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07/12/2009

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Anonymous

You say that trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It is my understanding that when they die and rot, they release all of it back into the atmosphere, with the result that when we plant a tree we make our life better at the expense of future generations.

Not having bred, I'm much in favor of improving my life at the expense of the progeny of the breeders. Even more so, if the trees can be used for timber first, then burnt to heat houses or make steel instead of being left to rot, which will heat the atmosphere and release all that carbon dioxide without benefiting anybody.

Anonymous

"You say that trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It is my understanding that when they die and rot, they release all of it back into the atmosphere, with the result that when we plant a tree we make our life better at the expense of future generations."

Interesting. I suppose when animals die they release all of the oxygen that they have breathed through out their lifetime. No wonder I feel gassy and bloated.

Anonymous

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Anonymous

Why do we assume that global warming is necessarily always a bad thing?

I have not heard a single scenario in the press regarding a potential benefit from warmer, albeit slightly warmer, temperatures globally.

Is it not equally likely that that warming temperatures will have:
- Bad effect
- No effect
- Good effect

Given our inability to see into the future for other matters, how is it we are so prescient in this matter?

TJ

Anonymous

Global Warming? If the Warming problem is global, then why are we using a regional ad-hoc solution to the problem? The major portion of the problem resides within the developing Third World; which are using cheap, archaic combustion technologies which produce prodigious quantities of greenhouse gas emissions (specifically China, India and the rest of Asia). This has given these countries a significant competitive advantages in the World Market Place. And yet, it is these very countires that are allowed a "BYE" in controlling those very emissions.

Regionlized, Ad-Hoc "Cap and Trade" Policies to control Greenhouse Gas Emissions? Not going to work. The problem is Global and the solution must also be Global. I won't even raise the issue of International Fair Trade practices and it's impacts on regional populations. What's our unemployment rate at now?

Anonymous

The earth's temperature is currently declining. Let's wait to see where this latest trend goes before we tax carbon. There is not consensus on the problem right now, so legislating anything is premature to say the least.

Science does not fully understand the relationship between CO2 and Temp. It is very possible this relationship is the exact opposite of what Al Gore thinks. It is possible CO2 levels follow Temp. and Solar Activity drives Temp. We could be doing absolutely NOTHING other than penalizing our economy by going after CO2.

Anonymous

I think they should aim at reducing CO2 by a huge margin, its only going to come out later in the future when the problem gets worse. Should just clean our air like a thc detox!

Anonymous

The question that is begged in this discussion is whether humanity is the primary mover in global warming—or whether it is even credibly an issue. I have heard that well over 90 percent of global warming is caused by sun spots and solar flares. Historically, we are in a climatologically cool period. Life has thrived on this planet during much warmer periods. So, even if we are entering period of global warming, and even if it is caused by man, it’s not a question of whether life will survive so much what shape that survival will take. The real question is: how will we adapt?

Whether or not man is the cause, or can even do something about it, some people feel threatened by the effects of a theoretically impending greenhouse effect. Rather than focusing on the probable cause, or on an overarching solution, we should--if global warming is truly a threat--be focusing on the mitigation of its anticipated effects. By focusing on the effects, we can better adapt to what some would call “the inevitable” “run-away” greenhouse effects of global warming. Now if global warming is really a problem, and not just another crusade, (albeit a modern “scientific” one), then policies based on an adaptive attitude is what we should seek.

But as with all ideas born of religious fanaticism, we will probably tilt at windmills as we seek to force our fellows to enter into this great crusade against “the evils” of global warming. And indeed, a crusade is what it is. As Europe failed to deal with its actual on-the-ground problems related to mass starvation and general ignorance, and spent its meager resources on great crusades in far off lands in order to fight God’s battles, (as if God was too impotent to deal with matters himself), so we too will probably dream up a variety of taxes and schemes that will serve to enrich a few enlightened “scientists” and policy wonks in the name of “saving the planet.”

So, while we are dreaming up new bandwagons, taxes and other forms of bondage, what actual practical and low-tech solutions are we ignoring? We are not dealing with traffic congestion by requiring that roadwork be performed within a reasonable period when traffic barriers are put up. (I have seen such barriers in place for an entire spring and summer, before roadwork was rushed through in late October to meet either contract, budgetary or weather deadlines.) What about trucks which belch out thick black tars that have, unlike CO2, been proven to be detrimental to the public health? Indeed, why do we allow trucks to clog the highways of our major cities during daylight hours? (Even the Romans knew better than that, and they were only concerned about traffic itself and animal “emissions.”)

I don’t trust the crusaders who want to go off and rape and pillage in the name of God—be it a theological god or a god of “Science.” Aristotle cautioned a measured and practical approach to the issues of our daily living. In other words, deal with the problems you can see as they arise—not with the seeking and killing of bogey men. Humanity forgets far too easily what these crusaders are actually after, (ill gotten fame, glory and riches). Humanity all too readily forsakes the sober courage necessary to tell the emperor that he is naked in his misplaced ambitions.

Look out when policy makers forsake practical solutions for grand designs.

Posted by Pudn’head

Anonymous

The question that is begged in this discussion is whether humanity is the primary mover in global warming—or whether it is even credibly an issue. I have heard that well over 90 percent of global warming is caused by sun spots and solar flares. Historically, we are in a climatologically cool period. Life has thrived on this planet during much warmer periods. So, even if we are entering period of global warming, and even if it is caused by man, it’s not a question of whether life will survive so much what shape that survival will take. The real question is: how will we adapt?

Whether or not man is the cause, or can even do something about it, some people feel threatened by the effects of a theoretically impending greenhouse effect. Rather than focusing on the probable cause, or on an overarching solution, we should--if global warming is truly a threat--be focusing on the mitigation of its anticipated effects. By focusing on the effects, we can better adapt to what some would call “the inevitable” “run-away” greenhouse effects of global warming. Now if global warming is really a problem, and not just another crusade, (albeit a modern “scientific” one), then policies based on an adaptive attitude is what we should seek.

But as with all ideas born of religious fanaticism, we will probably tilt at windmills as we seek to force our fellows to enter into this great crusade against “the evils” of global warming. And indeed, a crusade is what it is. As Europe failed to deal with its actual on-the-ground problems related to mass starvation and general ignorance, and spent its meager resources on great crusades in far off lands in order to fight God’s battles, (as if God was too impotent to deal with matters himself), so we too will probably dream up a variety of taxes and schemes that will serve to enrich a few enlightened “scientists” and policy wonks in the name of “saving the planet.”

So, while we are dreaming up new bandwagons, taxes and other forms of bondage, what actual practical and low-tech solutions are we ignoring? We are not dealing with traffic congestion by requiring that roadwork be performed within a reasonable period when traffic barriers are put up. (I have seen such barriers in place for an entire spring and summer, before roadwork was rushed through in late October to meet either contract, budgetary or weather deadlines.) What about trucks which belch out thick black tars that have, unlike CO2, been proven to be detrimental to the public health? Indeed, why do we allow trucks to clog the highways of our major cities during daylight hours? (Even the Romans knew better than that, and they were only concerned about traffic itself and animal “emissions.”)

I don’t trust the crusaders who want to go off and rape and pillage in the name of God—be it a theological god or a god of “Science.” Aristotle cautioned a measured and practical approach to the issues of our daily living. In other words, deal with the problems you can see as they arise—not with the seeking and killing of bogey men. Humanity forgets far too easily what these crusaders are actually after, (ill gotten fame, glory and riches). Humanity all too readily forsakes the sober courage necessary to tell the emperor that he is naked in his misplaced ambitions.

Look out when policy makers forsake practical solutions for grand designs.

Posted by Pudn’head

Anonymous

This comment is for Judge Posner.

My name is Kristin Key, and I am writing on behalf of Gale, a division of Cengage Learning. We are currently working on a new edition of the Gale Encyclopedia of American Law, an e-book and print product, formerly West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. The Encyclopedia discusses significant events and persons in American law, both historic and current. The book includes an article on you, and we would like to offer you the opportunity to update the article for the new edition. We are interested in learning about work you’ve done since the previous edition was published in 2003.

If you are willing to update the article or would like to learn more, please e-mail me at kristin.key@cengage.com, and I will send you more information.

Thank you.

Anonymous

How "settled" is the global warming debate...?

Forget about the economic disaster that awaits us with Cap and Trade for just a minute... why on earth are we not considering viewpoints from everyone?

Check out this "denier".

http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~dbunny/index.htm

http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~dbunny/research/global/glocool_summary.pdf

Anonymous

I have nothing useful to say in this comment, but I would like to say that this and Becker's entry have been two of the best pieces on global warming I've ever read, I think. I am not extensively in touch with the literature, but these were refreshingly better than any other argument I've heard.

Anonymous

You seriously think that injecting sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere is a possible technological fix that should be evaluated? Wow. For some allegedly bright people, that's quite the moronic suggestion.

Despite the comment thread which suggests a large number of deniers who think that global warming isn't real, or that the world is actually cooling, read this page, anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are indeed causing global warming. The way to stop global warming is to reduce those emissions, not throw another pollutant into the atmosphere.

The folly of those who place implicit faith in seemingly simple technological fixes to cure all environmental ills -- rather than common sense -- never ceases to amaze me. The unintended, dramatic consequences of such folly are legion and evident to anyone with even a remote connection to the beauty and logic of this very special place called Earth.

-Erik S.G.

Anonymous

The hysteria over so-called "man-made global warming" proves true Marx's dictum that "religion is the opiate of the masses."

Anonymous

Yes Anonymous,

It is quit true that trees release all the carbon dioxide they have absorbed during their lifetimes either while living or while decaying.

Of humans it can be said that they release all the oxygen they have breathed in during their lifetimes either while living or while decaying.

Basic conservation of matter.

Anonymous

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Anonymous

Seriously, let's wait and see who is right and who is wrong on the issue of man-made global warming. We have Al Gore on one side and we have "deniers" like Don Easterbrook and 32,000 other qualified experts on the other. Gore says Temp. follows CO2. Easterbrook says CO2 follows Temp. Time will prove who is right and who is wrong, so let's see who prevails before we destroy our economy with a ponzi scheme like Cap and Tax - just another democrat tax and spend policy designed to grow the size of government in our lives.

Can you believe this DENIER...? How dare he question people like Al Gore...!!!

http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~dbunny/research/global/geoev.pdf

Anonymous

Interesting, everyone seems willing to comment on the subject, especially politicians and diplomats, without an understanding of the basic principles of the problem.

For those, here is a "Crash Course", in Combustion Chemistry and Organic Decay. The basic byproducts are as follows:

CO2, H20, CO, NOx, SOx, PM (particulate matter), HC (unburned hydrocarbons), depending on fuel composition - toxic Heavy Metals, and energy.

As for Combustion Engineering, the objective is is the maximazation of energy output and minimization of pollutants.

One question, "How is a Cap & Trade policy going to advance the art and science of Combustion Engineering and Technologies"? The solution to the problem of "Global Warming" lies in maximising combustion efficiency and elimintation or minimizing of combustion by-product releases. And this procedure must be applied uniformly around the Globe. Not just here and there, in various isolated Regions, as a Cap and Trade policy does now.

Anonymous

A sulphur dioxide "quick fix"? Please stop pretending you understand science. Gee, why *not* just pump billions of tons of a known toxic substance into the air to "combat" global warming. What on earth could possibly go wrong?! You are a smart man, Posner, but you look pretty foolish in this article!

Anonymous

The Security Council of the UN should take steps to set aside a reserve for the manmade global warming fanatics. The inhabitants of this newly formed UN protectorate could practice what they preach, build a low-carbon-emissions economy, and demonstrate the results to the world. Perhaps Quaddafi would sell the UN a sizable chunk of the Libyan desert for this experiment. That would give the eco-conscious inhabitants plenty of silicates to subsist on, since their fanciful economic model would produce nothing of greater nutrition. Even better, Al Gore could be the potentate of this new realm. Maybe the satisfaction of wearing a big hat would distract Gore from bothering rational people.

Anonymous

I have been banished for my First Amendment global warming debates in the past by the deniers -- mostly for discussing the undiscussable before their time.

However, I am here to note that the autism spectrum people are doing THEIR part in cutting carbon emissions and curbing spectrumites use of unnecessary vehicle trips !

It is hard to say with all the voluminosity and so many papers pages in the cap and trade bill where the neuroskeptics have addressed our personified autism horses as a solution to rein-in global warming, but Equuis Savant HAS at least addressed "Why We With Autism Personify our Autism Horses," here:
http://equiisautististicsavant.blogspot.com/

We have not been convinced we should take a global warming wait and see strategy ... our concern is, what happens if we can't make enough hay while the sun is shining ? So to speak.

Anonymous

It is truly unfortunate that a blog with such intelligent authors has commenters that use the same informal fallacies and rhetorical slam tactics found on YouTube comments, albeit perhaps slightly more eloquently.

Anonymous

"We have not been convinced we should take a global warming wait and see strategy ... our concern is, what happens if we can't make enough hay while the sun is shining ? So to speak."

We just had the coldest winter since 1979 and this summer is shaping 2009 to be another year in a recent cooling trend. The earth has been cooling lately, not warming.

We don't even know for certain the relationship between CO2 and Temp. A wait and see approach is needed because we don't even know what the problem is. Why tax our middle class in a recession when we have no idea what the problem is?

http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~dbunny/index.htm

Anonymous

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