Saturday, April 17, 2010

What conservatives should know about climate change

(from How to Talk to a Conservative about Climate Change, over at Global Warming - Man or Myth?)

"There are three choices the world has to deal with the consequences of global warming:

1. A really statist, tyrannical approach to climate stabilization would be to create a new international agency with broad powers to micromanage the world’s industry and transportation sectors.

2. A regulated, market-based solution such as a carbon tax or a cap and trade system with concessions to developing countries such as China and India. ... has enjoyed great success in Europe but has faced fierce political opposition in the U.S., Canada, and Australia ...

3. A business-as-usual solution where reducing greenhouse gases is optional.

In the "business as usual" solution #3 where emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise, the following consequences are realistic:

1. China and India pass the US as economic superpowers
2. Increased immigration
3. Higher food costs
4. Greater government subsidies (higher taxes)
5. Higher insurance rates
6. Increased authoritarian governments
7. Increased terrorism
8. Nuclear proliferation
9. Regional and global wars between countries with nuclear weapons

Locally, putting global climate destabilization in context

I'm posting this largely because I just need to practice writing - I assure you, if you want to read quality climate writing and insights, NCFocus is not the place. Go spend time with Drs. Michael Tobis of In It For The Gold, Steve Easterbrook of Serendipity, and (for the firehose...) Joe Romm of Climate Progress - among others.

I was talking recently to some local progressive folks, one of whom's an environmentalist and extremely concerned about the ozone pollution here in Nevada County - and I made the point that if we don't address climate change, other causes aren't going to matter. The environmentalist violently disagreed - and indeed, to someone with asthma who ends up in the emergency room, or has to leave our county entirely in summer to escape the abysmal air quality, climate issues will seem distant and comparatively insignificant.

And this perception won't just be limited to the affected individual - we're tribal creatures and we understand our world through stories, stories of individuals from our tribe; historically we never had reason to develop a grasp of statistics, or of scales larger than a set of stories.

But if we don't make an effort to think at that larger level, we'll miss the big picture - a form of blindness which risks catastrophic consequences.

Is the ozone problem a global one?

Does it substantially affect the number of people that our world can support? (will it lead to the death of billions?)

Is it a national security threat?

Will the consequences of each further year we delay fixing the problem continue to hound us for decades or centuries?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Must-read: Environmental economics 101 - Building a green economy

Yes, you too can get a Princeton education for under $5:
Buy the Sunday (Apr 11) New York Times, since Krugman's article there, on environmental economics and climate policy - is a keeper.
(Dan Logue, if you have children whose souls don't already belong to Scaife Koch & Exxon, please read this!)

I never took basic college Economics(*) so I've had lots of remedial learning to do; and this is the kind of writing that really helps our knowledge level to skyrocket.

(Something to keep in mind when reading Krugman's piece: is he writing to make you smarter, or writing to make you think he's smarter? Intelligent, well educated, competent, intellectually honest people aim for the former: to communicate the most significant concepts and their relations as clearly as possible, so you come away as well-informed as possible.)

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Videos of Assessor candidates Kleinhans and Horne from Apr 1 forum

Update: shortened video URLs are:
I've given these to KNCO's Bob Breck so he can provide them with KNCO's podcast.

The Assessor's race segment - featuring candidates Rolf Kleinhans and Sue Horne - is missing from KNCO's podcast of the April 1 candidates' forum(*), Jeff Pelline reported.

But I caught it - all but the first second or two(?), of Ms. Horne's statement - on video, and have posted it on YouTube in two 5+ min. parts - the candidates' initial statements, and the Q&A.

Initial statements:


I thought it brought out some real differences between the candidates.

Also - Jeff Pelline has asked some further candidate questions; with luck we'll get answers.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Tea Party Apr 1 Candidates Forum, cursory report

Updated (added report Apr 1; see also the Assessor's race videos posted Apr 3).

The event was at 6pm, at the Vets Hall in GV. It was shockingly sedate.

The TPPs were asking that attendees donate $5 to defray expenses; "All proceeds, after expenses, will go to the five veterans groups that use the facility. Our expenses include the rental of the building, insurance and permits and printing of programs." I'm not sure a) how much the expenses were, or b) how much KNCO contributed - didn't hear back from Bob Breck. The Union publisher Jeff Ackerman told me The Union contributed no $$, just publicity: "We got the word out that the candidates will be there (all of them, by the way) and that it would be a great chance to hear what they have to say before you vote."
(Also - anyone know whether past candidate forums - put on by the LWV or other orgs - have asked attendees to pay?)

Attendance report:
About 150 people showed up; the TPP folks had been encouraged to wear red shirts, but maybe one in 8 people were wearing red. [Some attendees by name deleted.]

Two tables onstage, one for the candidates and one for the panel of question askers - Ackerman and Kleist from The Union, and Whitten and Breck from KNCO. All Qs were from The Union or KNCO. All candidates for a given office got time to make an initial statement, then the same Q would be asked of each candidate in turn; the turns rotated.
(Does anyone recall if, at other forums, audience members have had a chance to ask questions?)
It was, or was to be, broadcast on KNCO.

Random, not particularly substantive observations:
* The candidates were articulate.
* Diaz v. Pruett for recorder was the only race with tension to it. (One of the two seems tense by nature.)
* A substantial number were unopposed.
* John Spencer hails from Long Beach, some decades back; opponent Lamphier wants to hold evening discussions so working folk can attend.
* Neither DA Clifford Newell nor sheriff Keith Royal favors the "legalize pot" proposition, for reasons that strike your correspondent as shaky - "It won't kill the black market"; "when your neighbor's pot is ready for harvest, it[the smell] will run you out of your house".(*)(*)
* One candidate for Treasurer/Tax Collector seemed head and shoulders above the others.
* Barry Pruett is not related to Bob Pruett of the Sac. branch of the Tobacco Institute, and Jeff Ackerman is not related to southern California attorneys Dick Ackerman (former R-Tustin) or Rich Ackerman (Focus on the Family, Citizens for Better Government, Capitol Resource Institute, etc); I asked them.

Favorite line:
Penn Valley Supe Hank Weston's observation that the job doesn't end at 5pm, it continues while you're shopping - and "It's tough when you're trying to buy a good steak and you get a question about sewage".