Representatives of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation and the Evangelical Environmental Network faced off in informal debate Thursday, May 31, at the Family Research Council in Washington. Dr. E. Calvin Beisner and Dr. Kenneth Chilton represented the Alliance on a discussion panel about global warming hosted by the FRC. Opposite them were EEN representatives Dr. Jim Ball and Dr. Rusty Pritchard. To hear the panel discussion, click here.
Glenn Reynolds links:
As Randy would say, "Yo Dog, check it out…" One data point does not a trend make, but it’s obviously possible to comfortably grow the economy and domestic output without increasing CO2.
Sorta like reducing taxes while growing tax revenues, I guess.
This should be a wakeup call to conservatives who contend that any whiff of man-made greenhouse gas management will destroy the most powerful economy on earth. It’s also a poke in the eye to all those Goreons out there driving their SUVs to global warming worship services to commiserate on the evils of America and pray they could be more like the EU (whose gas problem was worse in 2006, by the way).
DOE’s report is linked here. I thought about lifting some key bits from it but there’s so much good info summarized in here that you really should take 5 minutes and read the whole thing.
Don’t get too cocky – 2006 was mild weather-wise, which helped a lot. But as long as our economy keeps seeking more ways to save money on fossil fuels and make alternative energy more profitable, U.S. man-made CO2 emissions have the potential to significantly ease off. And that’s a good thing.
By the way, if you want to see a great example of economic impacts tied to CO2, check out the big down-blip in 2001 on page 3.
[Don’s other habitat is evaneglicalecologist.com]
An addendum to my Wedesday commentary, in which I highlighted the positive ecological role human beings play by developing new technologies:
Joel Schwartz at NRO draws attention to the fact that there are some scientists who, for various possible reasons, actually oppose the development of technology that minimizes or reverses the impact of human activity on the environment (called, with respect to climate change, geoengineering). To wit,
For many climate scientists, however, the goal of studying geoengineering isn’t to determine whether any particular proposal is practical or safe, but “to show, with authority, that all such paths are dead-end streets,” and that the focus needs to be on requiring large reductions in people’s fossil-fuel energy consumption.
With many developed nations around the world facing demographic crises, Dr. Kevin Schmiesing challenges the radical environmentalist and population control lobbies that view motherhood as a problem. Schmiesing advocates a more positive form of environmental stewardship, arguing that children, far from being an omen of impending catastrophe, have the potential to “generate prosperity, and leave the natural environment better than they found it.”
In between jokes, Gore called for a change in thinking about climate issues and the pollution that causes global warming. He was especially critical of the business community’s current focus on quarterly profits at the expense of sustainable business practices.
"That’s functionally insane, but that is the dominant reality in the world today," Gore said.
Functionally insane? Found this at EPA today:
Since 1970 (the year EPA was established by President Nixon), gross domestic product increased 203 percent, vehicle miles traveled increased 177 percent, energy consumption increased 49 percent, and U.S. population grew by 46 percent. During the same time period
and without any help from the IPCC or UN Environmental Programmmme, total emissions of the six principal air pollutants dropped by 54 percent. I’d suggest that EPA and industry are already well on the way to doing the same thing with "greenhouse" gasses.
Yeh, insane alright.
Welcome to the latest edition of the PowerBlog’s GLOBAL WARMING CONSENSUS WATCH, a weekly news recap where we highlight the continuing strength and enduring permanence of the universal scientific consensus on the causes and effects of global warming.
THIS WEEK: A fungus among us – again; more on Mars; are weather satellites creating more hurricanes?; Live Earth isn’t totally worthless; Laurie David is the GREATEST HERO IN AMERICAN HISTORY; and human sacrifice on the altar of environmental religion.
All this can be yours – after the jump! (more…)
One more note related to the week’s reflections on energy and the environment. This brief piece from Marketplace highlights coal’s newfound popularity, “Coal makes a comeback” (here’s an in-depth and more technical piece from the NYT. HT: Instapundit).
Marketplace reporter Jeremy Hobson notes the need for coal to be integrated into an energy policy oriented toward independence: “The U.S. has more coal than any other country. $27 billion worth is mined every year. That’s why everyone, from unions to politicians to scientists, is getting on the coal bandwagon.”
Some scientists are arguing that the negative environmental impact of coal-burning power plants can be significantly mitigated by the advent of new cleaning technologies, presumably including the use of “scrubbers” which divert CO2 emissions from smoke stacks.
Many of these technologies, such as scrubbers, are focused on limiting the input of GHGs into the atmosphere. But there is a shift that is beginning to focus much more on sequestration and removal of GHGs. That is, there are two elements to consider: how much CO2 or other GHGs are put into the atmosphere and how quickly they are taken out, through both natural and artificial means.
Robert O. Mendelsohn, of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, made this point in his comments at the Copenhagen Consensus of 2004. He writes, “Although the bulk of carbon emissions in the future come from burning fossil fuels, policy makers should consider more than just energy policies to reduce carbon emissions. Another important policy option is to include carbon sequestration in forests. By growing timber trees longer and by setting aside vast tracts of marginal forestland for conservation, land use policies can sequester a large stock of carbon in living forests.”
Well-planned and properly planned reforestation is indeed an important part of that second element by sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere. But new technologies like carbon capture devices also will be an important feature of any attempts to manage the climate.
According to reports published last week (HT: Slashdot), Global Research Technologies, LLC (GRT) has announced the first successful “demonstration of a bold new technology to capture carbon from the air. The ‘air extraction’ prototype has successfully demonstrated that indeed carbon dioxide (CO2) can be captured from the atmosphere. This is GRT’s first step toward a commercially viable air capture device.”
It’s an encouraging step to see that the media and politicians, but most especially commercial businesses, are beginning to pay attention to the possibilities for sequestration and GHG removal and not just focusing on consumption and emissions. There’s definitely going to be a commercial demand for carbon capture devices. Maybe someday we’ll all wear some sort of mask that mitigates the .3 tons per year of CO2 that a human being emits just by breathing.