for these guys. In reality, Bush doesn’t seem to have the foggiest idea what it means to be a leader or how to lead.

    Look at Iraq. Do you honestly think Bush is leading this war? Unitary Executive? That’s just code to let Cheney do what he wants since Cheney was brought on to the job specifically because GOPers thought he brought foreign policy strength the GOP ticket. All Bush does is listen to a bunch of people tell him things they want him to hear, and then Bush picks the course as if he’s making the decision when in reality he’s just picking the direction all these power mongerers below him want to do in the first place.

    Have you ever heard Bush talk about Iraq in a way that gives you any indication he knows anything whatsoever about the Middle East?

  25. 25
    OCSteve says:

    right on cue, sea level has proved the most pessimistic models right

    How is that? Have we gone beyond the 1-3 mm/yr it has been for the last hundred years? If there is new data proving the rate is accelerating I have not seen it. The sea level has been rising since the last ice age, at varying rates.

    From your link:

    Estimates from tide gauges indicate that sea level has changed at the rate of 1.8 to 2.4 mm/yr over the last century. Satellite altimeter estimates currently show a global sea level change of 2.8+/- 0.4 mm/yr over the last 12 years.

    +/- 15%? Not exactly a minor quibble. And they can’t reconcile the satellite data with the tide gauge data. And 2.8 – .4 gives us 2.4, or no change at all in the 1.8 – 2.4 over the last century figure.

    And from the Nature article:

    Another study published last month2 suggests that sea-level rises during the twentieth century were indeed very variable. According to calculations by Simon Holgate of the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory in Liverpool, UK, sea levels rose by an average of more than 2 millimetres per year in the first half of the century, but by less than 1.5 millimetres per year on average in the latter half.

    So which is it? Accelerating or decelerating?

    And

    but it could still be decadal variability, so we don’t predict that this will continue

    So how have these models been proven right? It is exactly these types of exaggerated claims that make many people remain skeptical.

    Look for a very gloomy news day when the IPCC releases its final report.

    I have no doubt that chicken-little will be out and in full voice.

    Might want to divest your coastal property.

    Thanks for the advice, but I think not. Wouldn’t I have to put that on the real estate disclosure anyway? (Some scientists say that global warming is causing an increase in the rate sea levels are rising. So you could like lose this place in a few hundred years…) How am I going to find a buyer with that in the disclosures?!?

  26. 26
    Zifnab says:

    +/- 15%? Not exactly a minor quibble. And they can’t reconcile the satellite data with the tide gauge data. And 2.8 – .4 gives us 2.4, or no change at all in the 1.8 – 2.4 over the last century figure.

    We gained 1.8-2.4 over the last 100 years. We have gained 2.4-3.2 over the last 12 years. Unless we regress another .6 mm over the next 88 years, I don’t think that’s a wash (pun!)

  27. 27
    OCSteve says:

    The majority of beach front property is owned by very rich people who also tend to vote very republican. Honestly it would be with some amount of grim satisfaction that I watched some of the beach front in So-Cal (along with the obscene houses) be washed away by rising sea levels.

    Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Richard Gere, Whoopi Goldberg… staunch Republicans all.

    Nice. At least in terms of southern Cal, the bulk of the shore is owned by moonbat celebs.

    Sorry but I am a prick.

    Well, I’d say that was a pretty bad comment anyway.

  28. 28
    TenguPhule says:

    +/- 15%? Not exactly a minor quibble. And they can’t reconcile the satellite data with the tide gauge data. And 2.8 – .4 gives us 2.4, or no change at all in the 1.8 – 2.4 over the last century figure.

    Shorter OCSteve: It’s flawed, it doesn’t make sense, it’s within parameters and this all makes sense to me.

    Because we all know a century is the same as 12 years under the New Order math.

  29. 29
    scarshapedstar says:

    Now the total dick inside of me says, too f’ing bad it’s time the planet lost some of the population.

    Uh… we’d lose more land than people. Making everyone more crowded and more starved.

  30. 30
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    Look, the Christians need to get to Mars first so they can erase all signs of life.

    Oh, I’ve seen a wingnut argue that finding life on Mars would be definitive proof of the existence of God. Seriously. Something along the lines of, “Life can’t possibly have just evolved on two planets! No way, no how! Life on Mars = God!”

    Of course, he’s also enough of a Bible literalist to think that the Earth really did stop rotating for a while and stuff like that.

  31. 31
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Richard Gere, Whoopi Goldberg… staunch Republicans all.

    Nice. At least in terms of southern Cal, the bulk of the shore is owned by moonbat celebs.

    Generally speaking, I think that primo shorefront property is owned by rich douchebags. And as well all know, being a rich douchebag is not unique unto either party.

  32. 32
    ThymeZone says:

    Look, the Christians need to get to Mars first so they can erase all signs of life.

    Post of the Thread.

  33. 33
    Punchy says:

    Uh… we’d lose more land than people. Making everyone more crowded and more starved.

    The scientific term is “Gettin’ Nawlin’ned”

    Here’s a thought. With warmer temps, what if INSTEAD of sea levels rising, all this “extra” water from melting poles just evaporates? Coastlines stay intact, but now EVERYONE suffers from 96% humidity. In February. In Manitoba. Word.

  34. 34
    OCSteve says:

    We gained 1.8-2.4 over the last 100 years. We have gained 2.4-3.2 over the last 12 years. Unless we regress another .6 mm over the next 88 years, I don’t think that’s a wash (pun!)

    Shorter OCSteve…

    That is the rise per year. 1.8 – 2.4 mm per year over the last century. A questionable 2.8 per year over the last 12.

    My money is where my mouth is. I live on a barrier island.

    OTH, I am all for action where our interests align. I want to get free of the oil ticks, so I’m not above using GW if it gets me what I want.

    Increase the federal gas tax to make gas $5/gal. Discourage consumption and use that money to fund development of alternate fuels. I’m on board.

  35. 35
    srv says:

    Then America elected profoundly stupid people, the kind who had powerful ideological and mercenary reasons to ignore the obvious.

    I do wish that more redstates were closer to sea level.

  36. 36
    ThymeZone says:

    Increase the federal gas tax to make gas $5/gal.

    Yes.

    Sign me up. Force conservation. Shoulda been done years ago.

  37. 37
    Andrei says:

    My money is where my mouth is. I live on a barrier island.

    Noob question… given the predictions of sea level rising as depicted in An Inconvenient Truth, what would happen to places like Hawaii, Fiji or the Bahamas?

    Increase the federal gas tax to make gas $5/gal. Discourage consumption and use that money to fund development of alternate fuels. I’m on board.

    Another noob question… Why should we raise taxes on gas? Why can’t we just significantly reduce or eliminate the subsidies the oil companies get from the Feds? Let the affect of that action raise the gas price to whatever it’s supposed to be. By raising the gas tax, it seems like consumers would be getting the worst of both ends: They are being taxed out of their pocket to compensate for a problem while the oil companies get to work in a manner that nets them bigger gains by benefitting from tax dollars in the first place.

  38. 38
    ThymeZone says:

    Why can’t we just significantly reduce or eliminate the subsidies the oil companies get from the Feds?

    Are we still paying things like the Oil Depletion Allowance? I lost track.

  39. 39
    OCSteve says:

    Why should we raise taxes on gas?

    I’m thinking of a “Manhattan Project” style program. Have the feds pour billions into getting alternate fuels developed. Fund any promising (and legitimate) research that is going on. Crash program with a goal of reducing gasoline usage by 25% within 10 years. Raise the federal tax on gas, that discourages consumption, then use that revenue to fund research.

  40. 40
    dreggas says:

    Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Richard Gere, Whoopi Goldberg… staunch Republicans all.

    Nice. At least in terms of southern Cal, the bulk of the shore is owned by moonbat celebs.

    I wouldn’t miss them either, of course it can swallow Newport Beach along with it, yet another area filled with rich douche bags as BT put it.

  41. 41
    dreggas says:

    OCSteve Says:

    I’m thinking of a “Manhattan Project” style program. Have the feds pour billions into getting alternate fuels developed. Fund any promising (and legitimate) research that is going on. Crash program with a goal of reducing gasoline usage by 25% within 10 years. Raise the federal tax on gas, that discourages consumption, then use that revenue to fund research.

    Agreed. I’d like to see this happen as well. Of course the big companies would bitch but what’s worse a few years of increased costs to consumers and lower profits or a world with no profits and no consumers because of the fact that they were washed away.

  42. 42
    jg says:

    Have the feds pour billions into getting alternate fuels developed. Fund any promising (and legitimate) research that is going on.

    We are doing that. We’re giving billions to oil companies so they can research staying in business when the oil runs out. You’d think they’d fund that out of their own record profits but that money is earmarked to send to the RNC so they can keep people in power who think it makes sense to give billions to oil companies so they can reserarch staying in business after the oil runs out.

  43. 43
    Jonathan says:

    Increase the federal gas tax to make gas $5/gal. Discourage consumption and use that money to fund development of alternate fuels. I’m on board.

    Very regressive tax policy. It will hit hardest on those who can least afford it, the less affluent who typically drive the older, less efficient cars. It also will hit those in rural areas hard too, they have to drive further to shop, further to work and further to just about everything. Also in rural areas there is nothing even remotely resembling public transportation, which is mainly a bad joke even in most suburban areas in the US.

    My wife is a district manager for a retail chain, she drives a lot. Her car has two hundred and fifty thousand miles on it right now. It’s still running pretty well but it will have to replaced sooner or later and, thanks largely to my medical bills, we don’t have the money or the credit to do that. I’m hoping we can squeeze another hundred thousand miles out of the car but that will be pushing things. At the rate she racks up the miles we probably have a little more than two years left on her car. Higher gas prices will hurt us a lot and make replacing my wife’s car even more unlikely than it is already. Without a car, we can’t go to work and there will be no income.

    Besides, when the Decider goes to war with Iran and the Middle East erupts in flames gas will be five dollars a gallon or more any damn way.

  44. 44
    OCSteve says:

    It will hit hardest on those who can least afford it

    Good point. Some kind of credit for lower income brackets who can prove that public transportation is not available to get to work? Something like that…

  45. 45
    TenguPhule says:

    Some kind of credit for lower income brackets who can prove that public transportation is not available to get to work?

    Shorter OCsteve: Let’s make them spend money they do not have in order to give them a tax credit they can’t use.

  46. 46
    tBone says:

    I’m thinking of a “Manhattan Project” style program. Have the feds pour billions into getting alternate fuels developed.

    You could argue that we’re already doing that with ethanol subsidies, but I agree. I’d like to see a massive Apollo-type program that the whole country (excluding the deadenders) could rally around.

  47. 47
    tBone says:

    Shorter OCsteve: Let’s make them spend money they do not have in order to give them a tax credit they can’t use.

    I know it’s tempting to treat every conservative here like they’re a Darrell-in-waiting, TP, but OCSteve is one of the good ones. Cut him some slack.

  48. 48
    OCSteve says:

    Let’s make them spend money they do not have in order to give them a tax credit they can’t use.

    Well I’m not in those lower brackets, I just started doing my taxes for last year, and I could damned sure use any kind of credit I could get.

    I see your point, a credit you get once a year does not help people day to day. And likely they will get the credit and blow it (I might too).

    So tax exempt? Tax stamps (like food stamps)? I don’t know. I don’t have the whole thing worked out – I just threw it out there.

    The point is – I’m a conservative pushing for a major tax increase…

    Karl is sending someone to take my VRWC card as I type.

  49. 49
    OCSteve says:

    You could argue that we’re already doing that with ethanol subsidies,

    True. I’m not sure about ethanol though. Doesn’t it take close to the equivalent of a gallon of fossil fuel to produce a gallon of ethanol when all is said and done? (I think I read that somewhere but couldn’t find a link now.)

    I think I like your analogy of an “Apollo-type program” much better than mine (Manhattan Project). Manhattan was secret of course, and plenty not to like about it. This would hopefully be open and transparent, and like Apollo, something the country could rally around.

  50. 50
    OCSteve says:

    I know it’s tempting to treat every conservative here like they’re a Darrell-in-waiting

    Heh – what makes you so sure I am not Darrell? Only John/Tim/Tom know for sure :)

  51. 51
    Pb says:

    Heh – what makes you so sure I am not Darrell?

    Because I know for a fact that everyone else is DougJ–scs told me, so it must be true!

  52. 52
    Grrr says:

    Subcritical Hybrid Systems
    would be my choice for a Manhattan Project type program.

    As is usual in this realm, Japan and Europe are already funding research.

    Not as sexy as fusion, but way more feasible in terms of time and economic scale.

  53. 53
    tBone says:

    True. I’m not sure about ethanol though. Doesn’t it take close to the equivalent of a gallon of fossil fuel to produce a gallon of ethanol when all is said and done?

    I wasn’t endorsing ethanol, at least for the long term; I just meant we’re already shoving a lot of money into alternative fuels if you take ethanol subsidies into account.

    I do think ethanol is a useful foot in the door, but it will be overtaken by more efficient biofuels like switchgrass. Hopefully the ethanol infrastructure that’s in place now can be repurposed without too much trouble or we’re going to have a lot of empty, yeasty-smelling factories littering the Midwest.

    Heh – what makes you so sure I am not Darrell? Only John/Tim/Tom know for sure

    Unpossible. We are all DougJ.

  54. 54
    tBone says:

    Damn it, Pb. Quit stealing my lines. :)

  55. 55
    OCSteve says:

    Hopefully the ethanol infrastructure that’s in place now can be repurposed without too much trouble

    Another good point. Hopefully the plants can transition without too much trouble, and the cars on the road that can burn ethanol can burn other stuff. So from that perspective, even though I don’t agree with agriculture subsidies in principal, maybe it is worthwhile in this case.

  56. 56
    tBone says:

    Hopefully the plants can transition without too much trouble, and the cars on the road that can burn ethanol can burn other stuff.

    The cars wouldn’t be a problem; the end product of switchgrass or similar crops is ethanol too, and would run fine in flex-fuel vehicles. I just have a bad habit of using “ethanol” as shorthand for “corn-derived ethanol.”

    The plants I don’t know about. From my (limited) understanding there are considerable differences in the way grain crops and cellulosic crops like switchgrass are converted, so I don’t know how much retooling would be involved, or if it would even be possible. Somebody smarter than I am jump in here.

  57. 57
    Jonathan says:

    Biodiesel made from hemp.

    Hemp is a freaking weed and will grow virtually anywhere.

    http://www.hempcar.org/indexOLD.html

    Advantages of Biodiesel:

    Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel in the US to complete EPA Tier I Health Effects Testing under section 211(b) of the Clean Air Act, which provide the most thorough inventory of environmental and human health effects attributes that current technology will allow.

    Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel that runs in any conventional, unmodified diesel engine. It can be stored anywhere that petroleum diesel fuel is stored.

    Biodiesel can be used alone or mixed in any ratio with petroleum diesel fuel. The most common blend is a mix of 20% biodiesel with 80% petroleum diesel, or “B20.”

    The lifecycle production and use of biodiesel produces approximately 80% less carbon dioxide emissions, and almost 100% less sulfur dioxide. Combustion of biodiesel alone provides over a 90% reduction in total unburned hydrocarbons, and a 75-90% reduction in aromatic hydrocarbons. Biodiesel further provides significant reductions in particulates and carbon monoxide than petroleum diesel fuel. Biodiesel provides a slight increase or decrease in nitrogen oxides depending on engine family and testing procedures. Based on Ames Mutagenicity tests, biodiesel provides a 90% reduction in cancer risks.

    Biodiesel is 11% oxygen by weight and contains no sulfur. The use of biodiesel can extend the life of diesel engines because it is more lubricating than petroleum diesel fuel, while fuel consumption, auto ignition, power output, and engine torque are relatively unaffected by biodiesel.

    Biodiesel is safe to handle and transport because it is as biodegradable as sugar, 10 times less toxic than table salt, and has a high flashpoint of about 300 F compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which has a flash point of 125 F.

    Biodiesel can be made from domestically produced, renewable oilseed crops such as hemp.

    Biodiesel is a proven fuel with over 30 million successful US road miles, and over 20 years of use in Europe.
    When burned in a diesel engine, biodiesel replaces the exhaust odor of petroleum diesel with the pleasant smell of hemp, popcorn or french fries.

    The Congressional Budget Office, Department of Defense, US Department of Agriculture, and others have determined that biodiesel is the low cost alternative fuel option for fleets to meet requirements of the Energy Policy Act.

  58. 58
    Jonathan says:

    http://www.sovereignty.org.uk/.....ofuel.html

    When staff at a Welsh supermarket first noticed dramatic increases in the sale of cooking oil, they thought the locals were doing a lot of frying. They weren’t. They were filling up their cars with it – not surprising, as it’s only 42p a litre. Trouble is, if you don’t pay duty, it’s illegal. Jim White reports

    According to Mike Hebson, the manager of Asda’s store in Swansea, south Wales, there was no reason to be suspicious that sales of the company’s cheapest bottles of cooking oil were running 20% higher than the previous year, way above any other store in Britain. “We just thought it was one of those things,” says Hebson.

    Why should he and his staff have been remotely questioning, he suggests, if men in overalls and lived-in denims had started buying Smart Price vegetable oil in batches of six, eight and 12 litres at a time. When one customer came in and filled a trolley to the brim with plastic containers of the thin, urine-coloured liquid, the checkout operator barely gave him a second glance.

    “Naturally, we assumed they were buying on price,” says Hebson, an Asda man to the soles of his own-brand brogues. There was another reason that his staff were unlikely to see anything untoward in bulk-buying cheap vegetable oil. “We just thought they were doing a lot of frying,” he says. “You have to remember, healthy eating has not hit Swansea in a big way.”

    It wasn’t until the Department of Transport began a series of trial tests in the city last March that staff realised something odd had been going on. In an attempt to take diesel vehicles belching out illegal emissions off the road, department inspectors introduced experimental spot checks on roads in Bristol, Westminster, Glasgow, Middlesbrough, Canterbury and Swansea. It was in the latter that they found something surprising: a car with a fuel tank half full of cooking oil.

    “The funny thing was,” says Hebson, “the driver told them he had been getting it from Asda Swansea for four or five months, because it was the cheapest around. When we read the report in the local paper we began to put two and two together.”

    The enterprising motorist was, so the reports suggested, running his diesel-engine motor on a mix of Asda cooking oil and standard fuel. At 42p a litre, the supermarket chain’s oil is considerably cheaper than the 73p a litre that even a discounted retailer charges for diesel. The astonishing thing was it worked. Without any need to modify the engine, the motorist could run his car on the mix with no discernible difference in its performance. What’s more, instead of diesel fumes, the engine gave off a rather pleasing odour – like frying time at the local chippy.

    More:

  59. 59
    tBone says:

    Biodiesel made from hemp.

    Hemp is a freaking weed and will grow virtually anywhere.

    That explains what prompted Willie Nelson to convert all of his tour buses to biodiesel, anyway.

    When it gets cold out and your engine gels up, can you scrape up the resin?

  60. 60
    TenguPhule says:

    My Apologies, OCSteve. It’s just that too many stupid people have flung ‘tax credit’ as bandaid for everything that I tend to shoot first and let the autopsy answer any lingering questions.

    Well I’m not in those lower brackets, I just started doing my taxes for last year, and I could damned sure use any kind of credit I could get.

    There are *many* tax credits for lower brackets (10-15%) already. And the nonrefundable ones pretty much go to waste once you hit 0 tax owed. Worse, most of the credits phase out around $25,000-30,000 which makes actually earning enough to live on and still be able to take advantage of some of them very *very* hard if not impossible.

    For example, the Retirement Savings Tax Credit. You need to have less then $15,000 in recognized gross income to get the maximum $1,000 credit for a single person. But including standard deduction and a single exemption…your actual tax amount before the credit is about $700. Which means $300 of that credit is wasted.

    Which begs the question, can’t anyone in charge in DC do some basic math?

    I see your point, a credit you get once a year does not help people day to day. And likely they will get the credit and blow it (I might too).

    That actually wasn’t my point. My point is that lower brackets have less income period, and more often then not they will already have other tax credits that have reduced taxes they owe to 0, so adding another one isn’t going to help them.

    So tax exempt? Tax stamps (like food stamps)? I don’t know. I don’t have the whole thing worked out – I just threw it out there.

    National Rationing is fine with me. With allowances for distance commuting in certain areas that can be worked out state to state. You could buy over the ration, but with a hefty tax added.

  61. 61
    OCSteve says:

    Jonathan: Great links.

  62. 62
    Andrew says:

    My 3 point energy plan:
    1) Corn ethanol is causing food riots in Mexico. Seriously. We’re going to make poor people starve to death because of this shite fuel. Another god damned subsidy to corporate farms.

    2) Gas tax directly offset with a EITC or payroll tax rebate. Not regressive anymore.

    3) Gasoline usage is inelastic over the short run, but very elastic over a 5 year time frame. Simply increase the tax slowly over the elastic time frame. Jonathan’s wife will figure out how to do her job without driving so much.

  63. 63
    OCSteve says:

    My Apologies, OCSteve. It’s just that too many stupid people have flung ‘tax credit’ as bandaid for everything that I tend to shoot first and let the autopsy answer any lingering questions.

    None required. I was just shooting from the hip anyway so plenty of skepticism is justified.

    You could buy over the ration, but with a hefty tax added.

    Yoo-Hoo. Black market baby. I miss that from living in Germany :)

  64. 64
    TenguPhule says:

    Gas tax directly offset with a EITC or payroll tax rebate. Not regressive anymore.

    Beg to differ. Rebate still wouldn’t make up for the cost of the tax for 10-15% lower bracket assuming they have to fill up a standard gas tank at least once a week. And that’s not factoring in the associated price increases on other basic necessities.

  65. 65
    Jonathan says:

    Jonathan’s wife will figure out how to do her job without driving so much.

    It’s impossible, the job is very much “hands on” you have to be on site to see what the problems really are and correct them. Like a lot of middle management my wife spends most of her time “putting out fires”. She has fifteen stores in her district, spread out over a wide geographical area and has to visit each of them at least every week or so.

    Construction workers have the same problem, move from job site to job site, never in one place very long. Often your job site is a considerable distance from your home and quite often you have to go to more than one job site per day. Public transportation is out of the question and usually you need a pickup or van, neither of which get very good gas mileage.

    The same goes for a lot of service tech jobs, lots of different sites over a wide geographical area and you need a truck or van for equipment.

  66. 66
    TenguPhule says:

    Yoo-Hoo. Black market baby. I miss that from living in Germany

    Of course, but so would a hefty gas tax increase. But given a fairly adequate ration the supply will not be there for those looking to buy off the radar. Even at $5 a gallon that’s not enough to really tempt most people into trying to sell a couple gallons of gas they might need for themselves later.

  67. 67
    Andrew says:

    Beg to differ. Rebate still wouldn’t make up for the cost of the tax for 10-15% lower bracket assuming they have to fill up a standard gas tank at least once a week. And that’s not factoring in the associated price increases on other basic necessities.

    Sure it would. Why wouldn’t it?

    If we take in an extra few billion dollars in gas taxes and give it all to the poor and payroll tax payers, the average gas consuming poor person will come out ahead.

  68. 68
    Andrew says:

    It’s impossible

    There’s the attitude that will fix global warming!

  69. 69
    TenguPhule says:

    If we take in an extra few billion dollars in gas taxes and give it all to the poor and payroll tax payers, the average gas consuming poor person will come out ahead.

    No, they won’t. The costs of paying a hiked gas tax + the cost increases on basic necessities will outweigh any refund. People in the lower brackets would end up spending more as a result of the gas tax then they’d receive from a credit or refund.

  70. 70
    tBone says:

    People in the lower brackets would end up spending more as a result of the gas tax then they’d receive from a credit or refund.

    That’s OK. When the ultimate biofuel, Soylent Gas, becomes a reality, they won’t be around to worry about it anyway.

  71. 71
    Jonathan says:

    If we take in an extra few billion dollars in gas taxes and give it all to the poor and payroll tax payers, the average gas consuming poor person will come out ahead.

    The problem is in how the government defines “poor”. To qualify as poor in the US, you probably couldn’t purchase, maintain, insure and fuel an auto anyway after paying for basic living expenses.

    It’s not just the poor who are going to suffer with the increased gas tax, it’s going to be the lower middle class too who are going to be hit hard if they have a substantial commute.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technolo.....038;page=1

    For better or worse, America is a nation on wheels. To get where they need to go, 90 percent of Americans say they usually drive, reporting an average of 87 minutes a day behind the wheel. For car commuters, it’s an average of 100 minutes; for parents with children at home, an average of 104 minutes (compared with 77 minutes for people without kids at home). The average household owns two cars, trucks or sport utility vehicles — and one in four owns three or more.

    […]

    Life for commuters can be heaven or hell. They report an average one-way commute time of 26 minutes (over an average distance of 16 miles). But the variance is huge: On the best days, the average commute is 19 minutes; on the worst days, 46 minutes. That means traffic, at its worst, can double the average commute time, adding 27 minutes each way.

    And on average — not at its worst, but just on average — workers estimate that traffic congestion adds a half-hour a day to their drive, 15 minutes each way. That’s an impressive time suck.

    As you can see, the average commute is 32 miles round trip. That means for roughly half the commuters they travel *more* than 32 miles round trip.

    Plus time sitting in traffic uses more fuel in an idling engine and you end up using quite a bit of fuel for an average commute.

  72. 72
    Jonathan says:

    Funny picture from Boston.

    Take a close look at the hands.

    http://img242.imageshack.us/img242/8184/xlxw1.jpg

  73. 73
    OCSteve says:

    But given a fairly adequate ration the supply will not be there for those looking to buy off the radar.

    Not apples and apples, but germane as far as government controlling access to any resource…

    When you are stationed in Germany (and other countries), you have a ration card for smokes and hard booze, issued once a year. This is for what you can buy on the Kaserne – the cigs and booze are American and tax free. It does not apply to beer and wine because you can get much better and much cheaper in the local German grocery store.

    As I recall you get 4 cartons of smokes a month, and maybe 30(?) or so bottles of liquor a year. Well, the Germans absolutely love real Marlboro cigarettes (they have Marlboro but they are nasty), Jack Daniels (they can buy it for about $50/liter), and frozen turkeys (I don’t know). The underground economy was in high gear. Have a friend who does not smoke, and another who does not drink – you are in business.

    Among other things I replaced an engine in my car for 5 cartons of Marlboro and a bottle of Jack. What I did with frozen turkeys I can not speak of to this day.

    Anyway – my point…

    There will be plenty of people who do not drive at all, who get the ration. They will barter those rations to those who need more but don’t want to pay the government for it. A healthy underground economy will result.

    I look forward to it. After all, I am a free-markets kind of dude :)

  74. 74
    Andrew says:

    No, they won’t. The costs of paying a hiked gas tax + the cost increases on basic necessities will outweigh any refund. People in the lower brackets would end up spending more as a result of the gas tax then they’d receive from a credit or refund.

    I really don’t see what’s so difficult about this:
    Joe Taxpayer earning $30,000 a year drives 15,000 miles a year in a 25mpg car. That means he uses 600 gallons of gas. An extra $1 a gallon tax would mean he spends an extra $600 a year on gas. Since he’s a lower end taxpayer, he might get a $1000+ in taxes refunded or credited.

    So, all of the shipped goods he purchases, say $10,000 a year, would have to increase 4% just from fuel price increases. That’s completely plausible. Perhaps a very low estimate

    Here’s where your thinking breaks down: You assume that he will not buy a more efficient car in the entire 5-10 year phase in period. You think he’s going to stick with a 25 mpg car when 30 and 35 and even 50 mpg cars are easily available. The average American changes cars every 3-4 years. There’s plenty of time to change to an efficient car, move closer to work, develop telecommuting, and develop better public and carpooling.

    This is why we phase in the tax over the long term where demand is price elastic.

    Arguing against taxing pollution while supporting payroll taxes on the poor and middle class seems like some of the most illiberal policies I can think of.

  75. 75
    Andrew says:

    It’s not just the poor who are going to suffer with the increased gas tax, it’s going to be the lower middle class too who are going to be hit hard if they have a substantial commute.

    What do you not get about:
    1) A payroll and EITC offset.
    2) That people will have plenty of time to buy more efficient vehicles, perhaps twice as efficient as what they currently drive.
    3) WE WANT TO MAKE PEOPLE COMMUTE LESS SO THE USE LESS FUEL. WE WANT TO ELIMINATE THE NOTION THAT A 32 MILE COMMUTE IS SENSIBLE.

    Look it, you either want to reduce pollution and stop paying for adventures to secure oil in the middle east, or you don’t. A gas tax is BY FAR the most economically efficient method to achieve these goals. Everything else is a tax disguised as a regulation.

  76. 76
    OCSteve says:

    Outa here. Thanks for the civil conversation folks. I appreciate it.

  77. 77
    Jonathan says:

    What do you not get about:
    1) A payroll and EITC offset.
    2) That people will have plenty of time to buy more efficient vehicles, perhaps twice as efficient as what they currently drive.
    3) WE WANT TO MAKE PEOPLE COMMUTE LESS SO THE USE LESS FUEL. WE WANT TO ELIMINATE THE NOTION THAT A 32 MILE COMMUTE IS SENSIBLE.

    Would the payroll offset be on a paycheck to paycheck basis? Would documentation be required to prove the length of one’s commute and other necessary driving?

    An EITC is all well and good, but it only comes at refund time. There are a lot of people who cannot absorb the extra costs for a year before they get the money back. Again, would documentation be necessary for this? Tax forms are already more complex than a large proportion of the taxpayers can handle, further documentation will only compound this problem.

    To buy that much more a fuel efficient vehicle will require buying a new or relatively recent vehicle. The lower middle class or poor person is going to have a hard time doing that. I’ve already pointed out that we have no credit due to very large medical bills, we expect to have our income garnished in the relatively near future, there are a great many people in the same situation.

    Our society is designed such that long commutes are more or less a necessity. Do you think the average car commuter enjoys spending 100 minutes per day in the car? Thats 500 hours a year more or less which is 12.5 work weeks a year. To greatly reduce commute times will require a restructuring of our society and our infrastructure. Where will the money come from to do that?

    What will construction workers do? They are already being heavily pressured economically due to a huge influx of illegal labor which drives their wages down, and they have to commute varying distances that can often be very long.

    What will rural people do? Not everyone lives close to everything they need, work, shopping, school, church, recreation and so on. Rural people also tend to have lower incomes than do urban and suburban people.

    As I already pointed out, when Bush attacks Iran and the Middle East goes up in flames, gas is going to be $5.00 a gallon or more anyway.

    I want to reduce pollution, reduce the carbon footprint and wean our nation from foreign oil as much as anyone. A high gas tax does so largely on the backs of the poor and lower middle class who can least afford it.

    I would propose increasing the income tax on the top 1% of taxpayers, the ones who already are making out like bandits in today’s economy.

    Another thing to do would be remove the earnings cap on Social Security. The government is borrowing the damn money from the trust fund anyway, why not give them a much bigger pool to borrow from?

  78. 78
    Person of Choler says:

    Anything bad going on that isn’t caused by George Bush?

    Just curious.

  79. 79
    Andrew says:

    A high gas tax does so largely on the backs of the poor and lower middle class who can least afford it.

    You keep saying this, but it’s just not true with the proposed offsets.

    There’s no need for a pre-pay offset or anything. The tax increase, year to year, of 5 to 10 cents, is far less than the normal variability in prices.

    And again, you’re completely ignoring the phase in period with respect to changing lifestyle and choice of vehicle.

    The gas tax is by far the most economically efficient method for reducing automobile pollution. You can argue about it’s political viability, but I have yet to hear a single good argument against it on a economic or environmental basis.

  80. 80
    Krista says:

    What will rural people do? Not everyone lives close to everything they need, work, shopping, school, church, recreation and so on. Rural people also tend to have lower incomes than do urban and suburban people.

    Indeed. I drive everywhere, unfortunately. During the 10 years I lived in Halifax, I didn’t even own a car. I travelled by foot, by bus, or by the odd taxi. Now, I’m about 20 km from the nearest grocery store — walking there is just not an option. I do think a gas tax is a good idea, but people should be able to apply for rebates on it if their work necessitates frequent travel, or if they live in an area with no mass transportation.

  81. 81
    Andrew says:

    I do think a gas tax is a good idea, but people should be able to apply for rebates on it if their work necessitates frequent travel, or if they live in an area with no mass transportation.

    So you think we should reduce pollution, but that if actually doing so has any sort of consequences, then we should let it slide?

  82. 82
    Darrell says:

    Oh my

    This morning the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its “Fourth Assessment Report,” but just in the form of a 12-page “Summary for Policymakers.” The report itself, about 1,600 pages, will be available only in May. The IPCC explains it needs time to “adjust” the scientific report to make it consistent with its summary.

    The summary actually is a semipolitical document negotiated by delegates from 150 governments. Evidently, the IPCC, which prides itself on being strictly scientific and policy-neutral, wants to make its report politically correct.

    This raises legitimate doubts about the scientific credibility of the IPCC’s conclusions. The “cleansing” of the report — and the attendant delay in publication — is also feeding wild speculation about climate catastrophes, with many leaks to compliant newspapers.

    No surprise really, except to those consumed with environmental hysteria dogma

    Better men than myself – Al Gore

    Didn’t Al Gore guarantee there would be catestrophic hurricanes in 2006?

  83. 83
    Darrell says:

    Another question – if the US signs on to a Kyoto-like treaty, who will police it throughout the world? We can’t get the Europeans to do much with Iran, Sudan (Europeans do big business with Sudan), or N. Korea.. how the hell do you expect any realistic enforcement to be done on something the scope of what IPCC is pushing for? Are any of you supporting IPCC and Al gore’s recommendations and ideas willing to admit that even if the US did sign on, policing it would be next to impossible?

    Or do you “feel” it will work out ok, and that’s all that matters?

  84. 84
    Andrew says:

    The “cleansing” of the report — and the attendant delay in publication — is also feeding wild speculation about climate catastrophes, with many leaks to compliant newspapers.

    Just like the NIE! Victory!

  85. 85
    Jonathan says:

    And again, you’re completely ignoring the phase in period with respect to changing lifestyle and choice of vehicle.

    The gas tax is by far the most economically efficient method for reducing automobile pollution. You can argue about it’s political viability, but I have yet to hear a single good argument against it on a economic or environmental basis.

    To significantly reduce gasoline consumption in the US is going to take a lot more than a five or ten cent per year increase in the gas tax. As you point out, that is well within the current price fluctuation range, which people are already used to.

    I think that in the US the price/demand ratio is relatively inflexible at least over the short term.

    We are two miles away from the nearest grocery store, there are no sidewalks at all and in a lot of places not even a decent shoulder to walk on. Walking is not an option and will not be for the foreseeable future. And we deliberately tried to buy a home close to shopping when we bought our house fifteen years ago. Most of the homes in our area are a lot further away from shopping than ours is.

    The US infrastucture is not set up for a walking lifestyle except in a very few large cities and making the infrastructure compatible with that sort of lifestyle will cost orders of magnitude more money than building the interstate highway system.

    The poor and lower middle class are already streched to the limit financially and do not and will not have the wherewithal to buy more fuel efficient vehicles in the foreseeable future. Until I became unable to work, my wife and I wore out three new vehicles over the course of sixteen years. Now we are on one income we have no chance whatsoever of buying another new vehicle.

    Our intertubes connection is the only luxury we indulge in, and that is mainly to keep me from going completely batshit insane from boredom and cabin fever.

  86. 86
    Darrell says:

    that is mainly to keep me from going completely batshit insane

    Too late ;)

  87. 87
    TenguPhule says:

    Or do you “feel” it will work out ok, and that’s all that matters?

    This from the guy who ‘feels’ Iran’s nukes in his bones.

    Maybe if we actually spent some real money on beefing up our Environmental Protection agency…..

  88. 88
    TenguPhule says:

    That people will have plenty of time to buy more efficient vehicles, perhaps twice as efficient as what they currently drive.

    Only on a Pony planet. Demand *already* exceeds supply for fuel efficient vehicles, with the consquences on price and availability.

    I really don’t see what’s so difficult about this:
    Joe Taxpayer earning $30,000 a year drives 15,000 miles a year in a 25mpg car. That means he uses 600 gallons of gas. An extra $1 a gallon tax would mean he spends an extra $600 a year on gas. Since he’s a lower end taxpayer, he might get a $1000+ in taxes refunded or credited.

    This is called ‘planning for a perfect world where nothing goes wrong’. Leaves out things like emergencies, accidents and that many lower end already have tax credits which reduce their taxes to 0, so another one stacked on isn’t going to put any more money in their pocket.

    So, all of the shipped goods he purchases, say $10,000 a year, would have to increase 4% just from fuel price increases. That’s completely plausible. Perhaps a very low estimate

    *Laugh*

    Low is an understatment. Try 15% or more.

    Here’s where your thinking breaks down: You assume that he will not buy a more efficient car in the entire 5-10 year phase in period. You think he’s going to stick with a 25 mpg car when 30 and 35 and even 50 mpg cars are easily available.

    Here’s where your thinking breaks down. 50 mpg cars are not easily available. 35 mpg cars don’t help when you’re stuck in traffic. And factor in the demand by those who can afford to pay more against those who can’t.

    The average American changes cars every 3-4 years. There’s plenty of time to change to an efficient car, move closer to work, develop telecommuting, and develop better public and carpooling.

    The ‘average’ American is a dodge. Many families and individuals can’t afford to change cars every few years, between the payments and insurance on the ones already owned, this kind of ‘just buy a new one’ solution is Pony talk.

  89. 89
    Darrell says:

    This from the guy who ‘feels’ Iran’s nukes in his bones

    Yes, halfwit, I’m the only one concerned

  90. 90
    TenguPhule says:

    Yes, halfwit, I’m the only one concerned

    Shorter Darrell: How dare you be twice as witty as me!

    I see a lot of claims and no *proof*, Darrell. That’s your problem. You’re so quick to deride Europe’s leaders that going around and trying to use them in your argument that you’re not a deranged paranoid with wetdreams about bombing Iran just doesn’t fly.

    And funny, Bush’s speeches now sound just like Iraq 2002-2003 and we all know how that has turned out. But where is the evidence? Bush and company can ‘claim’ all they want about Iran, but check how often they *show* anything verifiable.

    Not once.

  91. 91
    Darrell says:

    Bush and company can ‘claim’ all they want about Iran, but check how often they show anything verifiable

    Are you so stupid as to think Iran would ever let any outsider “verify” a nuclear weapon?

    I think it’s best to wait first for Iran to ‘verify’ it through a nuclear attack on Israel or to hand off nuclear weapons to terrorists. Because the Iranian mullahs can be trusted.

  92. 92
    TenguPhule says:

    Are you so stupid as to think Iran would ever let any outsider “verify” a nuclear weapon?

    Are you so stupid as to buy the claims on Iran as easily as you bought the ones on Iraq?

    There is no nuclear weapon in Iran. Not even Bush dares to make that kind of laughable nonsense. There is no evidence of a real nuclear weapons program either.

    The Iranians are enriching uranium which can be used for civilian power production. But not in the amounts needed for a nuclear weapon. There is no treaty violated by this action and no threat there except the one in your head as you whack off to dreams of clusterbombs.

    I think it’s best to wait first for Iran to ‘verify’ it through a nuclear attack on Israel or to hand off nuclear weapons to terrorists.

    Shorter Darrell: Strawmen! Strawmen!! Bomb Iran!!

    Because the Iranian mullahs can be trusted.

    At this point I trust the Iranians more then I trust you, Darrell. They’re not stupid and not batshit insane. They’ve offered to talk things out, been turned down and yet still refuse to be provoked into the War you and the Bushlickers keep drooling for. The religious powers in the background are only being propped by this idiotic escalation of rhetoric.

  93. 93
    Jessica says:

    To get back to the global warming issue, the other problem besides disappearing coastline is the decline in arable land for growing food. Predictions say that we’ll lose 20-30% of that land. Likewise, the sea will become increasingly clogged with algae and we’ll begin losing massive quantities of fish.

    (Sounds rather Biblical, doesn’t it?)

    I live in Minnesota, the majority of which is heavily forested, and predictions say that a rise in temperature will cause an increase in prairie land and a decrease in tree cover, until we become a prairie state like Kansas. Well, a decrease in tree cover means a decrease in oxygen production….look, a world with rising levels of carbon monoxide and decreasing levels of oxygen.

    Sure, we can lose about 90% of the global population due to flooding and famine and still survive as a species (ugly as that would be), but I don’t know if we can invent humans that don’t need air.

    I suppose that as the permafrost melts and the Canadian wilderness becomes more fertile and temperate, we may see a shift. Likewise, the evacuation of populations from coastal areas due to shrinking land and, more likely, heat would allow those areas to reforest. I would think we would see a population shift from the South and the southern coasts to the Midwest and the north.

  94. 94

    […] Today, not so much. Less and weaker scientific reporting suits this administration just fine, and there’s nothing they hate more than a whistleblower. Tough luck, Mr. Proenza, and if that satellite goes down, good luck getting insured in southern Mississippi. […]

  95. 95

    […] The meaningful point in this story is simply that a pointless moon project is stealing resources from the research budget at NASA. We already knew it would do that. The story is not news per se so much as another milestone on a path that smart observers mapped out the moment Bush announced his grand money pit of a space vision. […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] The meaningful point in this story is simply that a pointless moon project is stealing resources from the research budget at NASA. We already knew it would do that. The story is not news per se so much as another milestone on a path that smart observers mapped out the moment Bush announced his grand money pit of a space vision. […]

  2. […] Today, not so much. Less and weaker scientific reporting suits this administration just fine, and there’s nothing they hate more than a whistleblower. Tough luck, Mr. Proenza, and if that satellite goes down, good luck getting insured in southern Mississippi. […]

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