May 12, 2008

So What Will President McCain Do...

Hatched by Dafydd
...When it becomes utterly clear that there has been no net "global warming" in the past decade (despite a big increase in atmospheric CO2), and that any climate change that does occur for a few decades from time to time is driven by forces far beyond human control?

John McCain has made globaloney a cornerstone of his campaign, a way (as Agence France-Presse puts it) to "differentiate" himself from George W. Bush's "skepticism on global warming":

The Arizona senator was due to propose a cap-and-trade system designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions, in remarks which will clearly separate him from the skepticism on global warming which has marked Bush's presidency.

The initiative will also signal that McCain plans to challenge the Democrats for independent voters in the November presidential election, targetting especially the climate change stance of leading Democratic candidate Barack Obama.

Now, if this were purely a cynical attempt to peel off some of the independents and moderate Democrats from the Democratic nominee, then as scientific data piles up debunking the myth of anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC), it would presumably be easy for McCain simply to let it all drop into the memory hole. But I'm skeptical that McCain is such a cynic; I think it far more likely that he is a true believer in globaloney... in which case, it will be difficult for him to accept the data, no matter how prestigious the scientist, university, or scientific agency may be in the fields of meteorology, atmospheric sciences, or climatology. (Not impossible but quite tough.)

It's not McCain's worst sin; that would still have to be the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 -- which was held by the Supreme Court to be constitutional in this century's "Roe v. Wade" legal fiasco, McConnell v. FEC, 540 U.S. 93 (2003). But a passionate belief in globaloney would surely give the "Gang of 14" a run for its money in the Sincere but Misguided Judgment sweepstakes.

But the odd thing is that McCain always seems to have lots of company in his little insanities. On the BCRA, he had the full support of President Bush and even Sen. Fred Thompson in the Senate vote on March 20th, 2002; and on globaloney, he has the enthusiastic company of both Democratic candidates, Hillary and Obama.

McCain's approach is called "cap and trade;" it includes a bit of a nod towards a free market, although with a government-enforced, anti-Capitalist, "Pigovian" ceiling:

McCain proposed a cap-and-trade system, which sets a limit of total greenhouse gas emissions but allows companies to sell unused greenhouse gas emission credits to other firms which have exceeded their quota.

His plan would seek to return emissions to 2005 levels by 2012, and a return to 1990 levels by 2020. It foresees a reduction of 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

This perfectly encapsulates the Do Something! disorder: Whenever a sufferer sees a problem (real or imaginary), his disorder prompts him to demand that the government "do something" about it.

He impatiently dismisses any suggestion that if the putative problem is let alone, it will probably cure itself. He rejects as "do nothingism" the strategy that we can best cure macro problems by allowing natural processes to work their magic (Capitalism, the ordinary weather cycle, the ordinary business cycle, the march of technology, the biennial vote). Rather, sufferers insist that "the time for debate is over" and demand "action, action, action!" Don't debate, don't plan, don't think -- just do something... anything!

Normally McCain is immune to the disorder; but on two issues -- campaign corruption and globaloney -- he exhibits symptoms of an advanced stage.

Barack Obama's plan (from his website) is strikingly similar, except he wants to reduce emissions by significantly more than does McCain:

Obama supports implementation of a market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary: 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

For collectors, here is the Hillary Clinton carbon plan, which is -- surprise, surprise -- virtually identical to Obama's:

Centered on a cap and trade system for carbon emissions, stronger energy and auto efficiency standards and a significant increase in green research funding, Hillary's plan will reduce America's reliance on foreign oil and address the looming climate crisis.

Setting ambitious targets, the plan would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of global warming, and cut foreign oil imports by two-thirds from 2030 projected levels, more than 10 million barrels per day.

But nobody really cares and it makes no difference; she is not going to be the nominee.

Both Democrats would cut emissions by a third again as much as would McCain... which is precisely why globaloney nonsense is not going to be an issue in the election: If you really rejects the whole crumbling edifice of AGCC, what are you going to do -- vote for Bob Barr?

But there is one other point that cuts for McCain in the election. I believe that, while McCain is sincere, neither Obama nor Clinton is; I believe neither Democrat cares one way or another whether we "do something" about AGCC or not: They care only that the liberal electorate cares.

Thus, while it may be difficult for John McCain to accept that his deep belief about global warming is wrong -- requiring him to admit he was taken for a ride by politicians masquerading as scientists, like NASA's James Hansen -- nevertheless, since he was rationally (if invalidly) convinced of AGCC, he is open to being rationally convinced that it's simply wrong.

But the Democrats were not "rationally convinced" of the truth of globaloney, they were politically convinced. Thus, as long as the great liberal unwashed believe in it, Obama and Hillary will support it -- no matter what the science eventually says.

While this belief in globaloney bothers me (though not nearly so much as the conservative obsession with finding "scientific" alternatives to established evolutionary theory), the Democratic candidate will be much worse than John McCain. Therefore, there's no reason to bring it up in the future: As bad as we many think McCain is, he is still better than the only plausible alternative, even on this issue.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 12, 2008, at the time of 3:20 PM

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The following hissed in response by: levi from queens

I have become to believe in the last two months that the central tenet of global warming is untrue. This may not make sense to Daffyd, but it hinges upon my understanding of science with a capital S.

I had previously thought that there was sense to global warming because Earth had warmed roughly as much as Venus and Mars over the past few decades despite the fact that Earth is far more complex. I had thought that human activity could explain the similarity.

The solarists have long predicted a major global cooling -- becoming acute in 2009 and lasting for nearly two centuries. When I saw a piece saying that the global warmists were also saying that we might see ten or twenty years of cold weather but that we should not close our vigilance against global warming; it hit me that the global warmists had come in a way far behind second in their predictions.

Here is the gut part for me. When you make your predictions; make them in advance -- as the solarists did.

The above hissed in response by: levi from queens [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 12, 2008 4:34 PM

The following hissed in response by: Seaberry

I saw McCain's new ad and that's about as much as I can take. Haven't any of these morons ever heard of the Ice Ages?! I went against my gut by moving to the left for McCain...and, he just moved even further to the left today.

This country needs more than new elections that produce new so-called ‘leadership’, so perhaps Obama can accelerate the process of our fall until something or someone forces real change.

Mr. Barr…you have my vote

The above hissed in response by: Seaberry [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 12, 2008 5:54 PM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

McCain really ticks me off on these kind of issues.
It is like if he decides certain Senate pals are OK on a pet issue, he will go and fight for it, no matter how friggin' stupid the issue is.
His impact on campaign finance has been to make things worse, not better. And if he thinks the climate is so delicate that a few ppm's of CO2 can make the planet a disaster, then how in the heck does he think we can possibly manage it?
Even the Brits, who first bought into letting AGW hype screw the people started, are waking up to the scam.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 12, 2008 9:12 PM

The following hissed in response by: Fritz

A couple of years ago I swore I would never vote for McCain, but then the campaigning started and I was forced to live with the results that McCain would be the Republican nominee. So I thought about it for a while and grudgingly decided I could vote for him despite his inability to understand the concept of free speech. However, it is becoming more and more difficult for me continue on that path when he keeps spouting nonsense like his current campaign ad about global warming, and his past utterances on childhood vaccinations and their connection to autism. I can admire John McCain for many reasons, but it is becoming more and more apparent that his intellect leaves a lot to be desired and so I'm less than convinced that your idea that he is open to reason is correct. He has long been known as a relatively honest man or I would simply pass this off as pandering in an attempt to garner votes, but his previous honesty makes it hard for me to believe that he is doing that. As it now stands about the only thing he has going for him is that he is not Obama, but that may be enough to get him elected after independents take a good look at Sen. Obama and his policies.

The above hissed in response by: Fritz [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 13, 2008 3:52 AM

The following hissed in response by: phil g

AGCC is very close to (if not already has) 'jumping the shark'. By the time McCain gets in office (assuming he wins) and has to deal with real issues, this one might have already fallen off the table. It's a bit faddish like 'green'. You have to work it into everything until it means nothing. It's annoying but I don't think it will amount to much real policy.

The above hissed in response by: phil g [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 13, 2008 6:33 AM

The following hissed in response by: Geoman

Vote McCain you idiots.

McCain is honest, but mistaken. Given the overwhelming push by the media and politicians in the Democratic party toward AGCC, how can you be surprised? And McCain can change when the evidence becomes clear.

"His plan would seek to return emissions to 2005 levels by 2012, and a return to 1990 levels by 2020" I have good news for everyone - $120+ a barrel oil is going to make this happen without us lifting a finger.

I have another news flash - using less oil is a very good idea for our economy, will make the dollar stronger, reduce inflation, reduce funding of terrorists, and oh yeah, make less smog. Just because the premise (stop global warming) is wrong doesn't mean that the proposed solution (reduce usage of hydrocarbons) has no merit.

On top of that, McCain supports nuclear power and drilling in ANWR, so he's not a complete nutter on energy.

The above hissed in response by: Geoman [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 13, 2008 9:41 AM

The following hissed in response by: snochasr

" ... the plan would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 ... "

Isn't this the biggest laugh in the whole piece? I don't care whether it's 60% or 80%, this is simply Congress declaring that something should be so, and expecting the whole earth to magically obey. The problem is, Congress has never been able to repeal the Law of Supply and Demand, nor have they successfully amended the Law of Unintended Consequences.

There is nobody, AFAIK, who signed onto the Kyoto cap-and-trade regime that are now meeting their targets. It cannot be, because CO2 levels are continuing to increase, and it's not ALL the fault of the non-compliant US. It may be that, even if McCain succeeds in passing such a scheme, especially with a Democrat Congress, that it will likewise be strictly for show. Heck, if temperatures keep going down, I expect Congress to pass the bill quickly just so they can claim credit for having saved the planet.

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 13, 2008 10:35 AM

The following hissed in response by: TerryeL

I think that there might be some human component in climate change, but I also think that most change is just part of nature. It has always been there.

However, green house gas emissions are not a good thing. They may not be as bad as some people think, but they are not something we need or want.

So, while I tend to be very much a doubter, I am also a realist. Most people are concerned about this and want the government to do something about it. And the zealots will not give up. Perhaps a plan like this will take the wind out of their sails until cooler heads prevail.

I can remember when Nixon passed the environmental laws and everyone was surprised, but they worked.

The above hissed in response by: TerryeL [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 13, 2008 2:24 PM

The following hissed in response by: John Anderson

Sixty or eighty percent, can't be done without some type of extermination of most people. At least, not by 2050, and probably not by 2110. Even if we somehow started building 40-50 new nuclear plants (and reprocessing "spent" fuel, which unfortunately may be against the SALT and other treaties), managed to make viable one of the "alternate" energy sources (but solar, wind, tidal, whatever, all would require an exponential improvement in transmission and a logaritmc one in batteries) which is unlikely on a meaningful scale.

But why did McC wait until now to state he has swallowed the halucinogenics? Now, when even the MSM is starting to back away from Global Warming and indeed question Climate Change? After polls have shown fewer people care about it as an issue than (gasp!) smoke cigarettes?

About what does this (R)[INO] still have (R)vs(D) credibility? Given his opposition to the 1st Amendment, I am leery of how far he'd go over the 2nd if something were to cross the Presidential desk. Indeed, beyond a veto which could be overridden, what could he do?

Well, the WOT then. Maybe. At least in Iraq, which as it becomes more politically stable is likely to look around at its neighbors and allow us to keep a few "trip-wire" troops in the country for a good many years - and yes, I think McC is more likely to go for a permanent base than either of the Dems.

Is that enough to keep me from the temptation of writing in (have to vote for Representative if nothing else) for that perennial candidate, Donald Duck?

The above hissed in response by: John Anderson [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 13, 2008 3:16 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


However, green house gas emissions are not a good thing. They may not be as bad as some people think, but they are not something we need or want.

Er... you don't need or want carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? That is the primary "greenhouse gas emission" everyone talks about.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 13, 2008 6:51 PM

The following hissed in response by: snochasr

Reminds me of the time Penn and Teller took a petition to an Earth First rally, and collected hundreds of signatures demanding a ban on the dangerous chemical "dihydrogen oxide" (H2O)that kills hundreds of people every year (they drown).

Sooner or later, the general public will start to notice two things. First, that the entire global warming hysteria is based on weather predictions stretching out 100 years, when no one can yet reliably predict the weather for tomorrow. Second, that these sophisticated crystal balls-- computer climate models-- all START with the assumption that manmade CO2 causes global warming. I believe there is ample and highly credible scientific evidence to prove that fundamental assumption, and the fundamental theory of manmade global warming, is just plain wrong.

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 14, 2008 8:25 AM

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