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Old May 1st 05, 02:12 AM posted to alt.global-warming,sci.environment,sci.geo.meteorology
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Default Global warming is a socio-econmic issue, not a scientific one

It is fairly clear to me from having worked for years in the environmental
policy field that what science says or does not say about global warming and
its impacts is largely irrelevant when it comes to deciding what, if
anything, to do about it. Because, in the opinion of most decision-makers,
reducing greenhouse gas emissions would result in an unacceptably high
socio-economic hit, it will never happen. Letting global warming take place
and adapting to its impacts is, in the view of many policy-makers, much more
acceptable and can result in net socio-economic benefits for current
generations. If science were a consideration, we would make a concentrated
effort instead to reduce emissions now in such a way as to minimize the
current hit, with a view to achieving intergenerational equity. Basing
decisions on socio-economic analysis will never result in significant
reductions because, among other things, of the enormous effect of
discounting a benefit stream over a century or so. The irrelevance of
science was highlighted when the global and national emission reductions
targets were set in Kyoto - the over all reduction target and the individual
national targets were not based on science but on political negotiation with
countries' positions being driven by socio-economic considerations.

The bottom line - move away from policy discussions based on science and the
resulting scientific "debate", which that detract us from examining what
needs to be done to ensure sustainability of our socio economic systems in
the long term. This includes, of course, sustaining the earth's life support
systems, without which socio-economic activity cannot exist.



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Old May 1st 05, 03:46 AM posted to alt.global-warming,sci.environment,sci.geo.meteorology
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First recorded activity by Weather-Banter: Apr 2005
Posts: 139
Default Global warming is a socio-econmic issue, not a scientific one

In article , says...

It is fairly clear to me from having worked for years in the environmental
policy field that what science says or does not say about global warming and
its impacts is largely irrelevant when it comes to deciding what, if
anything, to do about it. Because, in the opinion of most decision-makers,
reducing greenhouse gas emissions would result in an unacceptably high
socio-economic hit, it will never happen.


The logic of the decision makers is based upon their flawed understanding of
economics. Your usual economic analysis assumes that the environmental impact
is an externality, not directly related to the overall economic process and
is thus ignored. Economics operates as if the "benefits" of the environment
are free. This was true for generations, but is no longer the situation as
populations have grown and per capita consumption levels have shot up. If
the full accounting of the impacts were included in the economic calculations,
then doing something about maintaining the environmantal services would make
good long term economic decisions a possibility.

........Letting global warming take place
and adapting to its impacts is, in the view of many policy-makers, much more
acceptable and can result in net socio-economic benefits for current
generations. If science were a consideration, we would make a concentrated
effort instead to reduce emissions now in such a way as to minimize the
current hit, with a view to achieving intergenerational equity. Basing
decisions on socio-economic analysis will never result in significant
reductions because, among other things, of the enormous effect of
discounting a benefit stream over a century or so.


Again, that's a statement of a flaw in the way "economics" works.
It's just a way of saying "live for today, there is no tomorrow".

.....The irrelevance of
science was highlighted when the global and national emission reductions
targets were set in Kyoto - the over all reduction target and the individual
national targets were not based on science but on political negotiation with
countries' positions being driven by socio-economic considerations.


However, whthout the guidance from the scientific community, how would the
politicians be induced to proceed toward ANY reductions in business as usual?

The bottom line - move away from policy discussions based on science and the
resulting scientific "debate", which that detract us from examining what
needs to be done to ensure sustainability of our socio economic systems in
the long term. This includes, of course, sustaining the earth's life support
systems, without which socio-economic activity cannot exist.


Without the foundation and projections of the future provided by scientific
understanding, it becomes impossible to make rational long term decisions,
We have seen many decisions in the past which were shown to be wrong as
the sciences progressed. We now have a level of understanding in many areas
that makes projections into the future possible. The future planning must
include as much of this knowledge as possible, or else we risk taking steps
which may well lead to greater problems in future.

Consider sending a human to Mars. How would one estimate the cost without
knowing the basics of space flight, ie, the science? What if it cost $1X to
send him on a one way trip, but $4X to send him there and back? If we could
only allocate $2X, would we decide to send him (or them), then leave him/them
there to die? Then the social question might become simply, why go in the
first instance?

The problem of sustainability is more than an economic one and can only
approached with full inclusion of the sciences. How else would one expect to
assess whether a chosen path is better than any other? What if it turns out
that "sustainability" requires a reductiion in population to a much smaller
level or a major reduction in consumption with fixed or growing population?
How would the decision makers be able to choose which course to follow, given
that neither choice would be acceptable to a society based upon democracy?

It's been more than 30 years since the U.S. oil production peaked. The
"decision makers" have not been able to face the problem, since there was
more oil to be found in other countries. Now that's no longer true and the
price of oil and other energy sources is trending up. We need a major shift
in direction in national thinking, but it appears not to be happening.
Looks to me like we'll just try and muddle thru for a few more years.

Then what, does the next generation start lining up for the euthanasia
machines? Maybe a few quick and dirty nuke blasts over third world mega
cities? How about a new pandemic disease never before seen on Earth for
which the good guys have developed a vaccine (for themselves)? Or, GM
crops that render the consumers sterile or induce cancer?

Time to stop, this is getting a bit deep....

--
Eric Swanson --- E-mail address: e_swanson(at)skybest.com :-)
--------------------------------------------------------------

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Old May 1st 05, 05:14 AM posted to alt.global-warming,sci.environment,sci.geo.meteorology
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First recorded activity by Weather-Banter: Apr 2005
Posts: 8
Default Global warming is a socio-econmic issue, not a scientific one

It seems to me that every gallon of oil that is pumped out of the
ground will be burned, well almost every, producing more CO2. I don't
see how Kyoto or any other treaty is going to change this.

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Old May 1st 05, 06:14 AM posted to alt.global-warming,sci.environment,sci.geo.meteorology
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Posts: 1
Default Global warming is a socio-econmic issue, not a scientific one

stevejduf... says:

* It seems to me that every gallon of oil that is pumped out of the
ground will be burned, well almost every, producing more CO2. I don't
see how Kyoto or any other treaty is going to change this.*

There you have it. It does not mater how good the science is. If the
solutions
are so unpalatable that they can not be sold to politicians or the
public, then it
is largely irrelevant: preaching to the choir.
I like 'deep heat mining':
http://dhm.ch/
and wave power:
http://www.wavegen.com/
neither of which generate harmful gasses (heat pollution yes). Put
together with superconductors to transport the power:
http://www.amsuper.com/ or http://www.ultraconductors.com/
there seems to be some realistic hope.

tesseract

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Old May 1st 05, 12:56 PM posted to alt.global-warming,sci.environment,sci.geo.meteorology
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First recorded activity by Weather-Banter: Apr 2005
Posts: 139
Default Global warming is a socio-econmic issue, not a scientific one

In article . com, says...

stevejduf... says:

* It seems to me that every gallon of oil that is pumped out of the
ground will be burned, well almost every, producing more CO2. I don't
see how Kyoto or any other treaty is going to change this.*

There you have it. It does not mater how good the science is. If the solutions
are so unpalatable that they can not be sold to politicians or the public,
then it is largely irrelevant: preaching to the choir.


Now there is a scary story if ever I heard one.

I like 'deep heat mining':
http://dhm.ch/
and wave power:
http://www.wavegen.com/
neither of which generate harmful gasses (heat pollution yes). Put
together with superconductors to transport the power:
http://www.amsuper.com/ or http://www.ultraconductors.com/
there seems to be some realistic hope.


Yes, there are technical solutions that do not require burning more fossil
fuel. So far, the perception is that these solutions cost more than the
cheap oil we have come to expect. Except for coal that is. There is the
potential to supply vast amounts of energy from the U.S. coal reserves
and replace lots of oil imports by so doing.

Trouble is, the decision can't be made on strictly economic grounds. The
environmental consequences of switching to a coal based energy system are
very much larger than what we've seen from the oil age.

BTW, electricity is a premium energy source and making a switch to an all
electric economy will be much more expensive than burning gasoline in your
SUV. After all, traditional electric power production wastes about 60%
of the energy available in the primary energy source, such as coal.
Electricity is best used in ways that exploit it's unique characteristics,
which do not include powering a large vehicle or space heating with resistance
devices. Heat pumps (that includes A/C systems) are great, but their efficiency
declines as they are used to pump with larger temperature differences.

--
Eric Swanson --- E-mail address: e_swanson(at)skybest.com :-)
--------------------------------------------------------------



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Old May 1st 05, 05:23 PM posted to alt.global-warming,sci.environment,sci.geo.meteorology
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First recorded activity by Weather-Banter: Feb 2005
Posts: 13
Default Global warming is a socio-econmic issue, not a scientific one


"Eric Swanson" wrote in message
...
In article ,
says...

It is fairly clear to me from having worked for years in the environmental
policy field that what science says or does not say about global warming
and
its impacts is largely irrelevant when it comes to deciding what, if
anything, to do about it. Because, in the opinion of most
decision-makers,
reducing greenhouse gas emissions would result in an unacceptably high
socio-economic hit, it will never happen.


The logic of the decision makers is based upon their flawed understanding
of
economics. Your usual economic analysis assumes that the environmental
impact
is an externality, not directly related to the overall economic process
and
is thus ignored. Economics operates as if the "benefits" of the
environment
are free. This was true for generations, but is no longer the situation
as
populations have grown and per capita consumption levels have shot up. If
the full accounting of the impacts were included in the economic
calculations,
then doing something about maintaining the environmantal services would
make
good long term economic decisions a possibility.

........Letting global warming take place
and adapting to its impacts is, in the view of many policy-makers, much
more
acceptable and can result in net socio-economic benefits for current
generations. If science were a consideration, we would make a
concentrated
effort instead to reduce emissions now in such a way as to minimize the
current hit, with a view to achieving intergenerational equity. Basing
decisions on socio-economic analysis will never result in significant
reductions because, among other things, of the enormous effect of
discounting a benefit stream over a century or so.


Again, that's a statement of a flaw in the way "economics" works.
It's just a way of saying "live for today, there is no tomorrow".

.....The irrelevance of
science was highlighted when the global and national emission reductions
targets were set in Kyoto - the over all reduction target and the
individual
national targets were not based on science but on political negotiation
with
countries' positions being driven by socio-economic considerations.


However, whthout the guidance from the scientific community, how would the
politicians be induced to proceed toward ANY reductions in business as
usual?

The bottom line - move away from policy discussions based on science and
the
resulting scientific "debate", which that detract us from examining what
needs to be done to ensure sustainability of our socio economic systems in
the long term. This includes, of course, sustaining the earth's life
support
systems, without which socio-economic activity cannot exist.


Without the foundation and projections of the future provided by
scientific
understanding, it becomes impossible to make rational long term decisions,
We have seen many decisions in the past which were shown to be wrong as
the sciences progressed. We now have a level of understanding in many
areas
that makes projections into the future possible. The future planning must
include as much of this knowledge as possible, or else we risk taking
steps
which may well lead to greater problems in future.

Consider sending a human to Mars. How would one estimate the cost without
knowing the basics of space flight, ie, the science? What if it cost $1X
to
send him on a one way trip, but $4X to send him there and back? If we
could
only allocate $2X, would we decide to send him (or them), then leave
him/them
there to die? Then the social question might become simply, why go in the
first instance?

The problem of sustainability is more than an economic one and can only
approached with full inclusion of the sciences. How else would one expect
to
assess whether a chosen path is better than any other? What if it turns
out
that "sustainability" requires a reductiion in population to a much
smaller
level or a major reduction in consumption with fixed or growing
population?
How would the decision makers be able to choose which course to follow,
given
that neither choice would be acceptable to a society based upon democracy?

It's been more than 30 years since the U.S. oil production peaked. The
"decision makers" have not been able to face the problem, since there was
more oil to be found in other countries. Now that's no longer true and
the
price of oil and other energy sources is trending up. We need a major
shift
in direction in national thinking, but it appears not to be happening.
Looks to me like we'll just try and muddle thru for a few more years.

Then what, does the next generation start lining up for the euthanasia
machines? Maybe a few quick and dirty nuke blasts over third world mega
cities? How about a new pandemic disease never before seen on Earth for
which the good guys have developed a vaccine (for themselves)? Or, GM
crops that render the consumers sterile or induce cancer?

Time to stop, this is getting a bit deep....


--
Eric Swanson --- E-mail address: e_swanson(at)skybest.com :-)
--------------------------------------------------------------

The analysis in this excellent essay is entirely correct, Eric. I am a
scientist, not an economist and I believe the view of economists is flawed
as you suggest, particularly with regard to the way environmental benefits
are valued. One of the difficulties is that it is (in my experience at
least) much easier for economists to get the ear of decision-makers than it
is for those engaged in the physical sciences -- in large part because
science is viewed as "mysterious" and economics is seen as being more
relevant to "real world" decision making.

As you say, the role of science is to raise awareness - this was certainly
how climate change became a public policy issue during the last two decades,
with scientists sounding the initial alarms at Villach, Toronto, Geneva and
elsewhere. It is because of the work of scientists that the Framework
convention and the Kyoto protocol came about and, in the case of the
Convention the scientists' prescription was front and centre (although the
overall goal of the FCCC was less than what scientists recommended). But the
actual numbers developed at Kyoto had has little if any scientific basis.

It is interesting to compare the role of science in development of the
Montreal Protocol. Science was able to convince decision makers of the more
pressing immediate nature of the threats from ozone depletion, and the
economic hit from mitigative actions was perceived to be less than for
climate change. As a result, scientists were much more involved in
developing the terms of the Montréal Protocol than was the case with Kyoto.


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Old May 2nd 05, 08:00 AM posted to alt.global-warming,sci.environment,sci.geo.meteorology
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Default Global warming is a socio-econmic issue, not a scientific one


wrote in message
oups.com...
It seems to me that every gallon of oil that is pumped out of the
ground will be burned, well almost every, producing more CO2. I don't
see how Kyoto or any other treaty is going to change this.


Well, it reduces the rate of burning. And it's the rate that is
significant.

Taking the first step on a 1000 mile journey still keeps a person 1000 miles
from their destination.

All motion is therefore impossible many children continue to argue.



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Old May 3rd 05, 03:16 AM posted to alt.global-warming,sci.environment,sci.geo.meteorology
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Posts: 1
Default Global warming is a socio-econmic issue, not a scientific one

"Because, in the opinion of most decision-makers,
reducing greenhouse gas emissions would result in an unacceptably high
socio-economic hit, it will never happen."

Maybe it has to happen, and will, if things get bad enough.
Self-interest stands in the way of our collective future? Well, maybe
it's time to do away with self-interest then.



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