A Thought on Global Warming Action
Here is the hard truth for those of us who believe that, since CO2 has had little effect on global temperatures to date, expensive abatement plans will similarly have little if any measurable effect: They are coming anyway. It is actually probable that the Republicans could combine with heavy industrial states like Michigan in the Senate to block dramatic new legislation. But President Obama already has the legal and legislative authority to enact sweeping and expensive CO2 mandates without going back to Congress.
So with that depressing thought, here is a bit of good news: The media may well come over to the skeptics' side soon, at least partially. Here is why: The media is extraordinarily loath to really challenge policy proposals in advance that are popular with the center-left. They are even less likely to challenge said proposals when they touch on a story of doom. There is nothing the media enjoys more than piling on a good public scare.
But history has shown that the media will turn on these proposals once they are implemented, and sometimes quite soon after. Remember ethanol subsidies? The press were behind this crap all the way, until Congress passed enhanced subsidies a while back, and then the press suddenly starting "discovering" the effect on rising food prices, the environmental problems with land use, the ugliness of some of the subsidy politics, the fact that few scientists think corn ethanol will actually reduce CO2, etc. Yeah, I know, all of this was entirely predictable (and predicted by many of us) in advance. But this just seems to be how the media works.
Because the only thing the media loves more than fear-mongering a crisis that is 20-years away is fear-mongering one that is visibly upon us. The press freaked at the California energy crisis a few years ago, peppering the public with stories of rising prices and rolling blackouts. And what has happened since then? Electricity demand has risen, no one can build electrical capacity, wind and solar are a joke, and Obama is only going to make it harder and more expensive to produce enough power (I think Obama's exact words were "bankrupt the coal industry.")
Posted on November 19, 2008 at 04:12 PM | Permalink
Obamunism is going to be a short and cold experience for the American people.
Posted by: bill-tb | Nov 19, 2008 4:38:32 PM
There's only one thing you can rely on with the mass media: they will get the story wrong. You can't count on them to change their biases or change their story choices.
The desire for controlling CO2 output does not really relate to global warming. It's just an excuse to damp down and control technology and industrialization. This is about Luddites with political power who use the state to inhibit progress. No amounts of science and logic will stop people who think this way.
Posted by: Dr. T | Nov 19, 2008 5:26:11 PM
The media act that way, because it makes sense to promote a new alarmistic untruth only when the hitherto incumbent one is so far away from intellectual sustainability that new investments in lies have the full benefit of an uncontested market. Cannibals are afraid of cannibalism. When your business is dogma, you must wait until the last dogma is practically dead - if you don't, you run the risk of critical juxtaposition/thinking, destroying your business model.
Also, and more fundamentally, the swing toward a new paradigm, once the old one has reached a stage of palpable implementation, is a logical consequence of the practical "nonsensicality" of the old dogma. You pursue a dogma to gain power and satisfy your interests, which is why it tends to be at odds with a worthwhile overall end, realism etc..
Posted by: Georg Thomas | Nov 19, 2008 6:09:05 PM
For what it's worth, the left went ballistic over the term "bankrupt the coal INDUSTRY," claiming that Obama said no such thing. Take a look at this, for instance:
They mostly say that Obama never said he wanted to bankrupt "the industry" and that McDole said the same thing. (He probably did.) Yadayadayada .... Obama's policies will still have the same effect. God help us all when he puts RFK Jr. in a position of power --- that guy is the very definition of "enviro nutcase."
Posted by: Doug | Nov 19, 2008 7:43:02 PM
I think you're too optimistic. With ethanol subsidies, you had basically all the (mainstream) experts saying it was a daft idea, and some msm outlets had already voiced some scepticism about the plans before they were implemented. Then food prices rose sharply, and practically every "expert" the media could get hold of - including those who worked the development industry - was willing to explain that this was at least partly due to ethanol subsidies. As the people who were hurt the most by the high food prices were poor, the media's natural urge was to look what evil the rich had done to cause this catastrophe - and the one thing "the rich" had done was implementing ethanol subsidies. "Our" subsidies for rich farmers to produce fuel in a stupid, inefficient and environmentally unsound way rather than produce food hurts poor people - that was a good story for the MSM to run with.
By contrast, when the abatement plans start hurting the industry, there will be no mainstream expert - no climatologist, columnist or green activist - around to blame the new rules. On the contrary, they will all be cheering Obama's actions. Unless the abatement plans kill off some big, preferably unionized companies in close succession, the media won't question them. And even if the media start questioning the plans, the critics will probably shut up if Obama starts doling out subsidies - which would off course only make a bad situation worse, but who's complaining?
Posted by: TG | Nov 19, 2008 10:37:45 PM
Coyote - It may be true that the media started to discuss the negative impact of ethanol, but that didn't keep ethanol subsidies and wind subsidies from being continued.
To my mind, the trend for consistently ignoring realities in favor of common memes is so well established that it will be years before there is a change in trend.
Posted by: MaxedOutMama | Nov 20, 2008 8:39:37 AM
From Pink Floyd's Time: Then one day you find ten years have got behind you...No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun...
These lines will on day make sense to the dems, their environmentalist pals and their propagandists in the media who will have cost us not ten years but many decades in the energy race. We are getting further behind daily as the rest of the world races to acquire new energy sources and build new plants of the coal, nuclear, oil and even cowshit if it burns variety. Even the French got it decades back as they are producing enough nuclear power to meet their energy needs...We on the other hand are still discussing the energy equivelent of "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" from midevil catholicism. I wonder what will finally convert the non-believers? Ten dollar a gallon gas. A dollar crisis as our trade deficit spirals out of control, gas lines, rationing...I wonder...
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